When illusion becomes delusion, children and their schools fail, teachers are fired, and poverty is treated as a crime.
Name one failing school in an affluent community. One. In all of America.
The propaganda about failing schools being due to bad teachers is promoted by the vast power, wealth and influence of wealthy (not merely affluent) Corporate Education Reform organizations and foundations via corporate owned media.
American schools, removing scores from poverty afflicted communities, are among the best in the world. American education is NOT failing. (All schools in all countries need, of course, to continue efforts to improve and update. This is not the issue.)
The surge of propaganda claiming that those who fail (children, schools, teachers, etc.) are “undeserving” is blatant illusion.
America has the recurring cruel habit of punishing the poor for being poor.
In 1936 a famous French writer, Vladimir Pozner, wrote about his visit to America in the depths of the Great Depression.
“The News of Englewood reports that a hundred poor families of this rich Jersey City suburb eat straight from the trash cans, concluding: ‘This is a state of affairs that must be rectified at once, a state of affairs that any red-blooded citizen will want to put a stop to, even if it costs him his bottom dollar. The necessary amount must be raised immediately to build a waste incinerator that will put an end to these revolting practices.'”
– The Disunited States by V. Pozner recently published by the Seven Stories Press
In 2007 and again in 2011 the tents of homeless people, many of whom were veterans and children, were slashed by city officials and employees to cure the “blight” in St Petersburg, FL. The cut-up debris was dragged away to dumps. The homeless no longer had any way to protect themselves from the burning sun, biting insects, beating rain, and the wandering creatures of the night such as racoons, snakes, rats and opossums. In 2013 the same thing happened in Nashville, TN. In 2014 Pensacola, FL made it illegal for homeless people to cover themselves with blankets in public.
These homeless children and other poor children go to public schools when they can. Teachers do their best to teach them. The children, schools and teachers are declared undeserving failures.
Corporate Education Reform investors and propagandists continue the illusion. People who believe them suffer from the delusion.
Making poverty a crime is truly a crime against humanity.
By the way, here are some “feel good” illusions many of us sincerely wish to believe.
“Hard work will make people rich and famous.” (Every migrant farm-worker picking tomatoes would be rich and famous.)
“You can be whatever you want to be.” (Could you play professional basketball?)
“Don’t associate with those who make you feel down.” (If your mom is burned in a serious auto accident, disassociate yourself from her.)
“Get a job to escape poverty.” (Tell this to Walmart employees!)
“Every child should go to college.” (No explanation necessary.)
“Every child can read.” (This is one more reason why politicians who recite this should be removed from office.)
“Laughter is the best medicine.” (Tell this to anyone with an infection.)
The list goes on.
Paul Thomas in his superb blog explains that Education as the Great Equalizer is a Deforming Myth – Not a Reality. This is needs to be read by all who realize that the illusions and delusions we are swamped with are destructive.