Sunday, April 12, 2015

Infestation in the ivory tower

Education dons gather for pre-prandial sherry in the Senior Common Room
In the Mid-Western United States, we have species of cicadas, which are referred to ’17-year locusts’. Every 17 years, the grubs emerge from the tree trunks where they feed, grow wings and swarm, mating as they go. The mess and noise that result are impressive.
There is a species of middle manager with a similar life-cycle. These are the education reformers, who emerge from the darkness every decade with a plan and a promise to fix all problems in the system. They are a parasitic and destructive organism.
While not technically predatory, they will scavenge weaker and more timid creatures. For that reason, their preferred habitats are the fields of Mathematics and Science. There, they are able to clear great swathes of space and build large numbers of flimsy and unusable structures in short periods of time.
Just before the extent of the actual damage becomes known, they retreat safely into academia, full of grant funding, and rest until the next generation emerges.


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