Wednesday, May 09, 2012


The schools in my state are in decline. That this is so is not argued by anyone. But it's a curious thing when you google the subject and read the articles, the focus of energy on this subject is a rigorous exercise in finger pointing. The teachers point blame at the parents, the parents point blame at the administrators, Mitt Romney blames the unions.

This is such a long-standing and heated exercise that has been going on year in and year out, all the while the schools are turning out graduates or drop outs who will be completely unable to compete in a world economy, or interact with each other in any kind of functioning society.

There are misguided "enlightened" educators in private schools who either lather on piles of punishing homework to accomplish two things - pleasing parents thus keeping their tuition dollars and implementing a lazy and easy solution to the accusation that the dismal results aren't being addressed. Did you know that private schools call children "product?" They do. That's what your kids are. A commodity, a widget, a manufactured object for sale. We are a consumer society after all, so why not, eh? Just let that sit with you for awhile.

California is in bad shape educationally. I don't have all day to look up links for you. I'll try later. Just to say for now - that the collection of taxes for schools and the apportionment of taxes for schools is likely mutually exclusive. And a good chunk of the school taxes, I believe, go to a nifty budgetary item called "redevelopment," which has nothing to do with schools. But as this is not my main point today, I have to table looking this up for now. I did it before, but didn't save the bookmarks. Sorry.

The private school sector in my area is also taking it in the shorts because of the economy. The competition for "product" is intense. Better off schools are giving financial aid away like political campaign door hangers. Schools lucky enough to have endowments will weather the storm.

My son's school is not so lucky. He'll be fine as he graduates to high school next year, but he faces a year of surgically amputated services and questionable staff retentions. There are a couple really good teachers left for him and he is hard working and very bright. Sadly, this once sweet school has resorted to holding the parents in such contempt that we are fed half truths and outright misrepresentations too late in the day to make any kind of new arrangement for our children's product's education. And this is not my point either.

In listening to other parents speak around the parking lot, in our personal circumstance, the prevailing comments are "Parents aren't going to do anything. They'll whine and complain, but they won't do anything;" "Well, what can we do? There's nothing we can do;" and the worst one of all "I always wait for someone else to do something."

Wait for someone else to do something. This is exactly the prevailing attitude of the majority of parents in my school. I believe that this is the prevailing attitude of the majority of citizens in my community. I believe that this is the prevailing attitude across states and the country in general. And I believe that this has been the prevailing attitude for many years now, judging by the condition of our various state and federal governments.

"It's too big for me to fix" "I didn't break it, why should I have to fix it" "It's not my problem" And every year a little bit more is sliced off of our American body. Snip snip here, snip snip there. A little liberty off the sides and just a touch of prosperity there. It's happened so gradually and we've been rendered so compliant and complacent that the corporate we of citizenry have been managed into a feudal corner of impending serfdom.

But those few left running things have nothing to fear, because we all believe in our own incompetent impotence. To the point that any kind of organized protest is swiftly managed and turned into anger against each other (I refer to the Occupy Wall Street protests in particular). The days of this actually making any kind of meaningful improvement for society in general are currently dead -

When I heard that "I always wait for someone else to do something" yesterday, my response was "There is no 'someone else'. YOU are someone else, I am someone else (I pointed to other parents) he is someone else, she is someone else. And none of us are going to do a thing, because we are all pansies." I wanted to say "pussies", but it was school and kids were about to come out. And I'm a pansy too. I did speak up once. And because no one else has joined me - well maybe one other - I have to put the Kraken back into the cage and look after my boy. Because they will hurt him if I don't. They'll rationalize it and call it other things, but they'll hurt him and get away with it. They are doing it to other kids all the time. It's not big egregious hurts like physical molestation or anything like that. It's hurts like - sabotaging his high school entrance, skewing his grade average to a lower one, singling him out as "difficult" or "troublesome" when he's not at all. Telling him "your mother doesn't love you" (last year). Stuff like that. This happens in all the private schools from what I hear from teachers. And the public schools are worse.

 I believe it's just a mirror of our society as a whole. Therefore, my friends, when we are all grouped together in our feudal fiefdoms, cast into our roles of well supervised servitude, we have no leg to stand on to complain. We are not protesting now. We are not organizing now. We are not making any kind of viable changes now. Why? Because surely someone else will do it.