Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Business Roundtable teaches biology

A quality science education fosters a population that...applies scientific knowledge and skills to increase economic productivity.

I am a science teacher, and occasionally a good one. I am certified by the state of New Jersey (Liberty and Prosperity), and paid by the Township of Bloomfield, which was bought from the Yancetaw Indians. Our first public school opened in 1758.

This makes me a government agent.

Prosperity (from our state motto) keeps getting confused with economic productivity, which smells like part of the Business Roundtable's undemocratic take-over of a public institution.


Tonight I made a butter run (salted, of course) to the local A&P; I said hello to Michael, now a man whom I've known since he wore diapers, while he lassoed some carts, working at the same place his brother has for years. While in line at the checkout, a young child, perhaps 5 years old, shyly made eye contact.

I knew the checkout lady, she's been there forever. I've been going there forever. The store has been there forever. My grandfather, born in 1898, used to work at another A&P when he was still a young man. The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company has been around forever.

Forever's about to end.

The Business Roundtable folks may know how to run a business (though the recent evidence suggests otherwise--we're in for a long slide), but they know jack snot about biology.

All economies are ultimately based on reality, on the natural world. Soil. Water. Wood. Oil. Corn. Cotton. Wool. You can still follow the price of pork bellies in the New York Times business section.

If we continue to define prosperity by growth, even prettied up "sustainable growth," our children will be harmed.

Carrying capacity is the number of organisms of a particular species a given patch of Earth can sustain indefinitely.

In class I try to make connect my lambs to the world, to what's real, to what matters. I do not, however, want to give them nightmares--there's time enough for that in early adulthood.

If the NJ DOE continues to kneel down to the Business Roundtable and Achieve, Inc., and other groups who do not have the best interests of my students at heart, then do not be upset if I start sharing the truth.

Humans are animals. The land, the seas, have limits. The economy cannot (and will not) grow indefinitely. The living world is collapsing, and it's going to get ugly, real ugly, in a generation or two if those with money do not pull their heads out of their collective (and full) sigmoid colon.

The young girl I saw tonight, smiling as the checkout lady chatted in a dying store, does not deserve the education the Business Roundtable wants.

She deserves better. She deserves the truth.

The Business Roundtable lifted from their site.
The Monopoly photo from Life collection at Google.
And yep, I'm serious....we cannot handle the truth.


Unknown said...

Simple political theory tells us that local control of civic institutions is not "capitalism" or "socialism" (both of which are economic, not political systems). It's democracy. National control of local systems gets into federalism, which is similar, but not the same thing.

Government-funded corporations taking over local public institutions is fascism.

doyle said...

Dear John,

True, though a lot of folks are confused on that--the Constitution is a wonderful document, but has nothing to do with capitalism.

It's privately funded corporations that worry me most. Bill Gates is a scary man.

Unknown said...

I actually got a ton of backlash when I wrote a fictional article on my Pencil Integration blog about a robber-baron-paper-tycoon named Phil Bates who was giving a talk for a guy named TED. It was meant as a joke, but it infuriated some people.