I have often confessed a confusion about public education in this country. At one time I’m an advocate of public education and at the same time I understand that education is just a way to subsidize big business by providing a trained work force that can be immediately exploited … and all at taxpayer expense.
Now President Obama is advocating turning High Schools into vocational schools. I applaud the understanding that vocational schools are important and moving much of the vocational curriculum into the regular High School will help to remove the stigma that vocational education is restricted to those students that can’t cut it in the regular High School, but this move is exactly the opposite of what I feel education is all about. We would be completely selling out to businesses and corporations that look to the government to provide a steady stream of trained workers who can immediately contribute to improve the company’s profits and the corporate officers’ compensation.
Contrary to all the recent moves in education (No Child Left Behind) I feel that public education is too restricting and that American students are being held back in their pursuit of a satisfying and stimulating life. I contend that we have our educational levels up-side-down. We should be encouraging academic and vocational experimentation in the lower grades and focusing specific training in the upper grades, In other words, let High School students explore their educational possibilities and hopefully when they reach college age they can engage in a career path that will be beneficial to their development as human animals on this planet They might end up more satisfied and even “happy.”
Note that career specialization does not automatically mean business preparation since academia is also a viable career. To this end, I can see colleges and universities less general and more specific in the curriculum they support. Furthermore, education in a specific career should be funded or otherwise subsidized by the industries that will benefit most from preparing their own new employees.For those more demanding disciplines, like doctors, further post-graduate education will be required.
There are real problems with this approach. First, I have always contended that education through High School is designed to discipline the mushy brains of the average kid and that only in college do the students begin to think constructively. I must have been wrong if this new idea is to work … but is that necessary. Maybe it is the undisciplined minds of younger students who can find their way to personal gratification without being pushed and pulled by an education system that is mostly concerned with turning out model citizens and good, complacent workers. Another problem would be getting the corporations to fund the training of their future employees. Most corporations and businesses are huge welfare consumers and the last thing a corporation wants to do is pay their own way. They are used to asking more from the government with fewer obligations (like taxes and regulations). Corporations are the antithesis of the “I made it” theory and qualify as the biggest “takers” in the country if not the world.
Finally this scheme will not be embraced by the money and power organizations in the country (corporations and such) because the last thing they want to see is a healthy, happy, and well-educated population. Imagine a consumer who sees through the advertising hype or doesn’t see a need for a product in their lives; imagine a population that no longer needs drugs and medications to make their lives bearable; imagine senators and congressmen (or women) who ran for office because they wanted to be a part of governing this country and improving the lives of its citizens rather than collecting the riches of corporate bribery and the promised future of a cushy job in the plutocracy. Finally, any improvement in the ability of regular citizens to think for themselves will strike fear in the hearts of the ruling corporations and they obviously can’t allow that to happen.
American education, more and more, is designed, not for the individual’s advancement and satisfaction, but for the benefit of big business. Corporations want a trained workforce that will do as it is told. Education as it is now and especially as it is being proposed for improvement, both by the Republicans and the Democrats, is a major component of fascism. It needs to be radically repurposed to benefit the individual and not the corporation.