The Cult of Order


Many, many, many reformsters are members of the Cult of Order.

The Cult of Order believes in blind, unthinking devotion to Order. Everything must be in its proper place. Everything must go according to plan. Everything must be under control.

It is not new to find cult members in education. We all work with a least a couple. Desks must be just so. The surface of the teacher desk must be pristine and orderly enough that bacteria will avoid it and others will either stay back in awe (or experience a near-uncontrollable urge to violate it). Students lose a letter grade for putting their name in the wrong corner of a paper. In high schools, they believe that even seniors would benefit from going class to class in neat and orderly lines.

But reformster members take the Cult of Order to new levels.

They were bothered by the chaos of the crazy-quilt state standards, each different from the rest. They are alarmed at the possibility that individual teachers might be teaching differently from other teachers. Order, predictability, uniformity– these are qualities to be pursued, not because they are a path to better outcomes of some sort, but because they are in and of themselves desirable outcomes. Standardization and a national curriculum that gets every student in every classroom on the same page at the same time– this vision is good. Don’t ask “Good for what?” To the Cult of Order that’s a nonsense question, like asking about the utility of a kiss. For them, controlled, orderly¬† standardization is as beautiful as a sunrise.

The Cult of Order is all about fear– fear that some sort of dark, menacing chaos lurks just beyond the borders. There’s a horrible monster waiting just on the other side of that white picket fence, and the only way to keep it at bay is to make the fence just as neat and orderly as possible. Read more>>