Eli Broad, Billionaire Gift Giver (Strings Attached) of the Broad Foundation, made a clear statement of what schools are for in 2008:
Those of us who come from the world of business understand what is at risk if we do not dramatically improve our public schools. Our economy, our standard of living and our democracy could be jeopardized in a global economy in which education has become not the great equalizer but the competitive advantage. Our students need every advantage we can provide them. And public charter schools have the competitive edge.
In the “global economy” education is a competitive advantage…for what? He doesn’t say.
But Broad goes on to offer 5 specious things that schools he funds are required to do (and he’s here to tell you they don’t muck around with the color of wall paint, damn liberals!). My favorite are the last two. Here’s #4:
Fourth, to meet their students’ academic needs, successful charters use research-based practices that have been proved to be successful in educating kids. These include creating smaller schools, offering double blocks of math or reading, extending the school day or enforcing a strict dress code.
Doesn’t this sound like a great place to learn how to be an awful grunge and dull servile animal–Broad’s beasts of burden!
Here’s a glimpse at how he trains these creatures:
KIPP schools is another charter school operator that has had similar success. In January, our foundation gave it $12 million to open four schools in Los Angeles. Its students attend school from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; they attend school every other Saturday; they attend school during the summer; and they make a commitment to learn. More than 80% of KIPP alumni nationwide are attending college.
Here is the “advantage” that Broad is getting at–a shift labor force trained to time discipline from pre-K forward. After all, our inner city workers must prefer the kind of slavery Apple offers in China to the likely prison cell waiting for them, right? Surely once Broad gets through with the “next generation” of learners corporations will be more than happy to locate factories here and pay a buck fifty a day.
Broad’s last key to succes:
The bottom line: Students perform or the schools are closed.
Don’t think of schools as en loco parentis–your home away from home where the environment nurtures your human development–that’s wall paint color thinking. Don’t think of the school as a place where a community is formed–a common ground held in memory and possibly shared with one’s own children–because one day you will wake up and the school has become an apartment complex.
Even the successful grunge, the high achiever in Broad’s terms, will be left out in the cold seeking out a new dungeon to which they can hitch their wagon.
It’s a hard knock life.
Photo Credit: cogdogblog