The revolution may have begun in Wisconsin against the imperial governance of Scott Walker. It may have begun with school teachers in Seattle refusing to administer the demanded standardized testing. But it surely has begun on 7/24/2013 with a group of Chicago school children telling the corporate board of his imperial mayorship Rahm Emanuel that our voices must be be heard. The students rallying cry, “Whose Schools? Our Schools.”
What more and more people are fast realizing is that school reform isn’t about solving systemic problems with public education, it is about erecting a framework for justifying the gross inequalities of economic and governmental policies since Ronald Reagan took office. It is the factual equivalent of predestination of the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon social classes in Huxley’s Brave New World with brainwashing into willing acceptance of ones economic lot passing for education. In short it is a pedagogy of oppression.
It is a nothing short of criminal that the educational theories of Paulo Freire have been and are pretty much ignored by America’s leading schools of education. Language has become so important in our era and Freire in his book Pedagogy of the Oppressed could have given many of us a language for naming and condemning the economic, political, and educational trends in our nation for the last thirty years. Freire understood how everyone needs language to define what is happening to them so we have been intentionally denied his knowledge.
What has passed for education reform is nothing but a banking model of teaching. It is monologic in the sense that the teacher does the talking, determines from a cookie cutter curriculum guide what should be memorized as opposed to learned, and proceeds to make the deposit in the child’s mind while the students dutifully and silently take note of what is to be memorized. Immanuel Kant would be pleased as this is his concept of Tabula Rasa or blank slate in its finest justification as the education reform assumption seems to be the child is an empty vessel until filled with knowledge by the teacher.
It is Henry Ford’s assembly line applied to human learning. The standardized testing being the quality control to make sure that the objects of this indoctrination have memorized their parts. Equally important is that the objects learn the behavioral compliance necessary to passively accept their fate in a locked closed class system under Free Market Capitalism.
Albert Meme wrote about the Colonizer and the Colonized. Today, since even middle class white folks in America have joined the colonized class, his title might be The Haves and Have Nots. Education reform is always about accepting your Have Not status. After all this isn’t inherent racism it is the decisions made by the unseen hand of the Free Market not some red neck white guy.
For thirty years we have been fed the clap trap about the Free Market will decide without prejudice and or malice what each persons value is and will do it most efficiently. Forget for a moment that it all justifies the same ending as racial discrimination or discrimination based on gender, ethnic origin, class, or religious beliefs. This excuse is no different than saying God justified it in the Bible, or genetic inferiority of the races sanctioned chattel slavery. Every generation has its abominable lies pretending to be immutable truth that justifies immoral injustice and inequality. Free Market economics is just the latest pseudo-scientific lie in a long list of lies.
It is time all of us not in the 1% began to understand that the austere inequality of the last thirty years was not some accident, it was willful, intended, and done with malice other wise when it became obvious it was destroying the social and economic foundations of this nation, our leaders would have tried another course. Instead of seeking to restore a more equitably distributed prosperity, our leaders have sought to create a police surveillance state to keep us in our disposable state of poverty with force and repression if necessary. That should tell you pretty clearly which side our leaders are on and it isn’t our side.