The problem with the Blueprint for city schools is not, as a recent study suggests, that the program is being handled in dictatorial ways. The problem is that dictatorial methods of implementation are built into the tyrannical outlook of the plan itself.
The Blueprint is designed to shatter one key component of any educational
system, the linkage of a student and a teacher, and to replace that teacher's
mind with the arrogant minds of Alan Bersin and Tony Alvarado, both of
whom use the plan to enrich themselves and their friends, while classroom
teachers must beg for supplies and students are turned into salespersons
to get materials for their schools.
Using high-stakes tests, themselves racist and anti-working class; the
Blueprint has fomented an atmosphere of greed, fear, and hysteria in the
schools-hardly good grounding for learning anything but the promotion of
child abuse. With this as background, it is clear that the Blueprint is
not concerned about creating critical thinkers, but with creating a spectacle,
the appearance of learning, absent the substance.
There is nothing new or innovative about the Blueprint. Dividing a work
force, stripping them of their skills, treating them like commodities;
such is, unfortunately, the nature of most work places. The horrific problem
is that the product of schools is not widgets, but children. The Blueprint
is typical of similar measures in large urban school districts around the
US in pilfering freedom to be curious, explore, and assess over time. It
is also commonplace in that it is a well-funded, full-scale assault, not
on the conditions of poverty and despair that undermine the education system,
but on the people who are victimized by the failures of capitalism-not
The Blueprint is designed, not to promote educational excellence, but
to categorize children by birth-class and race, to segregate kids, educators,
the curriculum and teaching methods along those lines. The Blueprint promotes
irrational methods of instruction (like disconnecting reading and writing)
in order to mask the realities of day to day life (inequality, racism,
authoritarianism), all under the false guise that, "we are all in this
We are not all in this together, as every message of daily life, from
the Enron crimes to the current international war of the rich on the poor,
clearly demonstrates. The Blueprint is the vision of Blue Bloods, stamped
on learning. The Blueprint seeks to harness the hopelessness many people
rightly feel from meaningless jobs and a decaying economy, and turn that
despair into cries for more oppression via 'experts', while simultaneously
tamping down the hopes and esteem of kids who are unlikely to maintain
the incomes of their parents' generation.
The contempt that Bersin and Alvarado have for the teaching force, principals,
and other school workers is not a fluke in the midst of an otherwise fine
is the plan.
Teachers know that they do not have to be clerks for the empire. Even
under constant surveillance, it is hard to completely encapsulate a good
Tyranny, segregation, irrationalism, ruthless opportunism--all of that
adds up to the Talibanization of American cities where the economic crisis
is already being shifted onto the backs of poor people. Students, their
teachers, parents, and community people will not stand for Blue Blood rule
forever. This is the reason for the rising votes of no confidence in Bersin,
Alvarado, and their plan -and the reason their days are numbered.
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