Friday, September 28, 2007


The Purposes of Education

I just had a time-lurch while reading Liquid Daddy. He was talking about the 80s and T.J. Hooker, which he'd initially assumed was a parody of a cop show, and his realization that it was dead serious, that TV programming was social programming, etc. etc., and suddenly, there I was, back in Laguna Beach chatting with Ol' Drunken Bob, a school administrator who lived up the hill from me.

ODB had about 20 years on me: he had some amorphous, district-level position in a community at a distance from Laguna. He'd come home from work and mix himself a scotch and soda and stumble down the hill to try to evict me from my idealism. He was also gay, so he liked to mix his experiences, real and otherwise, into the rambling narrative that accompanied my watering of the yard.

But I digress. What Liquid Daddy pitched me into was Ol' Drunken Bob's most memorable speech on the Purposes of Education. Ready? Here they are:

1. Social control

2. Learning to serve the rich.

What a pity that we don't just cut to the chase on education reform and develop tests specifically for these goals. We could do a lot of call and response. We'd save money on books and supplies! The teacher could remind them daily.

"Class? What are we here for?"
"We're here to be socially controlled so we can happily serve the rich!"
"That's right, darlings. Now go to lunch, and be sure to enjoy your GMO-enhanced sloppy joes!"

School mission statements would be no-brainers. Standardized testing could consist of two multiple-choice items, saving school districts thousands of dollars for scoring services. We'd have more money for waging war, since most of our kiddies would be joining the military, anyway.

Whoo hoo! No Child Left Behind!

Remember Player Piano, most could only choose between the army or the reeks and wrecks. Today we seem to be grooming many youngsters to feed the prison industry. Meanwhile, McMillionaires buy designer togs for toddlers, send them to the finest schools with the nicest people, on track for great careers. How many of these trust fund babies will be worth a damn?
I wonder what happened to ODB? Is he still alive? I have heard this theory more than once, but know very little about the topic.
ODB was truly onto something.
Did I ever meet ODB?
I know I met your ex's nelly Hispanic teacher friend, the guy with the whippet.
What was his name, John?
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