Friday, February 21, 2020

"Make A Break For It, Kids!"

I want thank Peter Greene, the proprietor of Curmudgucation, one of my favorite education blogs, for sharing the following, stomach churning quotes from business leaders speaking about education:

"The workforce pipeline begins with quality early education." ~Gil Minor, retired Fortune 200 CEO

"I'm not sure public schools understand that we're their customers--that we, the business community, are your customer. What they don't understand is they are producing a product at the end of that high school graduation." ~Rex Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil and former US Secretary of State

I wish these businessmen were Dickensian outliers, sociopathic aberrations who in no way speak for the business community writ large, but they aren't. They probably don't represent all business people, but they represent the dominant strain of corporate thought about our children: that they are products to be consumed by business and education is how we fatten them up. I'm sure they don't say these things about their own children, but they are saying them about yours and mine. And our policymakers listen to them.

As Utah Phillips famously ranted while speaking to an audience of graduating students:

"You are about to be told one more time that you are America's most valuable natural resource. Have you seen what they do to valuable natural resources? Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don't ever let them call you a valuable natural resource! They're going to strip mine your soul. They're going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist."

And that is what I expect our schools to do: to teach our children that it is not just their right, but their responsibility to resist those who would put them into pipelines, consume them, or otherwise reduce them to their economic roles. It’s time to start warning our children. As Phillips cried out as he was being dragged to the door by men in suits, "Make a break for it, kids! Flee to the wilderness . . . The one within if you can find it."

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