Monday, July 19, 2004

Jacoby-ism in the class room
Jeff Jacoby was smacking his lips with glee yesterday in his regular Boston Globe column.
It appears that the town of Saugus has been compelled to implement across the board budget cuts in it's school system. Most team sports have been eliminated along with the "Model U.N." (Hence you can understand Jeffie's gruesome glee...if he can't burn the real thing he'll see it's image defiled in Saugus) and a host of other extracurricular activities.
Well...times are tough all over and if girl's field hockey and the chess club have to take a hit then so be it. The state and the fed's have resolved themselves into vast Councils of Pedagogy loading up the localities with absurd standardized tests and other hopeless trifles.
Not much time left over to teach the kiddie's lacrosse I'll admit.
And frankly given the current climate of curriculum development written by committee we will see much more of this in the by and by.
Less money for schools as the latest baby boom peters out and more state sponsored mandates and guidelines.
But of course Jeff can never restrain himself and after gloating over Saugus' impoverished school environment he starts fantasizing about school choice and other chimeras as the answer to all educational problems.
He is hung up on the holy inviolate marketplace as the main means by which to train the future citizens of this democracy.
Frankly, I suspect Jacoby pretty much worships the free market in a particularly crude and pagan fashion.
He is akin to serious Jesus Freak in that regards...if ONLY principals could hire and fire teachers and commerce ruled the issue of school choice, everything would shine with a utopian light.
The notion though, that the free market somehow fosters diversity is pure fiction. There is little that is inherently fair about competition-just ask anyone who has tried to go up against Microsoft.
The profit motive can be a tremendous inhibitor of diversity and innovation...remember that the next time you are blasting down the high way and your only choices for dinner is McDonalds and Burger King.
Yet Jeff has the gall to rail against bureaucratic one size fit's all education. Gosh it was mere century ago that all the serious conservatives had a hard on for secular public education. They saw it as a bulwark against the predations of parochial schools and the so called fine eye-talian hand of the Pope.
Now of course they are in bid with political Protestantism so free public education has to be handed over to the hucksters and frauds.
Mind you, a secular public education IS yet a hallmark of a vibrant if movement conservatives like Jeff Jacoby have given up on free schooling then how soon before they turn on free elections and the bill of rights?

No comments :