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

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Obama to the Poor: "No Excuses"

If you don't follow the shenanigans of the aging tribe of right-wingers who have controlled education policy since St. Reagan came to Washington declaring that the schools had been charged with doing "too much, too fast" on Civil Rights, you may find something catchy and new in this generation's version of a Booker T. Washington sermon to the NAACP, whose open proclamation of "No Excuses" to the poor and disenfranchised was covered by the corporate media much the same way as Booker T. Washington's concession speech in 1895 that approved of the segregation that would become the law of the land just a year after with the Plessy decision.

In fact, "no excuses!" is not new at all, but the title of a book by the high-powered Brahmin couple, the Thermstroms, whose 2003 No Excuses: Closing the Racial Gap in Learning sounded the clarion call to declare all-out war on the deficient cultures of the black, the brown, the poor--anyone outside the acid vanilla values of a shrinking middle class scrambling for the front seats of the global economic bus. It was the official opening of the the 21st Century anti-cultural war against the weak (see Edwin Black for history of the 20th Century version), a war that is being spearheaded by the push for segregated corporate charter boot camps intended to brainwash poor children with the worldview that comes naturally to soccer-playing, carefree lads of the leafy suburbs.

Never mind that these poor children have to dodge bullets to get back to their crowded walk-ups where there is no place to do homework and no supper.
It is this crime against humanity that is being celebrated by, yes, our President as the manifestation of the Civil Rights movement of this generation, and it is proof that poverty will continue to be ignored, proof that we as a society are ready to throw away all those children whose souls cannot fit the only mold that is available for their warm little souls to be poured into.

1 comment:

  1. Judy Rabin11:26 AM

    Here's an anecdote to how utterly brainwashed these children (and many adults) have become from the false mantra of no excuses - the same reasoning used to deny that racism and injustice even exist -- as we saw in spades last week during the Sotomayor hearings and the discussion over the Ricci case.

    A teacher I know told me that when parents in a poor, black community in Miami were protesting over the unfairness of the FCAT's a few years ago, a boy came up to him and asked, "Why do they think we are too stupid to pass these tests? We can do it."

    Because there are a few lucky children who escape the crime-ridden, drug infested walkups that you describe in your post, we can continue to leave the rest of them behind - and continue the age-old practice of conveniently blaming the victim while negating our own responsibility by participating in an educational system that is based on privilege and injustice.