Monday, November 14, 2011

Can Education Research Be Divorced From Politics and Economics ?

Some blog followers might be interested in “Can Education Research Be Divorced From Politics and Economics ?” [Hake (2011a)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In response to my post “Keynes & Hayek (was ‘Re: History of regulation of finance’)” [Hake (2011c)], PhysLrnR’s William Robertson (2011) wrote (paraphrasing):

“I keep misreading the title ‘PhysLrnR’ of this list, because I could have sworn the word physics is there but the words politics and economics clearly are not. Must be another of my silly non-sequiturs.”

I think Robertson's misperception is due more to non-cogito than non-sequitur. According to the statement on the PhysLrnR archive page, one of the issues upon which PhysLrnR is intended to focus is “Political Policy and Social Impacts on Physics Education Research and the Teaching of Physics.”

If education research hopes to affect any change in the current educational system IT CANNOT DIVORCE ITSELF FROM POLITICS AND ECONOMICS - witness the baleful effects on teaching and student learning of NCLB and RTT (Race to the Top) in K-12 as discussed in e.g., The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education [Ravitch (2010, 2011)].

To access the complete 15 kB post please click on .

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References
which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“ ‘Basic scientists,’ who define basic as ‘looking to the parts,’ need to learn that putting parts together to understand whole systems is equally basic. The scientist who says that synthesis is ‘applied,’ as if it were an inferior activity, must ask which is intellectually more difficult and ultimately more basic, reductionism or synthesism. Surely both are necessary, but we have had too little synthesis, and our science curricula in schools have failed to fulfill their promise because of this. The scientist who uses his discipline to learn more and more about less and less must connect his specialty to the real world as an entirety. Anyone who sets boundaries to his field of interest is limiting his capacity to grow. An old discipline has already yielded what it can; now knowledge must be arranged in different ways and given different names....”
Howard T. & Elisabeth C. Odum (1981)

REFERENCES [All URL’s shortened by and accessed on 14 Nov 2011.]

Odum, H.T. & E.C. Odum. 1981. Energy Basis For Man and Nature. McGraw-Hill. Barnes & Nobel information

Hake, R.R. 2011a. “Can Education Research Be Divorced From Politics and Economics ?” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 14 Nov 2011 07:58:50-0800-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists.

Hake, R.R. 2011c. “Keynes & Hayek (was ‘'Re: History of regulation of finance’), ” online on the OPEN! Dewey-L archives at Post of 9 Nov 2011 10:23:43-0800 to Dewey-L. The abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog “Hake’sEdStuff” at with a provision for comments.


psikeyhackr said...

Education RESEARCH cannot be divorced from politics but maybe EDUCATION can. Do a survey of scientists and see how many were inspired by reading science fiction before puberty.

Politicians don't want people to think. Or they want people to think what they are told. So really good education it a threat. It is even a threat to the political system that runs the educational system.

Why haven't we created something as simple as a National Recommended Reading List after all of these decades?

And the ECONOMISTS!!! It's 42 years after the Moon landing. Are we supposed to believe they don't have a clue the planned obsolescence is happening in cars? Galbraith wrote about it TEN YEARS before the Moon landing. So why can't economists talk about how much Americans have lost on the DEPRECIATION of automobiles and other durable consumer goods since 1969.

How about mandatory accounting in the schools?

Some education.

Physics makes stuff wear out. That should be measured in accounting by DEPRECIATION. Is accounting too difficult for physicists?

Barclay Hurley said...

This is nice post.The scientists who is defined as the basic find the part to learn, put parts together to understand the whole system is the same basic scientists said synthetic application as if it is a bad activity,must to ask,this is the reason more difficult, and ultimately more basic,restore or synthesis.

common circle education