"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Corporate Socialism and the Education Agenda

This morning editorials across the country are skewering Brownie, Brownie's boss, and the looters who have paid the political price of admission into the biggest no-bid feeding frenzy since another storm some time back, that one near another gulf region far away where people continue to get blown away every day. If the privatizers prevail now, they will shovel out a quarter-trillion dollars to their privateer cronies on this Gulf Coast. Part of their plan, of course, is to hand out a half-billion (almost a quarter of the entire education relief package) in Federal vouchers to make sure that private school education is not interrupted in the Gulf region.

All of this is part of the corporate socialist movement led (until the indictments come down, anyway) by Grover Norquist, who advocates the focused role of the U. S. government to use its muscle and cash to clear a path here and abroad for the corporate socialist version of free markets to establish a hegemony throughout the world, thus saturating the planet with the unrestrained greed that enobles the Norquist/Cheney/Bush vision of freedom and democracy. The looting of the federal treasury is like the looting of Baghdad, a necessary step in the rebuilding effort of a government whose civic purpose has been replaced entirely by an alienated individualism grounded by fear, righteous hate, and reprisal.

The education plan is a core piece in this new vision of "freedom on the march." Not only do the Norquistians hope to subdue the black and brown urban poor with their reform schools, but they now have their aim set on the university.

This past Sunday the good-and-angry David Brooks began to pump the bellows to get the fires lit under the agenda set last week by Mom Spellings' announcement for a commission to study higher ed. The conservative cause to "end the achievement gap" has been such a popular lie that it will be called into action here, also, to begin the effort to control what is thought and taught in the university. It is clear, Brooks concludes, that the university must take an active role in making sure that students are "psychologically prepared and culturally prepared."

This talking point is echoed in a statement by lead hack and chairman of Spellings' new commission on higher ed (see story here). Even though the "exploration" of higher ed has not even begun, it seems that Chairman Charles Miller has already been handed the demands that the findings will eventually entail:
"It's a different breed of cat," Miller said of colleges and universities. "We should be asking: What are they learning? Are they learning the right thing? Academe is going to have to come up with answers there."

1 comment:

  1. It's the F word again.

    This is really scary, when they start targeting universities and academia,the last vestige of freedom, fascism, in its most virulent form is just around the corner.

    Today's NYT editorial on Head Start (they finally got one right on education) speaks volumes:
    "Last week, the House voted 220 to 196, mostly along party lines, for this SMASHING OF CONSTITUTIONAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECTIONS..."
    This is how it begins.

    When the President of the U.S. and Congress openly violate the Constitution and get away with it, when the Supreme Court is packed with right wing religious ideologues, and when the corporate and government controlled media turn their backs, the only ones left to protect democracy are the people.

    I think the desperation in the voices of teachers who are on the front line of this war on freedom, is a manifestation of the noose getting tighter.

    Schoolsmatter rocks!