Then, after finishing my Ph.D., I never heard it again, not that I recall.
Lately, though, I've found myself using the word hegemony not infrequently (God help me), using it in sentences like: "The public schools have hegemony." Or, worse: "Education schools have hegemony."
The institution of public education is so immense, so vast, so moneyed, and so intensively peopled that other corners of the culture, institutions and organizations that, by rights, ought to be entirely separate from public education, are not. Other institutions are taking their cues from public education whether they know it or not, and often they don't know it. So we see Everyday Math and Lucy Calkins in Catholic schools, and in charter schools, too.
Worst example for me personally: early on in C's sophomore year at his Jesuit high school, I think. I attended the annual Back to School Mother's Dinner, where the principal, during his remarks, told us that the school had instituted some kind of interdisciplinary required course for entering freshman because "teaching subjects in isolation is wrong."
Teaching subjects in isolation is wrong?!
This from the principal of a Jesuit school?
That's hegemony. The ideas of the ruling class hijack your mind.
Now it appears that the president of the University of Virginia has been pushed out of her job because she is not sufficiently committed to: technology, a core obsession of public schools and the public school establishment.
The Rector and Vice Rector who fired UVa's president seem to have sent each other op eds by David Brooks (writing about education), by John E. Chubb And Terry M. Moe (writing about education), and even by Atul Gawande (who appears to be to policy professionals what Malcolm Gladwell is to business professionals).
David Brooks, for God's sake! These people are reading op eds by David Brooks, and sending each other op eds by David Brooks, and then firing university presidents on the basis of op eds by David Brooks....who is possibly the last pundit on earth I would want anyone listening to on the subject of education.
Although David Brooks attended an elite university himself, although Brooks sends his own children to a Jewish day school, he seems to have no awareness that the values embodied in a major research university (and no doubt in a Jewish day school as well) are directly at odds with the values embodied by Teachers College.
That's hegemony. I haven't set foot inside a public school since the 1970s when I was a lad, but I think what Teachers College thinks.
David Brooks has a really bad idea, part 1
David Brooks has a really bad idea, part 2
As for Moe and Chubb, they are knowledgeable people, but they've pinned their hopes for school choice on the "liberating" power of education technology. I sympathize, but Good luck with that.
Moe and Chubb, in my view, have not paid sufficient attention to what history tells us about just how liberating technology in public education has been to date. At least, in this exchange between Moe & Chubb and Larry Cuban, Cuban gets the better of the argument:
LC: In tracking such technological innovations as film, radio, television, videocassettes, and desktop computers over the past half century, I found a common cycle. First, the promoters’ exhilaration splashes over decisionmakers as they purchase and deploy equipment in schools and classrooms. Then academics conduct studies to determine the effectiveness of the innovation as compared to standard practice; they survey teachers and occasionally visit classrooms to see student and teacher use of the innovation. Academics often find that the technological innovation is just as good as—seldom superior to—conventional instruction in conveying information and teaching skills. They also find that classroom use is less than expected. Formal adoption of high-tech innovations does not mean teachers have total access to devices or use them on a daily basis. Such studies often unleash stinging rebukes of administrators and teachers for spending scarce dollars on expensive machinery that fails to display superiority over existing techniques of instruction and, even worse, is only occasionally used.Public school "technology" is not new.
Few earnest champions of classroom technology understand the multiple and complicated roles teachers perform, address the realities of classrooms within age-graded schools, respect teacher expertise, or consider the practical questions teachers ask about any technological innovation that a school board and superintendent decide to adopt, buy, and deploy.
Online learning is not new.
We've had distance learning for years now -- where's the revolution?
Where's the disruption?
Where's the new revenue stream?
Answer: nowhere. There's no revolution, there's no disruption, and there's certainly no revenue stream. Instead we have Todd Oppenheimer publishing The Computer Delusion in 1997, and Clifford Stoll following up with High Tech Heretic in 2000. It's 2012 now, and they're still right.
Trouble is, nobody knows it, and the flipped classroom is hot! hot! hot! Our pundits expect major research universities to get with the program, and (one) reason our pundits expect major research universities to get with the program is that education schools have hegemony. Pundits receive their thoughts and views from Teachers College.
The only good news I can see in all this is that we still have university presidents who are capable of observing reality and framing a proper argument:
Dr. Sullivan said that online education was no panacea — and indeed, was “surprisingly expensive, has limited revenue potential and unless carefully managed can undermine the quality of instruction.”Of course, we may not have these people around much longer.
Daniel Willigham on the UVa firing.
update 6/26/2012: Brooks grew up in an academic family. Father was an English professor, mother a traveling history instructor. Today he's recruiting teachers for public schools whose idea of history is this.