Worse? Of course even if it is the campaign manager and not the candidate. Who one choses as colleagues, partners, friends, accomplices does say something about a person. So, the ramifications of this story are many for it involves not only sleazy business dealings but business that affected the life of a nation and the lives of all the people who live there. Guilt by association? Absolutely.
Without a doubt in my mind I understand Donald Trump to be unfit for any public office. One does not have to collect new evidence of this though Trump engages regularly in acts that support disqualification. Simply put, he is not a very thoughtful person. He cannot engage with complexity or detect nuisance. What understanding of the world he does have he uses for nefarious purposes, his business dealing that are his claim to fame are not very helpful to the world beyond his own constricted world—his towers and his family, the family part probably a pretense anyway, for show to put some tenderness on mean spirit. If he is in anyway representative of who we are as a nation, then we, as a nation, need to search deeply to find out how we got to be so rotten.
I will vote against him and that will be the nature of my vote, a vote against and not for a candidate. The only competition this time around is only good because she is better and not because she is really good, at least in terms of being the kind of person who I can have confidence in to do what is right and necessary to make things better in a country where democracy has been co-opted by an economy that allows a very few to accumulate very much and then use it to buy off the political system that should be the people’s.
The election began with hope, not the Obama kind of hope that was hope for stability rather than change, stability that would keep in place the rules that have allowed predatory capitalism to have its way with a public too often too ill-informed to understand what is happening and why what is happening to members is happening. That people have not gotten any smarter since the current president took office, that the schools that should prepare a people for self-governance, the essence of a viable democracy, have not improved—have gotten worse in ever so many ways—signifies continued rot. The current best candidate, though supported by some of my favorite educators, some of my favorite people in government and the agencies that do serve the people—Planned Parenthood and the NAACP, for example—are advocates for Ms. Clinton. I am too, because she is the best available now, but I with a great amount of trepidation; too many others with too much glee, too much because she is as much a part of the problem as she is of the cure.
I do not want to repeat what has already been said (but not so well heard) about telling dealings and relationships that put Ms. Clinton too close to the very people and institutions that are destroying democracy to favor the desires of plutocrats. She has even been known to be on friendly terms with her asshole of an opponent and an ally of the Walmart family (I believe she served on that company’s board of directors). And most know about those speeches to the wealthy and their corporations that earned her more money in an hour than the average teacher can earn four years.
But what is really troubling to me something other than what Hillary Clinton does and what she says and how what she says reflects what she actually does. It is how libel so many of those who identify as liberals and progressive are willing to ignore that bad stuff that does make Hillary Clinton look bad because there is a good possibility that she had done bad, acted in ways that I would think would be heavily criticized by true liberals and real progressives.
An example of the behavior was the subject of a recent Democracy Now segment, a link to the piece provided below. I know that liberals and progressives do not—for good reason—subscribe often to the way the Wall Street Journal tells it. But there is good reason, I think, to believe that Wall Street Journal writers sometimes do damned good research and use it to make points that deserve to be given consideration. The author interviewed has won the Pulitzer Prize and, as the interview shows, he is a knowledgeable and thoughtful person. His reporting is worth the attention of those trying to get to the truth of matters and to ignore what he reports out of loyalty to a particular candidate for office because what he has to say places her in a negative light would mark disloyalty to the truth.
This will likely be ignored by those who should care, but how else to go about making for a world in which sensible people respond sensibly to the events of the world surrounding them?
How cynical can those running a school district be?
The statement that follows is in response to a settlement made by the Washoe County School District in regard to a suit brought by parents of students with disabilities claiming that their children suffered abuse at the hands of a special education teacher employed by the District.
When approached, neither the District superintendent or the head of the District Board of Trustees would respond. The District issued the statement printed below:
“In a district release about the settlement, Chief General Counsel for the school district Neil Rombardo said, ‘This is part of our continuing commitment to ensuring that our school environments are safe and respectful at all times, for all students. We feel that settlement will help support that commitment, while limiting District exposure.’”
As is the District’s regular reaction to bad things going on in its schools, it spokespeople assure constituents that the bad was of the past and that everything possible is being done to make things better. The problem is that the bad has been going on for quite a long time and the promise of fixes only come when the bad is so bad that its revelation makes the District look really bad.
It does seem that this District cares a hell of a lot more about appearances than actually providing good education in a safe environment for all of its students. This has been the case for a long, long time and, it seems, the “new” administration will carry on the bad practices of the past. There needs to be a change of more than appearance. The Board needs to get down to the real work of ridding the District of what is bad, ineffectual, and plain dangerous to students. Cosmetic “change” is exactly that, on the surface. This conveniently hides what is just below where policies and actions are of real consequence and harmful to the human beings who are affected by our local educational system.
Here are some choice quotes from the RGJ article mentioned in the preceding post. The campaign guru mentioned in the last paragraphs helped to do in the margins tax push, hired by some of the very same people she is now working for to get this sales tax through. There is no change of heart here; the hearts are still cold and all business. The kids count for little and, I will bet, they will inevitably get even less than they get now when there is no money to pay for the educators who will be needed to teach all of the kids who need to be taught. Schools will be told that they will have to do with what is available and what will be available will not be nearly enough.
Watch out Washoe County, you are about to be screwed again. Might be a good idea to bone up on the history of this place and what has traditionally happened to the community when growth comes.
RGJ Quotes from “School Funding Battle Heats Up,” Reno Gazette-Journal, August 7, 2016.
“The funding is one indicator (of support), but every business group, community group and elected official is on the same page,” said Mike Kazmierski, president and CEO of the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. “The community gets it. We need this tax increase.”
The campaign is further focusing its resources on voters in neighborhoods with overcrowded and dilapidated schools, like McQueen, Washoe’s most overcrowded high school. The school was built for 1,300 students but had nearly 1,800 students last year, relying on 14 portable classrooms.
“I don’t even know what our community would do without this (tax increase),” she says [teacher working on campaign]
Her conviction is shared by The Chamber, representing 2,000 Reno and Sparks businesses, and EDAWN, leading the charge.
“Historically, The Chamber is not for increasing taxes. We’re a business organization,” said Executive Director Len Stevens. “But everything points to the fact this needs to get done. This has to happen.”
The Chamber created the Save Our Schools political action committee and oversees all fundraising into the PAC.
Stevens lists the frightening facts that district officials have been hammering home for the last two years.
About 20 percent of Washoe schools are significantly over capacity.
One-third of Washoe County schools have gone more than three decades since their construction or a major renovation.
[These conditions have existed for how many years?]
“You have to respect the idea that education relates to quality of life in any community,” Stevens said.
Businesses are worried about something else, as well. Their bottom lines, [Fred] Lokken [TMCC Professor} said.
From casinos to The Chamber, campaign contributors are throwing their weight behind the tax increase for a shared reason. They’re depending on Washoe’s growth, Lokken said.
“And they don’t want schools to keep that growth from happening,” even if it means a record high sales tax and “burying the hatchet” with the district, [Fred] Lokken [TMCC] said
The Save Our Schools campaign hired accomplished campaign fundraiser Nikki Bailey-Lundahl to drum up the dollars. She did the same thing in 2014 for the statewide margins tax initiative. If voter approved, the measure would have instituted a two percent margin tax on Nevada businesses making more than $1 million a year. Revenue from the tax would have been allocated to public schools.
But Bailey stood on the other side in that campaign, raising $5.7 million to defeat the margins tax, which is what happened. She’s now fundraising for a tax increase benefiting public schools.
I have to take to the air to air out these grievances, to point to the people who continue to ruin this community by not giving a rat’s ass about the quality of life the many can live here so that they, the few, can have ever more. Today in the local newspaper ran a story concerning the big push, the well-funded effort to win “for the schools” a raise in the sales tax to fix the long broken campuses and build new ones to accommodate the new growth, new growth in a community in which those who already live here suffer from not enough. I have been monitoring for a couple of months the new positive attitude that agencies such as the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and the Chamber of Commerce have been pushing, a hollow campaign based on half-truths and even some lies. While it is almost impossible to find where EDAWN found the numbers it is publishing to show that Washoe County Schools are already in relatively good shape—except, apparently, for the buildings in which instruction takes place. Test scores according to the charts being circulated by spokespeople for those with clout in the region, are rather good, students doing at or above average on such examinations as the ACT and the SAT. And, as the RGJ article reports, graduation rates are at an all-time high. Miracle of miracles! Not too long ago, even in statistics that were about Washoe
County only (we are always reminded that WCSD is better than the rest of the state, that the state statistics are problematic for our region only because they make us look bad when we are really good. Not more than seven or eight years ago, WCSD schools were plastered with posters advertising our World Class School District, a claim debunked when real numbers were counted and were allowed to reflect the fact that graduation rates were low and dropout rates were high, that good numbers of students by their senior year in high school could not pass the state proficiency tests, and that considerable numbers of those graduating with WSCD diplomas were in need of remediation in mathematics and English when they found their way into colleges.
There was a turn around and it happened during the tenure of two business minded superintendents, Heath Morrison and Pedro Martinez, both graduates of the Broad Academy, an organization that prepares business people (not educators) to assume leadership positions in public schools. The leaders of our community (of course it can—and will—be said that those are not the leaders who are leaders now) praised these men until they couldn’t anymore, one resigning to be fired from his new job months after he took it—with great fanfare and good publicity here for his “move up.” Weren’t we lucky to have had the help of such a masterful man! Despite nothing much really changing in District classrooms (a few more kids in them because of budget cuts and money spent on chasing down truants), graduation rates rose and things seemed to be getting rosy when they weren’t really. The current superintendent took over a district what suddenly seemed in crisis and, amazingly, within no time at all problems were being resolved in ways that no one could explain and, as the time came to begin the push for money for buildings, all was not only on the mend but the mend was far along advanced. Wow!
As I said, when I was on Facebook regularly, I was receiving notes from all of the players in the region, from council people and school board members, from county commission members and concerned citizens asking me to get onboard and give praise to the better than Las Vegas schools being managed by a new team that, to me, somehow seemed to be left over from the old team whose leader had been booted at great expense. The new leader was a part of that team! But she was not really a part of that team, some tried to make me believe, but I couldn’t believe because, while that new leader knew how to preach a good sermon, had some charisma and some charm—considerably more than the departed—I couldn’t get a sense of what she was going to do better and she and those surrounding her, including her good friend, the chair of the Board of Trustees—weren’t letting on to what they were planning. They were going to make things great again but what “great” was going to mean and how great was to be achieved, they would not let on. And the schools and its management were regularly, still, being chastised by those who wanted a better show.
And that is what so many of those involved in the project discussed in the newspaper today are after, a good show, a good showing of effort to give the schools a good look by reducing the overcrowding that exists today and taking the temporary buildings off of campuses where they have been in use for so many years as to seem to be permanent fixtures. Whole generations of students know of no other campus than the campus that has for classrooms modified cargo trailers.
That those trailers have been around for so long, that broken classrooms have not been fixed, some broken for many, many years, that now is the right time for a fix when it wasn’t before, raises a number of questions about the motives of those who are arguing so vehemently for a raise in taxes, in sales taxes now.
The article in the RGJ is really, if read properly, about cynicism of a profound type, about child neglect, and about the kind of greed that allows some to consistently allow schools and other agencies that exist to help people to disintegrate right in front of their eyes. Damned! How many years did students pile into classrooms a Hug to have their voices and their teachers’ drown out by a cheap heating and cooling system that produced more noise than comfort? How many years has it been now that classrooms have been crowded? How many years now have students been relegated to basements under gymnasiums (as at Wooster High School)?
And why the concern now? Because there is potential for growth and those who will profit most from it now believe that that growth is dependent on a better looking schools. The same people that for years have been encouraging citizens to vote against school funding measures–and the article makes it clear that these are people heading the finding fight—and who never ever come through with the kind of money needed to pay teachers well enough so that the ranks are filled with people who are truly highly competent educators. The Chamber of Commerce, EDAWN, the business community—these groups have been against every tax ever proposed and they have made sure that schools and other help agencies never ever can receive what they need to do a decent job.
These people haven’t given a damn about the human toll of underfunding, always arguing that what is good for business is good for all. But this equation is as bogus as they come and so is the measure that will help them get the schools they need to sell real estate or increase clientele. These people will fight for a new regressive tax that will cost everyone equally no matter how unequal distribution of wealth might be, this inequality due in large part to the wages they pay to those who work for them, their partners and their friends.
They want a raise in the sales tax so that the burden is shared but the greatest share of what growth will produce will not go to the many who work the jobs that business provides in this region. The growth agenda is about bringing in people and there is nothing of consequence being done to insure that those already here, those who will pay the sales tax that will pay for the brick work on the schools, will in anyway be rewarded. In fact, as Sheila Leslie pointed out in an article published a few weeks ago in the Reno News and Review, the rank and file members of the community will be hurt, not helped. The vitriol of the rebuttal written by an official of EDAWN tells me that she touched the nerve nerve, the nerve of those who are now for new taxes, who have consistently throughout the years put business before children, profits before citizen welfare, their own desires above everything else, these good citizens of the community who have controlled forever what happens and does not in the community, these people who should be voted out of the community so that a real community can come into being.
That said, the school buildings do need to be fixed and more built. These terribly rotten people have made it so that the only way to get something for the schools—and something, by the way, far too little since it does not raise a cent toward raising the salaries of terribly underpaid educational professionals—is to raise money through a regressive sales tax. The money is badly needed and kids will suffer as growth takes places and the school population grows with it. Those who will benefit most from the conditions that will bring new population growth, of course, have received gracious and grand tax incentives to come our way and none of these new players have promised anything at all like good new good paying jobs for those who already live here and are being asked to pay for the kind of infrastructure improvements that growth will necessitate.
Sucker! And desperate suckers at that.
“CORNEL WEST: Well, it’s just very difficult to shatter the neoliberal hegemony and the public conversation. The neoliberal ideology comes in a number of different colors. It could be Bill Clinton, it could be Barack Obama, it could be Hillary Clinton. And that neoliberal hegemony means that to trying to raise the issues of poverty — not just black poverty, but poverty across the board, to really zero in on Wall Street domination of Congress, to really zero in on corporate power, to really zero in on the military industrial complex — that’s a difficult thing. Neoliberal press, neoliberal politicians — it’s hard to get fellow citizens to look at the world through a very different lens as opposed to a neoliberal lens.”
This is from an article published on August 3 on alternet (http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/cornel-west-trump-will-be-neofascist-catastrophe-and-clinton-neoliberal-disaster?akid=14499.18329.RO4EvN&rd=1&src=newsletter1061217&t=4) and I make reference to it here because, though I will not be voting for the Green Party candidate, makes a number of points I have been trying to make throughout the election cycle, in particular, the fact that neoliberalism is not very liberal and its solutions to problems are always solutions that first and foremost make secure the wealth and the system that produces wealth for relative few at a terrible cost to a great many.
West points to points that, for good reason, are being buried or, if they rise to the surface, are being dismissed as something of a long gone past, the Clinton era welfare and criminal justice initiatives that, as West says, were cynical and purely political moves, the consequences for those who suffered by them of no concern, even now when the solutions to what resulted are front and center in the campaign for Hillary Clinton. She takes back her support for policies that, as West says, destroyed families and continues to destroy the lives of those who still have no jobs to find and who end up in jail for long periods of time because Bill got tough.
I truly am hating this election because it is bringing out the very worst in the American public. Donald Trump’s candidacy is an abomination and what is ever more abominable is how that candidacy is making it possible for a died in the wool neoliberal to appear liberal. As I have said before, I have no doubt that Hillary can run the country. She is one of the smartest people on the planet and it is good to have smart people in high office. But the people need to be smart too and recognize that there is a past there that, without a doubt, says much about what a future with Hillary will bring.
The three biggest problems in these United States of America, the one country powerful enough in the world to influence just about everything that goes one anywhere else, are unbridled capitalism, the influence of religion in the public sphere (this one makes me feel a little crazy considering that Cornel West has plenty of religion and makes reference to it in his political arguments—the latter with which I agree rather strongly), and education as it operates now to garner acceptance of both capitalism and religion as not only legitimate forces in a democratic society, but as ultimate goods that should not be critiqued or criticized.
Yes, the critic of capitalism is a socialist or, worse, a communist and the critic of religion is branded intolerant. The educational system, its governance in the hands of those who hold the purse strings or who have the power to untie them, work, whether they want to or not, follow the rules that insure that critique is not a part of the curriculum. Worse, the means for good sense analysis and critique of the things of the world is excluded from the list of goals of education in this wish-it-were-one democracy. People who can think on their own, who understand that thinking is what makes one human (not what one owns) and that it is within an individual’s power to make good sense of what goes on in the world, such people are dangerous to the system, a system that is dependent on deception to keep it going.
Yes, real teaching is a subversive activity and not because it preaches an ideology but because it provides students the help they need to make sense of all ideologies, be they economic, religious, political, or otherwise to determine what out there is right and what serves their best interests, best interests determined by engagement in deep thought about purpose in life and the value of being alive as a human being. Consider how undervalued thinking is in our society and that this is so because the institution that should be about thought is indeed about indoctrinating people in a particular ideology or set of ideologies, this obvious from the get go with the requirement that students on their first day, as a first order of business recite a pledge that they cannot possible have any thoughts about and will never be allowed to honestly critique.
So Cornel, you are so very right. What is left in Hillary Clinton is right of center if one considers the whole package. She is friends with those who market deceit to acquire incredible sums of money that they can then use to pay the way for a candidacy like Ms. Clintons. They can pay her enormous sums of money to speak to them, to tell them what they pay her to tell them, that what they do is good and righteous and deserving of praise and not scorn.
I hate this election cycle more than the others through which I have lived. I hate it because there is no need for the better candidate to earn my vote. Her opponent makes her better and best when she is not really going to be that good for the country, that is, unless she truly changes her driving ideology, a change she now says is in progress because of the push from real progressives during the primary campaign. But when she wins, most of those I know who want to be understood to be progressive in their thinking will accept that she can do no better than what she can do and what she can and will do will be very much true to that driving ideology that is neoliberalism and not liberal at all.
I am beyond worried. I do not believe anymore that democracy is going to survive. I do not think that an election alone will begin to save it. We have the candidate who is the end game. He could leave the scene tomorrow and it would signify hardly anything. There are, in this country, a significant number of people who still would have Donald Trump as their president. There are a significant number of people who believe that Trump would be good for the United States of America. Their vision would make them pathetic if it were not so potent, so attractive to so many. That many will be around after election day. They have been around and made viable by us, we the people who somehow allowed the tea party to rise to legitimacy despite the ideas that were the tea party’s ideas. We have allowed for the NRA to become a bigger than significant player in the process by we the people make the laws by which we allow ourselves to be governed. We allow for perpetual war, begun with one war that we should never have begun to fight.
Our “sensible” politicians gave credibility to a president who was not credible, who was not the kind of person who should ever have been president. We made due with a president who was not very bright who turned to advisors who cared nothing about democracy, who before our eyes made decisions that led to the deaths of many and to greater wealth for a few, amongst them the loudest advocates for war, amongst them individuals who would go to any length to justify what was patently unjustifiable, an invasion of Iraq that did nothing but make hatred of us a rallying call for those we have to fear because their hatred is so profound, their brutal acts against humanity justified to them through reference to the same kind of god God fearing Americans used to justify hatred of people whose ways and whose ideas they did not like, would not try to understand because it was against their beliefs to do so. Religious freedom became an excuse for stupidity and that stupidity became a major pillar of a political party that was tolerated when it should not have been.
Our people, good numbers of them, saw the goodness of George W. Bush and the rest were far too respectful to those who did. Good numbers of people voted guns before children and valuing of human life. The process, if it wasn’t broken, would have produced some good sense measures to end the senseless slaughter of innocents by those who were free to buy weapons of mass destruction no matter who they were or what they had done in their lives. Some good folk protested in Congress, sat down, took over the floor. The whole nation of sensible people should have been there with them to “plug the loopholes” in gun law so ridiculously liberal that it is absolutely impossible to keep anyone from acquiring high powered weapons no matter how young, no matter how mentally stable, no matter how incapable of good reason they might be. We fucked up badly and it looks like there is little reason to hope that we can do what is necessary to make things better, at least for a long, long time to come. Mr. Lapierre is a formidable adversary of sane thinking and he continues to be an important person in our political system. We fucked up really badly.
The only way to possibly get at our problem, and we are the problem, is to kick our own asses and make ourselves confess to what we have wrought by fooling ourselves into thinking that things in our country were really okay, that the problems would, somehow correct themselves. Delusional and still delusional!!! Did you hear what was said at the Democratic National Convention? American is great and still the greatest country in the world! Damn! The “world” must be one hell of a mess. And it seems to be a mess and much that is a mess we need look at and be bluntly honest in assessing our role in making it a mess. And the notion that capitalism is not only good, but what is best. Didn’t a Dick like Cheney and his Haliburton war tell anyone anything about capitalism and how when it mixes with governance (congress really is bought and sold and not by socialists or communists) government is absolutely corrupted?
And then there is the solution, the only good solution available, the only humane solution, education and education in the United States of America, despite all the good work by all those caring educators, hasn’t begun to educate people well enough to not get tripped up by the Cheneys and Bushs, the Billy Grahams (wow!!! Now there is a toxic mix that received the blessings of so many, a racist, anti-Semite, sexist lunatic who make enough money off feeding people bullshit to keep his worthless enterprise alive for the generations to come. Hello Franklin, you are absolutely insane, but respected nonetheless for you are a man of the cloth) and, yes those Democrats, those of the Democratic party who have had their hand in it, who preach that church is good and so is money, that education should be about jobs and resources thrown at entrepreneurs who will make everything better.
Democracy will not survive because we now believe in bullshit and have become a bullshit nation. We bullshit ourselves by our tolerance of outrageous ideas that are taught as true enough in our schools and by our media and in our political debates. George W. Bush at an early press conference where he gained confidence in the goodness of his ideas, his policy, the actions he took as “leader of the free world” and he said he prayed every night and was guided by God. Shouldn’t that have been considered insanity and reason for impeachment?
It was not. We tolerated him and we tried to get along with those who supported him and his cronies. We didn’t do much to shame them for their lies. We didn’t take away their riches. We didn’t even ask how it could be that so much that was bad could come from those who we were willing accept despite their beliefs and the attitudes toward others that they said were shaped by their belief in a deity.
It is time for truth telling. Donald Trump is evil but he is not the meaningful evil that needs to be purged from amongst us. The true evil is stupidity and stupidity accepted as some kind of acceptable logic. Inhofe and his friends can get their way by arguing against the legitimacy of science, arguing that the fucking lord is who we should turn to in order the understand how we should proceed. The evil is in showing respect to those who should be condemned for their word and their actions, Wayne Lapierre and Franklin Graham, Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Cheney, the fools who run Hobby Lobby, and we who should know better but constantly are overrun by the likes of those named above.
Democracy has been dying for a long time now. Religion and capitalism have killed it by preventing at every step the creation of an educational system that would serve democracy, that would do what is necessary to help we the people acquire the skills, knowledge, and attitudes that would allow us to make sensible decisions, use our right to choose to choose wisely and to choose for what is best for the good of the whole and not for what is good for a few stupid assholes.
Do we have it in us? I doubt it. The solution will be a Clinton and Clinton will carry on the tradition but with enough of a twist to cause the “sensible” to say “she is doing the best that she can and that has to be good enough.” Bullshit!
The news that e-mails show that conversation was taking place in the Democratic Party, by its managers, about how to defeat Bernie Sanders represents something far worse than bad behavior. It represents disrespect for the demo
The news that e-mails show that conversation was taking place in the Democratic Party, by its managers, about how to defeat Bernie Sanders represents something far worse than bad behavior. It represents disrespect for the democratic process and not party in a democratic nation is a legitimate party if it violates basic principles of fairness that allow “the people” to make choices regarding who they want to hire to serve as their executive. This is not simply an error in judgment. It is about error at all. It is about intention driven by attitude and probably by greed–greed for power and, yes, greed for the kind of money that power brings and greed for the kind of status money buys, status that allows one to cavort with those who have enough money to buy the decision making process that should be the people’s.
Debbie Wassermann Shultz will no longer serve as Chair of the democratic party and she will not be appearing at the convention. Hillary Clinton will still be the candidate. She might lose because a good part of the appeal of the democratic party has been its concern (real or not) for those who do not have much power, who do not have the power to buy it, and those poor and misguided schmucks (the schools are good at confirming such status) who do not really care as much about money as they do a good and humane society and a decent life for all.
I have no party now and feel a bit ashamed for hanging with the democrats for so long, this despite my knowing for a long time now that it did not stand for the things most important to me and that the people who ran the party and benefited most from what it really stood for and did were the people who had wrested ownership of the country, its political system, to serve their own desires no matter how what the cost to those “less fortunate” than themselves. For their own sake, so that they could feel comfortable walking the streets where those who had been taken and taken from roamed, they built a society of mass incarceration. To hide the real causes of poverty, they found ways to blame and shame those without, those who would not work who would have worked if the jobs available to them, if there were any to be found, payed enough to sustain life with as semblance of decency.
They, the party elite became an elite and they not only stopped serving the masses of “common” people, they helped to insure that they could continue to ignore the people by making sure they remained common. In all the years I have been alive, no matter which party has been in office, schools have been underfunded and none with power have ever done much of anything to change the conditions of school, to even advocate for truly decent pay for educators so that those actually qualified to teach would find their way into classrooms and stay. This is good for an elite because to have an elite there has to be a something below and schools in America have for a very long time remained, as Joel Spring once called them, “sorting machines” worked to label and then insure that the “product” lived up to (or down to) the label, the children of the disenfranchised, of course, most always labelled incapables.
My old party has supported many a war whose purpose was to insure business as usual, that usual business so very often so blatantly exploitive of the people of other nations that their “liberation” by us caused them to hate all of us even though most of us had nothing to gain by the sacrifice. And those of us sacrificed; hardly ever of the classes that had something to gain from the fight.
I won’t ramble on any longer here, except to say that there has always been but two parties with viability in this nation and this by design, not the design described in the Constitution or supported by the humanist philosophy that was to serve as the basis for our constitutional democracy in the Declaration, has made the United States something far less than a democracy, a nation run not by the whole of the people but by a few of an elite class that works to maintain its elite status and benefit, at the expense of the most people, from something far less than democratic state they have worked to create.
The recent manipulation of party politics to insure that the party elite’s anointed candidate for the presidency occurred because the leaders needed to make certain that a true democrat would not be allowed to begin to bring democracy back into the political system. The underhanded dealings by the party elite were precipitated by real fear because what they had to loose in a fair and honest nominating process is great, great in wealth and great for the power wealth brings those who are wealthy to remain wealthy and powerful and become even more wealthy and powerful.
A while back I took down what I had posted over the years on this site and I did this because I wanted to clear the slate so that I could refresh. That done, I think I like some of those previous posts enough to repost them here from time to time. I am going to post several now and will continue to repost into the future as I see relevant and fit.
Here is the first of these:
A Moffett-Wagner Quote of utility: Obviously curious, February 17, 2015
What fascinates me more and more each day is what infuriates me every day as I try to teach and to teach teachers how to teach. The dependency problem is not a small problem but, for those who are to operate a democracy, it is a stumbling block that is of great magnitude. If schools are teaching students dependence rather than independence; if they are teaching students to conform and capitulate rather than to be original in their ways of going about things, in finding for themselves the best things to do and the best ways to get them done, then the educational system is broken, cannot work to grow proper citizens of free and democratic societies.
James Moffett and his work with Betty Jane Wagner has infused into the mechanics of my thinking certain principles that I live by and teach by and when I read again some of the most influential passages in their work, I am reminded of the source that triggered so much of my thinking and the thinking that influenced how I teach others.
I have held to principles without being bound to those principles. I have grown with the principles I found and those principles have grown with me. I test them constantly by observing and participating in life activities and the tests are rigorous and sometimes exhausting but worthwhile, nonetheless, because they keep the mind alive and, thus, allow me to live a life that is about being human.
These citations from Moffett and Wagner are so basic as to seem obvious. My students sometimes tell me that Moffett and Moffett and Wagner are difficult to read because the points they make are so obvious that it is hard to understand their meaningfulness. Then they tell me, though obvious, these are things they have never really thought much about and, by being made to think about the obvious, something people regularly resist doing, they find there to be considerably more meaning in the obvious than was obvious. So here are obvious points that deserve the kind of play I like to call “making the obvious curious.”
“As soon as others want the results of learning more than the learner, the game is over.”
The argument against student choice is usually that youngsters don’t know what there is to choose from or how to make wise decisions. This is truer than it should be because schools seldom teach students to choose. The longer a student has been in school the harder it often is to help him make decisions. He may be conditioned to obey, not to exercise his will and make decisions. He may even resist doing what he wants to do, because it is so painful to decide. But to use crippling conditioning as an argument for further infantilizing of students compounds the problem and fulfills its own prophecy. The point is that decision-making is the very heart of education.”
Student Centered Language Arts, p.22