Friday, November 16, 2012

November dark, Arne, and local slugs

The terrible beauty of Inishmore, ragged rock jutting from the Galway Bay, softened with the lush green of moss, define the few folks who spend their lives there.

The sea and mist, the perpetual dark of December, the endless miles of stone walls defines the folk who live there. Language itself blends with the land.

The land made the Irish as much as the Irish worked the land, each failing to tame the other.

Arne Duncan claims loyalty to Chicago, but his archetypal story focuses on a basement in his mama's school, saving the brown-skinned folks from illiteracy. Oh, he changes the adjectives a little, maybe uses a little more nuance with his nouns, but that's his story, the one he chooses to tell.

Did he mention he plays basketball?


Ireland has a long history of other peoples invading, ultimately becoming Irish themselves. The story of the Anglo-Irish infuriated English kings, and they adapted to the ways of the earth beneath their feet.

Arne Duncan and his army of corporate fools is colonizing my school. My neighbors spends thousands of dollars to support our schools, and Arne's Federal army throws a tenth of that our way.

Yet we continue to bow to him.

At what cost?

If we continue to treat the winds swirling our way from D.C. as just another nor'easter, one we can handle until the next one comes, we are mistaken.

I am a science teacher, with a reasonable number sense, a reasonable grasp of statistics, and no agenda beyond helping my neighbors' children live a life worth living. Yes, I make a decent wage--maybe less than my days succoring the afflicted, but more than enough to wile away a few afternoons each month raking clams, brewing ale, and living a reasonably happy life. I'd like my students to have a shot at the same.

Just about every "study" I dissect pushed by Arne, or Eli Broad, or our own Chris Cerf, I found obvious holes. Either these masters of power are stupid (and trust me, they are not), or they are feeding an agenda that has no concern for the slugs on the Bloomfield Green enjoying this last warm November eve before the dark chill of winter settles upon us.

Arne has never set foot in my town, and would not know it if he did. He lives in a world of human construct, a dangerous world where ideologies trump life, where sentimentality replaces affection, and power trumps love. He is of everyplace, and of no place, untethered power.

If we continue to train our children for a mythical international economy that builds little worth building if you define "worth building" as healthy food, decent water, clothes on one's back, and a few hours a day to chase butterflies. I'm no more interested in ultra-corporatism than I am in fascism. I am interested in clams and ale.

I once extended an invitation to Arne to visit my mudflat. I'm retracting it. Label me a backwards, parochial  provincialist, but know this.

I am happy, and I live with many happy people. Our schools are supported by good people at a much higher cost than sitting in your wealthy mama's basement reading stories to folks he calls "the underclass."

The Irish paid a terrible price for occupation over the centuries, but they remained essentially Irish. We here in Bloomfield want our children to be, above all, children of Bloomfield. 


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see someone else ask "stupid or evil" about (educational) leadership. I find it hard to believe that ordinary people can be so evil against poor children; stupid is so much more available to me. And well-paid people in positions of power are not by default not stupid.
Plus, they are stupid enough not to be willing to learn from new input. Self-serving intellectual myopia is not not stupid. It's probably wicked if it negatively affects other people for personal profit.
I'm thinking that, as a physician, you weren't stealing kidneys to sell to rich people for personal gain :-)

doyle said...

Dear Anonymous,

I've had the true privilege of meeting our state secretary of education where we could both talk freely, and the man is bright, and has managed (I think) to convince himself that he is truly acting in the best interests of the children.

Maybe I need to refine my definition of evil--if you are bright enough to know better, yet use you intelligence in ways that are counter to what you would believe otherwise, then that's a subtle evil, perhaps more dangerous than the run-of-the-mill evil that has no concerns over motives.

We all have an obligation to assess the consequences of our actions. We have enough evidence now that much of what Arne and Gates and Mr. Cerf are pushing not only does not work, but causes harm.

Yet they persist. THe evil is in the persistence.