Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wonka and the sorting of "eggs"

Earlier today I tweeted this:

"Those standards&tests reflect Wonka's good egg/bad egg method,w/a "pass" out of sorting room 4 those who can afford it."

I have a tendency to make strange comparisons and let whatever weirdness is stored in my fat cells come back to haunt me (like old-school Wonka, not new Johnny Depp Wonka, as cool as he is), so let me explain:
The new Common Core Standards and the tests that come as the back-hand follow up are supposedly meant to make kids college and career ready-a catchy catch phrase I have questioned many times (and will again) regarding what if anything it really means. Other than setting an invisible target for public schools and teachers, or dangling a dollar just out of reach.

     These new standards and tests, the collection and storage of the data on children, educators, schools, families, the universities that educate the educators, and the creation of the storage and sharing apparatuses that will enable the creators of this system to analyze all this data can only serve one purpose:


     I have already accepted the more nefarious possibilities. I'm not saying they're already a reality, but we are easily within a decade from a time when an analysis of a U.S. citizen's data might reveal that he or she could disrupt the efficient corporate control of the low-cost education to low-wage work force chute that is being established right now. Just think Mitt Romney's "as much education as they can afford" statement. 

Not "deserve", "earn", "show potential for"... It's all about what you can buy.

     Trust fund babies, more or less, should be dynasty-styled into the next generation of access to power. Real education, responsive to their needs and aimed at future success and position. They can afford it, after all. But to protect the economic base to support life in the gated community, the cost of supporting the health of the nation has to be reduced. 

     "Public" money meant to support the common good needs to be more accessible for parasitic private interests and the immense amounts of wealth being carefully hoarded and protected can't be freed to support the host. So expenses must be itemized. Expensive children-those requiring attention, support, effort to lift them to a place where they can access opportunities, need to be identified and at least kept in schools where costs can be controlled through complicated test and evaluation formulas. The fortunate few may test upward and outward, but imagine those whose behaviors and aptitude make school success a challenge.

     In Willy Wonka's golden egg sorting room, golden eggs rolled onto scales that determined "good eggs" from "bad eggs". Veruca Salt, a horribly spoiled girl demanded an egg, sung a song, jumped on the scale and... well down to the furnace, possibly. Certainly somewhere unpleasant with her father diving after her.

Here is a link to that part of the movie if you have never seen it.

This sorting is what is happening. In order to facilitate the false "choice" movement in schooling, these standards and testing are forced upon our schools, and the very best eggs may get by, may "choice" outward and upward to more opportunity, if those eggs aren't already safely tucked away in a non-tested "as much education as they can afford" exclusive school. For the majority of students, with more "rigorous" standards, tests, and evals for all involved-there's a sorting room that determines their fate.


  1. I enjoy your postings; your warped comparisons match mine. You are right on the mark about the false sorting and the best eggs getting more choice. Every child, no matter SES level, deserves an excellent education.

    Parents have a part in this as well, as schools/teachers really cannot be "in loco parentis" and parents/guardians have many hours with children that the schools do not. Parents need to assume responsibility for their children; parents need to advocate for their children and DROP OUT OF STANDARDIZED TESTING as a part of the responsibility and advocating.

  2. I'm hearing NYSUT might back off on some of the VAM aspects, but think that the deeper issue is the move to take systemic control; to warp the purpose of education as nurturing capable citizens to sustaining fuel for an inequitable economy.


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