Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Factory Schools

There has been an upsurge of effort in the USA to make education more responsive and accountable. Teachers are criticized for being chronically unresponsive to both student and society's needs - and fundamentally lazy. Public school systems are regularly depicted by media as out of control.

But wait. This same media is repeatedly accused of liberal bias.

In fact, what's happening is a purge. Teachers are out of control, if we mean not under the control of right-wing demagogues. The real effort is to sweep aside the social checks-and-balances so important in democratic society, such as an independent judiciary, investigative media, and an educated population. The enemy are the people who brought you "The Vietnam War" and "Operation Iraqi Bullshit" -- military contractors,  whoring politicians, and neo-fascist ('neo-con') corporatist schemers.

Mr Corporate Jackass is a captain of industry who knows squat about education. But he steps up to the microphone to condemn 'non-performing schools' and demand privatization. These same people brought us catsup as our midday vegetable, and a soda machine in every school lunch line. They care nothing for children.

Children don't respond in the same way as other raw materials on an assembly line. They can't and shouldn't be trashed as defective. Mr. Corporate controls his assembly line, the inputs and throughput, but the school system has access to children for only part of the day. How well would a factory operate if outside of work hours the line and the components were open to manipulation, adulteration, tampering & weakening?

As Mayor Rahm Emanuel closes 54 Chicago public schools, he's too kissy-cozy with corporate and foreign interests, selling out the future of many neighborhoods and many children. Similarly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is hell-bent on a more businesslike Camden school district (his lobbying background for Edison Schools Inc. paid corporate dividends as they also placed their former president Chris Cerf as Commissioner of Education for the State of NJ). But let's get real: any ranking creates some group ranked below average (by definition). There is more to education than standardized tests. Local people see the snake and know its danger. Rahm Emmanuel claims to care deeply about public school kids as his own brats enjoy fancy private school where half day for nursery kids costs over $17,000 annually. The ideals of Mr. Mayor's kids's school should apply citywide:
"We ignite and nurture an enduring spirit of scholarship, curiosity, creativity, and confidence. We value learning experientially, exhibiting kindness, and honoring diversity."

But that's for them who owns the factory... common pigs eat swill.