jackie e stallcup
jstallcup at juno.com
Wed Dec 15 14:02:15 EST 2004
Well, not to be a spoilsport, but don't you think it's a bit more
complicated than that? First of all, there are plenty of good teachers
out there who are trying their best not to let the system be this way. I
can name a lot of my own teachers as examples, plus my husband works
extremely hard as a middle school teacher and believe me, his goal is not
to turn his students into factory workers. He's well aware of the many,
many issues that impinge upon their career paths and choices and does his
best to help all of his students find what fits them. I had plenty of
teachers who did that as well.
And second, speaking more broadly, from a class-based perspective,
different schools prepare different populations for different career
goals. I think the classic essay about this is by Jean Anyon, (it's a
chapter from the book Learning Power.) This essay stuck with me for
years. Indeed, I see a lot of what Anyon talks about in my husband's
school. But at the same time, my husband is aware of the stereotypes
that haunt his students and that are built into the system that he's
working within, and he tries to work against them.
Here's a link to Anyon's chapter:
As for having a population that isn't willing to deal with its young, not
every parent is equipped to deal with his or her young, and some kids are
far better off in school being taught than being taught at home. I
think, for example, of the young mother I saw on the train yesterday who
told her kid that he was a dumb, stupid f**k because he wasn't doing
something she wanted him to do. She said it angrily, but also casually,
as if it is routine thing that she says, not something where she just had
completely lost it. I think that if she were to homeschool her kids (if
that's what is meant by "take responsibility for them) that they would
end up more damaged than if they managed to get away from her and go to
I'm not saying schools are perfect by any means, (believe me,
homeschooling is something I'm considering if I do ever have kids) but
I'd like to think that my husband and myself and other teachers (on this
list and off) are not just babysitters who make our students be compliant
and learn to obey the clock. In other words, I would prefer not to tar
with quite such a broad brush.
> Public education is basically a baby-sitting and socialization
> provided by the government to a society that isn't willing to deal
> its young.
> The real use of public education is to accustom people to be
> in groups and to learn to obey the clock. That is, the real use of
> education is to equip people to work in factories and offices.
> That said, I'm glad they taught me to read and I'm glad I finally
> I was good at mathematics, but ....
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