Because everything in the US is just fine, it’s just that they have some problems with The Help, today the NYTimes has run a vast, beloved article, presumably about a dogged capitalist market-devotee hero, the latest Frederick Taylor, who has this time, at last, again come up with the Solution to all the problems of America, which can be reduced of course to Bad Public Education Teachers.
The solution is: Get out the old Taylor stopwatch, record the small techniques employed by the teachers whose students score best on George Bush’s education test, and train (not educate) teachers to efficiently, precisely replicate these movements and no other.
This is considered a tremendous innovation over the previous ineffective 5 Year Taylorization Plan, championed by such mid-level neoliberal giants as NYC Education Czars Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee. The former Plan gave upper-middle bonuses to teachers whose students made the George W. Bush test not look so bad (Thanks for the ideas again, Frederick Taylor!), while simply axing or threatening to axe the majority of teachers, whose students failed to make the Texan training program look like it has anything to do with learning. What the previous Taylorization Plan accomplished was to deplete the teaching staff while recklessly bestowing a few members of The Help with uncomfortably comfortable incomes which they should not get used to (see Malthus).
So some busy-bee heroes of the conservative elite caste who are not working on the central task of accumulating wealth are diligently implementing the triedest and truest investigatory and management techniques upon The Help, which perversely keeps falling down.
After all sorts of budgets and planning and well-compensated, high-status experts/managers and time is put into this new 5 Year Plan for disciplining teachers and rationalizing and homogenizing public education, the US will have the most efficient education factories possible for training young Americans to take the George Bush education exam.
And then, hallelujah, all the problems of America will continue to rage on, perhaps a little harder, because the country is so much further down the road in its long implosion, and after all, you cannot leave all welfare functions to teachers and schools to carry out on top of their training responsibilities when your whole society has been based for hundreds of years on the single, semi-useful, semi-asinine premise of mining the fuck out of the working class and nature, and your decision-making elites can no longer possibly imagine a different way of doing anything because everything is just fine the way it is, although The Help are admittedly something of a problem on the books. They look bad. And they keep looking worse. And they always will because, no matter the fine rhetorical conventions in which they are promoted, conservative interventions are designed to prey rapaciously upon the lives of people who cannot protect themselves from you.
Benefits to the NYTimes-heralded New Taylorize Teachers agenda:
1) By giving teachers training as opposed to education, teachers will feel more comfortable with simple parameters of movement and operation, which is what they have come to expect anyway, since the whole American middle mind consensus treats public educators as if they didn’t have the human wherewithal to use their own discretion and vary and fail and learn and develop themselves and their communities through education as a craft.
2) Transfers the responsibility for all of America’s prodigious social, economic, environmental and political failures off the back of proletarianized, fettered teachers, and onto the backs of their trainers, possibly proletarianized education professors at non-prestigious colleges. In this way, the blame can be infinitely transferred amongst people who are not allowed anywhere near the policy formation process, and this will consume time and energy so that no one asks why it is that in the US public education employees bear the burden for the majority of social welfare provisioning on top of their responsibilities training children to perform for the George W. Bush test, while the US implodes and elites get out with as much accumulated wealth as possible.
3) Droves of private-school educated expert management consultants will be paid a lot of money, simply for deploying variations on the same old management templates in operation for well over 100 years, that they might buy McMansions and SUVs and stocks and entertain friends on exclusive Caribbean islands, where they can also stash their wealth away.
If teachers’ unions were not lame, this is how they would respond:
They would commission a study of the unique conditions that allow the best teachers to act as autonomous, developing human agents, and propose that these conditions be replicated for all teachers, in order to improve education and students’ “performance.” And if you didn’t follow that link, when I say “autonomous,” partly I mean unionized. You don’t get autonomy in humanity without a supportive network, as all capitalists know.
Also, they would fight for the development of a welfare state so that teachers did not also have to do the majority of welfare provisioning in the US for free.
Also, they would support theoretical discourse and empirical research to help them champion innovative low-inequality policies, so that Americans could learn to value citizenship, ecology, human development and education (not just training)– pro-Enlightenment culture which would go a long way toward finally, really improving education and solving persistent social problems.
Students, teachers and communities took to the streets yesterday to defend public education in America. It made the alternative media.
The Nation reports on how public education miners (including now, Michelle Rhee, in a more blatantly corporate reincarnation) are using the blind of “tiknowligy” and political seeding to destroy unions and mine education for public dollars.
Two techniques in their hegemonic arsenal include demonizing teachers and pseudo antiracism:
1)”‘(In) the [education reform] debate…is there a way that we can get into it at an emotional level?’ Berman asked. ‘Emotions will stay with people longer than concepts.’ He then answered his own question: ‘We need to hit on fear and anger. Because fear and anger stays with people longer. And how you get the fear and anger is by reframing the problem.’ Berman’s glossy ads, which have run in Washington, DC, and New Jersey, portray teachers unions as schoolyard bullies. One spot even seems to compare teachers to child abusers.”
2)”Like many ‘education entrepreneurs,’ Moe remains a player in the education reform movement, pushing policies that have the potential to benefit his clients…Earlier this year, the group dropped $70,000 on an ad campaign in Pennsylvania comparing those who oppose a new measure to expand vouchers to segregationist Alabama Governor George Wallace, who blocked African-American children from entering white schools.”