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

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Uncommon School

In mid-19th Century, a radical idea by a tireless school reformer named Horace Mann took hold: publicly funded schools that would provide a quality school and teaching staff for the well-to-do, the working poor, and everyone in between.  That's what would be common about it.  For most of the next 150 years, our nation and states worked toward trying to realize that democratic vision, with varying levels of commitment and enthusiasm.

It wasn't until near the end of the 20th Century that another, quite different education concept became popular among billionaire philanthropists and their political hacks, all of whom sent their own children to the best private schools.  The idea was a publicly-funded corporate, segregated school system for the poor, which would turn black and brown children into compliant robots that could be converted into human capital to feed the economic engines of the corporate state.

Whether from intentional irony or blind arrogance, one of the founders of these schools, a Harvard MBA named Doug Lemov, actually called his new charter chain Uncommon Schools.  And uncommon they are, in that no middle class or wealthy parent would ever allow their children to be behaviorally brutalized and culturally sterilized like the poor children in Doug's schools, whose parents have been sold a false remedy for a poverty problem that grows worse each year.

Here's one of Doug's model classrooms.  Have a look, and if you see what most people see, after you throw up, call your neighbor and tell her what you saw.  This kind of 21st century robot education should be advertised far and wide.  Only then may the unrelenting shame brought to those who have encouraged and profited from its spread bring an end to this generation's minstrel version of civil rights practices in education.

More of these videos are available on YouTube.