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

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Accountability for Failing Businessmen and Politicians

Our business and government leaders, always at the ready to devise more and more rigorous accountability schemes for those without power, remain immune from the same kind of accountability that they would impose on school children and their teachers. In the meantime, an intellectual and emotional rigor mortis has set in at these schools that businessmen and politicians would, otherwise, make accountable, as joy and trust have evaporated at the same rate that threats and policing have moved into the classrooms.

Isn't it time to devise an accountability system for our own policymakers and employers and accountability experts, the same leaders who ignore the real elephants in their own living rooms as they bash about in pursuit of one they have not yet found? Is it really the fault, for instance, of the American school, first grader or college senior, that more and more of our jobs are exported to overseas markets, or that obesity is an epidemic, or that our country is the lead contributor in the world to global warming?

Here are some benchmarks for the education reformers to meet before they are given any further privileges to continue muckiing around in human affairs for which their own education and experience offer them zero qualifications. By 2014:
  • all American citizens will have health insurance coverage that offers equal coverage and facilities for mental and physical health;
  • the federal government will have devised a menu of school integration plans from which school systems across America will choose in order to live up the Supreme Court decision of 53 years ago which declared that separate schools are inherently unequal;
  • American business and government will deliver to the American people a practical plan for full employment in jobs that offer livable wages;
  • All families in America will be offered affordable and quality child care whose cost will be based on income;
  • A minimum wage, workmen's compensation, and social security withholding will be provided to all workers, both citizens and immigrants. Businesses that do not comply will be forced to close until they do comply.
  • State governments and the federal government will devise a funding structure for public schools that is not dependent upon property taxes.
  • Business and government will take the action required to reduce greenhouse emissions of Americans to a level that will sustain a healthy planet.
  • A national action plan that includes private and public commitments will be offered to rebuild the infrastructure of America, to offer adequate and affordable housing for all Americans, to reenergize the arts, to enhance our parks.
  • Once these things are done, American businessmen and politicians, if they still have the urge to do so, may continue their school reform initiatives--if they are willing to include the public in each and every step of their reformations.

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