Evidence Must Trump Idealism: A Reader

Many of us are compelled by idealism, and I certainly entered education as a career over 30 years ago because of my faith in the power of learning (specifically literacy), especially as it has enriched my own life.

But evidence must trump idealism, or we are destined to remain trapped in the corrosive patterns of inequity that keep us from achieving the American Dream.

As disheartening as the facts are, poverty is destiny, education is not the great equalizer, and the U.S. is not a post-racial society.

I’m sorry, but these are the realities as we have them in the U.S. as of 2014.

Before you shoot the messenger, however, let me encourage you to spend some time with the following:

Once we face what the evidence shows, then we become equipped with the foundation upon which we can work to build toward those ideals that must matter among a free people.

2 thoughts on “Evidence Must Trump Idealism: A Reader”

  1. Paul,
    The post begins with your ‘ faith in the power of learning (specifically literacy), especially as it has enriched my own life.’ Then you move from the more intrinsic , spiritual etc that enriches life to evidence as to what makes one rich . One can be rich without being enriched. My experience here in Israel shows that there are large communities with lots of poverty , but on the whole happier and more enriched – not academically – but engrossed in world of the Talmud etc than wealthier sectors of the country. Maybe the problem is that schools are focused on how to make kids rich and not enrich them. Maybe scarcity is also about a mindset and not just about money. The point I am trying to make is that maybe we should be more focused on ideals and trying to enrich kids than focusing on poverty.


    1. Lots here, but first, my point is that staying within the capitalistic frame for “success” still exposes the idealism as lies. And then, yes, there is certainly value in moving beyond material success to much higher forms of success and self-actualization. I do caution, though, that this cannot be achieved absent addressing poverty, and suggest Oscar Wilde’s piece here https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/oscar-wilde-on-the-poor-and-socialism/

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