TODO: Figure out what’s going on here.

Schooling assumes an initially imbalanced relation (in terms of power, knowledge, and capability) that is resolved, leaving a relationship of equality. In this model, the teacher and student both have their origins in ignorance and incapacity and their destiny in knowledge and skill; the teacher simply happens to have gotten there first. This is dependent upon the sameness of (perhaps) origins and (certainly) ends for its humane character, and it is an appropriate model inasmuch as the teacher and student are alike, differentiated by time rather than individuated by group variation and the individuation of personal experience.
/> /> However, when diversity enters into education?as it always must?we recognize that there are respects in which each teacher and student may be split by more than time. Differences of race, culture, language, class, gender, sexuality, and (beyond all group similarities) the individual experience that sets each human apart from every other are as much characteristic of us as the elements of humanity we all share in common.
These differences are of a fundamentally different sort than the difference of temporal displacement, and we cannot seek to simply resolve them, because there is no flow from origin to end; while all culture, for example, is subject to change (and, hopefully, to progress), the culture of one person is not going to, through any course of development, become the culture possessed by some of the person?s contemporaries. Cultures may became more alike or different, and may grow into greater or less harmony, but we cannot lay them out end to end as different stages on single path of development. Some cultures have, through perverse and chauvinistic paternalism, attempted this, to their lasting shame. There is a sense in which adults can look at children as unfinished versions of themselves, but there is no sense in which I can look at a member of another culture as similarly unfinished in cultural terms. This is because we all share something approximating the same process of development (though individual variation makes this, as mentioned, an approximation of identity, at best); there is no corresponding sameness in culture.
/> Schooling, in recognizing the fact that the young must be nurtured if they are to survive and if humanity is to be preserved, forces us to transform an inequality into an equality. This is because the difference is one that ought to be annihilated, though it is not intrinsically evil; there are other differences (i.e., the inequalities produced by oppression) that ought to be annihilated because they are intrinsically evil.
But the elements of human diversity which are neither evil nor meant to be collapsed towards sameness limit as approximate the definition of the incapable young as unfinished capable adults, and forbid our applying to non-temporal differences the model of difference which drives schooling. Diversity forces us to recognize a respect in which we are already equals, equally differentiated and individuated from one another, possessed each of sovereign personal experience; this experience grants to each of us inasmuch as we know that which none other can an epistemological privilege that makes us teachers while at the same time, inasmuch as all others have knowledge that we lack, making us students. It is in this state of universal, simultaneous capacity and incapacity that the need for human-human dialogue emerges in which we meet each other not as equals in the sense of schooling (where all have achieved some kind of quasi-endpoint), which gives an equality of completion, but rather as equally incomplete.
This leads to a different kind of educational impulse, the impulse not to convert the hapless into the powerful, but rather to meet, communicate, and cooperate with one another as both teacher and student, these roles being divided in equal measure within each person and equally apportioned between people.
Skill, information, and the mobilization of the mind are the stuff of the impulse to school, while truth (or right knowledge), ethics (or right action), and the maintenance of humanity are the province of the second.