The best reason

Published by Lori Pickert on August 20, 2011 at 01:02 PM

The best reason to give a child a good school … is so that child will have a happy childhood, and not so that it will help IBM in competing with Sony. … There is something ethically embarrassing about resting a national agenda on the basis of sheer greed. — Jonathan Kozol

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9 comments

Comment by Anne T. on August 20, 2011 at 02:15 PM

Embarrassing is one word for it. Terrifying is another. After all the economic damage that's been wrought by citizens putting too much faith in the good intentions and clear thinking of corporations, why would allow them anywhere near our children?

Comment by Florence on August 20, 2011 at 03:59 PM

Amen!

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 20, 2011 at 05:30 PM

this focus on education as being preparation for *work* (rather than preparation for *life*) is another part of the (wrong, to me) idea that children's daily lives aren't inherently valuable. a child isn't just a pre-adult. his life isn't just a pre-adult life.

Comment by jane on August 20, 2011 at 06:32 PM

ahhh...I love Jonathan Kozol. Always have, always will.

Comment by Anne T. on August 20, 2011 at 09:11 PM

Lori, I find it strange as well. So much of our life is spent working, why the push to get small children started on it? Why the push for sitting at a desk with a laptop and a cell phone in your pocket? What about long stretches of time engaging with things other than a screen? With sticks, stones, paint, each other?

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 21, 2011 at 12:22 AM

jane, agree. he's always thoughtful and provoking.

anne, or .. (because you know i have to stand up for "work" ;) .. why not honor the fact that children have their *own* work .. the work they want to do. playing. exploring. doing things that matter. to *them*. honor what they do. instead of saying "this is all preparation for later, life is hard, get used to it." boo.

Comment by Stacey on August 21, 2011 at 02:10 AM

Growing up in New York this is what I saw. Get into a good nursery school so you could get into a good private school, so you could get into the most prestigious college, so you could go to the best grad schools. All of this so you could get a good job and work hard and advance so you could make more money until it was time to move to Florida....if you lived that long.

I never got it, maybe because I wasn't a great student but something about working always for something later in life struck me as wrong. Yet it has only gotten worse, now they expect you to have all those extra curricular activities as well just to get into college.

But until our government stops looking at children as economic assets (their potential as employees) or their economic risk (using public services) changing how things works will be very difficult.
No matter what good and inspired teachers do the policy makers aren't interested they aren't child oriented, or individual focused, but focused on the country and our rank in the world. This has all led me away from involving my family in the systems of education here.

Comment by Barb on August 21, 2011 at 03:33 AM

Currently. the "inspirational message" on the the sign outside of our local middle school reads, "Right now, your future competition is enrolled in pre-college courses and reading books. What are YOU doing this summer?" ugh. The elementary school sign says "Be a super reader! Read 20-30 minutes every day!" Every time I read one of those signs, it confirms that I will do whatever it takes to keep my kids out of that system.

Comment by Lori Pickert on August 21, 2011 at 12:58 PM

stacey, yes — now they control what you do in your free time, too! but that's what will allow you to have the fanciest golf cart in 50 years or so. ;)

there are wonderful and inspired teachers but their classrooms are like islands in a tossed sea of bad values and dodgy choices. policy-wise, everything is about some mythical "Child" who is going to become the prototypical "Worker/Consumer". you have to get really close up to stop talking about "Child" and start talking about Amy, or Dylan, or Cameron, or Mary. no one wants to do that at a policy level because it's impossible. only parents and a handful of the best educators want to do that.

barb, oh good grief "future competition". what a perfect anecdote to go with this quote!

as you know, i hate the whole "be a super reader!" attitude that turns reading into a necessary chore. shouldn't all teachers understand that reading is something absolutely wonderful to be treasured .. so it doesn't have to be sold like broccoli or sit-ups or tire rotation? what the heck?

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