Why did Charles Dickens write A Christmas Carol in 1843?
Dickens visited Field Lane Ragged School in London.
“Field Lane and similar schools left Dickens completely appalled. Like the treadmill (which was attached to nothing and served no purpose except to inflict physical pain and exhaustion) and the Poor Laws, they really were little more than an attempt to get… children off the streets. Anything resembling useful education or hope was barely visible at such schools. Dickens saw clearly that, under the guise of help, impoverished children were being written off as both unsaveable and undeserving, mere brutes who needed to be kept from sight of the middle class and turned into docile slaves of mills and factories. The concept that they were even children, or deserved… cheer of mind and body, seems to have eluded most people promoting these institutions.” ¹
Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in a rage. He spoke truth to power.
“There was nothing Dickens hated more than people who deliberately shut their eyes and pretended not to know or understand in order to promote their own already established attitudes.”¹
The people who ran all of these educational institutions financially profited from each child by charging the government a per child fee; these fees provided them with generous salaries and bonuses. Children were monetized by paying public education taxes to private investors, often absentee investors and group investors.
Ignorance (lack of a decent education) and Want (poverty) were furthered for the greedy purposes of well-connected financial investors.
One hundred seventy-one years later in the wealthiest nation in the world, President Obama made some startling statements about high stakes test scores (attached to Common Core State Standards) that profit well-connected financial investors who get the money from education taxes.
Some of his statements were true, some were based in truth and spun, and others were simply not true.
Anthony Cody politely shared the reality in his Living in Dialogue article. “However, as to President Obama’s last claim, I am not sure how this can be true. New York State, one of the places where Obama administration’s reforms have been implemented the most aggressively in the nation, has indeed seen a shift in African American and Latino test scores — but that shift has been downward. In March, Carol Burris and Alan Aja shared the dismal results.”²
Dickens’ voice in the character of the Spirit of Christmas Present says it all.
“This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”
¹Katherine Kroeber Wiley in the introduction and notes of the 2004 publication
A Christmas Carol, The Chimes, and The Cricket in the Hearth published by Barnes & Noble Classics
²Anthony Cody in President Obama Claims Test Score Gains in livingindialogue.com