I don’t think either has a clear picture. I was trying to paint their perception of the the other. That being said, our mistake is to believe that experts have nothing to contribute even though they’ve devoted years of study to the issue, and the worker who has spent ten years on the line may have valuable information to contribute about his or her expertise. Our mistake is to dismiss them out of hat.

That being said, the worker who has spent two months on the line, tries to emulate the seasoned veteran and uses her passed on wisdom (which is somewhat reliable but far from perfect) to validate his expertise. I notice this often when the counter clerk at McDonalds refers to “my protocols in my store.”

The problem with experts is that their vision is also limited. They often fail to see the complex interactions between the phenomena in their field and others, not to mention the historical development of expertise in the field, and relevant data outside their field that might change their perceptions.

That being said, I agree with your position on basic education. Make sure students can grasp the fundamentals of math, the fundamentals of reading and writing, and be able to defend their ideas based on analysis of what they’ve been taught or what they’ve read.

When I took the GREs in 1978 they had a third part of the test called qualitative analyis. I scored around seventy percent on the test but in the top one percent of test takers, That means students weren’t as able to think on their own as they were to respond to programmed material. The answer? Very Reaganesque. They dropped it from the test.

The problem is that students who think laterally disrupt the classrooms of teachers programmed to walk students through pre-ackaged material. I saw this time and time again when I taught. I had a number of discussions with my fellow teachers where I suggested their troublemakers simply asked questions they couldn’t answer. Not a single teacher could grasp the idea that students might be smarter than them.

Ironically, I dealt with many students who couldn't grasp that their teachers might have something valuable to contribute. This wasn’t as true when I started teaching. But during the Reagan era more and more conservative and Christian students entered the classroom believing the narrative that “liberal elitist teachers” wanted to brainwash their “independent thinking” with left wing propaganda. Left-oriented students, then, begin to accuse the same teachers of promoting a right wing agenda.

The standardized testing nonsense further eroded students’ (and parents’) faith in their teachers. The same type of erosion that undermined the legitimacy of expertise.

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