Monday, June 27, 2005

Who's to blame?

I just want everyone to notice the conversation that followed a Sunday post. Particularly, Joe Thomas's comment rings true:

If we really (and I mean really) want to make a difference in America, we will agree that the "problems" in public schools are in truth problems of society and merely easier to see in the context of public schools.

At that point we can implement the family services and adult education and training needed to break the cycle of poverty, increase the reach of social mobility, and provide all Americans the "opportunity" we know a democratic society can provide-- if its citizens demand it.

At present, we demand 'accountability' but refuse to provide the appropriate resources to achieve our lofty goals.

Spot on, my friend. Spot on.

The point is simple: the fundamentalist free-marketeers are trying to blame anyone they can think of (parents, teachers, teachers' unions, bureaucracies, Democrats, etc.) for the "failure" of the public schools.

Want to blame someone? Sure, it's counterproductive and trite, but if you really want to blame someone, point the finger at yourself. It's our collective fault. As a society, we are failing large segments of our society. And sorry folks, no amount of testing or accountability will fix it. No buzzwords or savvy PR phrases (e.g., No Child Left Behind) will achieve the goal of success for all.

What will? Consider the comment section your personal soapbox, but let's focus on solutions -- not blame -- dear readers. I challenge you to try; it's not as easy as it sounds.


Blogger Joe Thomas said...

Thanks, Brink. Will that merit me a link on the side? ;)

7:02 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Kallay said...

There's a basic assumption in your posts that says, essentially, that if schools were all adequately funded, were appropriately diverse, had invested and involved parents and communities, and were run by competent administrators and trained and supported teachers, then all our children would be well-educated.

But what if our schools are working exactly as they were intended? That is, what if schools were conceived to produce a poorly educated, compliant populace perfect for menial labor and rule by the elite? This is not as out there as it seems, there are some very good authors (e.g. John Taylor Gatto) who make a very strong case for this. I'm interested in seeing you confront this alternative hypothesis, because if it were true it would render a lot of what you're saying invalid.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Joe Thomas said...

If 'they' wanted a compliant society they would have made all the schools private-- more specifically, parochial. Religion exerts the most control.

Control is definitely underlying the voucher movement. It's not about education or so-called "choice" as much as it is about re-segregation and control.

Seriously, haven't you noticed that the same people that espouse vouchers "for the poor" are the same ones that decry every other social service as part of the "welfare state"?

Segregation and control.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Kallay said...

Gee, Joe, do you think you could fit a few more gross generalizations in there? I think you missed some.

9:33 AM  
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4:44 AM  

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