TWIE: Don’t Think Of The Children!

At the end of September I took to This Week in Education to boldly declare myself anti-child:

[T]he greater moral weight we tend – rightly or wrongly – to ascribe to children does seem to distort our views of education. I suspect this is one reason why discussions about higher education tend to be somewhat less inflammatory than similar discussions at the K-12 level.

Caring – even disproportionately – about kids is natural enough. It may even be healthy on balance for society. But as Merrow and Hanson both suggest (in very different ways), “thinking of the children” can bias our individual decisions and our perceptions of the world in unproductive ways.

So we may be wise to “think of the children!” a little less often.

The flip side of this is that I have to acknowledge that I’m probably pretty far to one side of the spectrum in terms of receptiveness to overly-moralized arguments. “Think of the children!” arguments grate on my brain, but they’re probably somewhat more persuasive to others. Presumably if nobody was receptive, such appeals to emotion wouldn’t be so common.

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