Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another Word That Bothers Me in Its Present Usage

While checking some of the blogs I follow this morning, I stopped to read the blog of Southern Beale The Business of Dehumanization
Just click on the link in Blogs I Follow or here
The blog post this time has much on our educational system in its present state. The word "product" popped into my head. I remember not too many years ago when some in the US began to speak of our students as products. I hated it then and I still do. You may want to read the post from the foundation-wallace and really think about it. I also remember about the same time schools started "working with" corporations and businesses to find out what kinds of "products" they needed.
In the Southern Beale post there is a lament about civics no longer being taught. True. Several of my many old books are on teaching civics. I mean real civics, things like how your government works and how a voter has a duty to be educated. In fact some of the books teach how it is a "civic duty" to be educated and follow the government activities so you can vote.
Also along the educational trail I saw a report somewhere about a great school. They were getting the "products" physically moving because they realized that obesity is a problem. Why they were even exercising and had recess.
Let me tell you this little tale. One of my nieces' schools decided to drop recess because they just couldn't afford to pay someone to be on the playground with the little "products". Folks this was before the Recession hit.
I also remember President Kennedy's physical fitness here

Back to the "corporate product" idea. My memory fails me. When did the big drive happen to turn out "products" for the use of corporate America? Hereis an interesting, very interesting, article on the state of the business of education. It is called The 500-Pound Gorilla. You will find paragraphs on a Business Task Force and how the needs of business must be used in the school curricula as a way to bolster the economy among other issues. I strongly recommend you read it.

With thanks to my spouse for the photo here.


  1. I like the photo. I showed it to the family last night and we talked about the subject a little. I am still trying to catch up and I hope to have more to add tomorrow. Oh, I have had the song; Sixteen Tons going through my mind since I read this and the other posts and the company stores in Grapes Of Wrath keep coming to mind. I wanted to write about these things in my latest blog post but I forgot about it at that moment. Haven't we set up almost non-repayable debt on the future (our children's college bills) of our nation? Kind of like a company store that owns your soul and all you can do is work and accrue more debt... Products or slaves to be used or kept.

  2. Thomas,
    Thanks for the comment here.
    When I first had to read the Grapes of Wrath for school, I hated it. It depicted people from my part of the country was the only reason.
    Years later I reread it and watched the old movie, then I realized that my parents lived some of it. My Dad was a miner for much of his younger life. We called him "crusher" because of his strong, "miners" arms. He could tell some tales.
    We lived in a boxcar in Wyoming when I was very small so my Dad could work. My older brother and sister recall much of it. We lived in a chicken house later back in MO.
    One of my uncles rode the rails for a while and then was water boy for the rail workers.
    I was thinking about the present situation and the new generations, education and why many in my own family don't have the same work ethics. I wonder if it is because they can get "things" easily, they think, due to credit, the loan sharks we call "payday loans", and the loans on tax refunds.
    And is it too because we had our children later. Many didn't see the struggles of their parents to buy that TV or Car. We too have told these young people over and over how bad our educational system is and yet we have not fixed any part of it. I don't know but I wish I did. And could be part of the change they need.
    Corp. financial greed was again the top subject on Bill Moyers last eve. Hopefully you can cut and past this to watch it. But look out it may depress you for a short spell.