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NCLB Outrages

Up the Rebels

People are what they do. Not what they say they do or would do if not scared.

by Rich Gibson

School workers who have run the war agenda that is school do not get off the hook because they are scared. Moreover, far too many of them never took a chance to find out what being scared is. Many of those were never scared because they just witlessly went along. Much, not all, of the fear in school is baseless. In fact, lots of bosses are afraid their employees will discover just how afraid the bosses are of them.

Tenured profs in ed schools have done nearly nothing about the Big Tests and, instead, aligned their own curricula with them, meaning that entire liberal studies programs then align their curricula with the tests as well. What describes those ed schools is: opportunism, racism, cowardice, and sheer ignorance. They've been at it for a decade that I am sure of, and more.

In some areas, nearly an entire generation of teachers has been taught like this. They don't know anything else. They were raised within a culture of, at the least, intellectual abuse. We know the abused frequently become abusers.

Tenured profs who did not fight back cannot be excused.

The unions which not only allowed the regimentation of curricula and high stakes exams (and now, too often, merit pay and attacks on tenure, pay, benefits, and pensions) but actually assisted in the creation of those problems, then sold the school worker force down the river (while "leaders" like NEA's Reg Weaver got paid $686,949 in 2008)---they are surely responsible. Indeed, they deserve very harsh measures.

Local union leaders who do not know how to defend, and smash, disciplinary attacks on local members shouldn't be leaders. They hold responsibility for what has taken place, only somewhat less so than low level union staff (like NEA uniserv directors who should have trained those mis-leaders).

The tenured school workers who participated in the creation of the regulated curricula, who gave the big tests, and who are now shocked, simply shocked, that merit pay comes next---those people cannot connect cause and effect and their abilities to teach anything significant should be in question.

There has been and is far more consent than resistance, especially resistance that can be taken seriously.

People are what they do. Not what they say they do or would do if not scared.

Those people are then responsible for the consequences of what they do. If they participate in the construction of their own oppression, and more particularly in the oppression of others (and in this case, egregiously so, picking on children), then they get held to account--until they do otherwise, completely so. If they take what is at base a bribe of fairly good pay and benefits to conduct the incessant harm of much of schooling, more than their integrity should be in question.

Business schools are, often, part of public schooling which is, in fact, a myth, a fetish.

Privatization is a second or third tier issue. Fighting privatization and ignoring the barbaric life of too much of schooling is like demanding the end of Blackwater and forgetting about the US military.

Economic theory and practice--yes. That would be the theory and practice of capital's schools, which are not educative, but hothouses of capitalist thinking and practice.

Neoliberalism is capitalism--not much new about it that I see. Imperialism running wild, producing its necessary wars. Exploitation by the many by the few. Inequality. Mass unemployment. Racism. Every one of those things is a product of capitalism.

What is new is the emergence of the corporate state, fascism, which needs to be upended, not supported. To uncritically support the fiction of public schools is to ease the emergence of that corporate state, to mis-lead others about why things are as they are.

The corporate state, now complete, is the use of government as an executive committee and armed weapon of the rich--every aspect of government.

Liberals have no answer to the charterist's assault on schools because they wind up defending a myth (public schooling, always segregated, never public, always promoting lies) that is now about 1/2 exposed. Oddly, it is often the same people who have condemned the daily practices of most schooling, offering concrete proof of its horrors, who now want to push back against the charterists. Can't have it both ways.

Yes, of course, most charters are business centers, more so than many schools. But some are not. It is a shame the left has not been able to take advantage of the charter opening and given some kids a chance, even if it only lasted a few years.

The more pressing reality, within the rise of corporate state fascism, is the merger of government (and its schools) and companies at every level. It is easy to see that in play with the bank bailouts, the wars, the industrial bailouts, etc. It is only a little harder to see that in schools--a glaring example would be the takeover of three Detroit high schools by Walmart--not chartering them, just turning them over as training centers.

Too often, this is just, "save my school job."

Well, if the job is child abuse, as much of it is, then that is an argument that holds little water. If it is "save my job while I fight back on that job and here is exactly what I am doing, and to pay for my job I will show you how I will build a movement to attack the rich and make them pay us (rather than CTA's habit of demanding more money from workers in order to continue to oversee the rot of education)" then, fine, people should back that.

A mass activist social movement for equality can upend capitalist schooling and, inside schools and out, actually educate (lead out) people. The anti-war movement, mis-led by saps who refused to take on the issues of class struggle and imperialism, thus arriving with nearly no people and the people they do have don't know much of importance, is an example of how such a movement can fail, so far.

On October 7, people will once again have a chance to redefine themselves.

The students who led the March 4 actions have called for more walkouts, teachins, occupations, strikes, etc, on October 7th, depending on the ability of local people to analyze their own circumstances and act. There are meetings going on all over the state and in fact in several nations where people are, from the bottom up, struggling over issues like, "Should we tie the school cuts to the wars? Will people hear us if we say 'capitalism and imperialism' ? or will that offend people who might come? How to do an occupation? How can we keep this up?"

Those people, mostly students, are taking on labor hacks of all sorts who seek to divert and demolish this struggle, others from sects who want, in the main, to feed on more than build the movement, administrators who use carrots and sticks on them---all of the attacks we might expect on a movement that has some chance of sharpening the fight-back and building the kind of class consciousness which can sustain a long and difficult resistance that is surely ahead, one that connects, rightly, school and society.

Those students and others deserve and need support.

Up the rebels!

Good luck to us, every one.

— Rich Gibson


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