Cuts to public funding: anti-emancipatory action

I was thinking earlier on Twitter about the role of standards, the decline of public education funding and performance in the U.S., and cuts made by states and federal government recently to K-12 and higher education spending. Many of these will result in poorer education, reduced access to education, and widespread unemployment over the next few years in both direct teaching systems as well as corporate sectors that support education

Why would those in power want to encourage a decline in education in the U.S.?

Those ideas from my Twitter are in quotes from here on: “The first is that an educated populace is more expensive to hire; thus, outsource to countries where salary costs are lower. Poor education here (in the U.S.); lower costs for employers.” At the same time, they have been encouraging the destruction of public and private unions in the U.S. geared towards protecting instruction workers salaries and rights. Governors like Scott Walker and Chris Christie are constantly on the attack against both instructors/teachers and unions, which they claim are to blame for their states’ fiscal problems.

In fact, a Google search for teachers unions comes up (TWICE!) with ahead of the American Federation of Teachers and National Education Agency, which means someone is paying to have it show up that high.

“It feels anti-emancipatory. Instead of enslavement on plantations, enslavement to corporations as employees and consumers. The focus on low-level basic knowledge that includes only the information the system wants the public to have ensures no critical thinking.” If we are taught there is only one right answer, we will not question the decision of the moneyed and political classes. Thus, there is no challenge to their authority.

Further, because we cannot think, even when we are angry, we see no solutions but those provided to us by those in power. “A poorly educated populace is easier to control and manipulate. Thus, our education systems seek to create students that will not critique…” the systems, power structures, and directives from those that control the systems. Further, if we keep forcing people to be more productive by eliminating jobs, they have no time or energy to think or question.

“If it says one answer on the test is the right one, it is forever more the right answer and should not be questioned.” I have had many students over the last few years in Texas that not only do not question what they are taught, they become angry when I ask them to do so. There must be one right answer and it is my job, according to them, to provide it.

So, my question, to which I currently have no answer, is this:

“How do we design and implement an emancipatory curriculum if a. the system is against it and b. the students are indoctrinated against it?”

Of course, I work in a right to work state, so I suppose I’m not allowed to say much. I guess it’s from growing up in Detroit.

Here is a fun video explaining the federal role in education.


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