realinterrobang (realinterrobang) wrote,

Separate and Multivalently Unequal: The DeVos Education Time Bomb

Of all the ways the upcoming US Trump presidency concerns me, I think education is right up at the top, in part because I believe it's a delayed-action timebomb. Yes, the immediate effects to any wide-scale dismantling of the public education system will be devastating, but there will be a second wave of effects that probably won't be felt until about 20 years later, I think. The effect may be similar to what happened to the Lost Generation in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in the wake of school desegregation orders, and the subsequent "Massive Resistance" campaign that closed public schools for five years, meaning that African-American children who did not have out-of-county or out-of-state relatives to go and live with, or parents wealthy enough to send them to private schools (a few private schools did exist for African-American children) lost five years of formal schooling.

The plan that DeVos and people like her propose for education in the United States has four main objectives. The first is to resegregate schools by any means necessary. The second is to do an end-run around the Lemon test as it applies to US public schools, in order to allow public money to be used for religious schooling. The third is to funnel money out of the public system into private hands, probably theirs. The fourth is to create a tiered education system, which would probably work something like this...

The wealthy people's kids will go to private schools with well-paid, well-trained teaching staff recruited either from their own ranks or from the ranks of the "educational petty bourgeoisie" below them. Some extremely high-achieving or promising kids from the middle and potentially lower classes may be offered scholarships to preserve an illusion of fairness and/or to make sure that the very wealthy have a supply of extremely well-trained professionals (such as lawyers or doctors).

The next tier down will be less-expensive private or well-funded charter schools, staffed with reasonably well-paid and well-trained teachers, but without the cachet or credentials of those who teach the upper class. These schools will educate and train the children of the less wealthy to be the wealthy class' professionals and functionaries, that is, the future lower-ranked doctors, pilots, engineers, designers (industrial, graphic, fashion), IT staff, architects, maybe the odd lawyer or two, mid-level and low-level business functionaries and public servants (the upper class gets to produce all the VPs and C-level execs, as they generally do now), emergency response people, etc. A few high-achieving or promising members of the lower class will attend these schools through scholarships.

The lowest tier will consist of any remaining rump of the public schools, fly-by-night charters, diploma mills, shitty cyber-charters, and religious academies where kids will learn that Jesus rode a dinosaur and the earth is 6000 years old, and flat, and maybe how to read a little and do some basic math. These are the schools of last resort, and where the vast majority of poor kids, childen of colour, hard-to-teach cases, kids with handicaps or learning disabilities will end up. These schools will be a pipeline to low-paid service or manual labour jobs, or prison.

Now, when I say this is a time bomb, don't think about the kids who are in school now, per se, think about the first cohort of kids who go through school entirely in this system. Now think about how this will even further reduce the incoming pipeline for post-secondary education in the US, and what effect that will have on things like R&D, academic research, tech companies and startups, and so on...
Tags: culture hacking, disability, donald f.f.f. trump, enormous dumb, glibertarian idiots, high school confidential, history, i hate americans, politics, racism, right-wingers, school daze, teaching, toxic sludge is good for you, united states

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