SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: The Vietnamization Of Education

Friday, February 4, 2011

The Vietnamization Of Education

I got this emailed to me this afternoon. I asked the author for permission to reprint it and he said go ahead. This is one of the most lucid, well thought out, to the point arguments I have heard against mayoral control, the ed deformers, the billionaires I have ever read. The analogy to Vietnam is not only spot on, but scary.

I remember when I was in third grade, sometime in the fall of 1972, my mother telling me she will send me to Canada if I ever got drafted. For those under 45 I suggest reading more about the Vietnam War.

I retired from Bloomberg's Folly last summer, but I still get heated when I see
and hear people who couldn't survive in a classroom (and never tried)
pontificating on how to fix schools. They use test scores like the Pentagon in
the 1960s used body counts. Our teachers are as dedicated as our fighting men in
Vietnam were, but we are also losing this war and our future because of an
arrogant, uninformed leadership.

I had the unfortunate experience of seeing Michael Bloomberg try to read to a
group of students at a setup ceremony. It was set up for him with a small group
of cooperative kids to make it an easy time. He lost those kids within 30
seconds, and he was the last in the room to know it.

I think it might be a god idea to try to collect reviews of Bloomberg and Black
trying to look like teachers. Videos would be even better, but you can tell the
way DOE photos are staged that they know how bad they are and wouldn't allow any
unofficial photos or videos. I think unmasking these clowns might help a bit to
quiet their boasting about their expertise in education.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. I'm a history teacher, and Vietnam was all about profits for the war making machine and other corporations. Bloomberg is all about profits for the information machine and finding ways to profit off public education.

Charlie said...

I don't agree with the war analogy, but you are correct that staged readings to children can be a bad idea. It takes up class time, and I agree, unless the reader really reaches the kids in a special way it's patronizing to everybody involved - kids, teachers, administrators. There are better opportunities to feed the PR machine, like science fairs and spelling bees.

Bush was reading to kids on 9-11-01. The Obamas have done the same at a charter school in DC. I believe Obama had a science fair at the White House recently.

Pete Zucker said...

The war analogy you don't agree with? The politicians were claiming how many dead Viet Cong there were to show that we were "winning" the war. Yet, it was a fallacy. We were losing. Just as we are losing the this so called education war? Why? Because of politicians. Politicians can only stir the drink bad. The generals should have been making the decisions in Vietnam, the educators should be the ones making decisions about education.

Anonymous said...

I am also a history teacher and I see this as a great analogy. Michael Bloomberg is a true mix of the tyranny of Lyndon Johnson and the treachery of Richard Nixon. There is a great book named 'Side Show' which describes how the political manipulations of Nixon and Kissinger not only prolonged the Vietnam War but directly caused the holocaust in Cambodia.

Bloomberg has his pet high schools and charter schools, but his plans pretty much disregard the neediest among students. He has also cut parents completely out of schools with his 'Education Councils'. That is his true legacy, and he isn't even concerned with undoing any of that damage.

Anonymous said...

Let's get back to the larger point. I saw Klein with students, and it was a lot like the Bozo Show when he had a live audience. "And now, boys and girls, ..." None of our leaders know anything about schools or teaching, and let's try to document that fact.