|Snacktime's over, you little slacker. Go get a job!|
I've been tracking this baloney since I started blogging. Here's Allan Golston from the Gates Foundation website:
Businesses are the primary consumers of the output of our schools, so it’s a natural alliance.
Or then-corporate exec Rex Tillerson:
But Tillerson articulates his view in a fashion unlikely to resonate with the average parent. “I’m not sure public schools understand that we’re their customer—that we, the business community, are your customer,” said Tillerson during the panel discussion. “What they don’t understand is they are producing a product at the end of that high school graduation.”
Or members of the Florida legislature:
The purpose of the public education system of Florida is to develop the intellect of the state's citizens, to contribute to the economy, to create an effective workforce, and to prepare students for a job.
This is all alarming because it is such a narrow, cramped, tiny vision of education, a low bar to clear, an unworthy target at which to aim. All the depth and breadth of human experience, all the joy and heartfelt fulfillment to which humans can aspire, all the glorious discovery of one's best self, all the varied and beautiful experience of being a human in the world-- these folks would have us toss all of that away to better turn children into meat widgets who can serve not their own human aspirations and dreams and goals, but the corporate need for drones to fill jobs so that the rich can get richer.
This is all awful. But something else is rotten in this point of view.
In this view of the world, children are worthless.
In this view, children are lumps of raw material, useless and therefor worthless until they can be molded into job-ready drones. These are people who would look at my new twins and my beautiful grandbabies and say, "Well, they're pretty and all. But they're kind of worthless, aren't they."
These folks are impatient for children to be made into useful tools. "Hey," they bark at the kindergarten teachers. "Stop screwing around with all that playing and start teaching them to read and write-- you know, things that will make them useful to a future employer." Perhaps this is why some hard-right folks complain about child labor laws-- after all, a child who's not working is a child who has no value.
They have even inveigled their language into the language of school and teacher evaluation-- we look for "value added" which means value added to the children in our care who, by implication, lack value now.
It's a stumper of a world view. How exactly do we convince grown-ass human beings that children are valuable (and not just because they have "potential" to someday become useful tools). How can any human with a halfway healthy heart not look at a small child and think, "You are quite enough, a valuable being, deserving of love and protection and care. You are absolutely enough, just as you are, right now." How do you get through to anyone who looks at a child and feels anything but full and unconditional love (or who thinks the way to express that love is to try to convert that "worthless" child into a worthy drone)? And if we can't get to that person, how do we get them to stay the hell away from matters of educational policy?