Value-added in Sunday LA Times vs REAL value added via labour
Rhee is the stick that lives, happily, along side the many carrots who also
serve as bosses in US schools.
But that is a partisan, ground-up, view.
From the LATimes owner's perspective, they tell the truth on behalf of important
sections of the ruling class, and occasionally those sections fight it out both
on the editorial pages and in the rest of the paper too.
Within that context of what is really their truth, the value added research
"works," in that it sees school workers (who have always been workers and have
been professionals almost only when bosses want educators to make sacrifices) as
people whose minds must be stripped; their minds and creativity replaced with
the minds of managers as in the common (bourgeoisie) core standards, in other
regulated curricula, in high-stakes exams (production quotas), and who must be
won to this alienation as a necessity for, on one hand, the chance to keep a
job, and on the other hand, for the good of the nation's kids (future workers
In this "truth" of the Times, it follows that what is always a social
relationship, education, is taken as an individual problem of productivity. And
many teachers agree, or are browbeaten into shame for bad scores.
That seems to me to be because teachers are taught that the social context of
school is like fate, normal, maybe the highest possible form of human existence,
and they see themselves isolated, alone, in a room full of kids (widgets) to
which they are to add some, specific, form of value.
It is, indeed, normal in capitalist society for people to be forced to work for
wages (as they have no real property), to then be shoved into a war of all on
all for jobs and health benefits, to lose control of both the methods and
products of their work, and the more they do this, the more they enrich those
who profit from the misery of the vast majority of people.
The force that lies behind schooling, as in any capitalist relation, often goes
unnoticed. However, in our action research tour about two years ago, Susan
Harman, Bob Apter, and I, saw that fear is driving nearly all aspects of school
life. Kids, parents, school workers, all fear the false logic of the tests, and
each of them faces consequences. More, when kids don't go to school, we force
them in (other than the homeschoolers who are for another day).
When the LATimes lies about value added teaching, what they are doing is not so
much misusing research, but using it for their own, exploitative, purposes, one
standing above all the rest: protecting US capitalism. Capitalist journalism
seeks to veil capital and to convince most people that we cannot understand and
change our lives--achieved by taking a piecemeal, segmented, approach to society
(as if a unifying whole did not exist) and by attacking real struggles for
When union leaders (like Reg Weaver, paid $686,949 in his last year as NEA
boss), refuse to take direct action to halt tpday's surge on the schools, they
do so because they know that they themselves benefit from the arrangement
described above. Their wages are related to US success in imperialist wars, to
disguising and hiding the necessity of recognizing the whole of the social
system as capital and the equally necessary need to connect fighting one aspect
of it with all aspects of it (bottom up class war). And, like the Times, the
truth of the union bosses is that they must demolish the potential of a mass,
class conscious movement to rescue education from the ruling classes (not
preserve the myth of "public" schooling) or that movement would demolish
them---as it should.
Schools are now the central organized place in North American society, and other
societies too. It should be no surprise that they are battlegrounds now. At
issue is--who will win?
Don't forget October 7th.
Here is Marx: "If we may take an example from outside the sphere of production
of material objects, a schoolmaster is a productive labourer when, in addition
to belabouring the heads of his scholars, he works like a horse to enrich the
school proprietor. That the latter has laid out his capital in a teaching
factory, instead of in a sausage factory, does not alter the relation. Hence the
notion of a productive labourer implies not merely a relation between work and
useful effect, between labourer and product of labour, but also a specific,
social relation of production, a relation that has sprung up historically and
stamps the labourer as the direct means of creating surplus-value. To be a
productive labourer is, therefore, not a piece of luck, but a misfortune. In
Book IV. which treats of the history of the theory, it will be more clearly
seen, that the production of surplus-value has at all times been made, by
classical political economists, the distinguishing characteristic of the
productive labourer. Hence their definition of a productive labourer changes
with their comprehension of the nature of surplus-value." (Capital Vol 1 p477
Good luck to us, every one.
FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.