Michael “Quess?” Moore © 2009.
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.
Education… root word… educe. Interchangeable with words like … elicit… evoke… draw out… certain images come to mind… like water drawn from a well… sap from a tree… or that masterpiece hidden in marble only to be brought out to the world by the hands of the sculptor
These children are clay in our hands… we be the masters of this ceremony… the crafters and creators… so you best believe that every time we step into that classroom “Their Eyes Are Watching God”… so pardon me if you will… but I take a bit of an issue with a God that doesn’t look like me dictating the discourse
In an age of virtual reality… globalization & corporate commodification… genetic engineering & stem-cell cloned sheep-it seems… that a bit of that weird science has leaked into the classroom… I mean what’s with all the cross pollination?
As recently as October of 2009, a group of teachers imported from the Philippines pressed charges for being treated like… and paid no more than… indentured servants. My only question… what the hell were they doing here in the first place? I’m here… more than apt and completely capable of teaching children that look just like I did 20 years ago… and now walk a similar path
But in the game of political ponzi that is Post-Katrina, New Orleans… it’s bigger than books and study baby… EDUCATION IS BIG BUSINESS! Unions are shut down wholesale… veteran teachers fired before they can cash in on their pensions — God forbid healthcare… Teachers are outsourced… bussed in — flown in — hell! Prison beds are forecasted based on the amount of children at grade level! Does it get more insidious than that…?
Whatever best supports the bottom line… it’s like the Board of Ed’s keeping strange bedfellows with big companies… taking tips from Walmart on how to run a school… and with all the corporate sponsorship that feeds the average charter school… not to mention the high-end-usually-right-wing-think tanks that design their agendas… I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Walton himself was on the board
In some of his final words… famed economist Milton Friedman went on record as saying that Katrina… “was a tragedy” but at the same time… “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system”… that’s bullshit old elitist white man-ease for wipe out the New Orleans Public School System… and replace it with independent charter schools
Wanna know who the charters answer to? Just follow the money… probably the same right wing think tank that conjured up a test to LEAP over our kids heads… while they steadily claim they won’t leave ’em behind… same old moneyed banks and good ole boy companies that held our great-great-great-great grandmothers in chains… so what’s to be made of all this ‘good-hearted’ altruism, huh? … penance for ancestral pains?
I mean it’s like giving a band-aid to an AIDS patient… good luck covering the wounds… hope this cheap amalgamation of gauze and adhesive tape doesn’t slip like sloppy seconds over the festering sores… good luck with the facts… hope the textbook prognosis works out for ya buddy ;-)… perhaps it’ll plaster perfectly over the pathos that we supplied in surplus…
These wounds, my child… are age old… even older than the wilted buildings we house them in… but sometimes… as though the buildings were symptoms themselves … the chipping of lead based painting on 80 year old walls… looks like… sounds like… broken English… a barb wired vice grip on a muzzled mouth… a poisonous laminate atop petrified wood…
Our indigenous breath once blew linguistic form out of a shapeless void… now we’re painted a plethora of platitudes… minstreled in misnomers…
Gifted & Nigger… Special Needs & Trouble Child… our children…
our children are a poisoned harvest ripened out of season…
who will tend this garden better…
than the ones that sprouted from it themselves…?
- “Their Eyes Are Watching God.” Based on the title of Their Eyes Were Watching God, a novel by Zora Neale Hurston first published in 1937.
- Philippines. In 2007-2009, around 350 Filipino teachers were brought to Louisiana through human trafficking and forced to teach. They eventually won $4.5 million in a lawsuit.
- Milton Friedman. Friedman published an editorial entitled “The Promise of Vouchers” in The Wall Street Journal on December 5, 2005, arguing for privitizing the New Orleans public school system.
Text prepared by:
- Bruce R. Magee
Quess?, A Scribe Called. (Michael “Quess?” Moore). “Education.” Michael “Quess?” Moore © 2009. Used by permission. All rights reserved.