Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Corporate madrassahs for all the world

I'm having issues with corporatization today. See what's going on in the Middle East. Education, while politically a backburner topic, is still a hot subject around the world. Underreported.com brings out this story about this Bush education proposal for the Middle East.
    It may seem innocent enough to President Bush, the notion of training 100,000 teachers across the Middle East to improve the quality of education and perhaps also cut down on the chance that religious schools will crank out future terrorists.
    Yet Arabs and Europeans at the Group of Eight summit here are bristling over this and other aspects of Bush's proposed Middle East democracy initiative. They consider it a heavy-handed effort to foist American ideas on a region with ideas of its own.

    [...] The teacher training proposal provides Bush with a way to accomplish a lingering post-Sept. 11 goal of reforming madrassas, the Islamic religious schools that sometimes are the only education available to children from poor families.

    Some U.S. officials argue that some of those schools are run by radical groups who indoctrinate students to join terrorist operations.

    Bush has correctly identified a problem -- lack of non-Muslim educational opportunities in some Middle Eastern countries -- and proposed the wrong solution, a One World Government public educational system. Rather than foster independent schools and religious freedom, Bush has, for example, turned a blind eye to the plight of Middle East Christians, especially in Iraq.
And look what Rumsfeld proposes.
    In a memo last year, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suggested creating a private entity to steer radical madrassas onto a more moderate course. In October, he questioned whether the U.S. military was "capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us."
I can just see the corporate entities in public ed drooling over this development.