[Marxism] Tomgram: Steve Fraser, Teaching America a Lesson | TomDispatch
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Apr 18 06:53:42 MDT 2018
Are teachers professionals, proletarians, or both? One symptom of our
pathological denial of class realities is that we are accustomed to
thinking of teachers as “middle class.” Certainly, their professional
bona fides should entitle them to that social station. After all, middle
class is the part of the social geography that we imagine as the
aspirational homing grounds for good citizens of every sort, a place so
all-embracing that it effaces signs of rank, order, and power. The
middle class is that class so universal that it’s really no class at all.
School teachers, however, have always been working-class stiffs. For a
long time, they were also mainly women who would have instantly
recognized the insecurities, struggles to get by, and low public esteem
that plague today’s embattled teachers.
The women educators of yesteryear may have thought of their work as a
profession or a “calling,” subject to its own code of ethics and
standards of excellence, as well as an intellectual pursuit and social
service. But whatever they thought about themselves, they had no ability
to convince public authorities to pay attention to such aspirations (and
they didn’t). As “women’s work,” school teaching done by “school marms”
occupied an inherently low position in a putatively class-free America.
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