'The Militant' joins liberals in denouncing Supreme Court vou cher decision

Smith, Gerard gsmith at clark.edu
Mon Jul 8 18:13:11 MDT 2002

snip: In the end, school is very much like a preprison or prefactory system.
of it as sentencing your kids to a 12 year term for the crime of being
If they're lucky, they'll be able to do some basic reading and ciphering
they are released.

Such hasty generalizations abound concerning the often difficult jobs that
teachers have in the United States. My children are getting an excellent
education, because teacher's unions constantly struggle against both
politicians and voters who don't want to pay more for education. In
addition, a school system cannot fully educate a child alone: the parents
must also be involved. Calling the school system a pre-prison or prefactory
system is an oversimplification of the property tax based system of funding
in this country.  Voucher system will not improve all schools alone;
however, certain schools will improve while others (with no industrial or
commercial tax base) will fall further into mediocrity.   The already
well-funded schools produce highly capable, highly qualified students,
whereas those schools with limited resources produce individuals Andrew
describes. Yet, this claim is also fallacious, because these "inner city"
schools also produce highly qualified citizens who have overcome improbable
obstacles.  A measure of fact exist in his argument, but to define all
schools as prisons or vocational schools implies that all teachers are
incompetent, unqualified wardens or guards, that the students do not care
about their education. To use the "false analogy" of schools as prisons
oversimplifies the problem: an unequal distribution of wealth is the root
cause of the systematic failure of the American education. While middle
class children receive excellent education because of high property taxes,
their counterparts across the "tracks" in the ghetto, the barrio, the
Appalachian valley, or the reservation get shit. Addressing the inequalities
of the tax-based funding system should be the focus of a "Marxist" critique.


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