Sunday, March 30, 2014

Agent of the state

I am a public school teacher. As such I am an agent of the state, and was told as much early in my training.

I am given tremendous powers, a fair amount of autonomy, and I get to share what I love to young folks because the state has decided that a working knowledge of biology matters. It's been a pretty good gig.

The idea that public schools exist for the public good has not changed so much as what we now consider the public good.

If folks trust corporate logos more than they trust what is ostensibly their own government, then we will get the kind of schools such thinking deserves.

This does not signal acquiescence on my part, but it does acknowledge a sad reality here in the States today. In the meantime I'll keep busting my ass to expose my lambs to ideas that (I believe) matter. I'll keep showing child after child the miracle of basil seeds turning into vivid green plants with impossibly delicious scents,woven with the particles of their breath, right here in B362.

If enough of them get a glimpse of what we're hiding from them, we'll get back our schools, and our government.

Heck, Eisenhower today would be considered too left even for the liberal side of the Democratic party.


John Spencer said...

It's amazing how much language frames this.

If you say "agent of the state," it has implications. If you say, "public worker," it has a different set of connotations. If you say, "representative of the community," it means something else.

I think I'm all three of those.

Our school is still funded by the community. It is still, in this sense, "owned" by everyone. However, there are systems at work making it a plutocracy.

I recently made a Google doc of things Pearson owns. The list was massive. I could have used McGraw Hill, too. Our district will drop three quarters of a million per year for Success Maker but they do not have money to pay librarians or school counselors.

doyle said...

Dear John,

Unless you're literally sharing the air around you with someone else, language frames everything we do.

It's what got us here; it's what's going to cause our extinction.