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SCHOOL-IT  April 2005

SCHOOL-IT April 2005

Subject:

Re: The role of K-12 education (was: desktop computers)

From:

Doug Reaves <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

School Information Technology Discussion <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 14 Apr 2005 08:52:24 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (111 lines)

Vince,

Beautifully stated. I agree with you 100%.

I hate to say it, but our schools ARE being hijacked by big business.
Thomas Friedman and Bill Gates are two of their spokespersons. NCLB is
the hammer.

Doug Reaves

>>> [log in to unmask] 4/13/2005 11:13:13 PM >>>
Whew! I'm obviously going to have to work harder.  I thought I was the
king of rant on this list until I read Bjorn's last.  I don't think
he stopped to take a breath.  (Bjorn, if you need some help with
paragraph formation I can recommend some good workbooks.  But maybe a
little yoga would be more useful.)  :-)

You know, I start foaming at the mouth when simple-minded businessmen
with tunnel vision try to hijack American education.  They present us
with these "harsh reality" scenarios, as if they know the scoop and
we're clueless.  For instance, back in the 1980's, corporate America
was freaking out about the "Japanese business model".  Some of these
"harsh reality" types were taking lessons in bowing and, though they
hadn't eaten anything but charbroiled steaks for their entire adult
life, they stifled their gag reflex to down piles of sushi.  We were
told if we didn't get with the program we were doomed.

So where is the "Japanese business model" now?  Down the tubes.
Luckily, most of us ignored these "visionaries".  Let these business
people stick to what they know best: scrambling for a buck.

The arrogance of an employer to demand that we train his employees!
Why should we citizens be paying the bill to train kids to be good
corporate and industrial soldiers when, if we're successful, the
corporations will reap the rewards?  I know the old adage about a high
tide raising all boats, but with the deregulation foisted on Americans
for the last twenty-five years, and the particular abuses of the
current
administration, corporations are floating free while the American
worker
is being pulled under by the anchor he thought was an employee
life-preserver.   Forget "trickle-down"; the money is now "rushing
up".

Many of you would respond by telling me we're being held hostage by
corporate America and if we don't give them what they want they'll
take their business elsewhere.  At the moment, you are probably right,
but we must end this wild love affair with the free marketplace.  We,
the people, need to start calling the shots again.  If we were willing
to put an effective government in Washington, we could use it to
create
a real "Team America": ALL of us working together to move ALL of us
forward, not just some corporate fat-cats who want the government to
disappear - except to provide educated employees at public expense.
Or
bail them out when they've been so greedy they've destroyed their
entire industry.

Our public education system was not instituted to provide job
training.
 What our primary and secondary schools do need to provide is a firm
educational foundation that diverse occupational structures can be
built
upon.  More specific training should be done by the companies
themselves
that are benefiting (some companies - Toyota for one - have, in fact,
done some of this) or by various forms of post-secondary education.
If
we, as a state or nation, want to offer the kind of narrow technical
training that Bjorn refers to (and I, for one, think it would actually
be a good idea), it should be done AFTER we ensure that our students
have that basic "foundation" that K-12 education should provide
(though
I'm not necessarily arguing that we are effectively providing it now).

But I believe that THAT education (here comes the raving socialism)
should be funded by levying a corporate tax which would be
specifically
designated for post-secondary technical schools offering advanced
training in areas that would make students highly employable by those
corporations paying the freight (as well as by other enterprises such
as
NGOs that could, appropriately, benefit from the taxes paid by the big
boys).   American companies that decide to go off-shore because they
don't want to contribute by way of income taxes should be faced with a
special tariff on any goods and services they want to sell back to the
U.S.  If you want to trade with the 300 million people in this country
(but you aren't employing any of them), you've got to pay for the
privilege.  That tax revenue should also be used to support these
schools.

But please!  Let's not turn all our primary and secondary educational
institutions into trade schools.  While I don't believe, for instance,
that every teen-ager can or should become a Shakespeare scholar, I do
believe our citizens should be educated to become something more than
the narrow-minded automatons that corporations would love to exploit.

-Vince




Vincent Rossano
Information Technology Director
Montpelier Public Schools
58 Barre Street
Montpelier, VT 05602

802-225-8690
[log in to unmask]

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