Ever since the days of ancient Egypt, priesthoods of various denominations have had an alliance with the state. They trained the next generation of literate bureaucrats.
The state wanted literate bureaucrats. The priesthood wanted state support. It was a convenient alliance. It still is. In our day, the priests are priests because they are certified by the state to do the training. This is called academic accreditation. The priests are agents of the state.
All of this has rested on a myth: the myth of classroom education. In less than 10 years, the Khan Academy has undermined this myth beyond repair.
According to its website, the Khan Academy now has 26 million registered students. Registered. Not just dropping in to see videos, but actually registering.
The Khan Academy went online in 2006. This means that, in just nine years, it has grown to the largest educational institution in the history of mankind. This growth is accelerating.
One man, with no formal training as a teacher, single-handedly has taken over the education of at least 26 million students.
Think about what this means for the educational establishment. They have claimed for over a century that a teacher must have specialized training in order to become an effective teacher. He must spend years in specialized classes in state-accredited universities in order to be sufficiently competent to teach a roomful of 30 students at a time. But Khan is teaching 26 million students at a time.
It is now too late to stop him. There have been too many people who have come on board to praise the operation. There have been no major critics who have gained an audience. Nobody inside the educational establishment has been able to stop this avalanche which is rolling down the side of tenure mountain.
The videos are now being used in public schools. He is going to be training a generation of high school science students. He will add other courses soon enough.
He has proven that by paying somebody nothing, that person can become the primary teacher in 100 classrooms, 10,000 classrooms, or 100,000 classrooms. If the students can speak English, he becomes the primary teacher. He has turned the entire teaching establishment into the equivalent of teachers' aides.
What does this do to the myth of the certified teacher? What does this do to over a century of progressive education?
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