Thursday, January 13, 2011


Marshall McLuhan, in his revolutionary book, "Understanding Media: the Extensions of Man" (1964), proposed that our electronic media was taking the place of the printing press as our mode of communication, and this electronic media would change our society more than the content of the communication itself. We have created an electronic "global village." This global village would have its own characteristics that were vastly different from the "linear" world of the printing press. Among many changes would be a shift to "process rather than product." Sound familiar?

McLuhan would be amused to discover that in the United States, the village is considered insane by the parents of its children, and the parents want no part of someone else having any say-so in the raising of their child. Parents believe everyone else in the village is nuts.

I have switched from elementary school to middle school, but I am amazed to discover that many parents of middle schoolers are completely oblivious to any input from their child's teacher, and quite frankly only listen to the child's side of the "story." They believe everyone else is lying and can't be trusted.

Students are being pulled from classes and "promoted" into "Accelerated" classes because their parents are "squeaky wheels" and frighteningly vocal complainers. The village is being run not by its members, but by its legal community that has a tight grip on the villagers' privates.

Students who don't like the amount of homework teachers give complain to their parents that their teacher is mean. Their parents complain vehemently without ever talking to any of the teachers first, and they are able to frighten administration into switching their child to another class. Then the child discovers that there is a little more homework in the new class or maybe it's not as much fun, informs their parents that the new teacher is much meaner than the old teacher, so they get switched back to their original class. The village is not being run by the villagers.

It is not accurate to say, "It takes a village to raise a child." It should be, "It takes a lawyer and threats of lawsuits to control the villagers so I can raise my child the way I want."

Some parents squeeze their children so much that teachers just stand back and wait to see when and where they'll pop.

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