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

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Is That Light Another Train?

With the President’s poll numbers at 34% and His Darkness at 18%, anyone must begin to wonder when the quacking starts and when the big snowball of neo-fascism, er, neo-conservatism, begins its downhill melt. I see that Professor Fukuyama has jumped ship with a row boat full of new books on how pre-emptive war and the bare-knuckled imposition of freedom, by god, might not be such a good idea. Poor neocons. And when you see withering send-ups of Lard-arse Limbaugh at Imus’s conservative hangout show, that is a sure sign that it might not be entirely cool anymore to make make fun of those oppressed peoples who are having no fun.

All of this good news, of course, could be turned around by a first-class Rovian terror scare or even by a red alert on the homosexual marriage threat, and we are likely to see both some time before the “Party of Lincoln” faces the voters in the Fall. Because the situation remains fluid, shall we say, in terms of the current threat by the neo-eugenicists to dig a ditch for poor people that they cannot escape from, it remains, therefore, foolish to act as if the corporate socialist agenda of Grover Norquist and his minions has at all been altered. It remains their dream to replace civic purpose and public institutions with manipulated market forces and to focus relentlessly on dismantling democratic government when and where they can.

Those who believe that public schools will survive the current assault by corporate socialists are now coming out of their defensive crouches to plan a new direction for schools, or at least to clear the overgrown paths that were deserted when the everyone fell into the rut of school by high stakes testing. Some now remind us that the oppressive and anti-intellectual mission of the public schools before testing should not be the model we return to, once, in fact, we are able to shut down the psychological rape rooms that now operate with public sanction in the urban schools of America.

Shutting down the new chain gang schools, however, will not be so easy, for those who see the economic mission of schools as the chief end also view the “new and improved” “scientifically-based” social manipulation of the poor as a necessary element in helping the masses purchase their tickets in steerage on the American Economic World Cruise. With a new coat of paint, new desks, everyone a laptop, and job security, there are many good liberals and union members who can easily be convinced that the de-humanization of urban children is a good thing. And since corporate socialists come in various political stripes, the demise of one party and the ascension of the other does nothing to guarantee the wholesale departure from the present educational mission to subdue the African-American and immigrant populations for the service of capitalist totalitarianism.

It says something profound about the tenuous nature of our commitment to human decency to watch as, otherwise, caring and intelligent people, carry out the dehumanizing behavioral modifications that are at the heart of the SFAs and the Open Courts, all in the name of education. What will future generations of educators say, if one can still imagine that, as they watch the images of young idealistic college graduates turned into prison guards, exacting the various subject matter and behavioral catechisms from children turned effectively into protoplasmic robots who will live their lives guarding closely their own continued subjugation.

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