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Re: Separate, Contained, Compliant, and Equal

Read this piece on Common Dreams---where they have also featured excellent commentary on RTTT and Duncan's failure to listen to relevant facts or understand essential research findings from Valerie Strauss and Jesse Hagopian in recent days---on the way back from Yellowstone. It was a nice way to get back into the routine of following the news. (Side note: I was in the camp where the bear attacked 10 days before, but we decided not to camp there, instead moving on to Pebble Creek, inside Yellowstone. Two days before we left, we did monitor a black bear about 50 yards from our camp. The camp volunteer co ordinator then had a talk with one of the campers who had left his bear proof food container open.)

Excellent analysis, Dr. Horn.

Brian LeCloux

"This is a nation where citizens are politically divided, distracted, uninterested, and submissive, and where 'elites' are happy to keep them that way."
---Paul Street, historian

> From: ontogenyx@gmail.com
> To: arn-l@interversity.org; epata@interversity.org
> Subject: [arn-l] Separate, Contained, Compliant, and Equal
> Date: Sat, 24 Jul 2010 08:14:36 -0400
> The Audacity of Arne Duncan
> Jim Horn
> Arne Duncan stood before the NAACP convention last week to repeat his
> claim that “education is the civil rights issue of our generation.”
> He also declared “the only way to equality in society is to achieve
> equality in the classroom.” Since Mr. Duncan did not spell out what
> he meant by equality or civil rights, let’s see if we can extrapolate
> his meaning from the policies he is pushing hard to be adopted across
> America, even if his heavy-handed forcing means ignoring the lawful
> Congressional role in making federal education policy.
> Apparently, Mr. Duncan does not believe that the equality shortage in
> classrooms that we have known about ever since poor children started
> going to school can be helped by fair housing policies, better
> transportation policies, improved health policies, or new jobs
> policies, any of which we know could affect the poverty levels of
> urban and rural America, where rates are now the highest, after taxes,
> of any industrialized nation. According to Mr. Duncan, it would seem
> that policy shifts or new efforts in these areas are unimportant, for
> it is “only” in the classroom that we may hope to achieve equality.
> Well, what kind of equality in the classroom would that be?
> Apparently, it is first and foremost a segregated kind of equality, a
> segregation that is aided by the spread of charter schools, which
> remains a top priority of the Administration. Two studies last year,
> in fact, showed incontrovertible evidence for the segregative effects
> of charter schools, whether run by non-profit or for-profit
> corporations.
> So by ignoring segregation within charters, we must assume that the
> kind of equality that Mr. Duncan is talking about does not depend upon
> the sharing of social and cultural capital that occurswhen
> socioeconomic classes are educated together, and it is the kind of
> equality that apparently pays no attention to the facility and funding
> advantages accrued when middle class parents lend their voices to
> decisions within the schooling community.
> Secondly, it has become a harsh, punishing kind of equality centered
> on remediation, ever since the “let a thousand flowers bloom approach
> to charters” has been replaced by an urgency to ramp up and bring to
> scale the “no excuses” KIPP schools and the KIPP behave-alikes. In
> these "no excuses" schools, equality demands total compliance by
> children who go to school nine or more hours a day and then have 2 to
> 3 hours of homework each night. Plus Saturdays and part of the
> summer. In order to be equal in these school and, thus, make up for
> the poverty that puts these students behind, they must be willing to
> give up their childhoods, family, and friends for a chance at passing
> the necessary tests that may or may not prepare them for college some
> day. For even though the “no excuses” chain gangs remain the dominant
> model for corporate education reform, we know very little about how
> these children will fare in independent learning environments after
> years of total compliance and behavioral/psychological modification.
> Thirdly, it is the kind of equality that denies the importance of the
> other massive inequalities within the communities where these poor
> children live. It is the kind of equality that does nothing to aid
> the child who must dodge bullets on the way home from a 9-hour school
> day, or who must return home to find nothing to eat. It is the kind
> of equality that refuses to enroll a child whose parents are not
> willing to sacrifice their child to a schooling regimen that parents
> of the leafy suburbs would consider abusive to children if it were
> their own being subjected to it.
> Fourthly, it is the kind of equality that depends upon assessments
> that put poor children at a great disadvantage all along the line, for
> there is no standardized test used in schools today, whether in third
> or thirteenth grade, that does not demonstrate, on average, a direct
> correlation between family income and testing outcomes.
> In short, it is the kind of equality that depends upon a race that has
> many starting lines but only one finish line, a race wherein the
> hordes of losers claim their place among those who deserve to be the
> “unequal,” children who will be dropped out, pushed out, and
> eventually forgotten behind the walls of the workhouses and
> correctional facilities that mark the destination in the school to
> prison pipeline.
> If Arne Duncan’s views on equality are evidenced in his actions, it
> leaves us with a troubling realization. For to understand that for
> Mr. Duncan to be right in saying that “education is the civil rights
> issue of this generation,” we must stand shamefaced in admitting that
> civil rights now demands from equality what we previously could expect
> only from oppression.