Wednesday, May 2, 2012

McEducation in the Corporate Age: i'm loving it

May , 2012

Dear Teacher  School Worker,

Ask the kid in back with the McGrease-stained shirt what his job is and he'll tell you, "I work at McDonald's."  He doesn't say "I'm Sous Chef at McDonald's."  There are no Sous Chef at a McDonald's.  Just like there will soon be no more teachers left at schools. (I'm not sure there are many left now.)  When government gets done "reforming" public education, there will only be those who say, "I work at a McLearning Center on such and such street."

McDonald's hired scientific managers to figure out how to improve our lives by producing the cheapest, quickest hamburger around.  We no longer have to hire those with culinary skills, just minimum wage workers who stand on an assembly line and slap two pickles and shredded lettuce on top of the cheese and goo before passing it down the line.

Now I can sit in my car and get a Big Mac for about $3 in less than the time it would take me to park, walk, open a door, and get seated by the maitre d'.  You want to convince me this isn't a good thing?  Look up at the sign saying Billions and Billions Served.  Billions and billions can't all be wrong.

Schools need tough standards.  McDonald's has them.  When travelers from one place in the country eat a Big Mac on the other side of the country it taste exactly the same as every other Big Mac they've ever eaten.  You only get that with rigorous standards.  For years, this is what corporations across the nation have been screaming to have - conformed graduating seniors to fit their needs, and our government is finally coming through for them.  Double Bonus: it can all get done at a lower tax base since skilled teachers are no longer necessary.

Now, I understand the devolution of  education might be a tough transition for you, just as it was for skilled workers of the 19th Century whose trade vanished with mass production. However,  We can no longer afford to produce a hodge podge of graduating seniors at a cost of trillions of dollars.  Implementing standardization, accountability, and other much needed business model practices will not only bring about the uniformity of graduates needed to avoid inertia in corporations (which our government has proven will not be allowed), but save taxpayers billions of dollars.

There are over three million teachers with an average salary of over $50 grand a year.  That's about 1.7 billion dollars a year to just pay teachers.  We can easily cut a billion dollars from taxes just by deskilling teachers.  It works for McD's which doesn't hire chefs because most people aren't willing to pay seven bucks for a sandwich.  Don't forget, Billions and Billions Served.  

School Worker, be as honest with yourself as the kid at McDonald's who knows he's not a chef. The state standards have been around long enough to create an environment that  has been less and less about instilling self-reliance, creativity, how to question authority, or any essential function of a democracy. Sure, you "care" about kids, but you've been modeling how to give up your self-reliance, creativity, et cetera, at least for a decade.You've molded them to be like you - obedient, and compliant - so they can  graduate with the prescribed set of sub-skills needed for the corporate age.

Take a good, hard honest look. You've known all along you weren't preparing students for citizenship in a democracy, but instead to become denizens in a corporate-consumption society.  For awhile you've managed to place education outside this sphere, but now is the time to fall in place.  You'll learn to accept it, just like many have accepted a Big Mac as cuisine.

One day soon, when you no longer have to think hard about what to teach, or what methods will reach a kid because all you do is follow the script, you too will be able to say; i'm loving it.




  1. Or you just might become a vegetarian, and vote the bums out, and take back our schools.

  2. The truth hurts - then it sets you free. Thankfully, the development of an educated human being doesn't require state schools, and that was never the goal of public education anyway. Not to say that it wasn't the goal of many, many caring teachers and others throughout the history of compulsory schooling; it most certainly was (and is).

    Our new McSchools will do for learning what McDonald's has done for nutrition, and there won't be all those meddlesome "educators" to get in the way.

  3. When I finally send off the Letter to Obama from Dump Duncan I might have to start one of Mark Naison's "Freedom Schools." A small group of people trained in problem solving and higher level thinking skills could be VERY subversive in the brave new world you describe. I might have to sell my product on the education black market, but I think there is a small market niche for what I have in mind. Here is a link to something I wrote a few years ago that could serve as a start for my business plan.

  4. Teachers are the problem with education, right?? What will historians call this era of "reform" 50 years from now? Tragic may be used...

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  6. Remember, the "Beachhead" for the Educational Reformers (A.K.A. Privatizers) is the low-income, minority community. (If you don't believe it, go to any "Ed Reform" website and tell me how many black kids do you see in those photos, as opposed to white kids?)

    And, if you talk to an so-called Ed Reformer, they'll always lead with some bull$%** talking points about "It's not fair to the poor and minority kids to be denied choice and be forced to go to bad schools! And that's why I'm for charters, vouchers, and against teachers unions!" (Or at least against any rules that would actually allow a teachers union to be effective.)

    And, because of the billions they have from the Big Three Foundations (Broad, Gates, Walmart, eh, I mean, "Walton", as if there's a real difference) they can effectively bribe a small number of people in the minority community, knowing from the outset that these communities are always lacking funds. It's a vicious, cruel and cynical game plan; but they're determined to get what they want, and they know they'll find the least resistance here.

    Outreach to the minority community is always essential. But now, regarding education, it's even more so. The invaders have landed. They have their beachhead. Now, we're beginning to push them back, just like you would a swarm of ants at a picnic. It won't be easy. And it WILL be a long-term struggle. But we who value Education for All, will prevail.

    1. The more I research, the more I realize how insightful of a comment this was.