Goodlad on Politics, Democracy and Capitalism

District officials have proclaimed at every meeting since March that parents are wrong to assume that district leaders are talking about politics when they say the word “democracy”.  They are upset that parents actually use the dictionary to define words. They say that democracy is not about politics at all. To them it means ‘from their hearts’ ‘a feeling’, ‘getting along with each other’, a ‘community’, and ‘working together’. They say a small group of parents are defining their words for them and they should be the ones to define their own meanings. Parents say, however, Noah Webster created the dictionary so we would not lose the common meanings of words. Why should we allow a school district to redefine common definitions?

Capitalism Cannot Co-Exist with Democracy

If the district insists on using Goodlad, then why not use his meanings which come straight out of his own books? In Developing Democratic Character in the Young, page 5, Goodlad writes about capitalism.

“A whole new cycle is often put in motion wherein the name of the game is eliminating competition. The human motivation is commonly referred to as greed. What appears then to be a sound economic principle is corrupted by lack of moral principle and compassion for humankind. This abuse discredits capitalism as a potential companion of democracy.

Goodlad goes on to say,

“The human-induced flaw in the practice of capitalism is, of course, the driving concept of unlimited growth. This puts the economic narrative out of sync with those principles of democracy that stress the good of all and fuels excess claims for growth benefiting everyone.”

Not politics  they say? Sure sounds like the hatred of capitalism to me. Clearly Goodlad meant it when he said, “Schooling is a practical, political affair.”

If we want our children to love America and its free market system, why would we let an education reformer teach us that capitalism is incompatible with democracy?

“Enculturating the Young into a Social and Political Democracy”

When the district comes up with a Goodlad quote which adorns the walls of the district schools for years, shouldn’t they look up what he meant by the phrase instead of redefining it when parents get concerned?  Here is what is found in the dictionary.

Enculturating (Merriam Webster online dictionary) the process by which an individual learns the traditional content of a culture and assimilates its practices and values.

Social Democracy (From the online Encyclopedia Britannica) political ideology that advocates a peaceful, evolutionary transition of society from capitalism to socialism using established political processes. Based on 19th-century socialism and the tenets of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, social democracy shares common ideological roots with communism but eschews its militancy and totalitarianism. Social democracy was originally known as revisionism because it represented a change in basic Marxist doctrine, primarily in the former’s repudiation of the use of revolution to establish a socialist society.

Political Democracy (From inclusivedemocracy.org) In the political realm there can only be one form of democracy, what we may call political or direct democracy, where political power is shared equally among all citizens. So, political democracy is founded on the equal sharing of political power among all citizens, the self-instituting of society.

So by dictionary terms, this Enculturating phrase really means “Culturally Assimilating the Young with Practices and Values of a Peaceful, Evolutionary Transition of Society from Capitalism to Socialism by Using Established Political Processes and Equally Sharing Political Power Among All Citizens.

I guess this phrase didn’t fit on their wall.