Americans have several traditional terms to stigmatize questionable sales practices. People who engage in such practices are called, among other things, hucksters, hawkers, side-show barkers, pitchmen, mongers, or used-car salesmen. Seldom are these terms meant to imply trust in the seller. Any faith entrusted to such people is taken to be misplaced.
A more recent addition to American culture is the term, guru. Although there may be no more evidence of credibility than for hawkmen and the like, what “guru” is supposed to invoke is well-placed trust. Gurus, are – as everyone knows – good guys, especially if they have university degrees.
For years, gurus of different kinds have been peddling panaceas to educators and public officials alike; cure-alls for what ails the supposedly moribund public schools. You may have heard of some of them: Essential Schools, block scheduling, outcomes-based education, national standards, looping, constructivism, National Board Certification, multimedia, full inclusion, interdisciplinary teaching, detracking, Writing to Read, character education, and on and on. These may have lit an occasional candle. What is forgotten is that they promised a conflagration of enlightenment.
Besides, nowadays public schools have little spare cash once federal funds have dried up. Smart gurus have moved into broader pastures onto TV. There, either on paid advertising channels, or public television, you can get advice on myriad ways of becoming healthy, wealthy and wise. It’s a good thing they’re gurus and not just hucksters!
Why not share the benefits, the fame and fortune of these gifted people. It’s easy enough to become a guru yourself. The skills that worked to mine public funds for a payoff work just as well in the new open arenas of life-coaching.
To get the skills needed to become anyone’s and everyone’s guru, see How you, too, can write best sellers and become an Education Guru in your time.