Thursday, December 20, 2012

EducationBeat: Dirty Secrets; Goldilocks in Class; Emanuel Says "Scroom! "

 The Dirty Secret of Proprietary "Universities": Mainly, it is that they are rip-offs. They 'sell' credentials, the way Toyota or GM sell cars: on credit.

They prey on the aspirations of education-propaganda maddened students facing desperate employment conditions (LOTS of competition, for scarce jobs, with artificial, spurious "education" requirements), and the flexible "mythology" of the magic of the 'Degree." 

What they do, in fact, is essentially indenture their students to life-long, irrevocable loan-repayment contracts, in exchange for essentially meaningless credentials in 'invented' pseudo-disciplines ("Office management?" Really!) which wouldn't REQUIRE "degrees," except that that requirement makes sorting out undesirables from the applications pools easier.

University of Phoenix, an egregiously piratical lending institution fronting as a proprietary school, recently "settled" a $75.5 million claim against them for fraud.


TFA: The Myth of Goldilocks
Through the efforts of the likes of the Gates Foundation, and other "well-meaning blunderers" (scare quotes intended), and despite the frequent recitations in praise of good teachers and their effects, there is a mythology growing that teachers NEED NOT be skilled, well-trained, devoted professionals.

In this discourse, teachers are automatons, merely "delivering content," like fucking pizzas, and conduct periodic examinations. This has contributed to a growing sense--has been apparent since the 80s, actually--that anybody can "teach.

 It's not true, of course. Teaching is as much an art, requiring years of practice to master, as it is anything else.

Along with Gates, and the rest of the zombie-capitalist "philanthropists" mucking about, this sense that teachers are a dime a dozen has been adumbrated and popularized by a project called "Teach For America," which began life as a sorority do-good project developed by a coed from the University of Mississippi to flesh out her CV. I shan't occupy more space here with critiques. They are frequent and fierce, and to my mind, well-deserved.

But since you asked, imho, TFA mainly serves as a safe, non-committal way for the social "debutante" class of graduating sorority girls to safely pass their time whilst winnowing the possible applicants for the appropriately endowed prospective fathers of and providers for their children. 

But I'm told I have too jaundiced a view.

Emanuel: "Screw the Unions." Obama's ass-whole buddy, former White House insider and now Mayor Rahm Emanuel is a CorpoRat rat-bastard of the first order. He's implementing school privatization of Chicago schools regardless of the predicted and predictable, negative consequences for the city, the schools and Chicago's kids. But it WILL make plenty of money for his friends.
""An internal Chicago Public Schools document obtained by the Tribune shows for the first time that the Emanuel administration has weighed how many elementary and high schools to close in which neighborhoods and how to manage the public fallout... ...(T)he internal document, prepared at a time when school leaders faced a December deadline to make their decisions public, lays out multiple scenarios for closing neighborhood schools and adding privately run charters — a key component of Emanuel's plans for improving public education. Chicago Teachers Union members, aldermen and other charter school critics have accused the administration of favoring the charters while depriving schools in poor neighborhoods of needed improvements." (DOTOF to F-Booker Beth Townsley)
Really? Ya THINK? Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Windy City's tortuous school hallways, there are indications of chicanerey between a commission empaneled to recommend school closures and a politically and corporately connected "consulting" firm with boardroom lingks to Bain Capital, Citigroup, McNally Capital, and a slew of big, pro-corpoRat law firms.
Union Workers Died: It would be nice to think that, after enduring years of slanders and obloquy about their membership in unions, more would have been made about the fact that the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary were all members of the American Federation of Teachers. But outside the notice of a few folks like "yrs truly" on Facebook and elsewhere, that fact has been largely elided from the discourse of the tragedy.

I got criticized for "profaning the memory of the children" with my "pro-Union "bullshit" I mentioned it on my FB "wall." But, I told my detractor, I didn't mind, because I'd never heard of one single corpoRat CEO who EVER stood and took a bullet protecting his workers or anyone else.

Meanwhile in LA: .The LAUSD stepped up for teachers and students when it unanimously returned to the Board the authority to seek and accept federal, education grants. The Obomber/Duncan RTTP (Race To The Top) replacement for the disastrous NCLB of the Bushevik era is a subtle bribery system, making big money available to grant-0seekers which are willing to throw teachers and students under the (yellow) bus by adopting assessment plans which in effect blame teachers and schools for students' poor performance, and rewards schools and districts which will adapt the test-centered, para-private curricular interventions.

The LAUSD returned these authoroities to the board from the Superintendent's Office, at present occupied by faux-reformer, corpoRatist, test-nazi John Deacy.


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