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Author Topic: EDUCATION for Lean Times
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 12 November 2003 07:48 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
New Socialist Magazine article

Well, well, well. This one is gonna be fun.

quote:
Education reform is so widespread it would seem to be inevitable. The core of this agenda is an emphasis on what they call ‘standards’, the implementation of lean production methods for education workers and an increased orientation of the education system towards the market.

Whoa, scary stuff

quote:
Standards is the codeword for increasing the opportunity for students to fail, for example through centralized tests that students must past to graduate from a particular program.

Imagine that, actually requiring students to know stuff in order to pass. The lack of standards is far more dangerous- don't you want doctors and nurses to be required to know what they are doing before you go in for surgery?

quote:
Lean production methods are being used by management to achieve speed up, which means processing more students with fewer resources.

Yeah, what is the point? No matter what your job is, usually you are expected to produce the maximum results with the minimum input. Unless you are something truly useless like a Governor General.

quote:
This includes: an increase in the use of part-time and temporary workers

I would rather work part-time than no-time.

quote:
the use of educational technologies or standardized curricula to deskill front-line teachers

Technology and standards do not deskill teachers. In fact, it requires them to have more skills and work harder.

quote:
The orientation towards the market is reflected in everything from user pay (increasing tuition fees) to an increasingly vocational focus for educational programmes (Ontario students are now supposed to keep a portfolio from grades 1-12 that discusses the ways their education will serve them in their eventual careers)

They speak of vocational focus as a bad thing, as if future employment is a nice little secondary option that students may consider one day. So what is the primary focus? Indoctrination? I think that in order for future generations to produce people who want to work instead of just suck money out of the government, that the ultimate goal in education must be employment.

quote:
They want us to believe that there is no alternative to their agenda of industrial reorganization to speed up, trim ‘waste’ and minimize permanent employment and increase the amount of contingent (temporary or part-time) work.

Suggest one sustainable alternative that does not involve magical bottomless government coffers.

quote:
New trade agreements are designed to seal the deal by binding governments to the decisions of unaccountable panels who decide what is fair on the basis of what is good for business.

Control of the economy by regulatory forces? I thought that was supposedly a good thing While I am not going to defend that kind of non-free trade, it does not have much to do with the fact that education should be a means to an end, not an end unto itself.

quote:
The education reformers believe the system of liberal education that developed over the past 150 years does not do a good job of preparing students for this emerging lean world.

They beleive that because it is true. The public education system is not in good shape. Beleive me, I have spent over two thirds of my life in it.

quote:
They want schools, colleges and universities to prepare students for a harsh world without a net, where they are entitled only to what they can afford to buy on the market.

Again I fail to see the problem. While I acknowledge the need for the net in some cases, the fact is that it is a very bad idea to teach students to rely on it. Being entitled to nothing but what you work for is not a bad thing in most cases.

quote:
This community is also distorted by in-built assumptions about who really belongs. The central perspective in liberal education has been that of the white, european, bourgeois, heterosexual male who thinks he is all of humanity. The world is seen through his eyes, so that it is only, for example, through conquest by Europeans that other peoples become visible in this liberal perspective. In school we learn his science and his culture without any regard to their partiality.

One select, small elite group secretly rules the world, and has taken over our education system with their insidious lies. Geez I heard that somewhere before...

Maybe that mightve been true at one time, but certainly not in the last 12 years, in Alburda of all places

quote:
Lean production relies on “management by stress.” It created pressure on workers by mobilizing the fear and insecurity that follows from the precarious nature of their work. The core workforce has been slashed to an absolute minimum and part-time or temporary workers play an increasing role in production. The goal of lean production is to create a workforce where no one feels their job is safe.

There are many people who slack off and basically do nothing because they know their job is safe. Maybe some risk to their jobs would scare these people into actually doing something....

quote:
While liberal education oriented students towards the state and habituated them to being administered, the emerging post-liberal system is directed towards the market. Now schooling is to teach us to market ourselves to earn a living so we can meet our wants and needs as consumers.

I'd rather pull my own weight than be "administered".

quote:
It is a central assumption of this post-liberal approach that students must be made to learn, motivated by the fear of failure.

If they are not motivated by the fear of failiure, then what will motivate them to learn? The majority of kids don't have some kind of Utopian ideal in mind when they go to school. They go because they have to. They learn because they know that the workforce requires competent people. NOT because of some philosophical reasons and desires to make the world a better place etc.

quote:
The regime of the school is being harshened, through standardized exams, zero tolerance policies, regimented school uniforms and an tough user pay system that excludes those who can’t afford tuition. Published achievement scorecards are being used to create an atmosphere of market competition between students, teachers, programs and institutions.

Tuition is a problem and unforms are stupid. Otherwise, what is the problem with the reforms? They expose the lazy slackers. Can't have that happening.

quote:
Students radicals in the 1960s demanded an education that was ‘relevant’, meaning useful in the struggle for a more just society. The education reformers are imposing a very different idea of ‘relevance’, focused in narrow terms of market value. The slogan of post-liberal education is: if it doesn’t make you more marketable, it doesn’t matter.

Students asked for relevance, and the reformers want to give it to us.

quote:
There is nothing inevitable about this restructuring. It cannot be casually dismissed, it is not simply a mistake that some good-hearted government in the future will reverse.

A good hearted government that ran on a platform of sinking the economy maybe...

quote:
We have seen important examples of the power to fight back against post-liberal education. Ontario teachers received tremendous support in 1997 when they shut down schools to protest against the Tory education reform agenda. Graduate assistants and faculty at York University have waged important struggles against user pay and lean production methods. Students have mobilized against tuition increases and increasing debt. It is in these struggles that the real learning takes place that allows us to envision education for freedom rather than for the state or the market.

Freedom, or personal gain? Teachers opposing tougher standards for themselves. Students opposing tution fees because it costs THEM money. hmmm...

Conclusion: Marxist tripe calling for a society full of people who never intend on working a day in their lives.


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
babbler/dabbler
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4633

posted 12 November 2003 08:43 PM      Profile for babbler/dabbler        Edit/Delete Post
We forgive you. You have been brainwashed in Alberta you poor dear.
Education used to be an enriching experience that would teach people to think critically. You know, the scientific method. Do not believe anything that has not been tested. That is why there was a flat earth society for so long!
If you can think your way thru accepted wisdom, you can discover a whole new world, maybe even a round one.. that is much closer to reality than what was once believed by uncritical thinkers.
Two, thinkers are the vanguard of progress and for some thinking is just too hard work. They would rather accept rubbish than do the work required to go forward.
It is very lazy not to think for yourself.
Education need to have incentive.
The better educated a workforce is, the better it is for the country. Even Grade 10 grad, Ralph Klein has admitted that that has been proven beyond a doubt. Therefore as long as a person can pass, and there has to be standards to pass, the education should be paid for by the nation for the good of the nation, post secondary, masters PhD, as far as a candidate can perform. If you don't pass you pick up the tab yourself. Not education just for those whose parents can afford to send their offspring but all who have the ability to think and learn.
By your reply we will know if there is hope for you yet!

From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2440

posted 12 November 2003 08:49 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
They learn because they know that the workforce requires competent people.

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
leftist-rightie and rightist-leftie
Babbler # 3804

posted 13 November 2003 03:40 AM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by babbler/dabbler:
We forgive you. You have been brainwashed in Alberta you poor dear.
Education used to be an enriching experience that would teach people to think critically.

I haven't seen it, but I would certainly like to! Though are critical thinking skills not valuable on the job market (McJobs excluded)?

quote:
You know, the scientific method. Do not believe anything that has not been tested. That is why there was a flat earth society for so long! If you can think your way thru accepted wisdom, you can discover a whole new world, maybe even a round one.. that is much closer to reality than what was once believed by uncritical thinkers.

No argument here.

quote:
Two, thinkers are the vanguard of progress and for some thinking is just too hard work. They would rather accept rubbish than do the work required to go forward.
It is very lazy not to think for yourself.
Education need to have incentive.

Thats what I like about free market economics- those people who refuse to think for temselves don't get to be able to afford brand new cars or nice houses.

quote:
The better educated a workforce is, the better it is for the country. Even Grade 10 grad, Ralph Klein has admitted that that has been proven beyond a doubt. Therefore as long as a person can pass, and there has to be standards to pass, the education should be paid for by the nation for the good of the nation, post secondary, masters PhD, as far as a candidate can perform. If you don't pass you pick up the tab yourself. Not education just for those whose parents can afford to send their offspring but all who have the ability to think and learn.
By your reply we will know if there is hope for you yet!

You know what, that is exactly what I asked for- a realistic alternative solution. The main problem I have with free universal university is that too many people who are not really academic types will be going to university as if it were a continuation of high school, putting increased strain on the system, devaluing bachelor's degrees (don't beleive me? now that everyone is expected to have a high school diploma, look how far having just one of those gets you...).

But what you propose sounds very interesting... that way, students who are in university because their parents said so or for whatever frivolous reason will have to pay up, thus the universities can recover their losses. Those who are trying to get into certain programs because they wanna get rich quick might find that a little harder.

I like your idea, except that I can see two problems in it. One is that the first-year classes would probably increase quite a lot, creating more crowded classes and requiring additional resources. The monetary costs could be recovered, but not crowdedness which may overwhelm some people.

Secondly, what about people who have to quit university because of uncontrollable factors in their lives? They still get shafted with high fees either way.

In fact, the more I think about it, the better that idea sounds. Maybe sometime I'll try and guesstimate how much something like that would cost. If its not excessive billions of dollars, it may be something I could support...


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
babbler/dabbler
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4633

posted 13 November 2003 08:30 AM      Profile for babbler/dabbler        Edit/Delete Post
You are a very good sport. Thanks for taking the comments in the vien intended.
You raise important concerns to my proposal.
You know with so much distance ed, virtual companies and banks exist, why do universities have to be totally physical places.
My grandson was born with a severe heart condition 2 yrs ago. His parents were both in university getting top marks. The little guy almost died twice in that first year. He is doing well now but his dad lost his whole school year.
His mum managed to pass because she withdrew into the school work as a coping mechanism. But my son was so devestated, he could not think. All at the school were well aware of the situation but few allowances were made, save by one professor.
So profs do have some leeway, but in extreme circumstances you could have a "grace under pressure clause". By the way those that would not bend said well yes your case is extreme but if we let you write after your son's surgery, what about others who need tonsils out and such...
Those profs who tried to allow for the situation said, I can see for myself what you are dealing with.
Hope others will speak to the idea too.
Any other problems you can foresee?

From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged

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