Education is the Work of Teachers, not Hackers

The terrorist attacks in Paris last week (and the subsequent arguments about everything from Facebook solidarity to Syrian refugees) reminded me of a powerful essay I read years ago: Education is the Work of Teachers, not Hackers.

Written shortly after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, the article explores the friction between the growing “unschooling” movement and the need for teachers and the humanities. According to author Leon Wieseltier, the “unschooling” movement champions college dropouts Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg (and countless other tech titans) and is said to assert that “there is no place whatever in this purview for Greek and Latin, because you can’t cut a deal with a multinational in the language of Homer or Virgil.”

Explaining that an ignorant citizen—one without “an ability to reason, a familiarity with argument, a historical memory”—is “a traitor to an open society,” Wieseltier writes:

Entrepreneurship is not a full human education, and living is never just succeeding, and the humanities are always pertinent. In pain or in sorrow, who needs a quant? There are enormities of experience, horrors, crimes, disasters, tragedies, which revive the appetite for wisdom, and for the old sources, however imprecise, of wisdom.
— Leon Wieseltier

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