Friday, March 11, 2016

Why Elites Have to Destroy Public Education


I just had an epiphany. I've been thinking about why our economic and political elites are devoting so much energy to destroying public education. What's in for them, other than the profits to be made from investments in technology, software, real estate and other direct benefits to corporations from testing and school privatization?.
And then I realized something- the generation of Sixties rebels that I was part of were products of the greatest investment in public education in US history! The schools we attended, starved for resources during the Depression, still often segregated by race and class, benefited from a huge investment of funding in response to postwar economic growth and the Cold War. In New York City, this investment was reflected in the creation of incredible music and arts programs, excellent science labs, after school programs and night centers; regular recess and physical education, and lots of school trips. And from what i have gathered from talking to friends who grew up in LA, Newark, Detroit, Buffalo and Chicago, the same kinds of programs were available in public schools throughout the nation's cities. Schools, even those in working class neighborhoods and communities of color,had bands and orchestras, plays and debates, science fairs and great school teams.
The young people attending those schools, me among them, believed that the American dream of freedom and economic opportunity was really for THEM,and when they discovered injustices not discussed in their homes and schools, responded fiercely, not only with indignation, but with the confidence to challenge entrenched hierarchies.
So many of the great young leaders of 60's protests from founders of the Student on Violent Coordinating Committee, to those who led campus protests against the Vietnam War, to the activists in the radical Women's Liberation movement which did so much to change gender relations in the US,, were product of public schools
As wealth has concentrated at the top levels of American society to an unprecedented degree, the last thing our elites want to see is another wave of rebellion like we had in the Sixties.
Starving, privatizing and scripting what goes on in public schools seems like an excellent strategy to prevent that from happening.

3 comments:

Jack Covey said...

Mark,

It's not just that, but they're compliant media that have to spin things.

In Boston right now, there's an uprising among students against the privatization of their schools... in the same vein as those 1960's protests.

Jennifer "Edushyster" Berkshire is covering this right now, and the high school kids there know exactly what's going on and why. They see that the starvation of public schools is being done to effect "failure" in the traditional public schools, then those same elite forces of privatization will use that failure --- that the elites actually caused in the first place --- as a justification for busting the teachers union, and replacing traditional public schools with privately-managed charters that are not accountable to the public, not transparent to the public, and which do not educate all the public ... and generate huge profits for the money-motivated corporate reform privatizers/

Here's Edushyster's piece:

http://edushyster.com/as-long-as-were-silent-nothing-will-change/

However, what does the traditional media do? Unlike Jennifer, they have not asked a single student for a quote on what they're protesting and why. Think about that. You have 10,000 students in the street, and not one of them gets quoted or even named.

Instead, you get articles and editorial claiming that these students have been duped into protesting, and brainwashed by "special interests" and self-interested teacher unions. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says exactly that ... and of course, none of the coverage includes any quotes from any of those protesting students themselves. I mean why would a reporter or editorial writer even bother? Those kids protesting are just dupes, after all, as the title indicates:

Editorial: Boston Students Duped

http://www.bostonherald.com/opinion/editorials/2016/03/editorial_boston_students_duped?utm_content=buffera4c4a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

A more condescending piece I've never read:

"Apparently the irony of exiting classrooms early in order to protest possible cuts to the Boston Public Schools budget that might deprive students — they fear — of more educational opportunity was lost on a lot of the kids who cut class Monday and headed for the State House.

"On the one hand student activism is refreshing. Of course, there’s no reason such activism can’t be exercised at the end of the school day rather than the middle of it. But then that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun."



phila.ken said...

Mark, you analysis of the way the generation in the 50's and 60's was educated and how it contrasts with now is on target. The radicalization that occurred in U.S. culture in the '60's because of the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement must be snuffed out. How better to do that than to take students away from the influence of the previous generation, have them taught rote learning with CBE, and remove the humanities and arts from the schools. This will create a compliant workforce unaware of history and therefore where it comes from and where it should be going. It is a generation being prepared for an Empire against the rest of the world.

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