Little Johnny

So I’m listening to the local news last night waiting to catch the weather report for the week and heard some crazy stuff from the education folks talking about raising expectations, standards, and test scores. Now I know about this hustle, I taught for six years and fell for that game for a minute. These bureaucrats justifying their positions on the backs of six year olds stressing through a bubbling nightmare. They have to keep re-inventing that wheel or they would be in that line downtown where all the classes have to mingle.

What caught my attention was this lady dressed in her best business suit. It wasn’t her looks per se, it was her title and statement. She was an executive with the state board of education and the “sound bite” she chose to run with was, “We need an educated workforce and students who are educated to fill those positions.” Wow!!! This said a lot about the industrialization of education and the blatant manner in which the bureaucrats unknowingly give their true intentions away. Our children are not students, their means to an industrial ends and education is not for personal growth or community cohesion. It’s not to increase the social awareness of the world around us and the folks in it, the intention is to have smart folks to make things that the wealthy can benefit from financially. Some folks say it like “feed the Machine!”.

So I’m looking around at the parents in the audience nodding their heads in
agreement and solemnly viewing the current test scores for the previous year. They skeptically look at the goals for 2020, which none of them will have children in school by then, and the idiot who thinks he is going to get a 97% ave in the state will be retired and talking about “back in the day” by then. But they all appease themselves and pat each other on the back with unknowing smiles. They justify this hyperbole by saying, “Well we can’t sit around doing nothing!”. When in reality they are doing nothing but taking long range planning out to the stratosphere where no one will ever see it but the few interested researchers who are sitting around wondering how some bureaucrat came up with that plan out of what they’ve concluded.

So “low and behold”, I think that’s the saying; I’m reading my boys student handbook a couple days later out of boredom waiting for “Momma” to come out of the pre-k class and what do I read, what I can’t do with my child! I do a “double take”. Then I quiz my “old lady” about vacation time during school just to hear her response. She tells me we can’t take a vacation during school because the kids can only miss so many days. So I ask about getting the work they would miss and we could have them do it while on vacation; knowing I’d never do that anyway. She says they aren’t allowed to miss more than so many days and they wouldn’t let us.

Well damn, excuse me for thinking they were our children and we determined what was best for them. Looking further into this usurping of power I find they have to have notes from other adults to excuse certain types of absences. This is ridiculous to me that someone would have control over my children above me. What really gets me is folks buy into this as normal. If you asked folks about it they just shrug and say “Yeah, they can cause you trouble if you don’t send them to school. Wait, I graduated, a couple of times, I can’t get in school trouble anymore.

So I start digging deeper, like a lost coonhound trying to dig a gravedigger out of a river bed! Ok, that may have went over the deep end with metaphors, but I’m pissed and trying to stay “country”. They have these list of things to do when a child gets home. I did 11 pages of homework with “Little Johnny hyper boy” one afternoon. He’s six, in first grade is what it says on his paperwork. Now I told you I been a teacher; so I know this work I’m “helping” this six year old with ain’t getting graded by no means. Impossible!!! There are 23 kids times 11 for just Monday, not including what they did in class, if they did anything I’m guessing at this point, but I drive on for my boy.

I read, write, and think a lot, possibly too much! I really don’t care what my children decide to become as long as it’s happy. My worst nightmare would be that they chose some career path or position out of prestige or financial gain, rather than happiness and fulfillment. We seem to be taking this “control”thing a little further every minute. There is no way that some educator focusing on test scores and which Island in the Caribbean is most popular is going to usurp parental responsibility from me. I have to protect my children from the bureaucratic pitfall that I thought was realized back in the 50’s.

There are many folks out there interested in your child. The sports maniac, the corporate monopolized, the usurping educator, even the non profit scrounger. Balance is the key, as always. “Little Johnny does need to know how to get along is his world. So I guess i’ll have to teach him at home that folks don’t really care about your wellbeing and if they do it’s probably because they have a stake in it somehow. So guard your freedoms from the folks who are saying they are here to protect it, because they are the same folks who want to organize and direct it. Chance are that “Little Johnny” won’t be happy living someone else’s version of happiness, he’ll just be another Poseur lost in the latest trend!

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