Class Warfare Blog

April 28, 2018

Give Me the Child …

Give me the child for the first seven years and I will give you the man.
Jesuit maxim widely attributed to Ignatius Loyola;

In a blog post on the website of The Institute for New Economic Thinking (The Corporate Plan to Groom U.S. Kids for Servitude by Wiping Out Public Schools by Lynn Parramore—April 6, 2018) the author summarizes part of the opinion of Gordon Lafer, Associate Professor at the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, thus:

Lafer explains that in the new system, the children of the wealthy will be taught a broad, rich curriculum in small classes led by experienced teachers. The kind of thing everybody wants for kids. But the majority of America’s children will be consigned to a narrow curriculum delivered in large classes by inexperienced staff —or through digital platforms with no teachers at all.

Most kids will be trained for a life that is more circumscribed, less vibrant, and, quite literally, shorter, than what past generations have known. (Research shows that the lifespan gap between haves and have-nots is large and rapidly growing). They will be groomed for insecure service jobs that dull their minds and depress their spirits.

She went on to say: “In the words of Noam Chomsky… ‘students will be controlled and disciplined.’ Most will go to school without developing their creativity or experiencing doing things on their own.”

While reading this I am also reading the book “Why We Do What We Do: The Dynamics of Personal Autonomy” by Edward L. Deci. I reached a point in that book in which a long standing question of mine got answered. That question is: why do kids in kindergarten and the early stages of their educations show so much curiosity when that is no longer in evidence when they get to middle school and high school?” It seemed to me that education had the effect of beating the curiosity out of kids. I wondered why. According to Deci “It is truly amazing, as pointed up by our (research) findings, that if people are ongoingly treated as if they were either passive mechanisms or barbarians needing to be controlled, they will begin to act more and more that way (p. 84).” Controlling behavior includes structuring the environment, establishing the rules, enforcing the rules, defining the rewards, etc.

When Chomsky says “students will be controlled and disciplined” he is saying “more than they are now,” the effect of which is to stifle curiosity, creativity, political will to resist the “rules,” etc.

The oligarch’s effort to dismantle public education and remake it under their “leadership” is motivated by a desire for worker drones that will shut up, do what they are told, accept whatever salary and benefits they are offered, and not make problems.

It seems that 1984 is coming, just 30 years later than predicted. And there is no Big Brother;  there are, however, quite a number very wealthy men, old white men, who are auditioning for the role.

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5 Comments »

  1. From what I have seen recently (last 4 to 5 years), the kids I have been dealing with are extremely apathetic They seemed to think that they are entitled to passing or superior grades without having to do the work required to get the grade. While of course this isn’t the entire year of students, but enough to make a definite impression that it is the case and it is increasing each year. Makes no difference whether or not they are “advanced” or “regular”. It has gotten to the point I have a form letter explaining to parents that Little Johnny or Missy is getting a D because they are not meeting the standards I have set. Maybe my standards are too high! This is in line with what you are saying here. Good grades are expected, but in reality are hollow shells of what they are supposed to be. Makes sense to the oligarch’s plan of action!

    Like

    Comment by Holding The Line In Florida — April 28, 2018 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

  2. I retired early because of such students. Unfortunately us teachers were complicit in this problem. we are the one’s giving out grades and when very little work is required to get a grade by the majority, the teachers with higher standards feel the pressure.

    I used to recycle tests (after about four years) and saw the scores on those test go lower and lower over time. There was definitely a sea change with regard to willingness to work. I do not blame the students as I realized they were the one’s telling me about the real system and I was the one deluded. I just decided to stop pretending and retired. I have heard from others that it isn’t getting any better.

    This, I do not think was part of the oligarch’s plan, but it fits in. What they do not want, however, is incompetent workers, just compliant workers. This si why they got the bankruptcy laws changed so that student debt could not be so discharged. Slaves to debt tend to be compliant with the demands of their bosses.

    Like

    Comment by Steve Ruis — April 28, 2018 @ 9:44 pm | Reply

  3. If teachers were paid more we would get better quality ones. But there are many other problems as well.

    The current administration forcing a move to private schools that are financially out of reach a lot of people. And many of these schools will be religious and there goes a good science education.

    Kids today have so many personal issues like single mothers (who have to work and are gone).

    Addiction to their phones, which stop any real friendships and outdoor activities.

    Uninvolved parents who don’t do fun things or encourage curiosity.

    Teachers whose hands are tied by too many rules.

    Not enough good trade schools for those that don’t aspire to a college education.

    Disruptive classrooms due to some students. And the bullying problem.

    I really enjoyed all my years in public school, but it was long ago and our whole society was different. It’s a sad state of affairs.

    Like

    Comment by maryplumbago — April 29, 2018 @ 7:19 am | Reply

    • We have real issues in our schools–privatization isn’t the answer. I have yet to have anyone explain to me how extracting profits from this publically-funded enterprise can make things better, let alone will. These “people” are peddling “market woo” that will somehow do what may well be impossible (education is not a cure for poverty or drug addiction or …).

      On Sun, Apr 29, 2018 at 7:19 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:

      >

      Like

      Comment by Steve Ruis — April 29, 2018 @ 7:24 am | Reply


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