Monday, May 16, 2011

"Reform's" Many Forms: Nothing New

I'm turning Biblical, start running now. One of
the more interesting books in the Old Testament
says all is vanity, nothing new under the Sun.
(Except for the clothes and gadgets, that is.)
But we are encouraged to enjoy the fruits of our
labor nonetheless. In Chicago, the political scene
is largely about vanity, not reform, ambition, not
the greater good.

Heralded all over local Chicagoland media is our
"new day", because the City Council and the Mayor
are sporting new faces. Yet the "dreams", problems
and goals are the same compelling ones that have
preoccupied us for many decades. Who is OPPOSED to
better education, no/low crime, balanced budgets, etc.?
Rahm Emanuel emphasized these during his swearing in
today down by the lake. Chicago's Mayor will not likely
fix these matters. The causes are cultural, economic,
endemic and long standing:

(1) EDUCATION: Most kids (and their parents) simply
lack gravitas, meaning, in America it's practically
a federal offense to basically be a serious, goal-oriented
person. The never-ending search for gratification and
novelty often sidelines serious research, serious productivity,
serious problem-solving. (By the way, I hate fun, and you
can quote me.) Recalling the high rate of substance abuse,
divorce, crime, etc., it's very hard to be optimistic.
Whatever "reforms" are enacted, given this cultural context,
how are we going to make the kids do their job, which is to study?
Tackle THAT one, Rahmster Monster.

(2) BUDGET WOES: Who will be stiffed, left out, victimized
by benign neglect? Will pensions be funded? Are certain
unions really expecting too much? Should teachers be required
to keep up since their students are? (-Don't worry, many more
questions could be inserted here, but I'll refrain....) Then
there's the ugly phenomenon of NIMBY, i.e., you won't be making
me sacrifice in MY backyard, noooo....

Time to recur once again to the Good Book. I'm hoping to
escape all the hackneyed phrases and promises designed to
soothe our troubled minds, but I doubt it; humanity hasn't
changed markedly in 2,000 years.

When God or Jesus speak I see sense.
And you can quote me.


  1. This is good. I taught middle school for two thousand years and you are right. "Be still and know that I am God.", if heeded, would change everything.

  2. Cletis,

    I like that quote. Another one, not Biblical,
    is a striking thought from my Hispanic culture: "All man's troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone" by Blaise Pascal, a Spaniard from hundreds of years back.

    Please check out my comment to you under
    "What's Logic Got to Do With It..." Can't get
    to the Book of Jerry, another problem as well.


  3. So many aphorisms; so little time.

    "Education" is floundering, treading water and/or going down the drain because it lacks a definition. We know what it USED to be for and about, but those purposes are no longer applicable.

    It's now one big elitist labeling/sorting cachet scam in which the goalpost are continually moved to cushion the elite.
    It's about power and control and who's in and who's out. "They" say that kids today are dumb and getting dumber, but they're smart enough to recognize when they are being had and by whom.

    Rahmses I has an opportunity to, by decree, establish a real, measurable baseline in the third largest school district in the country.
    He can define specifically what education is and, generally, its purpose.

    He can reject the trends and foster "communities" of learning that teach students how to acquire the knowledge they seek. He can turn our schools inside/out and teach beyond the school walls to a whole city.
    He won't, but he could.

    Rahmses is a gatekeeper. Because it's always easier to tell them some shit, than it is to tell them the truth.

    Then again, he can be a first-class asshole and I don't doubt for a second that he loves the city, so he just might surprise everybody...

    It'll be interesting to see how and which rocks he opts to turn over first.

    When I look for wisdom in a good book. I typically turn to Heinlein.

  4. Dear Watcher,

    I haven't read Heinlein's books in years,
    but found him to be as wise as he was visionary, creative, intriguing, even provoking....perhaps even more
    than Herbert, but that may be an apples and oranges assessment.

    Thanks for your comment; my remarks about
    God/Jesus were not meant to proselytize,
    rather comparing the "ordinary humans"
    statements therein with those of God/Jesus.

    Hope your clouds are lifting.

    Best, A.

  5. Amber, I have several posts on education. Here's one you might want to consider...