A Christmas Carol and President Obama

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.

Ignorance and want and Pres ObamaOne 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



About Ken Previti

This entry was posted in betrayal, charters - vouchers, Common Core CCSS, corporate education reform, government, greed, ignorance, lies, poverty, privatization, propaganda, public education, testing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Christmas Carol and President Obama

  1. Reblogged this on Exceptional Delaware and commented:
    Replace Obama with Delaware Governor Markell, and NYC with Wilmington, and this is Delaware too. Excellent post Ken!

  2. Pingback: Ken Previti: What President Obama Could Learn from Charles Dickens | Diane Ravitch's blog

  3. VanessaVaile says:

    PS my Christmas Eve post was A Christmas Carol mashup. I’ve been off blogging (and very behind) but edited the mashup today to add a link to this post. Chris Newfield’s 2012 post, “A College Christmas.” on Remaking the University uses Dickens’ story as lens and context to write a student debt.

    Hard Times is worth revisiting too and also feels all too contemporary again.

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