Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Public Education is Dead

American Public education is dead. The Mike Firesmith Movement has swept it into the history books, to be forever forgotten by students even if they were taught as to when it occurred, and the fifty states now face the problem of education wholly on their own. Some knee-jerk away from being guiding authorities while others decided to replace one failing central system with another. Private schools spring up like mushrooms in a cow pasture after a thunderstorm and some have the same effects. Established institutions are flooded with new students and parochial schools discover faith is no obstacle to some parents who before, would have never thought about a religious school.
            In horror, the states now see a dramatic increase in crime as young children who were once day cared in the public school system are now left free to wonder about at will. This leads to new laws demanding parents control their own kids, and new claims of unemployment and welfare as single parents must return home to take care of their kids, and couples discover only one of them can work now. Day care prices sky rocket.
            Perversely, low paying job are suddenly moderately paying jobs as companies everywhere discover the labor pool just shrank. The stay at home mom and the stay at home dad is now a reality. Home schooling becomes so popular the states cannot license parents quickly enough to teach and a one year waiting list form and then doubles. States who have given up entirely on education do not interfere at all with parents who teach their kids and very quickly neighborhood schools spring up. Students are taught in churches and in front yards and the one room school house is again a part of Americana.
            Colleges and Universities face incredible cuts in funding, and in the greatest of ironies, it is the football factories who fare the best. Moreover, they see now they must keep the players coming, so they offer like minded High Schools a piece of the pie to keep the fresh meat arriving for spring training. More than ever before, doing well in a sport ensures a future and the High School with connections become the new Meccas of Education.  A few privately funded and endowed schools will be built and operated, but only for the moneyed. The poor, Lincolnesque to the extreme, will only find education through very hard work, and even then discover it is not applicable when  seeking a job. With millions of former students on the streets and the future defined even more sharply by education, the poor will remain so, but this is nothing new, or even worse by any large degree.
            With the death of public education, there will be pseudo public schools which will resemble political parties with text books, and function equally as well. What is popular with the voters, or what can be sold as education to the voters, will enrich those selling education, and just like the tags of “liberal and conservative” education will draw power front both extremes, and just like political parties, political education will educate no one, and draw money from those least likely to be able to afford it. Worse, there will be a flight of those who can afford some education away from areas that cannot afford it, leaving behind those who can afford none at all, left to their own devices. Internet classrooms, educational DVDs and a host of other materials will spring up. No one can predict just how well any of this will work, but I suspect there will be incredible failures as well as stunning success stories. From the ruin of American Public Education could rise new polymaths, students who take to learning not because it is offered but because they desire it with a passion.
            Yet this is a story with a predictable path. There will be schools whose creators decide that education and religion are one in the same, and other who do not share a passion for one religion over another might have to migrate to find a school that taught without concern to faith, or one that shared their own spiritual needs. The fleecing the flock in the name of whatever god which is popular has always been a sure way to make money, and it will be again. In areas where religious fervor takes hold and expands, other people with differencing views might have to band together to preserve their own beliefs. The Balkanization of America will begin, and the lines that divide the country will grow sharper and sharper as school districts begin to align with congressional districts and politics and school and god become an unholy trinity which will force a bizarre sort of social Darwinism on neighborhoods to become successful or risk being taken over by smarter, or better funded schools that serve a different god, or faith.
            In the last four or five days I have very intentionally gone out of my way to attack the American Public Education system. I do not like it. I think it is a total waste of money and it does not work as well as something that cost a tenth of its size should. I am a good writer, if what people tell me is true, and if it is true, the American Public Education System cheated me, robbed me, of my chance to write much earlier in life. I am bitter. I am still angry. I will never forgive, never forget, and if given the chance, I will injure that system mortally.
            Yet I do realize my life does not reflect everyone’s life. My experiences do not mirror those of all. In the last few days I have seen strong, intelligent, and honest people fight against me with passion, logic, and a love for the same system I loathe. My respect for my opponents in this debate has grown. My understanding for their love as grown with that respect and with this final essay on the subject, I sought to see the world as they have and for those of you trying to save what I would rid this country of, I thank you

Take Care,
Mike

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