Saturday, August 17, 2013

Da Nooz: Skuled

 If there is one thing that the folks in ALEC, and the Bush crime family, and the Corporatizers, and the Charterizers, and the Privatizers all agree on, it is that schools, foremost among public services, should be conducted in accordance with "market principles." (If you have any doubt as to what those are, read Naomi Klein's invaluable book, The Shock Doctrine." Unfortunately for the business axis, it's just not true.

"Market-based educational reform" is an utter failure, and yet we still can’t shake the nasty, decaying effluent of its bad policy influence from our classrooms.
One of the more difficult things to impress upon people schooled from birth in the articles of faith of Capital, such as the"logic" and the "magic" of markets, as every, single citizen and resident of the USofA has been for every moment of the last 60 years at least, is that schools and other public services should NOT be subject to the same expectations as "businesses."

They perform different duties, do different jobs. This was illustrated for me in the following account, by a former, high-power, big-money entrepreneur, Codename: Blueberries.

The entrepreneur had been engaged as a motivational speaker at a teachers' in-service in a nearby town and, as an unabashed acolyte of the Friedman Free Markets model, had set about extolling the principles, and enjoining the teachers to adopt the model of markets in their schools. He noted a bit of a frosty reception, but it was during the Q&A after the speech that the inappropriateness of the whole speech was placed before him.

A questioner from the seats began by congratulating him on his success and the success of his product--ice cream, as it happened. The teacher, a woman, induced to speaker to admit how proud he was of his ice-cream, and his personal attention to the details, the immaculate machinery, the spotless plant, the quality of the ingredients, all the best that money could buy. Then she stuck him: "So," she said, "if you're down on the loading dock and a shipment of blueberries comes in, and they're not good enough, what do you do?"

And he knew she had him, because when he said, "I send them back," she then pointed out that she and her fellow teachers in the school don't have that luxury. They have to take what they get and do the best with that.

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