Why Have School? Blood and Money Versus Reason
It is not, however, an innocent time.
To address the current electoral spectacle alone: the consolidation of fascism via the inseparable bonds of imperialism and opportunism–sums it up for me.
Such is the context of the routine: buying school clothes, fun lunch-boxes, the anticipation of new friends, the anxiety of new teachers–and old–administrators counting bodies to match facilities, and much more.
Even so, as schools open throughout the US, one typically ignored question needs to be asked in every classroom: Why have school? Why are we here?
Let’s step back a moment in order to put school in its proper, social, perspective.
Schools are the centripetal organizing point of de-industrialized North American life, and much of life elsewhere.
Evidence: School workers, not industrial workers, are by far the most unionized people in the USA, nearly four million union members.
School unions are slowly losing members, a snail’s pace, while industrial unions collapse, evaporate, because, in part, industry evaporates, and because industrial union leaders abandoned the heart of unionism–the contradictory interests of workers and employers. The American Federation of Teachers and National Education Associations’ top officials did the same.
Nearly all of the 15 million youth in grades nine to twelve today will be draft-eligible in the next five years. And almost every one of them is registered.
What is going on in schools?
The demagogue, Obama, invaded US schools with his Race to the Top (RaTT) project personified by Chicago’s education huckster Arne Duncan. The RaTT sped what was already happening in capital’s schools and adds a few factors for spice.
The RaTT’s predecessor, a bi-partisan project touted by Democrats and Republicans alike called the No Child Left Behind Act had at least these key factors:
1/ The development of a regimented national curriculum to promote patriotism; and illusions–we can all make it–Obama as proof.
2/ High stakes standardized tests to promote segregation and ignorance through a falsified pretense of scientific backing; and;
3/ The militarization of schools–at every level, in every social class. In World War One, a U.S. general called for schools to become “Human munition factories.”
The RaTT made logical extensions:
1/ Sharpened demands for a national curriculum, now buttressed by the “Common Core,” in more subjects (beyond literacy and math);
2/ Merit pay based on student test scores;
3/ Attacks on all forms of tenure (made palatable to the public because they know through experience that there is no shortage of incompetents in schools);
4/ Layoffs, hits on pay and benefits, increases in class size;
5/ Tuition hikes driving youth out of college with razor-like precision, plunging others into lifetimes of debt, effects Why Have School? Blood and Money Versus Reason: