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Chapter 17 The Politics

Chapter 17 The Politics of Schooling Each year the child is coming to belong more to the State and less and less to the parent. — Ellwood P. Cubberley, Conceptions of Education (1909) It was natural businessmen should devote themselves to something besides business; that they should seek to influence the enactment and administration of laws, national and international, and that they should try to control education. — Max Otto, Science and the Moral Life (1949) Most people don’t know who controls American education because little attention has been given the question by either educators or the public. Also because the question is not easily or neatly answered. — James D. Koerner, Who Controls American Education (1968) Three Holes In My Floor In October 1990, three round holes the size of silver dollars appeared in the floor of my classroom at Booker T. Washington Junior High between West 107th and 108th streets in Spanish Harlem, about twelve blocks from Columbia Teachers College. My room was on the third floor and the holes went through to the second floor room beneath. In unguarded moments, those holes proved an irresistible lure to my students, who dropped spitballs, food, and ball bearings down on the heads of helpless children below without warning. The screams of outrage were appalling. So pragmatically, without thinking much about it, I closed off the holes with a large flat of plywood and dutifully sent a note to the school custodian asking for professional assistance. The next day when I reported to work my makeshift closure was gone, the holes were open, and I found a warning against "unauthorized repairs" in my mailbox. That day three different teachers used the room with the holes. During each occupancy various objects plummeted through the floor to the consternation of occupants in the space below. In one particularly offensive assault, human waste was retrieved from the toilet, fashioned into a missile, and dropped on a shrieking victim. All the while, the attacking classroom exploded in cackles of laughter, I was later told. On the third day of these aerial assaults, the building principal appeared at my door demanding the bombardment cease at once. I pointed out that I had been forbidden to close off the holes, that many other teachers used the room in my absence, that the school provided no sanctions for student aggressors, and that it was impossible to teach a class of thirty-five kids and still keep Table of Contents Page 376

close watch on three well-dispersed holes in the floor. I offered to repair the holes again at my own expense, pointing out in a reasonable tone that this easy solution was still available and that, in my opinion, there were traces of insanity in allowing any protocol, however well meant, to delay solving the problem at once before another fecal bombardment was unleashed. At that moment I had no idea that I was challenging an invisible legion of salarymen it had taken a century to evolve. I only wanted to spare myself those cries from below. My request was denied and I was reminded again not to take matters into my own hands. Five months later a repair was effected by a team of technicians. In the meantime, however, my classroom door lock had been broken and three panes of window glass facing Columbus Avenue shattered by vandals. The repair crew turned a deaf ear to what I felt was a pretty sensible request to do all the work at once, none of it complicated. The technicians were on a particular mission I was told. Only it had been duly authorized. Commenting on the whole genus of such school turf wars, the New York Observer’s Terry Golway said, "Critical decisions are made in a bureaucrat’s office far from the site requiring repairs. One official’s decision can be countermanded by another’s, and layer upon layer of officialdom prolongs the process. A physical task that requires a couple of minutes work can take weeks, if not months, to snake through the bureaucracy. In the meantime the condition may worsen, causing inconvenience to children and teachers. In the end, no one is accountable." Thanks to Mr. Golway, I found out why the missile attack had been allowed to continue. In my case, the problem lay in the journey of my original note to the custodian, where it was translated into form P.O. 18. P.O. 18 set out on a road which would terminate in an eventual repair but not before eight other stops were made along the way and 150 days had passed. A study of these eight stops will provide a scalpel to expose some of the gangrenous tissue of institutional schooling. Although this is New York City, something similar is found everywhere else the government school flag waves. I think we must finally grow up enough to realize that what follows is unavoidable, endemic to large systems. Stop One: P.O. 18 was signed by the principal, who gave a copy to his secretary to file, returning the original to the custodian. This typically takes several days. Stop Two: The custodian gave a copy of the form to his secretary to file, then sent the request on to a District Plant Manager (DPM), one of thirty-one in New York City. Stop Three: In an office far removed from my perforated floor, the DPM assigned the repair a Priority Code. Three or four weeks had now passed from the minute a ball bearing bounced off Paul Colon’s head and a turd splattered in gooey fragments on Rosie Santiago’s desk. 1 A copy of P.O. 18 was given to the DPM’s secretary to file, and the form went to the Resource Planning Manager (RPM), based in Long Island City. Table of Contents Page 377

  • Page 1 and 2:

    An Underground History of American

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    Change Agents Infiltrate ..........

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    The Ford System And The Kronstadt C

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    Pathology As A Natural Byproduct ..

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    Bianca, You Animal, Shut Up! Prolog

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    combines, is there anything public

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    As I traveled, I discovered a unive

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    He drew... the things inside that n

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    questions or on their implication;

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    and I, in a dark time when all offi

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    history, embedded in a personal ess

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    Then, too, many Americans came out

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    difference between Americans and ev

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    war. [House was nine at the time.]

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    fine-tuned judgments every day they

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    2nd Rule—Unceasing kindness in to

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    the philosophical split which infor

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    scientific form became the main ecc

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    inventors and technicians without p

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    How Hindu Schooling Came To America

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    way to awaken intellect in the lowe

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    Custer’s Last Stand in Montana ha

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    liberty. Farragut When I was a scho

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    Ben Franklin Ben Franklin was born

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    prudential matters, both private an

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    discovered some of my faults, and c

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    friend, described Washington as a y

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    school and was well on his way to i

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    teaching "why it was unworthy of hi

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    more Ben Franklins or Tom Edisons c

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    1 This is the same Ellwood P. Cubbe

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    mimic the "due process" practice of

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    An Enclosure Movement For Children

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    superintendents were wise to the fa

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    state, but that was a radical contr

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    oth parents from home and deposited

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    and file of homeschoolers actually

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    mental reflection in a way schoolbo

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    Department, 80 percent of the incar

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    scores then creates the illusion th

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    spiritual longings of ordinary peop

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    molecular biology. There you have i

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    The Ideology Of The Text Looking ba

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    to represent sounds of their langua

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    arose to satisfy demand for a popul

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    point of a sharpened pencil into th

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    learning to read it was not necessa

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    The Pedagogy Of Literacy Between Ma

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    some bit of data. The sheer luxury

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    the total victory of whole-word rea

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    My own motive in being there was a

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    Such behavior provides the best exc

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    inventor of a reading system based

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    Hector Of The Feeble-Mind See thirt

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    Hector Isn't The Problem The countr

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    "The only way you can squeak throug

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    documents were destroyed at the dis

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    Think of this thing for the moment

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    My own school fell victim to a poli

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    Chapter 5 True Believers and The Un

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    Because of the predictable greed em

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    neighbor to the community for the f

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    and counting sticks (much as the Ar

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    last quarter of the nineteenth cent

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    too seriously. From it poured an ab

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    attitude.... Much new educational l

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    Carnegie’s "Gospel of Wealth" ide

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    Books give children "false ideals o

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    other of novelist Henry James. Jame

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    Tent-Chautauqua did a great deal to

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    church sociables and teachers’ co

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    Chapter 6 The Lure Of Utopia Every

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    flagrant opposition to the dominant

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    Producing Artificial Wants Beginnin

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    compulsion law intended to put chil

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    extraordinary vision of the learned

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    Between 1840 and 1860, male schoolt

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    Evil, only bad attitudes, and those

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    Rainey Harper, president of the Uni

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    teacher can just put stuff in the s

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    Chapter 7 The Prussian Connection P

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    Germany, after a thousand years as

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    Revolution, its social controls bei

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    Under Frederick William II, Frederi

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    lectures given by Robert Owen’s s

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    where teaching and learning were al

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    to create that abundance it became

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    portraits, tapestries, giant gold-f

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    of argument, now the Prussian conne

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    slits in the grate like an armored

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    would recognize the new opportunity

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    This contradiction is not unknown a

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    independence, knowledge, ability, c

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    utilization—is more than offset b

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    dangerous sciences was mostly limit

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    The abundance of wood in the United

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    industrialization and the demands o

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    fort in 1832, was by 1838 a flouris

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    chemical processes—is collected.

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    The confinement of American childre

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    Yet America had to be massified, an

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    students with serious literature, p

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    4. A fixation on maximum output. 5.

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    usiness-industrial groups, but of t

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    followed: by 1917 a bibliography of

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    The National Press Attack On Academ

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    himself is the prototypical social

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    This dinner and its implications se

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    monopolization of first the nation

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    An Everlasting Faith Fabianism was

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    These "educational missionaries" sp

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    Bobbit said Gary schools were the w

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    campaign can colonize your mind. Ev

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    contracts for materials and service

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    ole models. Old-fashioned teachers

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    Chapter 10 My Green River Each pers

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    was three. The carolers stood on a

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    An incredible vision, these things,

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    the physical presence of my town ne

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    Monongahela, but there was not a si

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    has also ruined its share of victim

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    they were arguing over an abortion

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    The spirit that came over Mother wh

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    "And could you now face the back of

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    every single day for an entire scho

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    who commissioned stone sculptures f

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    the steps into his subterranean wor

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    Chapter 11 The Church The thesis I

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    inferiors is a veritable manufactor

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    It was nothing short of marvelous t

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    Into the center of this racial exci

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    altered the path of sexual selectio

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    were seen to be clay, radical socia

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    people. It was a genuine secret soc

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    Her first muckraking book, Out of W

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    actively seek assistance from busin

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    Chapter 12 Daughters of the Barons

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    The episcopal rule of British Ameri

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    Peter Cookson and Caroline Persell

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    The Order of the Three Crusades, 10

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    monarchs of great Aryan houses. Abe

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    followed were to call it: The right

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    Unpopular Government Maine built a

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    them to be bankers, financiers, par

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    Francisco, the Pacific Union; in Wa

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    eyond its immediate circle of assoc

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    gigantic aggregate of capital and i

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    creation of Fabian socialism and th

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    consultancies were beginning to be

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    Like much that passes for wisdom on

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    ecome any type of specialist I migh

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    This had immense influence on the s

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    4 For instance, the serious problem

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    of respect for the pedagogical ente

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    Thus is the student victim led to t

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    going on, selected tendrils from th

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    Children were to be "loved into sub

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    "New Thought Tide." Because many fe

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    Margaret Sanger wrote, "the most me

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    Napoleon Of Mind Science William Ja

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    disciplines from child development

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    Bending The Student To Reality Twic

  • Page 325 and 326: efore as the marching orders of the
  • Page 327 and 328: qualified to give expert opinion on
  • Page 329 and 330: people’s lives, became the most i
  • Page 331 and 332: coming out of the Decalogue, of Jud
  • Page 333 and 334: day-to-day meaning to compete again
  • Page 335 and 336: Everson v. Board Of Education (1947
  • Page 337 and 338: Judaism Religion is a school of its
  • Page 339 and 340: The neglected genius of American Ch
  • Page 341 and 342: Religion And Rationality The Suprem
  • Page 343 and 344: mathematical value so that citizens
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  • Page 347 and 348: Chapter 15 The Psychopathology Of E
  • Page 349 and 350: guilty, once explained at a public
  • Page 351 and 352: from the assault on common sense. S
  • Page 353 and 354: What Really Goes On School wreaks h
  • Page 355 and 356: Ford. The role of grades, report ca
  • Page 357 and 358: cause to congratulate ourselves. (e
  • Page 359 and 360: ehavior. Now she laughs again. I ha
  • Page 361 and 362: Chapter 16 The Conspiracy Against O
  • Page 363 and 364: conspiracy against growing up, sad
  • Page 365 and 366: Published in 1918 near the end of t
  • Page 367 and 368: short-circuit entrepreneurial energ
  • Page 369 and 370: managed to survive and set the Nige
  • Page 371 and 372: Serving The Imperial Virus Toynbee
  • Page 373 and 374: intelligentsia is hated and despise
  • Page 375: The Release From Tutelage What kind
  • Page 379 and 380: some topical. Nominally children, t
  • Page 381 and 382: 2) Teacher training colleges 3) Res
  • Page 383 and 384: middle-class American incomes is wo
  • Page 385 and 386: to divide school politics into a ma
  • Page 387 and 388: offered for selection as a Republic
  • Page 389 and 390: A Quality Education The mantra of "
  • Page 391 and 392: its purpose. We are left to assume
  • Page 393 and 394: After inspection, my architect pron
  • Page 395 and 396: There is no rival hypothesis to evo
  • Page 397 and 398: the decimal. Objections were overri
  • Page 399 and 400: in metaphor.) The rarely encountere
  • Page 401 and 402: particular culture it touches is de
  • Page 403 and 404: Magic At Work Magic in one form or
  • Page 405 and 406: There is perhaps no more naked stat
  • Page 407 and 408: What fascinates me most is the cold
  • Page 409 and 410: change. I learned that from Adam Sm
  • Page 411 and 412: Information technology people seek
  • Page 413 and 414: Later we chatted with the lady in a
  • Page 415 and 416: compensation for those whose busine
  • Page 417 and 418: social insecurity is the direct leg
  • Page 419 and 420: assumption that is found throughout
  • Page 421 and 422: away. It was late, I was tired. To
  • Page 423 and 424: twenty-six-foot boat and no nautica
  • Page 425 and 426: Roland’s unique creation—a live
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    General Braddock and British tradit

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    Braddock’s invincible army. Their

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    Nothing in human history gives us a

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    Don’t let a world of funny animal

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    children free, we should understand

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    anything. Anyway, whatever is chose

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    Epilogue Only one nation refused to

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