Diagnosing a very sick teacher

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Dave Greene Dave Greene posted a comment about this message on Basecamp.


Yes. I have to pass along this comment I received. Wonderful piece.

Harris Lirtzman*said:*

April 2, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Mr. Greene:

I can assure you that I have analyzed your very peculiar case with all the
professional care and diligence required.

I have made the following diagnosis:

1. You taught in public schools during a period where income inequality and
poverty were ‘reproduced’ very effectively by social structures guaranteed
to propagate a rigid pattern of academic performance differences correlated
deeply with class and race. 2. During that period there was a weak social
consensus that public schools with high proportions of students from
communities with indicators of higher poverty would receive greater
resources (i.e., federal Title 1 funds).

3. Beginning in the late 1980s and accelerating rapidly through the early
2000s, that consensus was shattered by the collapse of the ‘moderate’ wings
of both major political parties and the rise of a group of ‘new
philanthropists’ who no longer used their wealth to promote social welfare
but to create organizations using only ‘data-driven’ measurement and
results to assess ‘success.’

4. During this same period, an oligarchical libertarianism based on the
theories of Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand took over the center-right
research foundations, promoting various forms of ‘market choice’ as the
only way to ‘improve’ public schools.

5. During the 2000s, a series of international testing regimens ranked
American students as mediocre achievers setting off a moral panic used by
the new philanthropists and libertarian social researchers to justify rapid
change in the American public sector.

6. A unified group of wealthy contributors and organizations captured the
leadership of both political parties by using that panic to promote
untested theories about ‘failing’ public schools that could be ‘saved’ by
blaming teachers and imposing top-down ‘reform strategies’ that would be
‘cost-free’ to government and society, which could then be absolved from
any concerns about student and family poverty and reducing vast disparities
among communities.

I have made the following prognosis:

1. You retired from the profession at a propitious moment.

2. However, you suffer from a neurosis that is common among current and
former public school teachers who have not accommodated themselves to the
the ‘new paradigm.’

3. Your neurosis expresses itself in a constant need to ask questions,
challenge unreasonable assumptions and doubt the wisdom of the oligarchs,
libertarians, fraudulent researchers and government leaders who now control
social and educational public policy-making.

I suggest the following course of treatment:

1. A prolonged course of behavior modification using a version of the
‘Ludivico ‘Technique’ form of aversion therapy demonstrated so effectively
by a Mr. Anthony Burgess in his research study called ”A Clockwork Orange”
by watching “Waiting For Superman” until your corneas dissolve.

2. An extended period during which you read no book, article or blog that
offers any reasoned critique of the education reform paradigm.

3. That you state out loud three times, three times a day two mantra-like
formulations know to reduce anxiety among disaffected social observers like
yourself: ‘I live in the best of all possible worlds’ and ‘Market choice
theory’ is the best of all possible philosophies.’

Respectfully yours,

Dr. Harris M. Lirtzman Department of Educational Self-Delusion The
Gates-Walton University for Social-Science Construction

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Published in: on April 2, 2015 at 3:28 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I have this disease as well!


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