note from educatedtodeath: Feel Free to Engage this piece as you see fit. I will engage it with a follow up post.
Education requires a revolution. If anything is to get better, we must throw out, root and branch, every vestige of an aged, manipulative system that demotes students to slaves and teachers to drones.
If we are to restructure education, it must be done totally: institutionally, structurally, epistemologically and pedagogically. Nothing else is worth the attempt.
Work within the system, some say. To what end? We’ve been working within the system for decades. Nothing has changed for the better. Student achievement is plummeting and will continue to within this current structure, despite whatever momentary high points might exist. Even within that construct, the tests given don’t necessarily measure anything of worth. Instead they encourage wrote memorization [easily forgotten] and nothing more, generally speaking. What we have upon graduation are war-wearied students who are about to face another 4-10 years of ‘education’. What we have in totality are a bunch of paper-holding know-nothings. Ask yourself how this bodes for the future of a generation that has been sold a lie about education: “Go to school and you’ll get a good job”.
In a word, bullshit.
Now, this is not to disparage students, but rather to point out the failings of a defunct system.
Now, many of us are setting about the work of creating some new structure for education. What will it look like? What SHOULD it look like? Should education be as rigidly defined as it has been for the better part of two centuries?
Well, if the idea is applicable, appropriate education, what is “applicable”? What is “appropriate”? Who decides what is or isn’t appropriate? Who decides this going forward?
Currently, the State is the end-all of decision making in the realm of education. Any illusion people still hold to about school and district autonomy, not to mention parent involvement, are clinging to a dead, rotting idea. This has a knock-on effect, though. The State being the final arbiter of education has created a horrible moral hazard: Parents no longer give a shit about what their students are learning. Parents are able to maintain rational ignorance and claim moral fortitude – after all, the districts hire professionals who are learned individuals [certified, even! (or maybe certifiable)] that ought to be superb decision makers in relation to their children’s education, correct? This must be the proper way forward, yes?
No. Simply put, no.
The state must necessarily be removed from the decision making process. Parent involvement is directly correlated to child success and achievement, not how many interventions are made by State actors. The interference of government in education must be removed immediately before irreparable damage has been done to society.
Parent involvement is the most reliable and sure predictor of child success and stability in life. Without a doubt in my eyes, this ought to be the foundation. This has many, many ramifications, much of which is politically unpalatable.
Perhaps we live in an economically burdened society, made so by fantastic swindles originating in government and corporate incestuous relations. Perhaps it’s unreasonable to think that we could return to a time where one parent stayed home and was the predominant educator, caretaker and facilitator. We ignore the value of such a set up at our peril – children who stay with their family well into their formative years are more balanced emotionally and have better coping skills, among many other things. Perhaps we have matured enough as a society so much that new forms of education ought to be explored, though. Why are brick and mortar buildings still our go-to, for example? In a day and age where we communicate almost exclusively through the digital realm, we still expect our students to sit for 6-8 hours in a dreary, worn out building that resembles a prison much more than an inviting home – bars on the windows, things chained down, exclusionary discipline and chaotic “learning” environments. Schools are not here for education anymore – we need to come to terms with that immediately.
Schools exist to do a simple few things: babysit for parents chained to jobs for economic reasons, destroy any self-worth a student might have and create an obedient, unthinking population.
If you grew up never seeing your parents, you might be right in feeling like they don’t care about you as much as they ought to. What does this do to your self-image? And if you feel like you’re always wrong with every action you take at school, what motivation does that give you to create the next miracle cure? To invent the next technology that will solve the world’s energy or water problems?
And if you’re trained from age 5-18 that you get up when the bell sounds, you sit down when the bell sounds, you eat when the bell sounds, you read when the bell sounds, you leave when the bell sounds – how much more Pavlovian and unthinking could you hope to make a society? To boot, if asking questions is frowned upon, if freedom of movement is utterly restricted, if choice is negligible, HOW WILL YOU EVER BECOME A FUNCTIONING, USEFUL ADULT?
I teach in a predominantly black school in a low income area. Excepting students with legitimate disabilities, I do not know a single student that I would consider incapable of learning or being a useful participant in society. That being said, I would like to use what I’ll informally call ‘Ghetto Culture’ as a prime example:
The Ghetto Culture has lost faith in the concept of education. This is not due to the failure or loss of value in truly becoming educated, but rather due to the State’s failures and utter ruin in its attempt. The State has co-opted the label “education” and sullied it.
Anything that attempts to reach children in the ghetto [and extended beyond the impoverished daily] culture under the label “education”, however legitimate or genuine, is met with suspicion, contempt and an anti-colonialist sentiment, even if not so named. This is all the work of the State, which has molested and perverted the good ideal that is education and replaced it with schooling. Ironically, the State has labeled its schooling as “education”. Now the common interpretation is that getting an education requires putting up with all of the trappings of schooling. Education does not require schooling.
The State isn’t in the business of education. The State is in the business of schooling. There is a stark difference between the two. Education encourages diversity and creativity in thought. Schooling promotes uniformity and obedience – control.
The State has redefined education. It now means obedience. It now means control.
Very truly yours,
Reject All Systems
More and more I am beginning to perceive politics as the darkest possible farce, so cringe-worthy that its effect on ordinary life should be regarded as a form of terrorism.
Why Are the Majority of Children's Books Still About White Boys? -
In the most comprehensive study of children’s literature during a period of 100 years, researchers recently found that:
- 57% of children’s books published each year have male protagonists, versus 31% female.
- In popular children’s books featuring animated animals, 100% of them have male characters, but only 33% have female characters.
- The average number of books featuring male characters in the title of the book is 36.5% versus 17.5% for female characters.
It’s not just the quantity, but the quality as well. Female characters, as in movies, are often marginalized, stereotyped, or one-dimensional. For example, in Peter Pan, Wendy is a stick-in-the-mud mother figure, and Tiger Lily is a jealous exotic. The animated books featuring animals are particularly subtle. Think about Winnie the Pooh—Kanga is the only female character, and she’s definitely not one of the gang.
The researchers concluded, “The gender inequalities we found may be particularly powerful because they are reinforced by patterns of male-dominated characters in many other aspects of children’s media, including cartoons, G-rated films, video games, and even coloring books.”
But, it goes beyond gender and is true of racial and ethnic diversity as well. The Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education has conducted a survey of all kids and young adult books published each year since 1985. Of an estimated 5,000 children’s and YA books released in 2012, only 3.3% featured African-Americans; 2.1% featured Asian-Americans or Pacific Islanders; 1.5% featured Latinos; and only 0.6% featured Native Americans.
(Source: sparkamovement, via normalschool)
Awesome display in a public library showing why these classics were once banned.
Keep reading, y’all.
The following is a reading of Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control, but functions as a remix of the thoughts included in the original document with my learning injected. There is no delineation between Deleuze’s text/thought and mine. Please refer to the above link for any clarification. I’m trying to understand, and have been, and am starting to. Anything you can add will help - etd
Foucault located the disciplinary societies
spaces of enclosure: family, school, barracks, prison, enclosed environment
“a disciplinary society was what we already no longer were, what we had ceased to be”…. deleuze…. so were are no longer about tax, or ruling on death, rather in a “generalized crisis in relation to all environments of enclosure”… prison, hospital, factory, school, family. “The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools…industries….” Just keeping systems alive until new forces are ready… thus societies of control. Replacing disciplinary societies.
Free floating control? replacing old disciplines operating in the time frame of a closed system….. #so systems are less and less closed and centrally controlled. The roll of control is decentered with “free floating controls” could this be cell phones, policies, other actors within a network? “Control” … the “new monster”?
Ultrarapid forms of free-floating control… “no need here to invoke the extraordinary pharmaceutical productions, the molecular engineering, the gentic manipulations…” but they are invoked. Why?
Hospitals are now supplemented with neighborhood clinics, hospices, etc. thus extending the reach of hospital (decentralized control), so is this entanglement or interference? “could at first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control”. #School example… homework from teachers, extending into the home lives of students, apps, for teachers and students, testing, top down curriculum, walkthroughs, surveillance (panoptic), professional development that is limited and “generalized” to all teachers for all students, aids in massification and control, thus limiting the power of the teacher to deliver individualized help for students. Teachers may not always know where to find outside help or individualized support, or even connection to other teachers, thus being isolated (does this identify or link teachers to the concept of dividuals?). When teachers are isolated, overworked in a system where there is no opportunity to rest, continuous system of never ending tasks (Del. postscripts), the teacher may lose motivation to work to improve his/her practice because all improvements are passed down in the form of PD that is not customized to the schools, but functions as this algorithm of success, or external but entangled “control”. This isolation that is natural in such societies of enclosure can prevent a teacher from helping self and class. To overcome this, we as teachers, must transcend and work around these natural dividers. Using the deluezean metaphor of the rhizome as a goal for teachers to understand themselves with blogging and social media as the tool or “new weapon” for achieving this… something… empowered teachers… decentralized professional development, thus teacher quality can happen?
Just a fact of teaching… we are entangled with these surveillant “controls”. Even social media, cell phones, email, text messages make us “available” all the time. These are controls, yes, but can also be tools or “new weapons” (Deleuze says “There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.” New weapons, blogs
In logic section, what about analogical and numerical (but not necessarily binary) . What does that mean
Enclosures are “molds”, but controls are a “modulation”, “a self-deforming cast that will continuously change from one moment to the other, or like a sieve whose mesh will transmute from point to point” (Del)…..
#so enclosures hold things in place. They may even shape them permanently, but it is external. It holds things together… The system is falling apart…rather, it is being modulated, just as people are. I like the term “smear” like when you smear pastels. They all become entangled where one neither ends or begins. There are differences, but only seen from afar. Another example might be one of soup… separate ingredients blended and boiled together into one contiguous existence. Ingredients can no longer be distinguished outside their relationship to the soup as a whole. The same is with people. Take the classroom for instance… The classroom was once an environment of enclose, but is now opened to outside information and interference through mobile communications. Books are static snapshots of information. Teachers once, and in many cases, perceived as controllers of information in a classroom, are now decentralized. A student can text in a classroom, can google information, etc. even if there are policies that attempt to mediate this. The same goes for internet..
And the same can and does go for teachers. Teachers are often connected only at meeting or in the hall, sometimes a teachers lounge, but otherwise they function separately from one another. They are busy and after school rarely get together. They are isolated (find reference). Like other systems and actors within these systems, schools and the teachers, students, and admins, are not impervious to outside influence for benefit and connections. Teachers now have easy access to PD via social media, connections to a network of teachers, interaction with students if they choose (theirs or others), problems can be posted and solved with a group, teachers can seek out their own help, support, etc. It is up to the consumer/interactor of such information to judge the “validity” of the research, interaction, etc. they are partaking of, but this is not a problem, and shouldn’t be worried with “buyer beware”. The societies of control should be worried with this, perhaps, this positions the teacher as a more powerful being, as a consumer (ANT article), thus decentralizing power and making change/connection possible. Disturbing the ideological equillibrium.
Factory worked on bonuses (reinforcements), corporation metestability impose a modulation of salaries (step scale salary, salary scales, etc.) Contests, experience, seniority (perhaps mediated through unions, which is an external factor, a tension against the agent of control, in order to move to the next level, get the next pay grade, etc. A contest, humourous indeed. Interesting about the “most idiotic television game shows…express the corporate situation”. “Merit salary” increases competition, pits actors within the system against each other…. culture of mistrust.
What about “perpetual training replacing the school, and continous control replacing the examination (Deleuze)”. What of that… so this manifests itself to teachers in the form of CEUs, faculty meetings, and a series of corporate hoops to maneuver just to maintain, teachers have no control of this, just like corporate players don’t. You wanna keep your job, you jump through the hoops. You wanna move up, you jump through the hoops. This has been common place for us in education, but a “weapon” such as blogging can at least enable us to resist the controls that are harmful to us, our students, our society, by circumventing them. We can supplement and direct our own learning through simple dialogue. We can engage and support collective action (be supported too). We can learn about others experiences, give tips, share experiences. We can direct our writing toward a cause, or advocacy, we can organize. We can support change, such as virtually supporting a community that is going through the opt out process (cooperative catalyst). We can show solidarity and share tactics with striking teachers. We can solve problems in the classroom together. We can access teachers, administration, students, professors, policy makers. We become more entangled as a global community through social media (find citation). This should be obvious to users of social media. No hating.
Disciplinary societies always starting again “school to the barracks…” and so forth (Higher ed seems to hold onto this, a remnant from a past society). within “societies of control one is never finished with anything” Universal system of deformation?
To think about:
“The disciplinary societies have two poles: the signature tat designates the individual, and the number or administrative numeration that indicates his or her position within a mass.” …. “In societies of control, on the other hand, what is important is no longer either a signature or a number, but a code: the code is a password, while on the other hand the disciplinary societies are reglated by watchwords (as much from the point of view of integration as from that of resistance). The numerical language of control is made of codes that mark access to information, or reject it. We no longer find ourselves dealing with the mass/individual pair. Individuals have become “dividuals”, and masses, samples, data, markets, or “banks.”” #think about all this… minted money vs. credit “old monetary mole is the animal of the spaces of enclosure, but the serpent is that of the societies of control. We have passed from the mole to the serpent #interesting language. Serpent quite menacing and predatory, used as symbol of fear?…
Interesting thought that different machines are connected with different societies
Capitalism of higher-order production. What it wants to sell is services and what it wants to buy is stocks.
Corruption gains a new power… marketing has become the “soul” of the corporation.
Man in no longer man enclosed, but man in debt.
#so… control has shifted and entangled everything… power looks differently. We have more risks. I don’t know what I think about this yet….
Guattari’s city of access with one’s (dividual) electronic card… similar to cell phone, still happy capitalism, see Moxyland as literary example. Think also about how cell phone and constant connection influences and affects our movement and interactions, even choices through individualized marketing. Digital double„ data double.. most interaction is digitally mediated
“It may be that older methods, borrowed from the former societies of sovereignty, will return to the fore… #because new modes of comm make us/ can make us free-er?
Corporation at all levels of schooling?
Deleuze asks if unions which had been apart of resistance to disciplinary societies can adapt to societies of control? They may not be, but people are as a collective and through social media they are becoming one and functioning within and around barriers through the use of SM this could and should be improved for the purpose of a free society.. Given way to new forms of resistance. Culture jamming and remixing media can threaten the power of marketing. What is to be made of the thought of the individual functioning as a tool for marketing. When the corporation functionally annexes the dividual? Youtube and facebook marketing
Motivation should not be for perpetual training and internships, but to change the locus of control within the society. It should be decenter the corporation as a means of control. Blogging and SM, even though corporately designed and maintained can decentralize.
I have taken a valuable break from the blogosphere. I think this break has allowed me to distance myself from my blogging and consider the value of blogging: in general with value manifesting itself in the practice and mind of the blogger; blogging in terms of value to a greater community of bloggers, i.e., my (every blogger’s) contributions are valuable to the community and co-construction of knowledge; and value to me as a consumer of other bloggers writing an experience. We shape each other beautifully. This was most helpful to me as a teacher. My position in education has changed, but the value of this will not.
More benefits from my hiatus: I’ve considered some of the ethical implications of blogging, especially within the world of education blogs. The things we say have weight, potentially. Our position in popularity rankings etc. give us tremendous influence over consumers of the things we put forth. Should this limit what we say? I don’t think so. While I-you may have influence, it is our combined contributions that have power. Blogs are not static. They are not books on which a society may someday be built; rather, they are a portion of dynamic thought that shows our growth or changing as connected individuals who work in convert for change of some sort.
How has blogging helped you?
#education #revolution #occupyedu
I’ve devoted much of the past decade either preparing to teach or teaching. Never once have I been interested in being called a teacher. My sole interest, though often disrupted, has been to interact with other humans and share my love of learning—my love of becoming more and more human. I took my first job as an algebra teacher even though I was less than qualified with the subject matter in a relatively dangerous school just so I could share what had been shared with me through the years. I’ve taught different subjects, but have found the same joy of sharing with people. I teach what I know. They teach what they know. Each party grows a little. To Hell with the curriculum; education lies in the interaction.
Anything useful I have taught has been through honest interaction. In these moments I didn’t act as a pious sage. I was simply human. It never came from a book, although it often directed learners or myself to some source. Lessons aren’t prepared, they develop. My education on how to education was far different from what I am asked to enforce by administrators and evaluators. I’m asked to control kids and numb them with useless talk and practice that can be tested. The system of which I am a part is bunk and harmful to children and humanity. I am less convinced each day that there is any reform that can fix mess of a system—this beast of a machine. There are countless caring and well meaning educators whose efforts are thwarted by a brilliantly vile system. Cheers to you all. I need to make a step in a direction for the sake of myself and those around me. I want to share this life with thoughtful humans not mauled by a machine. What to do friends?
#education @coopcatalyst #occupyedu
Suppose we looked at teacher accountability in a new way? I propose we trust teachers—a little laissez-faire education if you will. This might require higher pay and a serious look at teacher education and quality, but it’ll balance itself out. With less money thrown at testing and corporate remediation materials plus the slew of highway robbers and scripted consultants there would be billions leftover for real improvement.
Let’s start by looking at real professional learning communities like tumblr education or Cooperative Catalyst (http://coopcatalyst.wordpress.com/). These are communities of educators who engage in constant self-assessment and community growth. They are teachers who challenge each other to be better teachers. There is constant debate and discourse. The collective knowledge and understanding of the teaching practice is ever growing and changing—it’s a lovely organism.
Teachers can be professionals. We are. Put it in our laps. We’ll make the changes. Hell, give us a politician to answer to, just see to it that we’re making the decisions. Many of us do anyway. The education revolution begins with us. It’s our ability to engage and organize—not politically, but intellectually, dialectically, and professionally?— that enables us to make tremendous changes with or without the support of our beloved bureaucrats.
Change occurs in our classrooms. It is spawned from our learning communities. Let’s keep pulling others in. You have made all the difference in my career.