EDUCATION AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC DISTRACTION
education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
Now let us see here… what does education “mean”? ‘mid all the news and the talk and vague corporate chatter about the issue of “getting an education” we are not remembering the building blocks of what that has to do with us becoming good citizens in the first place. We need to take a deep breath, step back, and look at the whole idea of education from the beginning, in order to understand where our goals have failed and thus where we have failed ourselves and the children, the young citizens of America.
The roots of the word and concept of “education” mean to “draw out”, “march out”, or “lead out”. In that respect are those who talk of the issues and concerns regarding education doing those things? What is getting in the way of progress and satisfaction?
Then you can move on to… GRADUATION, which means what… yes, that’s right, moving up, taking higher, grander, greater steps. You have “gradually” gained sets of facts and skills that you can use to pursue a career and to grow as a good citizen. You have “made the grade”, taking the ups and downs of the learning process, the good with the bad, the late nights with the easy reading and the details with the attainment of the goals.
Thus when you are able to walk that stage and think, “I GRADUATED!”, you have accomplished something special, walking in the torchlight that generations before have set up for you to follow. Now you can research, take their ideas and concepts and designs and make something new, do something different, and choose your path.
Instead of saying this big-sounding talk of “get an education”, take it a different way and “BECOME EDUCATED”. The latter indicates that the idea of learning will always be with you if you are fortunate, every day, to take in something new and useful for your way of life. To become educated is a goal everyone should have.
As my grandmother says as a great mantra, “Learn something, learn something.”
She is correct. Do the right thing; make the situation easier at the outset:
BECOME EDUCATED and LEARN SOMETHING!
THE DEMOGRAPHIC DELUSION
In Chicago this year, and especially in the past month, the concerns over the closing of many dozens of public “neighborhood” schools has drawn fire onto the Chicago Public Schools bureaucracy, and has resulted in name-calling and the use of foul language.
American Education is in the Dumpster (Photo credit: brewbooks)
What is behind much of this prattle about the closing of the schools and the possibility of the “public” school being replaced by the “charter” school? Many factors are to be considered, among them and what we might think of as the main problem is demographics.
Far as this author can see, demographics focuses on separating and talking about people with regards to skin color/ “race”, religion, ethnic background, where they live, how much they make, the supposed concentration of certain people in a certain area, social and economic and gender aspects as well.
Is such thinking helping or hindering genuine progress? Is not such thinking making us a country that is NOT united? Any kind of separation pits one person or group against another person or group when seen in the light of demographics- whether or not someone has something the others do not or that they want, comparing people based on what someone assumes a certain race or gender will want at a certain time of day, using language that makes someone seem dumber or smarter in comparison to someone from a lower social-economic background, and making other arrogant and insensitive assumptions based on the few people they see and what those people appear to do and stamping others of that look with the prejudicial factors.
The people who are boiling in these issues need to learn some hard lessons, apparently. If education means in part “to lead out” and “to draw out”, and they talk about keeping the kids in their “neighborhood”, what does that say about those in control? They aren’t acting very EDUCATED, are they? What if the areas they are in now are more dangerous than the places where the new schools are?
So what about the type of school it is that they attend- what about it? One school type is no better than the other- all of them can have problems. The important point is achievement and holding to academic standards and personal behavior standards.
Best then to eliminate the divisive junk about “neighborhoods” and this stuff about “remember where you came from” and the rest of this “heritage” trash, than to continue the bickering based on such silly issues. Such demographic thinking does nothing good for anyone at all. As for this junk about “neighborhoods”, I don’t care where one area starts and another stops, what “race” or “ethnicity” lives there and who does not, what they look like or do or what kind of cars they drive.
The government is guilty of fomenting division in this nation, you can see that. The Census is their way of trying to keep such divisive practices in the pipeline and because those in power push it at us we think it so good to fill out those forms and send them in.
Why does “the government” want that information? Why do you think? They want to use those separatist statistics to parcel out “federal” money based on what race, color, creed, gender or ethnic group is in a certain school, workplace, or part of the country. They want to “help out” or “build that area up” based on those factors. And then they want to make it seem that they are doing those people good and helping them by giving them money, buildings, and parks and such. But is it helpful to think about people in those ways?
IT IS NOT.
But you must remember this: YOU CAN AND MUST LEARN TO GOVERN YOURSELVES! You can branch out and get away from this derisive, delusional talk; you can wrest control from these terrible thoughts and patterns, you can break the chains those demographers are putting on you. You can think positively and forget the negatives so fast you will wonder why you didn’t focus forward in the first place.
You can stop thinking backwards and letting the Census and commerce and ad people keep hold on you. You can tell them, “I don’t like that way you portrayed X in this ad. It is not truthful and not every X acts that way!” You can tell them, “Your ad campaign and your business practices are highly offensive to X because of X!” You can write letters, you can stop watching the shows, you do not have to go to the movies and you do not have to take flack in the workplace due to some stupid demographic category.
You can stop thinking that something is happening on a racial basis; you can stop pulling your bag back because you think someone is going to take it on the street just because they are walking toward you and looking a certain way. If they happen to be looking at your level, so what- people DO move their necks and eyes! You cannot judge why someone is looking a certain way and doing something!
HOW DARE YOU PRESUME?
You just go ahead with your duties and tasks and let the guilty party realize their errors. Do you not presume, do you not assume, you just go about and take care of business. Let others “mind” the supposed problem, the offense that did not happen, the event that did not occur, their reasons behind their actions and their prejudices.
People of Chicago, learn some lessons of your own! Grow up, get your goals straight, and then air your differences and your ideas. When you can learn to do so in a civil manner, when you can act like the educated people you think you are or want to be, then come to the table and sit down and act like people who want to be civilized.
After all, who are you harming the most in the end? You adults, you officials, you people in control are not doing all you can to make the gang and drug areas less dangerous, then you say that closing the schools will put the kids in danger. Bologna. YOU are putting them in danger by being all talk and no action, or not enough action. You are causing more worry and harm than the good kids who want to learn and accomplish something no matter what school they attend. You could stop the gangs, get rid of the drug markets, punish the offenders in your family, and clean up your supposed “neighborhood” if you wanted to, if you were not saddled with corrupt cops and politicians and national red tape.
If you officials on the Chicago Public Schools board are harboring ANY kind of Census-type racial, ethnographic, gender biases of ANY degree, if you are nursing anything related to supposing who lives where, what they are like based on some survey results, what they look like or what they do, then you are inciting shameful behavior. ALL OF YOU are nursing this bad behavior, and believe me, it is BAD BEHAVIOR, and you are not attending to what the kids want at all, though you might say you desire things to go in their best interest.
YOU ARE SHAMEFUL, THE LOT OF YOU! SHAME ON EVERYONE WHO TRUSTS THE CENSUS STUFF TO DECIDE EDUCATION ISSUES!
What does it matter who lives where or how they ended up in a certain part of a city, town, village, state, community or “neighborhood” (what a ridiculous idea anyway based on how that data is now being used)? Who cares? You do, and based on those biases that divide us? YOU ARE AT FAULT THEN for any of the problems that arise because you are keeping the problems up and getting mad the moment anyone wants to go after this supposed security blanket of “identity” and “heritage” you are shielding yourselves with. It is a see-through shield, a false and shredded blanket, a wall that is crumbling and a guard that is losing power. Everyone loses when biases cloud progress, everyone loses when demographics takes over.
For the instant anything like this comes up, the VERY MOMENT, someone gets so angry and so mad that they cannot control their behavior and right away the anger bubbles up so heavy and hot and volcanic that their mouths erupt with slurs, race and gender terms, bias terms, and they finger-point at everyone else.
But do they take action to correct the small things in their own minds before they take out the boards in the other person’s eye? The people who get so mad so quickly are clouded to so deep a degree that all they can think to do is react, not pro-act; they can get mad but they cannot offer clear solutions to the problems. They cannot present themselves civil and decorous and disciplined because of the news spin and the corporate chatter that weights their minds with the demographic dribble. They want to hold others accountable, honest, transparent and trustworthy… but can these accusers and finger-pointers and yelling heads hold their lives to the same expected standards?
What does that say when you want to keep them in the same areas they are growing up in, with “their own kind” and “their own type” and filling them with such limiting ideas? That is not the idea of being educated. Keeping them in their own boundaries means that they will not expand their horizons, learn about other cultures and people except from a book or some online page that might not be adequate in information or might be skewed in one or another way that would not permit the reception of more information from all sides of a story. To learn about others, you have to experience others.
I was fortunate not only to learn about Asia but to visit China, Japan and Hong Kong in the middle 1980’s. Had I only read about these wonderful people or seen movies or television shows portraying some aspect of their culture my experience of Asia would be incomplete. As it happened I ate their food, tried their clothes, saw their homes and families, shopped in their stores, saw the local scenery and heard the language. I have experienced Europe and England and enjoyed the best parts of many cultures. Travel for certain brings a new meaning to the phrase “live and active cultures”.
Even though an American child these days might not be able to travel due to economic trials, they can branch out and learn from people of the cultures around the world. There are many communities in Chicago from all over the place. You can experience Mexico, China, Japan, Turkey, Korea, Greece and India.
But what I am talking about is simply mixing with other people, no matter what they look like or what they do. This talk of “Black”, and “White” and such other gibberish is trash talk and not suitable for educated, learned people or folks who want to consider themselves so and pass learning on to others.
You must be sure your standards are not prejudiced by thinking “Black” or “White” or “rich” or “poor” or any other demographic category. Anything less than ridding yourself of backwards thinking is showing that you are uncivilized and far from educated; you will only pass on skewed information to the next generation and keep them limited, dumb and thinking on the same low levels as you are doing.
What does that say to the students who want to branch out, who are tired of being hemmed in by so much talk of gangs, drugs, where one community ends or begins just because of who lives on certain streets or because of what the buildings look like or some other demographic detraction? What does that tell the serious learners who want to get away from thinking that someone who does not look like them is not “their own kind”? Their own kind is HUMAN and AMERICAN and that is foundation enough.
What then do you want to do- keep talking or dig deeper and get more active in ways to make the education system better and more appealing and attractive and efficient?
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO and WHY? ASK THE BASIC QUESTIONS!
Ask who, why, what, when, where and how… ask what is essential and needed. You do not build the roof first after all; you start by laying a strong foundation.
DO WHAT IS NECESSARY FIRST.
What do you NEED to do FIRST?
Title page to Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Divi Logan for ®EDUSHIRTS, ©Chicago 2013.