Given the extra time I’ve had on my hands this summer, I’ve been able to sit down and read the news. Yeah! Unfortunately, I’ve observed several problems from an educational perspective. Boo!
The idea of success has been on my mind since the chancellor embedded it in the reinvention plan (sometimes I think of it as being buried, and left for dead, in the ‘case for reinvention’, but I digress). I have found it very troubling to read about what we are doing as a society in terms of defining success by our actions and what this unspoken belief is doing to our educational system and our students.
Exhibit A: $60M goal for Obama fund-raisers
According to this article, Obama is lookin’ to raise quite a bit ‘o cash as he positions himself for a second term in the White House. When I read between the lines, this story is basically sayin’: Money rules. No money equals no votes equals no success. He’s not positioning himself to be the best candidate, he’s positioning himself to be the wealthiest candidate. It has less to do about the ability to be a leader and more about how to pull in the dough.
Moral #1 of the story: If you ain’t got cash, you ain’t got success ’cause money rules!
Moral #2 of the story: You can prostitute your way up any corporate ladder. (As these politicians “raise” their money, they’re makin’ sweet promises in exchange for that cash.) It’s less about what you’ve done for your mind lately, and more about what-have-you-done-for-$$-lately.
[What’s really telling is that when I ran a search for Obama on the newspaper’s website, his official website came up as a sponsoring ad. Our government has a corporate mentality. I don’t like it.]
Exhibit B: Emanuel effort to reinvent city government getting a $6 million boost
The article states, “Chicago’s new mayor will use the money to create an innovation team in his office. The roughly 10-member team will be tasked with finding ways to reduce the amount of time businesses and residents spend waiting to get a permit or obtain a new license.”
So from what I gather, the mayor can’t do much without the dough.
Moral #1 of the story: Successful governing is only possible with money.
Moral #2 of the story: Lean on your rich friends to take care of you ’cause being self-sufficient is no longer a requirement to being a smart politician. (Remember how Rahm wants us to be his financial partners in fixin’ Daley’s mess??)
Exhibit C: Elgin-O’Hare bypass should be built as toll road
Why is this tollway needed? “A newly completed report by an advisory council appointed last year by Quinn concludes that building the Elgin-O’Hare West Bypass would create more than 78,000 short- and long-term jobs, maximize the potential for an expanded O’Hare, and bolster the region’s economy.”
Moral #1 of the story: Don’t do it if it ain’t gonna generate $$$.
Moral #2: of the story: It has little to do with the good of the polis and everything to do with JOBS.
Hell with that kind of an attitude, let’s build a highway, sorry, tollway over AND under O’Hare ’cause it will generate billions in jobs. Don’t let any cars on, then, hire an advisory council to conclude that it needs to be destroyed ’cause it didn’t produce enough traffic and it’ll bolster the economy!
Finally, Exhibit D: Emanuel announces new heads at 5 City Colleges
In the article Emanuel is quoted as stating, “The community college system is on the front line of training the workforce we need in the city so we can attract businesses.”
Moral #1 of the story: Get you some training so I can use you to attract business. (Sounds like a pimp to me.)
Moral #2 of the story: College equals Training equals $$$. College does not equal living an examined life. Go get that somewhere else.
These are the words our students are exposed to and the culture that sends them through our doors. These politicians contradict our educational mission because they take importance and attention away from the fundamentals of earning an education. They pervert the educational system the more they talk about earning their selfish goals.
What a mess they’ve made of success and the citizens of our community.