Greg Ashman on pseuds, poseurs, quacks, charlatans
Are some educational innovators like "Professor" Hill, The Music Man?
Over on Filling the Pail 3 September 2022, Greg Ashman provided a delightful analysis about how some advocates of change in education are analogous to Professor Harold Hill of the famed musical play and movie, The Music Man. Here’s his lede:
Have you ever wondered why there are so many pseuds, poseurs, quacks and outright charlatans orbiting the sphere of education? I think the only similar sphere is that of business leadership with its doorstop airport-lounge self-help books. In both cases, an enterprising individual can just make stuff up, at length, and not only survive but be acclaimed for it.
Obviously, there are limits to how much will fly in an actual classroom. Kids and reality have a tendency to release the trapped wind of hubris.
As many readers of Special Education Today will know, “Professor” Hill, the “music man,” has the modus operandi of a charlatan. He’s conning the people of mythic River City with his plan to create a marching band to engage their children in the face of the horrible threat that the town has opened a pool hall.
Fortunately, for the denizens of River City, “Professor” Hill falls for the town librarian (“Marion, the Librarian”), who (after a bit of gullible smittenness that leads her to support the scam), sees through “Professor” Hill’s bull…BS…err, uhm, bologna. Hill’s fall for the sweet and honest Marion (spolier alert!) causes him to secure the necessary musical instruments to equip River City’s children as a marching band.
And the moral? Well, it may be that we all ought to trust librarians a little more…you know, get the facts!
Mr. Merideth Wilson, who wrote The Music Man, created a rousing good musical that I might just watch again soon…and Greg Ashman’s analogic analysis of instructional innovations is quite worth while for me to recommend it to readers of SET.
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