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Education : Second Thoughts Newsletters : Complete text of all the Second Thoughts Newsletters Last Updated: Sep 8th, 2009 - 08:07:52

Second Thoughts Vol. 3, No. 1, October 1980

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In this issue:

AEA Task Force Meets in Madison
Voice of Dissent
More on MCE
NAVL Goes to St. Louis
Universal Educational Opportunity
Poems by Peter Maurin

AEA Task Force Meets in Madison

The Adult Education Association of the USA (AEA/USA) Task Force on Voluntary Learning met in Madison Wisconsin, on Sept 5 through the 7th. The Task Force is the result of a resolution introduced by the National Alliance for Voluntary Learning (NAVL) during the Delegate Assembly at the 1979 AEA Conference in Boston. NAVL had agreed during that conference to make the work of the Task Force its major focus of energy during the current year.

AEA/USA President, Violet Malone, appointed Dave Gueulette, Tom Heaney, and John Ohliger to the Task Force and asked them to select other members as needed.

The Task Force is to present its first report on MCE to the Association at the 1980 Conference in St. Louis. A call for position papers on MCE and voluntary learning was published nationally. The papers were to provide content a starting point for a three day, residential meeting at which the report would be prepared. Among those submitting papers for the meeting were Kathleen Rockhill (UCLA) , Dave Williams (Penn State) , Michael Day (University of Michigan), Helen Parris and Bob Carlson (University of Saskatchewan), Phyllis Cunningham and Jim Hawking (Northern Illinois University), and Jack Blaney (Simon Fraser).

Fifteen members of the Task Force met in Madison to consider these papers. The Report of the Task Force will be published and available at the AEA Conference in St. Louis, "The Report includes a "statement" drafted at the Madison meeting, recommendations for action, and the texts of the original position papers. The Report will be presented at a session on Tuesday morning, November 4th, at 10:45 A.M. The session will be held in the Garden Room, 2nd Floor of the Marriott Hotel. After this session limited copies of the Report will be available from the Adult Education Association of the USA, 810 Eighteenth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006.

A Voice of Dissent

Our first annual "Don't Believe Everything You Read" award unleashed a storm of controversy. The award was given to Iraq for its efforts on behalf of literacy, those efforts including fines and imprisonment for non-learners (see ST 2:3, p.2). J. Roby Kidd, in a letter he prefers not to have published, took us to task for judging Iraq by our own cultural beliefs and standards. The article in ST was drawn from the Washington Post and documentation sent to us by Sam Brightman, editor of Adult and Continuing Education Today. We forwarded Roby's letter to Sam and Sam responded:

"I suppose Roby's problem with the Washington Post is 'the tough Arab nationalist leadership' phrase. I would suggest that even if Iraq had 'soft Anglican international leadership' a literacy program that is enforced by fines and jail terms would be newsworthy.

"Finally, I am somewhat troubled by an implicit tone in the Kidd communication that Americans should accept other forms of government and other cultures and that if we don't it indicates that we have succumbed to acute xenophobia. I don't mean this as a cheap shot, but the first time that 'Ugly American' argument was laid on me was by Nazis in Germany in 1939. Later, having joined the U.S. Army for xenophobic reasons, I arrived at the Adult Learning Center at Buchenwald while bodies were still in the furnaces and at the Landsberg Adult Learning Center while corpses, many freshly castrated, were stacked like cordwood along a railroad siding. This was mandatory continuing education a la Goebbels."

Sam concluded his letter, "Don't tell Roby that my paternal grandmother was descended from Huguenots who wandered to this continent some years prior to the American Revolution, because you know how Anglo Canadians feel about Canucks."

We won't, Sam.

To know is not to be content with things as presented to us, but to seek beyond their appearance for their being.

Ortega y Gasset



Two organizations have taken a stand on the issue of MCE. In February of this year the 'Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) published a position paper on the subject. They supported the idea of Continuing Education which "is the primary means by which registered nurses augment the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for competent nursing practice." They defined CE in nursing "as any planned learning experience, under taken by graduates of basic diploma and baccalaureate nursing programs which contributes to the fulfillment of personal and professional goals and leads to the enhancement of nursing practice, education, administration and re search." But they held "professional nurses accountable for their own growth and development", and viewed MCE as a "counterproductive trend." They concluded that "the provision of competent nursing practice and quality patient care is served best by a coordinated system of CE in which nurses participate voluntarily."

MCE a "counterproductive trend."

Future Directions for a Learning Society (FDLS) has reacted somewhat more cautiously.
Ron Gross, their senior consultant, in a staff paper dated June 1979, described the history of the issue which "all started at the 1977 National AEA/NAPCAE Conference in Detroit," and recommended the "following posture:" While FDLS should welcome vigorous discussion and keep informed on the issue, it "should not take a formal position ... since that would involve conflicts with ongoing activities, prior commitments and future plans already in place." Neverthless, they should make a "nominal contribution to Second Thoughts (say $500)" and perhaps help carry out some research in the area. Despite the caution, however, Gross' own conviction was "that the opponents of MCE have done a signal service to the field by raising an issue that must be confronted."

Dave Williams at Penn State University sent us the following clipping from Medical Economics (12 May 1980): "Though at least half of the respondents in a survey of Pennsylvania physicians favor specified levels of CME for professional society membership, 83% claim they'd study just as much if it weren't mandatory. And over three fourths feel they don't need formal CME programs at all. Journal reading, hospital conferences, and the like keep them sufficiently up-to-date."

NAVL Goes to St. Louis

NAVL is hoping to obtain funding for several research projects during the coming year. These projects focus on priorities for research identified by the AEA Task Force on Voluntary Learning. In order to pursue funding, Dave Lisman has begun the process of incorporation in Madison, Wisconsin. An organizational meeting for NAVL will be held at the November AEA Conference in St. Louis, with the time and room number to be announced. Meanwhile, if you have any suggestions, comments, or just want to help, give Dave a call at 608/884-9026..


Fun Conference

Bill Draves, national coordinator of the Free University Network, has written us to announce the upcoming 1980 National Free University/Learning Network Conference which will take place October 1719 in Columbus, Ohio; at the Southern Hotel. For more information about the conference, write or call Bill at the Free University Network, 1221 Thurston, Manhattan, KS 66502 (913/532-5866).

Freire Collection

OISE has opened a Paulo Freire Resource Collection available to anyone interested in Freire's theories. It contains originals by Freire, audio/visual and other materials, 150 items in all. You are invited to contribute. Write for details or send relevant materials :to The Paulo Freire Resource Collection, c/o Dr. Alan M. Thomas, Dept. of AE, OISE, 252 Bloor Str, West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6.

Alternative Celebrations

Anne Fitzgerald sends us note of "Alternatives." "Alternatives" is an organization founded by Bob Kochtitzky to help persons interested in voluntary simplicity take charge of their own lives. The group places special emphasis on alternative celebrations that stress simplicity, and an understanding of how commercially extravagant celebrations divert millions from human needs projects. Their stated goal is to take $10 million away from corporate celebrations and use it as a major financial contribution to worthy social change. Interested? Write Alternatives, 1924 E. Third Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47401.

An Eye to the Future

People who attempt to keep an eye on the future, and who wish to have quick and easy access to the most current literature on most areas of futures studies, may find the news letter Future Survey to be of great value. The intensified interest concerning futuristic literature, particularly futuristic research, has made it increasingly difficult to select with assurance and accuracy material of high grade. Future Survey serves as a useful resource in this regard; it is a trustworthy screening device a person can use to preview abstracts of the latest material. To illustrate, a typical issue contains fifty or more abstracts of articles, one hundred abstracts of newly published books and key references for every abstract. Further, an effort has been made to group articles and books under convenient categories. With the flood of new ideas shaping possible futures in such diverse fields as education, research, business planning, career development, and politics, it is prudent for people to keep abreast of trends. The Editor, Michael Marien, is well known for his ability to cull quality material from a variety of sources. His efforts with the Library of Congress have helped the futures field gain credibility, even during a time when it is fashionable for writers of all calibers to be futuristic.

By way of limitations the annual subscription rate is $24.00 for individuals and $36.00 for institutions. A one year subscription yields 12 issues. To order back copies, or initiate a subscription, write:

World Future Society
4916 St. Elmo Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20014

Universal Educational Opportunity
An Announcement of Importance to All Citizens

The Universal Educational Opportunity Act (Public Law, HR Sen. 4701-0962-1984) takes effect at midnight, January 1980. You should be aware of what is required of you under this law.

Basically, this legislation requires all citizens to register with their local UEO office for assignment to an appropriate Center. Thereafter, you are required to present your self at the designated facility at 9 A.M. one day per week, and to remain there until 3 P.M. This fulfills your basic obligation under the law, and will assure exemption from prosecution under the statutes providing sanctions for noncompliance. You will be issued a UEO card, which you should always carry with you for identification purposes, and on which your attendance will be punched.

Many questions have been received concerning the actual programs which will be provided at the Centers. You can be assured that every resource has been marshalled to fulfill the mission of the program which is, quite simply, to teach you what you need to learn.

The foremost psychologists, social thinkers, human relations experts and human factors engineers have been enlisted in the planning. A systems approach is used throughout. Through computerized processing of test results, virtually instantaneous feedback will be available on every aspect of the program. Responsibility will be pinpointed, and cost benefit analysis will be applied rigorously to evaluate effectiveness and efficiency.

Specifically, you will learn at the Centers those subject matters, skills, and capabilities that are essential; Moreover, you will be learning in an organized, rational way.

The subject matters, skills, and capabilities have been scientifically analyzed, divided into the most teachable components, and organized into efficient sequences of lessons and courses. Successful completion of each unit will prepare you for the next. For those who lack interest in one program say, the sequence designed for managerial personnel another, equally worthwhile, will be available for example, retail service occupations.

Your placement in an appropriate program will not be left to chances A battery of tests during the first week will accurately measure your aptitudes, interests, abilities, and motivation.

To further facilitate learning, you will attend classes at the Center with other cities in the same age bracket, and with much the same background and interests. Thus the blocks to communication which so often occur between individuals of disparate ages or lifestyle will be avoided from the start.

You will find learning in the Centers a refreshing experience. Because the most important subjects and skills have been identified are built into the curriculum, you will know what you are learning will actually be used and enjoyable in your future life. For example, it is generally recognized that there a severe shortage of jobs in certain sectors of the economy. If you are currently unemployed and the Work Opportunity Office has certified that employment is not available for you at this time, you will still be able to benefit from your Center's program. Determinations have been made of the exact kind of jobs which emerging technology will general in the near future, and you will be trained specifically for these occupations so that when the opportunities arise you will be prepared.

Your behavior while at the Center is of critical importance to the success of Universal Educational Opportunity. Please keep in mind that each facility must service up to 5,000 clients each day. These clients must be shifted, rapidly and efficiently, from one service area to another. With such large groups confined in limited space, and the in evitable disruptions caused by maladjusted individuals, disorder and chaos could result.

"We respect freedom of speech, association, and movement; however... in the interests of learning, certain customary liberties must be curtailed...."

Therefore it is essential that strict order be maintained while transferring from one service area to another. We respect freedom of speech, association, and movement; however, this does not extend, as has often been said, to shouting fire in a crowded theater. Each individual's freedom must terminate where it impinges on other people's rights and prerogatives. In the interests of learning, certain customary liberties must be curtailed at the Centers. All citizens have an equal right, and an equal need, for their UEO services. That is why everyone must attend in the first place; that is why order must be maintained.

For the above reasons, it is expected that citizens will cooperate fully with the UEO program. It should be noted, however, that most employees and professional associations have regulations which make successful pursuit of a Center course a prerequisite for initial employment, for maintenance of current job status, and for advancement in your occupation. Moreover, eligibility for the full range of social service opportunity benefits rent subsidy, insurance, income maintenance, transportation discounts, etc. also entails proof of satisfactory attendance at a Center. Finally, the UEO law it self specifies criminal penalties for truancy, ranging from a week's detention at the Center, to reassignment to a Reconditioning Institute for counseling and psychiatric treatment.
-- Ron Gross

Easy Essays

by Peter Maurin

College Graduates

Sociology is not a science,
it is an art.
The art of sociology
is the art
of creating order
out of chaos.
Bourgeois colleges
turn out college graduates
into a changing world
without ever telling them
how to keep it from changing
or how to change it
so as to make it fit
for college graduates.
College graduates
think in terms of jobs,
not in terms of work.
Since the world is upside down,
taking the side down
and putting it up
should be the task
of college graduates.
But college graduates
would rather
play somebody else's game
in a position
than to create order
out of chaos.


A few years ago,
I asked a college professor
to give me
the formulation
of those universal concepts
in the universal message
of the universal universities
that will enable
the common man
to create a universal economy.
And I was told by the college professor:
"That is not my subject."
Colleges and universities
give to the students
plenty of facts but very little understanding.
They turn out specialists
knowing more and more
about less and less.

In Search of Philosophical Roots

John Elias and Sharan Merriam have recently authored Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education, Krieger Publishing Co. (New York 1980). Since the burgeoning, American adult education industry has grown largely without benefit of an articulated philosophy, the course set upon by the authors relies heavily on conjecture and the appropriation of broader philosophical themes which have interpreted American life. Five themes are identified: liberalism, progressivism, behaviorism, humanism, analytic philosophy, and radicalism. It is the last category which will most interest readers of ST, since it gives considerable emphasis to John Ohliger "a voice crying in the wilderness" and the struggle against compulsory adult education. The authors characterize the work of radical adult educators (Freire, Illich, Ohliger) as "monolithic Utopian" a perspective inconsistent with the nation's overriding commitment to pluralism. John wrote to the publisher in response, "While it may have been within the realm of reason to say in the mid1940's that America possessed a somewhat pluralistic culture, in The Year of Our TV 1980 that is certainly a very dubious conclusion. But even more questionable is the view that we are 'monolithic.' We all criticize America's monolithic economic, technical, and political structure. Though we may differ on when and how we can move away from these single vision oppressions in day to day free life, we are united in favoring ultimate and real pluralism."

The authors seem to suggest that pluralism is the dominant American philosophy. However, pluralism is not a philosophy and, more to John Ohliger's point, is largely a matter of hype. The liberal adult educator, the behavioral adult trainer, and the humanistic adult guru all share space in the same catalogues, finding their roots in American pragmatism. The unspoken and probably unconscious philosophy that infuses most American practice (including adult education) is pragmatism a theme which the authors seldom mention and when they do, only as the foundation of progressive education. Of all the themes described by the authors, only radical adult education has urged a philosophical position antithetical to the pervasive practice of adult schooling. And even this position is consistent with that of the educational reconstructionists, who found their roots in progressivism, which found its roots in pragmatism . . .

The most salutary consequence of Philosophical Foundations of Adult Education might be to get practitioners to do some thinking about fundamental assumptions, but hopefully the ensuing discussion will not leave us sorted into the discrete and simplified categories of the authors. As a prod toward further study, the book is highly recommended.
T. H.

A Critical Look at Testing

The Measuring Cup is published by Public Information and Research, Inc. and reflects analytically and critically on the potential harm and demeaning effects of existing norm referenced paper and pencil tests. The publication focuses on the rights and responsibilities of consumers who are victimized and discriminated against by commercial test producers. It serves a very useful function in educating the general public about the abuse and misuse of power invested in the demands of monopolistic test publishers like E.T.S.

Certification in such professions as law and education are often placed into the hands of national or state testing services. Dialogue about a rationale for using these Instruments to determine professional competence is at best questionable and this forum allows the reader to clarify and keep abreast of recent challenges to certification by examination.

Measuring Cup has indeed taken on a very significant role and that is to meaningfully define the implications and ramifications of human dignity as violated by a very powerful testing lobby.

Politics and Gorz

"As governments and corporations are now developing adult education . . . the education offered to adults is neither defined nor chosen by them, according to their own needs and goals. Rather it is defined and chosen for them, to adjust them better to technological changes and the changing structure of the work force."

That is the way Andre Gorz, the noted French writer and activist, lays out the problem in "The Hidden Curriculum of Continuing Education." But his article goes much further. It not only provides several examples of adults who have created their own "educational situations" in groups to overcome the government and corporation hypes, but points out the conditions under which such "situations" thrive:

"Real continuing education will be produced not by specialized institutions, but by such 'educational situations,' in which people must create for themselves, individually and collectively, their way of living and working, their environment, and the nature of their tools. In that kind of situation a division between working and learning becomes impossible. People keep on learning in order to keep on doing what they want to do, and keep on doing new things because they have discovered new possibilities."

Copies of this seminal article are available in the bimonthly journal Politics and Education (Vol. I, No. 4) for $1.25. Write P & E, "Wesleyan Station, Fisk Hall, Middleton, CT 16457. You might also want to inquire about subscription rates to this excellent magazine which Noam Chomsky calls "lively and informative" and says "should be read widely."

and from Washington.... "

Occupational licensing laws have proliferated until they are restricting competition, stifling initiative, limiting the use of well-trained paraprofessionals, reducing worker mobility, protecting special interest groups and forcing the consumer to pay higher prices for goods and services;" so concluded a scathing report by the White House Conference on Regulatory Reform in January of this year. While originally reserved for attorneys, dentists, pharmacists, physicians and teachers, "we now have licensed horseshoers, egg graders, tattoo artists, beekeepers, well diggers and lightning rod installers. Even palm trimmers are clamouring for licensing."

Second Thoughts is a newsletter designed to serve as a link in a network of persons concerned with raising basic questions about mandatory continuing education (MCE) and related issues

It is published by Basic Choices, Inc., which is a project in values clarification of Madison Campus Ministry, 731 State St., Madison, WI 53703; Members of the group are John Hill, David Lisman, Art Lloyd, Sue Lloyd, Mark McFadden, John Ohliger, Vern Visick, and Chris Wagner.

For the newsletter to continue we need responses from you including: suggestions, criticisms, comments, articles, subscriptions ($10 for individuals, $15 for institutions), and financial contributions. The address for Second Thoughts is 1121 University Ave., Madison, WI 53715. Telephone: (608) 256-1946.

Material for this issue of ST was perused. produced, discussed, debated, selected and edited at Northern Illinois University by Ana Dale, Audrie Berman, Joan Gorham, Tom Heaney, Sue Ross, Joe Agnello, Sean Courtney, Jerry Sather, Fred Schied, Bruce Woll, Paul Isley and Bob Nolan.


"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant of life, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom, without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail." -- Albert Einstein


© Copyright 2004 John

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Complete text of all the Second Thoughts Newsletters
New Additions
Second Thoughts Vol. 1 No. 1 May 1978
Second Thoughts Vol. 1, No. 2, November, 1978
Second Thoughts Vol. 2, No. 1, April 7, 1979
Second Thoughts Vol. 2, No. 2, October 1979
Second Thoughts Vol. 2, No. 3, April 1980
Second Thoughts Vol. 3, No. 1, October 1980
Second Thoughts Vol. 3, No. 2, February 1981
Second Thoughts Vol. 3, No. 3, July 1981
Second Thoughts Vol. 4, No. 1, October 1981
Second Thoughts Vol. 4, No. 2, January 1982