0083: Schools as Guardians of Class Division
#education #poverty #class #slum #edreform
Schools are marketed as beacons of hope. A proper education promises a better future with access to a college education, to riches, a good job, and stuff. This is the carrot we hold before our students to encourage them to work hard. It’s the stuffed bunny at the dog track. The definition of proper education, for sometime now, includes high test scores. Good schools have good test scores, right? No school is exactly performing on par. We’re all looking for some better measure, some alternative for accountability— at least we’re hoping for something different.
But, the problem isn’t exactly as simple as test scores. Education isn’t even the problem. The problem is that “education” the miracle cure is curing nothing. There is no social mobility with schooling. Slums stay slums, and middle class neighborhoods become slums. Schools are of little benefit other than supplying teachers like me jobs. We buy into the system of hope and try to share that hope with our students, but they’re not buying it. Education fails miserably at empowering people to transform their communities and lives. Rather than being a catalyst for empowerment and transformation, schools function as institutions that enforce socio-economic stagnation. They keep the classes separate. People who go to poor schools live, and continue to live in poor communities. Sure, there are people who make it out. They crack the glass ceiling. They transcend class, but that is not the norm. We teach a state standardized curriculum that does little more than bore our precious students and extinguish their curiosity. We kill minds systematically with tests, forced compliance, and meaningless curriculum. If schools were ever doing what they claimed to do there would be fewer slums. Public education, from my vantage, is doing little more than providing the textbook industry with a steady demand for remediation materials.
Someone please correct me of I’m wrong. I need hope.