Saturday, March 3, 2012

Corporate Education

Godin, along with Dan Pink, Tom Peters and other "mainstream" business thinkers all cite the work of the great John Taylor Gatto who makes the case that the current education system was strategically designed on the Prussian model to develop an obedient class of workers, and citizens, at the turn of the century.  The original system was designed by industry and business leader, the "robber barons" like John Rockefeller, who famously said:
In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present eduction conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds, and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people, or any of their children, into philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen – of whom we have an ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way.
– John D. Rockefeller General Education Board (1906)
 It's important to note, that corporate "reformers" are again remaking education.  Led by the Walton's/WalMart, Bill Gates, Ely Broad, Rupert Murdoch, and others, they are attempting to privatize education through Charters, vouchers, and the Republican party is on board.  Diane Ravitch has been the most fierce critic of these efforts, here's her latest on the subject in the New York Review of Books - How, and How Not, to Improve the Schools -

The problems of American education are not unsolvable, but the remedies must be rooted in reality. Schools are crucial institutions in our society and teachers can make a huge difference in changing children’s lives, but schools and teachers alone cannot cure the ills of an unequal and stratified society. Every testing program—whether the SAT, the ACT, or state and national tests—demonstrates that low scores are strongly correlated to poverty. On the SAT, for example, students from the most affluent families have the highest scores, and children from the poorest families have the lowest scores. Children need better schools, and they also need health clinics, high-quality early childhood education, arts programs, after-school activities, safe neighborhoods, and basic economic security. To the extent that we reduce poverty, we will improve student achievement.
 I don't think it a leap to suggest that corporate reformers like WalMart don't want to tackle the poverty issue, they've made their fortune off the poverty and the compliance of an obedient class... and in this fight their being aided by those "pickle vendors" who are making a fortune off of the charter school movement... The reformers won't be satisfied until all students attend a private charter school that they've built and are profiting from, the results for the future of this country be damned...

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