A Modest Proposal: 

Aggressive Interrogation of Corporate Education “Reformers” 101

By Frank X Murphy

April 2, 2017

Quaint, archaic notions of education from earlier eras have de-emphasized things like dialog, free inquiry and enlightenment values.  These pedagogical modes no longer apply to our modern, post-citizenship educational systems.  We propose new and more effective methods of interaction with those who measure educational “outcomes” using badly designed standardized tests and market-based rhetoric for power and profit.

Altho in earlier eras best practice responses to such crimes would often entail putting rats like the corporate education “reformer” against a wall and shooting them, these interrogation guidelines envision more effective civil resistance measures that allow learners to explore the contested boundaries between nonviolence, mental health, and the interaction of public policy with curriculum development in both community and school, for purposes of nonviolent (if possible) social self-defense.

The corporate education “reformer” should not be slammed against a wall (“walling”) without extreme provocation, and in no event for longer than the hours their racist and demeaning standardized tests are annually inflicted on children victimized by their abuse.

The corporate education “reformer” should be confined with smaller vermin, for a period minimally necessary under Detroit Public School-type room temperatures of excessive heat and unbearable cold, to give some appreciation for the unbearable human rights violations experienced by many Detroit school children in poorly designed and maintained buildings created by state takeover and “reform” scams.

The corporate education “reformer” should have to watch replays of Betsy DeVos’ senate confirmation hearings, and then answer the following actual questions posed by Detroit school children:

·         How are we supposed to learn when it’s so obvious you don’t care about us and hate our families and communities?

·         What happened to the money?

·         Who decides?  Who pays?  Who benefits?

·         Why is there such a dominant school-to-plantation (or prison) pipeline after decades of white, state and corporate education “reform”?  And now you want to talk about educational “failure” 

·         Compare and contrast: 1) privatized, anti-teacher schooling regimes based on poorly designed, high stakes testing without regard to the whole child or sound educational research; with 2) child abuse.  Should children be free to learn to love learning?  Isn’t it cruel to forcibly impose entrepreneurial white adults’ business plans on African-American children’s educational development?

·         Why isn’t the so-called “debt” of Detroit Public Schools owed to Detroit’s children and families – by the state, their contractors and political corruption enablers – as reparations?

·         Have you no shame?

Any suggestion of “state/local school partnership agreements”, new coalitions to save Detroit school children, pious bleating that it’s “all about the children” or even meeting with the corporate education “reformer” – an especially dangerous species of child abuser – must be preceded by comprehensive power analysis, meaningful educational praxis, and strict accountability measures (talking about Skillman Foundation, Detroit Parent Network, Excellent Schools Detroit,  and all the billionaire boys club horses they rode in on here), as essential conditions for democracy, agency, human dignity, love and freedom in education. 

Waterboarding, like water shut offs against People who can’t afford to pay, is of course never permissible under any circumstances.  We refuse to become another version of what the corporate education “reformers” have betrayed their humanity to be.

Frank X Murphy is the pen name of a Detroiter whose anger and dark sense of humor may lead to questionable best practices around dialogic humanist spiritual con-undra.