From Foreign Policy to School Systems

Perhaps the Pupil Knows Better--Goya

Recently I started working in our school system as a “preventionist.”  This is basically an aide position and paid that way.  The job posting required no degree and simply a GED as education level.  Preference would be given, though…

All that was indicated otherwise was, “should be able to work closely with a literacy coach.”

My comments have zero to do with the work which is endlessly boring (generally, as content is, well, elementary) and fascinating (in the particulars of little beings learning systems-being) at the same time.  Do you know what I mean?

Maybe you don’t.  I mean it’s hard, dull, exciting, weird, snotty, cute, ugly, loving, hateful, beautiful, human work!

But my point here is about something else: I’d just like to speak a word or two about that job title and its companion in this school system, “interventionist.”  You can readily discern their local characteristics: Interventionist, one who intervenes in the schools, in the context of each child’s performance as student and citizen AFTER the child has “transgressed;” Preventionist, one who, in the same context, intercedes PRIOR to any full-fledged transgressions.

This seems a direct (not seems, madam, is) correlation to US foreign policy.  It is our stated role as world’s “protector,” and our unrivaled power does not allow contradiction, to prevent and intervene in all ways regardless of any other nation’s or people’s interest

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We call some of our Wars “Humanitarian Interventions;” and now, thanks to the success of the Global War on Terror (my favorite fraternity-level-thinking acronym ever, the GWOT, which is only just ahead of the ROT for Reign of Terror) we live in a perpetual state of Preventative War, an oxymoron if there ever was one.

It’s my contention that we are using the school systems to normalize this kind of “mass” mind or groupthink.  If these methods and words can be applied to something as mundane, as quotidian, as public school then it will take zero effort for them to pass into our culture as things and ways “we” have always done and been.

In fact, I’d go so fars as to call it a “memory hole” act.  The school system offers a kind of mind wipe as to history.  If it’s operable in the schools then it takes on the veneer of “always has been this way.”

Of course we bomb and invade first, “confirm” later.  That’s what we do in school!  We single out and “prevent” in order to not have to “intervene” when a situation is “too far gone.”

Let me be very clear in stating that the job I just took is not different from any other aide job I’ve ever been aware of; it’s the language, the terms, that have changed.

When terms change, just like when measurements are adjusted, it is for a reason.  And it is important that you and I understand the larger implications of these changes.



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