Thursday, April 6, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Schools Are Symptoms

CURMUDGUCATION: Schools Are Symptoms:

Schools Are Symptoms

Schools have always been a visible symptom of whatever has ailed United States society as a whole.

When we explicitly valued mostly only white men, we only educated white boys. When we were resistant to waves of immigrants, we ran parallel school systems for them. And as long as we have been mired in racism that is steeped all the way down into our systems, our schools have displayed the symptoms of the racial divide.

We have occasionally tried to treat the symptoms that manifested in public schools. We made the effort (which in retrospect seems almost charmingly naive) to combat racism by desegregating schools. But in many places that led to segregation just being institutionalized in other ways, like segregation academies and mass firings of black educators. When you only treat symptoms, the disease just keeps finding new ways to manifest itself. 

Treating symptoms can be necessary-- if someone has sliced open your major arteries, stemming that blood flow is a big priority. But it's not the solution. Your medical goal is not simply to find something that will staunch the flow, but to stitch up the wounds themselves. Your bigger goal is to get the person with the knife to stop stabbing you.

If you are coughing a lot because of your growing lung cancer, the best medical treatment is not a powerful cough suppressant. If you have an abdominal tumor, the best treatment choice is not a compression belt to hide the swelling. 

Nowadays, we face a massive yawning Jupiter-sized gulf between haves and have-nots in this country (check these charts). And so, our school system is a visible symptom of that problem. Rich folks get rich, well-financed schools. Poor folks get run-down, poorly-supported schools. And policy decisions are driven by a bunch of rich folks saying, "Well, I don't want the government taking 
CURMUDGUCATION: Schools Are Symptoms:

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