Saturday, May 25, 2013

Scapegoating 101

It's odd to live in a country where billionaire Bill Gates can single-handedly control the education of our public schoolchildren. Gates, of course, sends his own kids to private school, so they won't be subject to the untested, unproven nonsense for which our children serve as guinea pigs. After all, his children are precious, and he wants the best for them.

Meanwhile, most of the country is wrapped up in value-added ratings for teachers. This means that class tests don't measure how prepared or informed kids are, but rather how well teachers are doing their jobs. Bill Gates knows that the only measure of a teacher's success or lack thereof is how well students score on standardized tests. How he knows this I have no idea, but since he has all that money there's not much point in questioning him.

Therefore students are responsible for nothing whatsoever. If they fail tests, it's because teachers failed to hammer the information into their receptive little heads. This is convenient not only for Bill Gates, but also for tinhorn politicians of every shape and stripe. After all, they've been working for years on their prime directive, cutting taxes for Bill Gates and big corporations, and working people have been slammed for years as a result. Poverty afflicts many Americans, and to fix it, it might be necessary to ask Bill's BFFs to pay their fair share.

What would happen then? It's well known that billionaires cannot be separated with one additional cent of their money. They might leave the area, leave the country, or move to another planet. Who, then, would suck the resources needed for our kids? Furthermore, is it fair to say that folks like Mike Bloomberg, who owns a mere ten residences, should have to think twice before buying another 90 or 100? Should Cathie Black have to check her purse before buying another penthouse or Hummer?

Let's get real, folks. Rich people are far too sensitive to think about that stuff. It's far more efficient to simply blame working teachers, and ignore facts on the ground. In fact, No Child Left Behind was modeled after GW Bush's Texas Miracle, which was an utter fraud. And the renowned architect of Race to the Top, Arne Duncan, was renowned precisely for Chicago's Renaissance 2010, which was an abysmal failure.

But as long as we ignore facts, experiment with hapless public school children, and blame teachers for everything, we don't need to think about any of that.
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