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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. 4, No. 2, January 1982

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In this issue:

  • Sudie In Disneyland Finds (L)earning Never Ends
  • Freire at Cornell
  • Responses to "A Professor Quits."
  • After Disneyland, What?
  • Update on Political Literacy
  • Alternative Mailing Lists
  • Opportunities in Adult Education
  • New Models, Old System.
  • The Tricks an Old Dog Can Teach Us.
  • Whatever Happened to Everett Reimer?
  • Illich on Sex, Gender & Education


Since our last issue we have received more letters than ever before. Here are some of them that deal with important questions:

Sudie In Disneyland Finds (L)Earning Never Ends

Sudie Hofmann, a doctoral student in adult education at Florida State University in Tallahassee, attended her first National Adult Education Conference this fall at the Hotel Disneyland in Anaheim, California. When she returned she wrote us:

"I'm writing you from the Tallahassee General Hospital maternity ward where I've been reviewing records all morning. I'm taking the advice of Carol Aslanian, the Disneyland key- note speaker from the College Board, and drumming up new business for us adult educators. Aslanian urged us all to locate the names and addresses of women who had children five years ago. Maybe those women have some time on their hands after sending that child off to school. Great! Another unsuspecting client!

"I'm so glad that Aslanian warned us, 'If you want to understand your competition, pay a lot of attention to the independent learners.' She found out that 30 percent of adults learn completely on their own from a telephone survey she conducted, disregarding such an outdated idea as 'right to privacy' by calling unlisted phone numbers as well. She made me want to go to work for her employer, the College Board. It's obviously so rich because it knows how to play both sides of the street. The Board has Aslanian talking to us institutional types and Its challenging Independent Scholarship Project for the elite of the self-directed learner competition. What an inspiration to us all the College Board is!

"Forewarned by Aslanian, I attended all the workshops on new marketing approaches to snare that stubborn 30 percent. I particularly enjoyed the sessions on 'selling programs," "custom pricing," and "tailoring salaries." I went to all the marketing sessions armed with my September copy of Lifelong Learning: The Adult Years with its cover story on advertising tips for adult educators. (I picked up the helpful new term "armed" in the countless workshops on military education.) In the story Travis Shipp offered some helpful advice on how to "arouse desire," "create a sense of urgency," and "convince the consumer" to participate in adult ed programs.

"We all must heed these words of wisdom. I've decided to change my course of study at Florida State. I'm dropping the "adult ed philosophy" and "political economy" courses, and am now developing a strong minor in business and finance. This way I can now be assured of a healthy income after I finish my doctorate and, thus will be able to afford the National Conference in 1984 to be held on Madison Avenue. If the going rates for rooms at Disneyland were around $80 and the registration fee was $85, can you imagine what Manhattan will cost? There's no need to worry though. I keep the ubiquitous 1981 Disneyland Conference motto tacked up on my office door: 'EARNING NEVER ENDS.'"


Paulo Freire, the Brazilian whose common sense ideas about how and why poor people will learn have gained deserved recognition, was at Cornell University Dec. 3rd through the 6th, where he declared appreciatively that he was treated as a human being rather than as a philosopher prince. Indeed, while the several hundred persons attracted to the Freire Conference on Empowerment Strategies for Education and Action came to learn directly about his work and thought, only a handful seemed unaware of, or indifferent to, that central Freirean notion that the teacher learns, the student teaches. Certainly the conference's chief organizer, J. Lin Compton, sought to put that principle into operation by arranging for Freire to participate in workshops on racism in America, adult literacy, small-farm agriculture, rural health and nutrition women's empowerment, workplace democracy, community organization and education, among others. As a result, virtually everyone "had dialogue with Freire. What Freire learned beyond how to be other than an academic superstar is a matter of speculation.

Freire himself contributed to the sense of egalitarian participation by refusing to lecture when the opportunity was presented, by opening himself to questions, and by listening as much as he spoke. In contrast to some of the resource persons brought to Cornell for the event from other campuses, Freire's remarks were free of cant or political rhetoric. In fact, by the evening of the conference's third day some of the luminaries had taken to such esoterical heights that one. Manning Marable, himself an eloquent, sharp-tongued speaker, was moved to recount how he and his grandmother, who had been born into slavery, listened once to a Marxist scholar denounce slavery and racism in America. When he finished, Marable said he had asked his grandmother her opinion of what she'd heard. "That fellow was speaking in tongues," she said.

But if some conference resource persons were at variance with Freire and his message, most workshop discussions skirted that pedagogic pitfall. Snitches of talk overheard between participants indicated the conference was important in several ways. At the Sunday morning windup session, the rapporteur from the community organization and education workshop had the conference mesmerized and applauding wildly during a succinct account of problems, issues and concerns which surfaced. The women's empowerment group, which had become so engrossed they unknowingly ignored the conference's somewhat hectic schedule, told how they explored ways to move toward political action based on collective experience. Gone from the racism group's report was the language of guilt, or guilt inducement; instead their report to the conference told of how they had thoughtfully explored the complex motives underlying racism.

Just as important, the conference provided an opportunity to forge new bonds between participants, the majority of whom were seasoned in efforts to apply Freire's ideas in their own work. Their diversity added greatly to the conference, coming as they did chiefly from Latino, Native American, Black, Third World and New (but now aging) Left communities, rather than academe. The unity, which surfaced among participants, derived also from the commonality of their diverse struggles against oppression, and not current political jargon.

Compton and others at Cornell are preparing a Conference Proceedings, both as a useful summary report for the participants and to support the Department of Education's nomination of Freire as the Andrew White Professor-at-Large, a position which would bring him to campus at least twice each year for similar conferences. Copies of the Proceedings may be ordered by writing Dr. J. Lin Compton, Associate Professor of Adult Extension and Continuing Education, Department of Education, Stone Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. 14853.

(This article is by Frank Adams whose classic work Unearthing Seeds of Fire: The Idea of Highlander has just come out in paperback. Order it at $7.95 from John F. Blair, Publisher, 1406 Plaza Drive, S.W., Winston- Salem, NC 27103.)

Responses To "A Professor Quits"

In the October issue of ST we carried a long letter from Merrill Ewert, formerly a professor of adult education at the University of Maryland and currently directing non-formal health care education for a religious organization doing relief and development work in the Third World. The letter outlined ways in which Merrill had experienced contradictions between the professed principles of adult education and the practice engendered by its immersion in the bureaucratic and professional ethos of the university. To resolve such contradictions Ewert made the decision to leave academia and seek a position in which he could more consistently respond to such issues as "wealth and poverty, dependence and self-reliance, peace and justice."

Responses to Ewert's letter have been various. Hayden Roberts, University of Alberta Extension, shares the perplexity Ewert reports when teaching a graduate seminar on non-formal education "in a schooling context that negated most of the principles in which I supposedly believed." Roberts writes, "Like his students, many of the mature adults I work with in graduate courses wonder when the teaching and the practice will coincide."

While finding Merrill's letter "quite eloquent in its condemnation of a system that prevents persons like him from serving people," Roy Ingham from Florida State University, raises a question about this service orientation. "Some would probably claim- perhaps Robert Maynard Hutchins- that the university was not intended to be a 'social service' organization. How would you respond?" (We see Hutchins claim that universities should not be gas stations for people's social "needs" in a different context. We see Hutchins attacking the multi-university of Clark Kerr, who would create all sorts of new, artificial "needs" for people and which the university would then be in a position to "serve.")

In a direct response to Ewert, Budd Hall of the International Council for Adult Education writes, "One of the most curious comments we received several years ago after one of our participatory research presentations at the AERC meeting was from an Assistant Professor who said our work was 'courageous'. It floored us as we could not understand why it should be seen as such. Your letter substantiates a feeling that many people have had that it is often difficult to do active work in the universities without threatening others or losing out in some distortions-of-academic-quality contests... We are fortunate however that adult education as a whole still has some integrity, even if the universities seem at times to get in the way rather than help... Your sense of need for renewal and commitment can be found in nearly every place that I have visited in the last few years. There is a new wind in other parts of the world. We very much need people like your- self, the Basic Choices folks, the Highlander network, and other similar people to get together...The pendulum has swung too far in adult education towards a narrow definition of professionalism and is swinging back towards that other strong historical tradition from which we have reform and social movement."

Finally, on a different note, Gordon Selman from the Adult Education Department of the University of British Columbia, writes that although he cares deeply about and agrees with many of the concerns expressed in ST, "I am not finding ST particularly helpful or interesting at this point. I find it predominantly concerned with what it is against and not very forthcoming concerning what it is for, and what to do about it. This latest issue, in its major articles, in my view flogs the familiar issues - especially 'A Professor Quits', which is very familiar stuff, as I see it."

Gordon Selman puts his finger on what is a perplexity for us too: How to be positively critical? How on one hand, can we point to actual and theoretical, creative and realistic, alternatives and, on the other hand, draw out clearly the ways in which the present educational/bureaucratic/governmental system ill serves the people for whom it presumably exists?

We do seek in ST to present examples of positive alternatives as we discover them. The emergence of an international network of persons committed to voluntary learning- reports on the work of such centers as Highlander and Twin Streams (see October ST) - the movement of independent (non-academic) scholars - these are some of the positive signs we see. Our project on "political literacy' along with other Freirean programs, we see to be creative attempts to promote collective and personal initiative in learning and action. (See this issue for an update on the "political literacy" project.) We welcome contributions by other readers, both to the issue raised by Gordon Selman as well as examples of positive critiques and alternatives. We are reminded, in the words of an old song (this dates us!) to "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don't mess with Mr. In-between!" -if our memories serve us correctly.

Three Brief Letters

Sue Davenport with Northern Illinois University's Adult Education Service Center in Chicago writes: "My two suggestions for ST are: (1) to consider more the impact of racial issues in our field. How racism limits 'choices' people have in adult education; (2) to consider consistently, along with alternatives, how people contend and maneuver within institutions to make them more responsive to people's needs."

Eleanor Craig in Boston writes: "Each time I 'glance' through one of the issues of ST I get hooked again, hooked into reading from cover to cover, hooked into caring about so many interrelated issues, and hooked especially into believing again, concretely and passionately, that a few people can make a big difference. So keep writing, please!"

Hank Rosenthal with the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of British Columbia fills us in on what is happening with "higher adult education" in Canada. It doesn't sound much different from the States: "Here the big budget battle is just starting and our big fear is that when the size of the pie is reduced there will be wholesale internecine warfare between Arts and Professional faculties, academic programs versus Continuing Education, tenured versus non-tenured, etc. Of course, the bottom line is the massive transfer of resources from people services, including education, to the insatiable war machine."


A National Adult Education Conference at the plush Hotel Disneyland is an easy target for cheap jokes and for what Sam Brightman calls "carping criticism." For me, the positive aspects of the late October AEA Conference in Anaheim included seeing a few old friends and making some new ones, the impromptu but well-attended Freire workshop organized by Don Thompson, and the Voluntary Learning Task Force meeting chaired by Dave Williams.

Though the exploration of MCE (mandatory continuing education) issues at the Task Force meeting was very interesting, just as valuable I thought was the discussion which flowed from the question, "What can we do about these issues?" Many of the participants noted the strong disparity between: (1) the importance of adult educators addressing the tough questions about social change and personal transformation; and (2) the luxurious lotus-eating surroundings of the Hotel Disneyland. Others noted that the 1981 Conference placed even more emphasis than in the past on the corporate market and military education (see the letter from Sudie Hofmann on Page 1).

For some of us the answer to the question, "What next?" was, in part, to encourage adult educators who are turned off by Disneyland type gatherings to meet elsewhere in more modest surroundings instead of, or preparatory to, the large National Adult Education Conferences.

Phyllis Cunningham of Northern Illinois University volunteered, as a first step, to prepare a directory of the several hundred people who might be interested - the non-establishment types, social reformers, free spirits, etc. - and to include lists of groups and bibliographic resources. That directory will be available very soon.

Following a letter from Budd Hall of the International Council for Adult Education suggesting that Basic Choices might be a vehicle for trying the idea of such a meeting out, we formally agreed that we would be glad to sponsor it but that most of the organizing needs to be done by others since our resources are so sparse. In the last month we've had other letters from concerned adult educators supporting the idea.

No one has suggested forming a rival organization, just a meeting (or perhaps a series of regional meetings) where people with serious social, political, personal, and spiritual concerns could get together in an atmosphere that is more comfortable in an age of scarcity and more conducive to worthwhile interchange. What do you think? I strongly urge you to let us have your thoughts, suggestions, and, if possible, offers of organizing assistance. Write or call us soon! (By John Ohliger)



For the past year Basic Choices has been carrying out a "political literacy" project in some of Madison's public housing units, working mostly with senior citizens and the disabled.

Since the initial account (in ST, July, 1981), the project coordinators secured the help of Leslie Rothaus, graduate student in education at the University of Wisconsin. Our attention has been focused primarily on two aspects of the project. First, considerable effort was devoted to assisting a small group of public housing tenants take on City Hall. Organizing themselves as the Public Housing Interest Group (PHIG!), after securing the help of their City Council representative, the group successfully battled back all at- tempts to reduce the number of social service workers assigned to the 2,000 plus residents of their housing units. Against the Mayor and in this time of Reagonomlcs, PHIG won the support of 20 out of 22 Alderpersons, to maintain the present level of services.

A second aspect of the project has been the analysis of the "themes" emerging from the many discussions we have held since the project's inception. Leslie Rothaus, after listening to the tapes of all the sessions, has just completed an analysis of recurrent and significant "themes." (Utilizing the PHIG experience as a case history, Leslie has written a paper for one of her courses summarizing her conclusions. Copies of the 30 page paper "Educational Innovation: Political Literacy and Empowerment" are available from us at the cost of xeroxing it.)

Now that the initial "action" phase has been completed (in late November), our next step is to share this analysis of "themes" with the participants, testing our own in- sights against their experiences and perceptions. Beyond this "consciousness-raising" phase, we envision expansion of the project, for example, into a much more difficult area of housing - low-income families. The expansion is dependent upon securing funding for additional part-time facilitators.

We welcome as contributions to ST other accounts of projects by those seeking to implement Freire's "post-literacy" work, i.e. collectively based, liberatory learning/action projects. We also welcome suggestions of possible funding sources for such a project. (By Art Lloyd)


Mark Satin, editor of the excellent newsletter Renewal and author of New Age Politics (Delta paperback), writes that he has just finished updating his mailing list of more than 1,100 alternative, progressive, new age, and transformation-oriented periodicals (1,049 U.S., 54 Canada, 43 "foreign"). Total circulation of the U.S. periodicals alone exceeds 14 million! For $50 he will send you the list on self adhesive address labels. Write Mark at 213 Shawnee Ave., Winchester, VA 22601.

JoAnn Brooks with a group called "Progressive Education" ( PO Box 120574, Nashville, TN 37212) writes that she is coordinating the preparation of updates of their two directories United States Progressive Periodicals and Southern Progressive Periodicals. Over 300 social change periodicals concerning peace, labor. Black, religious, environmental and allied topics will be listed in the two directories. She is seeking suggestions for inclusion and sample copies where possible. Does anyone know anything about this group?


SELF-IMPROVEMENT WORKSHOPS: Creative Suffering, Overcoming Peace of Mind, Guilt Without Sex, Dealing with Post Self-Realization Depression, How to Overcome Self-Doubt through Pretense and Ostentation.

BUSINESS/CAREER WORKSHOPS: Career Opportunities in Iran, "I Made $100 in Real Estate," Tax Shelters for the Indigent, Under-achievers Guide to Very Small Business Opportunities.

HOME ECONOMICS WORKSHOPS: How to Convert Your Family Room into a Garage, Burglar-Proof Your Home with Concrete, The Repair and Maintenance of Your Virginity, How to Convert a Wheelchair into a Dune Buggy.

HEALTH AND FITNESS WORKSHOPS: The Joys of Hypochondria, Bio-feedback and How to Stop It, Skate Your Way to Regularity, Tap Dance Your Way to Social Ridicule.

(Excerpted from a list of 48 such opportunities - voluntary, of course - sent to us by Doleta Chapru.)



Must alternative institutions - such as free schools or co-ops - choose between being democratic or being effective critics within the dominant society? If they seek to be both adversaries and exemplars of egalitarian worker (member) managed enterprises, will this lead inevitably to burn out?

Based primarily on the ten-year experience of the Multi-cultural Community High School in Milwaukee, Carl Hedman makes a persuasive case for the necessity for alternative institutions to play both roles. Readers are urged to look up his article, "Adversaries and Models: Alternative Institutions in an Age of Scarcity," Radical America, Sept-Oct. 1981. If you can't find it write Carl Hedman, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201.

The ten-page article outlines both the internal development of Multicultural, which now works with 500, mostly inner-city students on an open enrollment, voluntary learning basis, and its impacts on the Milwaukee school system. These impacts have included both forcing the public schools to desist from the blatant "dumping" of students with disciplinary problems and, on the other hand, encouraging the schools to establish programs similar to Multicultural's, in order to offer students new options within the system.

A teacher In the Milwaukee area, Hedman has been active both in Multicultural and also in a food co-op. The co-op is cited as another example of the need for alternative institutions to serve both roles: Exemplars of new, democratic, non-hierarchical social relations and adversaries within the context of an advanced capitalist system (in this case, taking on the Internal Revenue Service in response to its attack on the financial basis of such co-ops).


They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Actually, an old dog has a lot to teach us about ourselves. Are you aware of how often we take the names of animals in vain and what that reveals about us?

Show me a horse who has to be led to water to take a drink and I'll show you a free spirit who has been broken and bridled, and whose water supply has been dammed, diverted, and drained.

Show me a "black cat" and I'll show you the sinister path of white racism that should be crossed.

Show me an "old cow" and I'll show you a woman whose flow of milk has been dried up by the sucking demands of a patriarchal system. Show me a "wolf at the door" and I'll show you a federal politician's budget cuts to steal more from the poor to give to the rich. Show me the wool being pulled over people's eyes and I'll show you: the president of the strongest military force on earth vowing to "catch up" with the "massive military build- up" of the Soviet Union; the use of national defense as a cunning patriotic camouflage for vested and exploitative military and industrial business interests at home and in various parts of the world.

Show me a "dumb animal" and I'll show you the person who did the teaching. We have been "scapegoating" animals ever since we descended from the apes.

Thus it is about time that we allow an old dog to teach us the ways in which we project our own destructive impulses onto animals. Such self-understanding would make the world much safer for animals and human beings alike. And while we are gaining this insight into ourselves, there is another lesson that an old dog can teach its "master." The real challenge we face is that of "mastering" ourselves. The more secure we become in our own identity the less need we have to require others to be like us. The more we come into our own individuality, the better prepared we are to affirm and protect the right of others to be different. The more in touch we are with all that is within us the more we will be able to embrace the Black person in us, the white person in us, the communist in us, the capitalist in us, the Protestant in us, the Catholic in us, the Jew in us, the male in us, the female in us, the us in us. The challenge we face is that of discovering and valuing the same humanity in every other person that is in ourselves.

Show me a "dog-eat-dog" world and I'll show you people who have yet to hear each other laugh and see each other cry.

As we "master" ourselves, the world will become a much safer place for all living beings.

It is time we stopped taking the names of animals in vain. When we do, we will also discover that it is no more difficult to teach an old dog new tricks than it is to teach a new dog old tricks. (By William E. Alberts, abridged from his article in the Unitarian Universalist World. November 15, 1981)


From World War II through the late 1950s Everett Reimer served the American Establishment at the highest levels of administration and research. Among his employers, in and out of the Federal Branch of the Club, were the Atomic Energy Commission, the State Department, Congress, the Alliance for Progress, the Office of Price Administration, the University of Michigan, and Syracuse University. It was while attempting to help the liberal government of Puerto Rico equalize educational opportunity that he realized the need for fundamental social change. Though he became a radicalized and disenchanted bureaucrat he did not despair and went on to become the philosopher of equality and freedom he is today.

I first met Everett at Ivan Illich's center in Cuernavaca, Mexico in the early 70s when he was completing work on his classic School Is Dead: Alternatives in Education (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1971). The book has since gone into several printings and has been translated into many languages. I found him an inspiring participant and leader in the discussions going on there in search of paths to a worthwhile world society. But following publication of his book he faded from public view and it wasn't until last fall when two dissertations were completed on him (see ST, July 1981, p. 3) that I was able to re-establish contact. On a trip to the West Coast in October I spent a stimulating and delightful evening with Everett and his wife Mildred in their retirement home near San Francisco. "Retirement" is not really an appropriate term to apply to him though, because in the last decade he has been hard at work on four book-length manuscripts which are now nearing completion. Their tentative titles provide some idea of the vast scope of his egalitarian concerns: Education for Equality, The Institutional Trap, A Choice of Futures, and Three Weeks in the Life of a Utopia (a novel).

Everett has now permitted Basic Choices to make copies of these four drafts for inclusion in our large collection of published work by and on him. The published work is available for loan or copying through our Resource Center (just write or call us), but the manuscripts are available for inspection only. Potential publishers and others can obtain permission to copy them by writing Everett at 2946 Hillsdale Drive, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523. I have read these manuscripts and hope that they will be completed and published soon so that others can share in their profound insights. (By John Ohliger)


In the July 1981 ST we noted that we had asked Ivan Illich for some clarification re: his current views on education and their place in his current research. Here is Ivan's reply:

"Your call to duty reached me in Berlin, on the first day in the apartment of a professor on sabbatical leave, which has three guest rooms besides my study. As you know these are my main research tools. I shall spend two semesters here, as one of the first bunch of sixteen Fellows of - supposedly - Europe's first Center for Advanced Studies. Hartmut von Hentig and Gerscholm Sholem are among them, four Polish historians who each specialize in a different aspect of Prussian history, and James Coleman.

"In the forthcoming book, Vernacular Gender and Economic Sex, I distinguish the reign of gender from the regime of sex. I call reign of gender the principle on which survival in pre-industrial societies is built. In such societies growing up means growing into the competence of acting, feeling, and thinking as either a woman or a man. In such societies there are barely any concrete tasks necessary for survival which can be equally well performed by men and by women. Practically all actions are gender-specifically de- signed. "

A strict gender-divide runs across the tools used in peasant societies. The same, more surprisingly, is true until a couple of hundred years ago for tools used by artisans; they are either male tools or female tools. In every known society the gender divide cuts a different path across the tool kit. In no two societies is the asymmetrical and ambiguous complementarity between male and female grasp of things the same.

"When I look at a culture, therefore, what I really see is a set of activities defined as female activities in that particular time and place, and another set which is male. 'Culture' is an abstraction, a genderless abstraction, made by the outsider who has a more or less slanted perception of the area in which these two sets of activities are Interwoven.

"From this strict division of male and female 'grasps' on reality, I deduce (remembering Piaget and Jerry Bruner) that the male and female 'grasps' on concepts must be equally distinct, gender-specific. It seems, therefore, silly to speak about a Trobriander- worldview, except if you want to designate what the anthropologists grasp of Trobrianders.

"The study of Gender in History, which is my main theme of research this year, and on which I intend to report from Sept. l5th to Dec. l5th, 1982 at the University of California in Berkeley in a weekly full-day course and seminar, has helped me to go beyond the questions about education asked in ''Vernacular Values' (the first two chapters of Shadow Work). I now think that I can say something about the 'inverse of education' - namely growth into gender. And thus I can explore some new points relating to the history of education: Homo Educandus comes into being as competence and knowledge deemed necessary for everyday life begin to be gender-neutral - Genderless humans who are the subject of 'economics.'

"These reflections on gender and sex (the bio-social difference which remains as a residue in genderless humans) are for me part of a larger history of scarcity on which I shall spend, needs be, five years. I want to explore how the subject of political economics came into existence, going beyond Polanyi (the subject of market-exchange), Halevy (the individual), Luis Dumont (Homo Economicus), McPherson (the possessive individual), Dupuy and Dumouchel, analyzing Rene Girard's concepts, and speaking about the mimetic individual. I believe that the individual, which is the subject of all economics, of any science defined by the study of value insofar as value is scarce, presupposes a genderless individual. And as long as we assume this individual as the subject constitutive of the commonweal, this subject cannot 'grow up.' It must be educated into its functions and roles (which includes the sex-role which exists only under the industrial hypothesis).

"I know that, in the form of the above summary, my friends are right when they tell me that I should worry more about practical things. But I have never before been working with a hypothesis which has yielded for me such large amounts of surprises which, among themselves, fit together."


SECOND THOUGHTS is a newsletter designed to raise fundamental questions about the meaning of education. How can education enhance human freedom and participation? Expand the frontiers of individual and collective research and action on matters of substance? Contribute to a more just and democratic society? SECOND THOUGHTS serves a network of persons raising basic questions about mandatory continuing education (MCE), professionalization, and other issues related to social control. It is published by Basic Choices, Inc., a Midwest Center for Clarifying Political and Social Options, 1121 University Ave., Madison, VI 53715, (608) 258-1946. It is also a project in values-clarification of Madison Campus Ministry, 731 State St., Madison, WI 53703. Members of the group are John Hill, Vince Kavaloski, David Lisman, Art Lloyd, Sue Lloyd, Mark McFadden, John Ohliger, Vern Visick, and Chris Wagner. This issue of SECOND THOUGHTS is mainly due to the efforts of Frank Adams, William E. Alberts, Doleta Chapru, Sudie Hofmann, Beth Horning (Newsletter Press), Ivan Illich, Tuli Kupferberg (Vanity Press), Sharon Lewandowski, Art Lloyd, and John Ohliger. For SECOND THOUGHTS to continue we need your suggestions, criticisms, articles, sub- scriptions ($10 for individuals, $15 for institutions), and tax deductible contributions.


"A fine speech...[especially] if you are interested in the outcome of the race between education and catastrophe (those of you who don't feel that this race is already finish- ed)," that's how Sam Brightman, editor of Adult & Continuing Education Today, characterizes the text of a recent talk, "Must We All Go Back to School?", by John Ohliger. This talk attempts to update the facts and explore the latest MCE (mandatory continuing education) issues. The 11-page text includes a new 77 item annotated bibliography. To obtain a copy send us one dollar or its equivalent in postage stamps.

John's talk begins with a list of almost 100 different groups of persons now covered or threatened by MCE. But Sharon Lewandowski reports that yet another group could be added. Sharon states that department store Santa Clauses (What is the plural of Santa Claus, anyway?) are now required to update their skills in "handling" children every year in some places. With the new trend toward charging kids to visit Santa, this could be a lucrative opportunity for some enterprising extension division.

And Michael Marten has just sent us a new bibliographic reference that could be added: "Continuing Education for Professionals: Voluntary or Mandatory?" Journal of Higher Education, Sept.-Oct., 1981, pp. 519-538. The author, Werner Lowenthal, Director of Continuing Education at VCU Medical College, according to Mike, "reviews seven arguments against MCE, but ends up favoring it (obviously in his self-interest, the twit!), to maintain professional competence."

Madelaine Gray, Director of the Division of Credentialing, American Occupational Therapy Association, would take issue with Lowenthal also. Gray wrote us that since MCE "does not provide evidence of competency, I question its usefulness." She has prepared a new paper, "Recertification and Relicensure in the Allied Health Professions," which suggests that "recertification/relicensure may not be worth the financial and human resource cost." For more info write her at 1383 Piccard Dr., Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20850.


A national meeting of persons committed to adult learning for empowerment and social change will be held at Camp Algonquin, near O'Hare Airport in Chicago, the weekend of January 29-31. Two purposes of the conference are noted: (1) to develop educational strategies for redefining and obtaining power locally, while building solidarity with national and international struggles; and, (2) to promote research and education which empowers oppressed groups to change their situation.

Through conversations and letters, three themes have been identified which will inform the discussions: (1) powerlessness and the means of empowerment; (2) the non-neutrality of all education; and, (3) the monopolies which control the production and distribution of ideas.

Planners hope that one outcome of the conference will be the creation of a network bringing together liberatory educators, participatory researchers, and other educators and researchers who are isolated and unknown to each other. The conference is expected to include up to 35 persons from across the U.S. and Canada. For further information contact Tom Heaney, 3838 North Greenview, Chicago, IL 60613. Or call (312) 935-2477.

© Copyright 2004 John

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Complete text of all the Second Thoughts Newsletters
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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
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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