Aristotle’s feet

Aristotle’s feet
Originally uploaded by maha-online.

But before I go to the school meeting, let me get my rant on for a moment here. I keep thinking of those conversations about school funding and school quality. The conversations where someone says, “Well, of course I want my child to have every advantage.” Meaning, I want them to go to the best possible school, and maybe it is time to think about private school.

I keep mentally completing that sentence, “… every advantage over someone else’s kid.” And not liking that.

The argument goes that we have to let the already rich schools do their own fundraising only for themselves because they won’t raise the money for everyone, because the money, that 100K, spread over all the schools in the district won’t make any significant difference. But that 100K in their own child’s school will make the school better, and if even a few rich educated privileged families leave the school, the whole district loses out. So we have to build inequality into our district, on purpose. We have to have some schools better than other schools, or the fancy people will yank their kids and put them in private school and there will be no good public school. At this point, understand me, I think “good” means “can afford not only a stapler in every classroom, but a phys ed teacher, or a full-time principal, or enough teachers.” On another scale, unfortunately it is clear that “good” means “highest test scores” which means “has the most native English speakers”. Which gets you very quickly into basic racism and since I have only a few more minutes to rant, I’m not going to spell all of that out.

At t his moment I just want to harangue someone, even myself, about the differences between “having every advantage (over)”, which is inequality, and privilege, and entitlement; that vs. “equal opportunity” which means everyone gets access to the resources for education to happen. Not everyone is going to be brilliant, not everyone will go to college and maybe not everyone needs to. Anyway, equal opportunity is not only a nice concept of social justice, it is also the law of this country. But that is not what we have and it is, apparently, not what the privileged want.

Yes, at heart, I am also a product of that kind of privilege, and I still want my child to be tutored by Aristotle in a palace made of gold. But not at every other child’s expense. I think of what I wish I had, and what I could have learned. Of course I want my kid to be able to have opportunities I didn’t have. But, there is nothing in me that makes me think that other people don’t also want their kids to have those same opportunities.

Oh well, this is all a rather hi-falutin’ way to say that I am dissatisfied with the very boring worksheets he brings home and the lack of anything interesting being taught, like science, natural history, geography, culture, history, politics, or anything other than “basic skills you need to score well on the test so that the principal has an upward trend in his career and can say he improved the school’s average test scores” and simultaneously I feel a little bitter and resentful towards the other parents who justify their elitism and stick their kids in private school or homeschool them. I respect y’all on a basic level, of wanting what is good for your kid, but, I have very, very grave suspicions and mixed feelings about doing either of those two things.

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