Tuesday, June 22, 2004

About creating two Americas

I have been simply overwhelmed with all the education articles I ought to be putting up.

For example, I've got tons of articles on what's going on in Florida languishing in my email.

Then, a big conference in New Orleans on education and technology seems to have inspired a whole slew of PR pieces on how corporate America can take public school money to help schools assess NCLB. Bleah. Something along the lines of how "we can make life easier for you". I hear the sound of badly needed money for kids being sucked out of the system so that desperate school districts can hope and pray they won't be punished for not meeting NCLB standards.

In the middle of this comes this set of articles by Manuel Valenzuela, taking a big-picture look at public education called "The Dumbing Down of America". I think he hits it right on the nail.
The education system in America has been carefully eroded over the course of time, altered in such a way as to make creative and curious children barren and submissive adults indifferent to the world around them. The system now in place begins robbing a child’s ability to think for himself or herself from the very start of the education process. The class structure itself eliminates individuality, personality and energetic ability, as one teacher must educate many students competing for attention. It is here when talents that need to be discovered get ambushed instead. Yet with a class structure that has endured for decades, the child must become part of the whole, learning from books laced with government and/or corporate propaganda.

In many school districts, mostly poor ones strapped for cash, books can be dozens of years old, lacking modern thought or progress. Many books are tools created by entities with special interests that have as a purpose the teaching of their ideology or the furthering of their goals. The absurd teaching of creationism is one such example. Many corporations now create and donate books to school districts that contain references and examples to their brand names and product descriptions. Even in school children cannot escape the growing omnipresence of the corporate Leviathan which thirsts to program the innocent the way it sees fit.
Be sure to read both. Federal bills such as NCLB only accelerate the process Valenzuela discusses.

He doesn't mention Walmart by name but for those who are curious why Walmart heirs have decided to spend huge chunks of their fortune supporting vouchers, Valenzuela's article may activate a few connections in your brain.

As an aside, I fully expect Edwards, when he is chosen as the VP, will continue his populist take on the two Americas. If not, I will be extremely disappointed.