Monday, November 6, 2017

FL: Training Drones

No state in the USA works any harder than Florida to degrade public education. Setting ridiculous third grade reading test requirements, undercutting the teaching profession, stripping resources from public schools to make charters more attractive and profitable (but holding those charters to no real educational standards)-- just type "Florida" into the little search window in the upper left and see how many times I've had to look at Floridian shenanigans.

But Florida has looked for an even more efficient way to cut education off at the knees-- check out the proposed revisions for the state constitution:

That's tiny print, so let me spell it out for you:

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.

Yikes. Not even "prepare students for a career"-- just plunk those meat widgets in a job somewhere so that corporations can benefit and prosper on the backs of useful drones. After all, what else is education good for. Hell, what else is human life good for-- except to help state leaders prosper and to perform useful functions so that companies can boost stock values. Really, it might be best if schools could actually replace all the human parts of students with cyborg equipment, because really, a robot that could just be packed up in a trunk at the end of the shift would be more useful than humans, who will probably want to have actual lives of their own once they clock out of their corporate functions.

Lord knows this is not a new or unique point of view. It was Rex Tillerson (back before he was neutered and given a State Department shock collar) who tried to get schools to understand that they are producing a product for companies to consume. Or Allan Golston of the Gates foundation who called students the "output" of a school system, meant for companies' consumption. And don't forget Florida Chamber of Commerce president Mark Wilson who said the purpose of schools is economic development, "plain and simple."

But none of these biz-whiz geniuses was rewriting a state constitution to codify his belief that public schools are built to crank out compliant worker drones, and that education has no higher purpose-- certainly not to improve the lives of young humans, to help them better become themselves, to help them best understand how they want to be human in the world.

No, if you want the higher qualities that we used to associate with education, you'll need to be wealthy enough to send your kid to private school. Because you can bet that if any of these corporate yahoos, any of these feckless reckless legislators discovered that their own child had been greeted on the first day of school with, "Your only purpose here this year is to learn how to be a better employee for your future bosses," they would yank that kid out of school so fast they'd have to go back later to retrieve the child's shoes.

And yet Florida remains, for Betsy DeVos and other reformsters, an exemplar, the state that most typifies their imaginary dreamed-of future. We should all be worried about what happens in Florida.


  1. I just read your post, and I'm fuming and thinking ...

    Can people stop saying stuff like,

    "Oh, we need to assume best intentions on everyone's part, because you know, everyone wants the best for the kids and for the country; the corporate ed. reformers just have a different approach to achieving this. They're not bad people; they're just misguided." ?

    Nope, nope, nope-ity nope.

    Why can't we just call them what they are ... evil. They espouse a philosophy and an approach to education that is dehumanizing, vicious, money-motivated-regardless-of-who-gets-damaged and ... yes... evil.

    There. I said it.

  2. In a way I'm glad they're trying to put that in there. So many people believe that anyway (including Ralph Northam of Virginia who's being heavily promoted as a "huge" supporter of public education). So let's go ahead and have that conversation. I almost have to appreciate the honesty of raw greed. At least we know what we're dealing with.