Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Picture

Here's a fabulous comment from an Answer Sheet post called Ravitch Answers Gates, written by "Critical74".

Maybe I am just more cynical than Ms. Ravitch and others, but I think there's a bigger picture that is being missed.

Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Waltons, and the others who are pushing "reform" have realized that largely because of people like them, there are few manufacturing jobs (the source of social mobility for the poor and middle class) left in the U.S. They are not interested in educating the disadvantaged because they know that soon there will be no middle class. There will be corporate America (billionaires) and the service industry (people who sweep their floors and work at places like Wal-Mart). They need only few educated and lots of uneducated to keep their industries growing. They want "choice", competition, privatization, and deregulation in education because these are the same philosophies that made them filthy rich.

Gates even eluded to this reality with his comments in WfS in regards to this reform being about keeping the U.S. economically competitive. Traditionally, the health of the economy is determined by the viability of corporate America, not by the proletariat and the possibilities for everyone via social services and a well-rounded education. I think a lot of people do not realize this because the reform initiatives are being pushed by philanthropists and so-called progressives like Obama.

These people are fully aware that they are narrowing down the curriculum because they have no use for artists and musicians. They have no desire to instill critical thinking and life skills into students via the humanities, arts, shop classes, and home economics because these are the people who really question the status quo. Why else would they continue to push standardized testing and other initiatives that are not research-based, are top-down, and are just plain counter-intuitive?

They are in control of our education policy and as indicated by Joel Klein's new position at NewsCorp (Rupert Murdoch), the fact that his successor is also a media mogul, the movies like WfS, and the recent article in NewsWeek, they also control the media and are trying with some success, to shape public opinion.

Of course, nobody can point these things out without being called a Marxist, conspiracy theorist. However, let's not assume that any of these corporate hawks have the best interests of everybody in mind. After all, they are promoting the same ideas in education (competition, deregulation, and a false sense of choice) that created our health care and foreclosure crises.

(Note: "WfS" is "Waiting for Superman".)

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