Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: Thanks to this writer for objecting to the offensive corporate terminology which calls students human capital. We must reject such language whenever it occurs.]

Published in Houston Chronicle

To the editor

In his March 3 Outlook article, "Saavedra gets it change has got to come in HISD," James D. Calaway repeatedly referred to the students in the Houston Independent School District as "human capital." This was offensive and morally distasteful.

His article applauded HISD's Superintendent Abe Saavedra for putting in motion the changes needed for "maximizing Houston's human capital" and thanked Saavedra for placing "the central role of human capital development" at the core of HISD's academic mission.

I, too, am concerned about an "unacceptable situation," which is this constant echo that our students are merely a resource to line the pockets of the Houston business community!

Nothing of what Calaway wrote revealed any commitment to our students' humanity only to their economic availability.

Students are attuned enough to this kind of alienation. Perhaps they resist schooling precisely because of their treatment as resources to be exploited, and not as people to be nurtured. While I agree with Calaway that meaningful education can only lead to a "brighter future for all of us," my commitment would be to a future that makes the kind of moral and ethical demands that the business model seems to ignore.

Neil J. Liss

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.