Thursday, December 16, 2010

One might think there would be...

A reasonable person might think there would be gratitude. Corporate reserves are at a nearly all time high, during what for many have been the longest recession and most difficult economic times of their lives, but corporations don't feel gratitude. They only feel profit and loss. The US tax payers rescued the banking industry, and it and Wall Street are poised for massive gains, while tax payers take on greater national debt, and the Republicans insist on tax breaks for the rich. Lobbying by the US Chamber of Commerce was extremely intense this last election as they attempted to secure their strength in the face of difficult economic conditions, and yesterday, corporate CEOs met with President Obama to get extra help.

It might be thought that this would have nothing to do with the Wisdom of the Hands, and that I've become distracted by politics and am displaying my socialist leanings, though how one could examine my life as a self-employed craftsman and jump to such ridiculous conclusions is beyond me.

I am deeply dismayed by the lack of appreciation, however, that American special interests have for the American worker... the lack of understanding that many have for the deep and lasting contributions made by others. Can we have capitalism in which all choose to shoulder their own fair share of moving our nation toward economic justice, and respect for the dignity and value of all labor?

Much of our American dilemma comes from one distinct source. Lacking hands-on engagement in schooling, many students learn to accept boredom, become discouraged and thence angry at those more successful in schooling. Others, lacking hands-on engagement in learning, leap forward without developing an appreciation for the value of labor and without gaining a sense of partnership with others in shared creative endeavor. And so both sides are deeply affected. One falls into an economic morass, and is diminished by anti-intellectualism, and the other into delusions of specialness and privilege that are destructive of intelligent democracy.

When Educational Sloyd was proposed for all students, it was with the recognition that all students developed in character and intellect when their hands were intelligently engaged in learning. And if we have become a nation of pinheads on all sides of the academic, economic and social divides, it is due in large part to our failure to understand this very simple thing.

Today, I'll join the first, second and third grade students from Clear Spring School as we deliver toys we made to the local food bank. There are many suffering during this holiday season and perhaps a few small things will help to bring cheer. This year, in addition to toy cars and trucks made by students at Clear Spring School, we have also made kits which will allow children to participate in the pleasure we find in making things in the wood shop.

One might think that corporations would feel gratitude, that they at least have been saved from complete economic collapse by the American tax payer and are now well on the road to recovery, but no, they only feel profit. In the meantime large corporations are plotting a take-over of American education. It is a certain way to use schooling to continue to create mindless consumers. News Corp., owner of Fox News and the Wall Street Journal has become one of the largest players. News Corp. Crams for Courses, Media Giant Faces Task of Honing Education Strategy. If News Corp.'s idea of education is at all like their strategy of misinformation for Fox News, we are in trouble.
Mr. Murdoch has described Wireless Generation as a gateway to a kindergarten-through-12th grade education market worth about $500 billion a year in the U.S. alone.... Education "is really ripe for a disruptive technology," News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey said last week.
The best disruptive technology would actually be to put kids to work making real things of useful beauty, with real tools, saws and hammers but then it seems that here in Arkansas, and on this increasingly strange planet, I am one lonely voice.

1 comment:

  1. I would suspect the corporate goal would be to atomize student experience through the use of tablet or laptop computers to such an extent that no student has the same material as any other student on a given day.

    The teacher would get reduced into a punishment/reward facilitator and scriptreader. This would also reduce/eliminate the need for professional teachers and therefore teachers unions.

    Why the atomization?

    Individuals, no matter how aware, do not have the power to resist corporate or state actions. Only collectives do. Therefore in order to maximize corporate profit and control the collective experience must by minimized and punished. Cooperative skills need to be replaced with obedience training.