Saturday, December 20, 2008

When Business Fails, Management Usually Is At Fault

But when schools "fail," it's the teachers and the students who get blamed.

What is wrong with this picture?

EJ Dionne, on his very best days, is a reliable hack for whatsoever the reigning status quo he can discover to adovcate, hasn't got a fucking clue.

Obama's choice for Ed. Sec. is just another of the disappointments I have come by now to expect from this saintly "changer."

What it ratifies is the long-standing--but ill-understood albeit widely distributed--practices by which USer Schools avoid 'education,' and specialize in 'training.'

Jonathan Kozol, way back in his first or second book, in the '60s, noted that that those who believe USer schools are failures do not understand the true purpose of the schools. American schools function to ensure that as few children as humanly possible are able to escape the socio-economic niches for which they were born. The true purpose of schooling in Murka is to imbue students with 'virtues' of obedience and passivity, while extirpating as completely as possible any inclination toward critique, skepticism or even mild curiosity. As another noted education scholar, Joel Spring, put it (albeit somewhat harshly or indelicately) around the same time, USer schools are part of a national sorting system by which children are assessed according to their abilities to meet the needs of elites for manpower. School provides evidence, a posteriori--by means of grades, scores, and the dreaded permanent record--to justify and rationalize decisions made, before a child ever steps foot in the door of a classroom, regarding the eligibility of any child to 'succeed.'

A symptom: There's a world of literature about 'drop-outs.' But that term blames the victim. What the term far too often describes is the phenomenom in schools by which kids are informed, usually informally, that they are not "our kind." They really are "push-outs," because the school administration makes it clear they are not wanted or needed, and that the heroic efforts of dedicated teachers are being wasted on 'em, so they might as well go get a job, cuz they ain' going nowhere.

"Coach" Arne Duncan is an all-too-predictable avatar of perpetuation of all those trends and tendencies. The best choice Obama could have made for the position, philosophically, was probably the man whom the Rightards chose to muddy the waters: Prof. Bill Ayers. Failing him, Linda Darling-Hammond was mentioned, and would have been a good choice, too.

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