The Third Culture Roger Schank

The Politicians Who Are Running On Education Platforms Don't Actually Care About Education

As each presidential candidate makes education the big issue for his campaign we need to understand that none of them actually wants change in education. There are two main reasons for this. The first are vested interests. Those who oppose real change in our schools include teachers unions who lobby heavily for the status quo, book publishers who are afraid of losing the textbook investments they have made, testing services and test preparation services who have a significant investment in keeping things as they are and parents who really would be quite frightened if the schools changed in a way that made their own educations seem irrelevant. No politician wants to challenge a group like this so no politician wants to do any more than pay lip service to the issue. The second reason is more insidious. When real reformers propose that everyone should be equally educated there are gasps from the elitists who run our government. Their concern? If everyone were educated, who would do the menial jobs? Hard as it may be to believe this issue is raised quiet often in Washington.

ROGER SCHANK, is the Chairman and Chief Technology Officer for Cognitive Arts and has been the Director of the Institute for the Learning Sciences at Northwestern University since its founding in 1989. He holds three faculty appointments at Northwestern University as John Evans Professor of Computer Science, Education, and Psychology. His books include: Dynamic Memory: A Theory of Learning in Computers and People , Tell Me a Story: A New Look at Real and Artificial Memory, The Connoisseur's Guide to the Mind, and Engines for Education, and Virtual Learning: A Revolutionary Approach to Building a Highly Skilled Workforce.

Further reading on Edge: "Information is Surprises" — Roger Schank in The Third Culture; and "The Disrespected Student — or — The Need for the Virtual University": A Talk with Roger Schank.

LINKS: Cognitive Arts; and Institute for the Learning Sciences.