Wednesday, January 25, 2006

"How Come Johnny Don't Read So Good" Answered!

Just another attempt to notify others of the now often impossible pieces of evidence that if it doesn't look like a chicken, doesn't sound like a chicken, and doesn't function like a chicken, then it was probably created to be a duck and you are told, again and again and again (damn your lying eyes, ears, mind!), "It is a chicken! you recalcitrant/trouble-makin/discipline problem/underachiever! Now go to detention where you can spend some time thinking about why you are wrong and I am right!"

Granted, I have asserted many times that not only would I not send my kids to the schools I attended, I would do my utmost to prevent them from attending any public school. Why? Well, frankly, I eventually concluded that it was largely a waste of time.

They (Denkmann Elementary School, where I was locked in a storage closet that joined the principal's, Herb Nieman [sic?], office to the main entrance to the school for hours with nothing to do, no mention of my side of the story (my side being that of a divorcee with three children to raise on public assistance at a time and place that was arguably the whitest, marriedest, wealthiest in the district) any time that --- after enduring almost daily abuse for a number of years and for no other reason than I was an easy target for a sizable group of students --- I had the nerve(!) to stand up to them (but then, my parents weren't boosters, or friends with alumni of the district, and so forth);
Washington Junior High School, where I must admit most of us were at best difficult to deal with at that age, yet we were well-conditioned for further segregation along racial, economic, and to a lesser degree social lines once we arrived at...
Rock Island High School, in my experience a sound place to begin learning about racism, nepotism, arbitrary and almost unlimited authority for the sake of authority, though there were a number of teachers there who, I think, chose the belly of the beast in the educational equivalent of the Statesman's Dilemma, i.e., whether to fight the good fight and swallow some pride by working from the inside versus the relative freedom coupled with less actual power to change things from the outside). It seemed to me, in many instances, to be a place of profound institutional bigotry, regimentalism, cronyism, nepotism, ignorance, segregation along a number of paths, and emphasis on athletics and maintenance of the status quo at the expense of academics and educating everyone and not just the 10 to 15 percent of students white, wealthy, or smart enough to make it into the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum (who, in the four years I was there, grew to represent about 20% of our class via dropouts, failed students, students choosing to leave that environment, etc.).

And why this path to my (eventual) functionally dropping out of high school after seeing it for what it (mostly) was? It had a little something to do with the sentiment behind my so-called Guidance Counselor, Nancy Strohl, telling me I wasn't cut out for the University of Illinois, although she was not quite so diplomatic, and my AP Federal Government "teacher" Mr. Janecke getting his old school chum Principal Bonsall to go along with failing me for a made-up failable infraction.

Well, I've graduated from two colleges (noting that college is the place where many students feel the first real freedom to conduct their own edification outside the strictures and judgments of top-heavy school bureaucracy and dispirited teachers who haven't fled to less depressing, more lucrative pastures; gee, I wonder why so many current leaders in power work to prevent so many people for whom higher education is anything but a foregone conclusion from attending college?) magna cum laude, was chosen Phi Beta Kappa, and spent 17-plus years in educational institutions, 14 of them public; in the case of the government class, a compromise was struck (only after my father had to force Bonsall via a shouting match to give me my day in court --- a sentiment Sam Alito would surely have sided with Bonsall on) whereby I would take the final from the Moline High School government class to test whether Janecke was full of it and just hated the fact that I called an spade a spade or that I knew the material quite well and therefore did not deserve to fail (and thereby not graduate from RIHS) on his trumped-up ad hominem charge.

Result? I got a 97% and escaped that place with my diploma and a bit of a sense that justice is something that must eternally be wrested from the hands of (far too often in my experience and research) old white men (and the many younger ones who emulate them, as well as women and minorities who mimic them and apparently choose to ignore the uncomfortable fact that the one thing they seek is just what they have been a victim of all along, which is to say cowards and small minds in bullies' clothing) who lie and abuse the authority our culture has for centuries ceded to them in the face of patent unjustness that they often believe they have earned, missing the irony that, in my experience, if you can fool them into being honest about it they really believe it is their birthright and never realize that they have advantages (both incidental and intentional) at seemingly every turn over their so-called competition.

So which was/is it? Am I a ne'er-do-well problem child or a pro antidisestablishmentarian quasi-auto-didact? In other, more general terms: Are open-minded, curious, interested individuals who have to cut class to really learn something the problem in an otherwise sound organism whereby the vast, vast majority of Americans are eductated to be strong citizens of a rubustly democratic republic in which our leaders take seriously the trust vested in them to do what is best for all of us, or was my own experience real and the American public so many dupes buying into the asserted intent of our educational establishment when in fact it is a machine built to fail those who don't love Big Brother and look forward to their dull wage-slavery with gratitude to the haves?

Having gone down the rabbit hole of American public educational institutionalization and been force-fed the mantra of "That won't get you a job in the [so-called] Real World," I happened across the first evidence I have seen providing evidence of what I have long suspected about the whole farcical mess of public education in this country...

And up out of the rabbit hole we go!

2 Comments:

Blogger Rev. T. Monkey said...

John Gatto is the Man when it comes to critiquing the public education system in the US. I am sure there are worse things than public education, such as a lack of an education entirely, but the public education system was created (and John Dewey is clear about this) to create interchangeable human parts for an idustrial society. That people such as you and I came out of this system capable of thinking for themselves is somewhat miraculous.

This design of the public school system is why my wife and I plan to homeschool our daughter.

That said, it is true that public schooling does have its advantages. It provides a modicum of an education for those who would receive even less were it not in existence. And, at its best, public education affords people of different backgrounds, religions, classes, etc. an opportunity to meet one another.

Maybe the reason that public school is chronically underfunded is because there is no longer any American industry into which to dump interchangeable human parts. So the modicum of education and interaction that most kids have gotten from public schools is replaced with 45 students to a class-room, behavior problem chaos that underpaid, underqualified teachers get to deal with so that parents don't have to.

So, as always, those of us who managed to get through public schools with some sort of indepdent thought processes (and some free time) have higher hopes for our kids via homeschooling, while the remainder of people who don't have the wherewithal (intellectual or financial) get to plod on through an "educational" system that cranks out increasingly stupid consumer drones.

January 26, 2006 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Rev. T. Monkey said...

Ah, the famous "indepdent" thought process.

Make that "independent."

TM

January 26, 2006 at 4:17 PM  

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