Sunday, December 19, 2010

Educational NewSpeak

Hate is Love. War is Peace --1984 George Orwell

Schooling in the U.S. is compulsory: kids are constrained to be in school. If you’ve got money, you can buy more or less comfortable incarceration for your kids between the ages 6 to 16, unless you school them at home – in which case you share the constraints.

The big pretense of course is that everyone, just everyone, down to the last child, wants, nay, ardently desires to be in school, even if it means getting up at the crack of dawn and riding a bus for an hour just so you can begin pretending to show interest whilst you tighten your sphincters until such time as permission is given to permit nature its course.

This is why we school people talk funny. Basically, we force a happy grin to keep from breaking down into tears. Any difficulty or impediment a child bears, no matter how insurmountable, is renamed, “a challenge,” as if autism or spina bifida were little more problematic than an invitation to a tennis match.

When the number of assaults in a school district drops 10%, whatever the reason – usually unknown – somebody rushes to give the superintendent a raise, or at least a good newspaper headline touting his or her “Administrative Acumen.”

School bullies, if even recognized as such, are forced to sit still for a few hours while “experts” chatter at them about “conflict resolution.” The result is predictable: when their teachers complain that the bullying has not stopped, they are told that it has, but the kids have adapted it to their particularly – perhaps even “culturally distinctly” – assertive manner.

Eduspeak smokescreens do serve a useful purpose on many an occasion. For example, when a parent comes in to complain that his or her child’s grades are “unfairly” low, or that a disciplinary action imposed on poor “fruit-of-the-loins” is not "fair" (read, “fair” to mean, “to be imposed on other kids, not mine”).

To respond to such a complaint, teachers and administrators can invoke school “policies” which “the law” or “the school board” compels them to follow, despite the fact that they, the teachers and the administrators, too, recognize the sterling nature of the child victimized by such rules and regulations as an “inadvertent mishap.” “We understand that your son was just ‘playing around’ when he bumped his classmate down the stairs. But once the ambulance was called, our hands were tied.”

To examine these issues further, see COOPERATION AND COERCION

--- EGR

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