واقعه ای در هایلند هایکتاب: سلاح های آموزش جمعی / درس 11
واقعه ای در هایلند های
- زمان مطالعه 43 دقیقه
- سطح خیلی سخت
دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»
این درس را میتوانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید
متن انگلیسی درس
10_Incident at Highland High
######Schooling and Education
Our time together is almost over. The book is nearly done. It’s been a journal of the reflections of an old man whose thoughts, sometimes tormented, sometimes lucid, have been fixed on pedagogy, a term which has survived from Roman days to designate a special class of slave. Isn’t that all you need to know? My mother said to me often when I was a little boy, “A word to the wise is sufficient:’ Pedagogy is the word. Under its influence, I lived my life as a character in someone else’s script. So I imagine did you. If my book can help you to escape, even partially, a similar destiny, I’ll be content. The groaning it’s cost to write will have been worth it.
What I reached for in these pages wasn’t a diatribe although parts of them may seem so, nor was it only a critique although a critique is here, too. My ambition goes beyond having you merely accept my analysis; if I haven’t provoked you into beginning an analysis of your own I’ll be disappointed to have been, for just another time, only a school teacher. I need you to question your own schooling and the price you paid to sit for it; I need you to dig behind the illusions of education schooling produces; I need you to recognize how its imperial energy drives your understanding long after the classroom door seems to have closed forever.
School which began as a sometimes thing in colonial America, no more than two hours a day a few months each year, isn’t satisfied with the time set aside for it; today it resents even summer vacation in its drive to become a total institution: the familiar expression “lifelong learning” doesn’t mean that at all, it means “lifelong schooling.” More
school is offered with a straight face by political leaders and corporate officials as the solution to growing social incoherence and other problems like aimlessness, incompetence, class hatred, and the rest of the dreary litany. But if less school helped cause these things, how can more school fix them?
School works against other roads to development besides itself. Family? A retrograde institution. Replace it. The synthetic families of utopian fiction must be superior because they were conceived by experts. Church? Off with its head! Can it be sensible to provide ordinary lives with the idea that any decision of experts can be appealed to a Higher Power? Tradition, ethnic loyalty, loyalty to place? Well, you know the drill. Off with their heads! And the damage school does to conceptions of individual sovereignty or ideals of liberty grows progressively more irreparable as each generation is robbed of its ability to parent the next.
There are several ways to measure the gulf between schooling and education. That step can’t be avoided whichever method you chose.
You can’t draw a useful map to education if you don’t know what the difference is. And like a good recipe, it’s less a matter of finding the perfect formula than understanding the right proportions of each ingredient to please yourself The way you and I are schooled is identical for each of us: the way we get educated has little in common.
Sometimes schooling serves useful ends, too, but the minute it’s ordered up centrally and imposed universally by the police power of the state, you need to start running from it (if your circumstances make that possible), or if they don’t, you must cold-bloodedly plan to subvert it and sabotage it - all the while pretending with a smile on your face to cooperate. In that way, you can inflict substantial damage on the institution which seeks to render you incomplete, without opening yourself to its punishments.
Kids helped to understand the mind-control aims of schooling can easily avoid its worst effects while gaining access to valuable raw material for observation and analysis. Someone who brings anthropological tools to elementary school - as Washington, Edison, and Carnegie did - can harvest rich understandings of their fellow citizens in embryo, and of the adults hired to hold them captive - men and women under no less duress than the herd they oversee.
In hunting for the difference between school and education, consider these layers: Schooling is organized by command and control from without; education is self-organized from within; school disconnects its clientele from other primary sources of learning. It must do that to achieve administrative efficiency; education sets out to provide a set of bountiful connections which are random, willful, promiscuous, even disharmonious with one another - understanding that the learning of resourcefulness, self-sufficiency, and invention will inevitably involve surprising blends of things, things impossible to predict or anticipate in advance.
In education, the student is awakened to the critical role natural feedback loops play in becoming independent. Feedback loops attended to closely - not circumscribed by rules - create customized circuits of self-correction rather than a slavish need to follow the generalized direction of others. But schooling is bound on the other hand to emphasize rules made by others. It’s impossible even to imagine a school that could allow free will deviation from its programmes, except to the most trivial degree.
Education is never committed to subject knowledge, it always tends to regard things in rich contexts. Subject-learning is what schools do because their intention is to create clerks, and specialists, who themselves are merely a fancy form of clerk. But over and over again in the sciences and elsewhere we’ve come to understand that cross-fertilization, mixing the academic disciplines (and more) is the powerful driver of scientific advance. John Kanzius, a name referred to in an earlier chapter, was able to invent a new tool against cancerous tumors precisely because he wasn’t a specialist in cancer research or even a college graduate.
The components of education are so diverse they establish a permanent internal state of dialectical argument. Certainly is never achieved in the educated mind; creative destruction - the potent energy of capitalism according to Schumpeter - is always at work in the educated spirit, it seeks to find holes in orthodox theory, it works constantly to create replacements for what”everyone knows to be true.”
On the other hand, memory - not synthesis or argument - is the dominant element in schooling. Because of that impediment, “A” students are robbed test by test of their ability to think for themselves and to listen to the cues of their feedback circuits.
Year after year, the International Happiness Survey reports only three conditions necessary to judge your own life a happy one: I) good relationships 2) good health 3) satisfying work. But school, as I showed you earlier, sets up conditions in which bad health is difficult to escape, relationships are given no time or space to grow in (and segregation of similar backgrounds in so-called “tracking” schemes makes it nearly certain that class prejudice will flourish (putting the possibility of relationships with those different from oneself out of reach for students so tracked.). And the work imposed in schooling virtually never is directed to answering the compelling questions of youth.
The Dark World
But have I made too much of this? Can the use of combative metaphors like”weapons” and “the dark world” be anything more than language drawn from adolescent fantasy, the cutworms resentment of the plow? School has failings, yes, but surely it’s an essential institution, and aren’t all its deficiencies amenable to rational correction, yet none to name calling?
Have I made too much of the past, for instance? Have I been too hard on the coalition of eugenicists, utopians, business leaders, churchmen, Darwinists, racists, and high academics who planted the institution in North America in the last part of the nineteenth century? They meant no harm, just the reverse, and in any case they are all dead now. Shouldn’t the present moment be devoted to problem-solving? Can’t past shortcomings be ascribed to ordinary ineptitude, venality, imperfect leadership and such like?
You must decide these questions for yourself, but as for me, I concluded long ago that some deliberate intent was (and is) at work on the school institution, that it operates far from public access, and until it is confronted the term “school reform” is meaningless. Unless the ends of the operation are put on public trial, and its sexual relationships with economics and social management exposed to the light and ended, each reform effort will only be another illusion, another room added to the national house of mirrors.
But you’ll have to convince yourself of the substance of my allegation, that some sort of dark matter, some powerful but invisible force is at work in schooling. If you are to become strong enough to defend yourself, and your family I can’t do the work for you, you can’t memorize my conclusions. To that end, I’m going to tell you three hairraising school stories which will seem, at first, inexplicable to you, aberrations perhaps. Your job will be to interpret what they mean if anything. As you hear these stories, try to imagine which officials, located where could finally have signed-off on these initiatives. And in whose interests. As you think about them, keep in mind that no sane bureaucrat, no matter how highly placed, would dream of initiating anything which might embarrass or anger the managers of things.
Keep Hobbes in mind as you reflect, power is never where it seems to be.
For myself, I tried to find a simple explanation to put these stories into the normal course of things, but try as I might they wouldn’t fit. Only a darkness at work, reachable not by common experience but through historical, sociological, psychological, theological, political and philosophical research, could reveal the causes, it seemed to me. Hence this book.
But you may disagree. Perhaps as Alexander saw a simple solution to the Gordian knot and Occam saw that in science simple explanations cut closer to the truth, you’ll see an explanation I missed.
Meanwhile, three stories: one from Nuremberg, Germany in 2008; one from Highland, New York, in 2004, and one from Walden, Vermont in 1991. I could tell you many more in a similar vein which suggest to me a dark force living inside the house of mirrors we call school; but if these three don’t waken your suspicions, then the rest wouldn’t either.
Incident at Nuremberg
On January 29, 2008, a sixteen-year-old girl, Melissa Busekros, living in Nuremberg, Germany, was forcibly removed from her home by fifteen policemen and assorted city officials and placed under psychiatric investigation. Her crime: homeschooling. When I heard of the incident, I wrote the German ambassador in Washington to register my disgust:
Dear Mr. Ambassador:
Homeschooling in Germany was legal until 1937 when it was suddenly banned by the Nazi government. I’m writing to enquire why Hitler’s ban is still being enforced 72 years later? In whose interests is this prescription kept? For what specific purposes? You will be aware, I know, that between 2V2 and 3 million Americans are currently being homeschooled. One of them, traveling through Germany, recently informed me of the Melissa Busekros affair and asked my help in understanding the matter. Hence this letter.
Your court-ordered social work authorities to apprehend Melissa in forceful language which I shall quote: “The Jugendmt is hereby instructed and authorized to bring the child - if necessary by force to a hearing. Police support may be obtained for this purpose.”
A number of details bother me about this court order. In the first place, nothing in Melissa’s history would suggest that police intervention was necessary. A simple letter commanding the attendance of the family at a hearing would have been obeyed. Then, she was interrogated for 240 minutes at a psychiatric clinic about her reasons for homeschooling when the movement had been international for about four decades (in its modern renaissance) and had produced many distinguished men and women over that time - including the head of the Human Genome Project.
The findings of this interrogation were that Melissa was suffering from a mysterious, fast-growing disease called” school phobia; “a medical condition which, the official report continued, had resulted in her development being”delayed by one year.”
Is it to be understood that Germany believes such a finely calibrated yardstick exists and yet the rest of the world is unaware of it? On the basis of this flimsy bit of pseudo-science an emergency was adjudged to exist - one so serious Melissa’s contact with her own family had to be immediately terminated~ This is crazy on the face of it. What reasoning, what philosophy, what values hide behind this action?
Two days after interrogation, fifteen police descended upon the Busekros home accompanied by the judge in the case and the State Youth Staff assigned to Melissa’s emergency. Would it be.cynical to assume that a generous contingent of media reporters came along to commemorate the event?
By an official statement of the German court, the arresting authorities were absolved of responsibility. The court said: “The cause of this forced escort was set in place by the par~nts’ illegal conduct. The education administration will not recognize so-called homeschooling and will act in proportionate measure:’ Proportionate? Fifteen police?
The official report also states that the German education authority will act “to bring conviction~ of the family into line:’ What tools will be employed to discipline convictions, Mr. Ambassador? That sounds rather ominous, sir. Long ago during the centuries of witchcraft frenzy in which the Germans killed more women than all the rest of the nations of Europe combined, the tools included rack, thumbscrews, pressing with weights, amputation of body parts, fire, etc. Then later, between 1933 and 1945, the palette of instruments was enlarged to include concentration camps, quicklime, freezing, and other technically advanced methods carefully described in the minutes of”The Doctors’ Trial” in postwar Nuremberg. And what of today, Mr. Ambassador?
My mother’s side of the family descends from Germany, so it’s partially as a man whose DNA is German-derived that I feel alarmed the German madness is beginning again, symbolized by the terror inflicted on a sixteen-year-old girl. Some famous Germans have attributed your nation’s sickening record to attitudes enshrined in your treatment of the young. Erich Remarque, author of All Quiet on the Western Front, tracked the causes of WWI directly to German schoolmasters and their lies, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famous Protestant theologian executed by Hitler, pronounced WWII the “inevitable” product of German schooling.
German war-lovers like Martin Luther, Frederick the Great, Otto von Bismarck, and Adolf Hitler, are, I think, red herrings - transient phenomena which mask what actually has taken place in your part of the world since the Old Norse Religion: an obsession with system, a search for The Master Formula. In systems logic, concepts like liberty and individual rights are direct attacks on the integrity of systems. Fichte saw that no efficient national management was possible as long as the ordinary population regarded itself as sovereign individuals possessing free will and imagination; therefore he demanded compulsory schooling aimed at removing these things.
In the short run, this form of mind control works to convert your ordinary population into a very manageable mass. It certainly has given the Germans the reputation they enjoy worldwide as dependable automatons. But in the long run it cripples your economic prospects. Think only of the recent debacle with ThyssenKrupp dumping its Phoenix Steel plant on “gullible” China. Chinese peasants moved the plant in one-third the time your engineers estimated and Phoenix has been a money-maker for China ever since, while rule-bound Krupp through its bad judgment has taken employment away from 10,000 German breadwinners.
And the final irony, of course, was that the man in charge of taking Phoenix away was mostly homeschooled, a common reality in rural China for millennia. I got no answer to my letter. As a bureaucrat, what could he say?
Incident at Highland High
On March 5, 2004, I drove to Highland High School in prosperous Rockland County north of New York City at the invitation of a school board member, John Jankiewicz. Mr. J. was a total stranger until he made the offer to speak, but his letter of enquiry intrigued me. He was concerned that the Germanicized schooling at Highland, built around the principles of behavioral psychology as almost all American schooling is, was hurting future prospects for Highland graduates. It bothered him. John was himself an impressively educated man with creative talent as a hydraulic engineer which earned him a global reputation for the projects he had designed around the world.
I looked forward to meeting him, but not to speaking before juniors and seniors at a rich exurban high school, because I knew from past experience how hard it is to talk to self-satisfied teenagers.
When I got to the school early to size up the place, my suspicions were confirmed. Its parking lot was filled with high-end student vehicles and the general demeanor among the kids I saw was one of self-satisfaction. It reminded me of the Crystal Springs Upland School, a wealthy private school in coastal California whose claim to notoriety was its former student, Patty Hearst. When I went there to speak, I heard a student say that the faculty cars were so low-class that even his gardener drove a better one.
But at both places students paid a very high price for enrollment in the club; their arrogance masked a mediocre command of intellectual skills and they were being steeped like tea bags in a climate of non-stop dishonesty about college preparation, about the decisive effect that grade averages and standardized tests scores would supposedly have on their future.
The unspeakable prospect of not being accepted at a prestige college or even not being accepted at all was the ground upon which academic studies were constructed. The great question for a young woman or man was surviving the scrutiny of those invisible judges who held the scales of human worth. That was of central interest.
That life had recently been demonstrated to be possible in fantastic variety in the total absence of light and photosynthesis, by a mixture of chemicals and heat alone, might have been of interest to a geek, but it had nothing to offer the future managers of geeks.
Among the many secrets withheld from the students at Highland (or Crystal Springs) was the fact that colleges were businesses before they were anything else, businesses desperate for warm bodies in order to meet payrolls. They had little to worry about in finding a place which would gladly exchange its degree for a bag of money, and while elite college admission couldn’t be guaranteed because the number of applicants always exceeded the number of seats, “c” students like AlGore, John Kennedy, John Kerry, George Bush, John McCain (who finished 895th out of 900 graduates at Annapolis, and lost five airplanes of which he was a pilot) and Franklin Roosevelt had no difficulty being admitted to elite colleges and graduating from them.
Since I knew the kids at Highland would be worried about college, I decided to build my talk around the actual situation and criteria for admission - not around the fantasy schooling uses to maintain discipline. I would aim to undermine the foundation of their vague fears - which the school like most schools had exploited to the maximum. The strategy wasn’t to preach, but instead to direct attention to the masses of prominent people, past and present, who had somehow managed to sidestep the big school lie and to make success without it.
For instance, you already know the computer industry was built on the vision of dropouts; you know how each of our Nobel Prize creative writers was a dropout; you know that the entertainment industry in all its facets is overwhelmingly dominated by dropouts, the fast food industry, too; and how the politicians we entrust national policy to were almost uniformly mediocre students.
I was armed with information from The New York Times which put the standardized test scores of superintendents, principals, and teachers at almost the very bottom of twenty major occupational groups in that regard, and with superintendents being the worst of the worst! I told the kids (quietly, I swear) to have their parents demand that every school employee in their district be required to post their own grade/ test records prominently on their doors and that this would cause the whole sorry house of mirrors to shatter like Humpty Dumpty.
Once these seeds were planted, all subject to easy verification, they would grow on their own; in these minds closed tightly as clams by prosperity and the climate of fear I believed Highland was retailing as a crowd control device, this mass of anomalous data would act as a strong acid burning minds open.
The most effective single body of information I transmitted was about the admission policies at Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, and similar prestigious places, places, which reject huge numbers of valedictorians, perfect GPA averages, and perfect SAT scores every year in favor of applicants with “a record of distinction” (as Harvard admissions director Marlyn McGrath was quoted as saying a few years ago). Have you started a successful business? Have you founded a charity? Have you sailed around the world alone, walked from Tierra del Fuego to Point Barrow, Alaska without professional help; can you take a tractor down to its component parts and reassemble it all by yourself…?
Can teenagers do these things? of course, they can. High school dropout Richard Branson, who you heard about in”Walkabout: London;’ is shown in my daily newspaper this morning (July 29, 2008) cracking a bottle of champagne over the nose of the spaceship he just completed to carry tourists into space at some $200,000 a seat (more than 250 have paid so far). It’s named “Eve” in honor of his single mother, Eve Branson, who had the foresight to encourage him to walk miles on his own through London at the age of four. Although only a small fraction of the total, a much larger absolute number of teenagers is already well launched into real life than you can possibly imagine if you’ve swallowed the school myth hook, line and sinker.
The student response was electrifying. Rather than the indifference to a more generalized message that I had encountered at Crystal Springs, the student audience was rapt, completely attentive, as if somehow able to perceive how important it was to cast off the assumptions which held them in thrall.
At this point, I need you to visualize the style of this talk, for reasons which will be clear in a little while. At no point in my delivery was I excitable, histrionic, condemnatory, or anything other than perfectly calm and even-voiced. Each fact I laid out was referenced from some mainstream information source capable of being checked for verification.
And then it happened.
Suddenly a police detail threw the doors of the auditorium open with a loud noise and invaded the room! The officer in charge shouted through a bullhorn, “This assembly is over! Leave the auditorium at once! Return to class! Remain calm! Follow your teachers! Leave the room at once!”
It was easily the strangest moment of my life. Nobody in the room wasn’t calm, except the police!
The officer in charge shouted through a bullhorn: “This assembly is over! Leave the auditorium at once!” and saying that, he walked double-time to where I stood at the front of the auditorium, fixed my eye the way a red-tailed hawk regards a sparrow. He snapped, “Leave the room at once. This lecture is over!” I had no doubt I would be arrested if I failed to comply.
Had the school received a bomb threat:’ No. I was the bomb. As I left the building, Jankiewicz caught up with me to report that McCarthy, the superintendent, found my talk so inflammatory he called the police to stop it. Think about that. My voice had never raised above a conversational tone. I used no bad language. I hadn’t mooned the audience or exposed myself. It’s true that Highland didn’t require the degree of overkill Nuremberg used to shut Melissa Busekros down, there were only three cops sent to shut me up, but the principle - I hope you can see - was no different.
Nor was this the end. I had been scheduled to speak to parents that evening at the school. McCarthy canceled that talk, too, refusing to allow the school to be used as a venue. The room had been paid for, the students would have been long gone, only adults would be in attendance, but none of that made a difference. No one in Highland, New York, was to be allowed to hear facts which you’ve read in this book.
Three days afterward, on April 7, 2004, The Mid-Hudson Highland Post, a newspaper out of Poughkeepsie just across the Hudson from Highland, reported the story - at least part of it. The news account was titled: “Rendered Speechless - Advocate for Reform Brings Controversy”
Not a word about the police incursion was in the story, but apart from that, it added several illuminating details I would otherwise not have known. Superintendent McCarthy was identified as the individual who had stopped the lecture, for instance. But the dispatch of a unit that size for a small town must have been no small matter. It seemed to demand an answer to why the building principal (who must have reported the”emergency” I represented by telephone to the district office) hadn’t simply come discreetly to the microphone and told me to wrap things up quickly, perhaps saying “something has come up.” Or why, if he lacked the presence of mind to do that, the superintendent hadn’t requested he do so before recourse to the police was considered? And finally, why the Highland police dispatcher hadn’t sent one officer, rather than three? Was the assumption that anyone so crazed as to bring objective data to high school students must be on drugs, and would pose a danger if a show of force wasn’t made?
The newspaper story contained the superintendent’s justification for his action as my screening a violent film for student consumption. Sine the film in question had been shown nationally on PBS and on the Discovery Channel, it hardly seems likely this was the actual motive, and what gave the lie away more than anything to the superintendent’s explanation was the cancellation of the evening parents meeting. One teacher was quoted by the reporter as saying her classes had exciting discussions following the talk. They were “eager to discuss the issues raised;” she said, “Unfortunately our school didn’t allow that to happen.”
The last chapter in this weird tale is as creepy to me as the incident itsel£ On May IS, 2007, when I realized that my experience at Highland was going to be a part of this book, I sent individual letters to the superintendent, the school principal, the parents association, and the student newspaper. I asked each to give their own version of the story, and promised to print them unedited. This was over a year ago as I write this - not a phone call, a postcard, or other response has reached me - exactly the same silent treatment I got from the German ambassador.
Nada, de nada, y nada, pues nada … Highland is a clean, well-lighted place, but a bad representative of America’s best traditions. Or so it seems to me …we set ourselves the task of inoculating youth … at an age when human beings are still unspoiled.
- Adolf Hitler. I May 1937
Because you choose not to see the dark world school represents, because you only pay attention to its stupidities, it gets worse·all the time.
Do I mean to imply that Highland High School is the worst school in America? Hardly. For all I know it’s one of the best; certainly it’s one of the richest. What you need to ask yourself is how many school districts from coast to coast find truth unbearable because it gets in the way of their real mission. The growing incoherence of American society stands upon a foundation of forced schooling in fancy places like Highland, no less than in Harlem, Watts, or East St.Louis.
Incident at Walden
Until 1991 Walden, Vermont - a picture-perfect village in a picturebook state, the most rural state in America - had four beautiful one-room schoolhouses, each different, each set apart from the others, each with a genuine swimming hole made by damming a creek the way country people have done since the beginning of time. The reading and math scores from these schools were substantially above the state average, the children so happy and healthy looking that when I visited I secretly teared up at one point when confronted with the stark comparison between them and the kids I was familiar with in Manhattan. It goes without saying that the parents whose children were associated with such charming places were delighted and anxious to help out in any way they could.
Since I’m about to cast the idyllic state of Vermont as a villain in this third unbelievable story, I need to tell you first that every encounter I’ve ever had with this state - before I came to Walden - was an absolute joy. Let me illustrate with my favorite state capitol experience ever, and I’ve visited them all. One day in 1990, I was called to speak in Montpelier, Vermont, at the college, while I was still New York Teacher of the Year. Arriving in that grand little city a day early, I decided to walk to the capitol building and poke around to kill some time. The atmosphere inside the handsome structure was so laid back and low key, I decided to go to the governor’s office and leave a note of thanks for him with the secretary, thanks to his stewardship of this uniquely personalized state.
The door was open so I walked in. No secretary was around. I waited five minutes and still no secretary, so I knocked gingerly on the governor’s door, once, twice, and then the door opened. Peering in I could clearly see - no governor. Since there was no guard in the corridor outside either to ask permission of, I decided to leave a note in the middle of the governor’s desk and leave, but when I leaned over to do that some impish Pittsburgh Scotch-Irish spirit whispered in my ear, “Why not sit in his chair behind his desk and see what it feels like to be governor of Vermont? And so I did.
A minute or two passed before my better half asked me what I would say if the governor walked in? Would I tell him that I’d be with him in a minute? And with that discomfiting thought, I got up and left. I tell you this because I doubt if that could happen in any other place in America (perhaps Montana?) and in any case, not many.
In April of 1991, as I remember, I was asked to come to Walden to speak in defense of the one-room schools which were threatened with destruction by the state on the grounds that making them wheelchair friendly and installing handicap railings, etc. - as required by Federal law - was too expensive to justify. A concrete block”regional” school was to be built in their place and kids be used to it from up to fifty miles away. Everyone associated with the schools was in shock. This measure had been voted down several times in past years, but this time the state was baring its teeth. If the proposal was voted down again, the state would cut off funds to the town for school aid, and use its right of eminent domain to tear them down anyway.
As soon as I got to the home of the family hosting me, I asked to see the government proposal. You wouldn’t have needed to be a lawyer or an accountant to see that the estimates for construction on the four schools were wildly out of line - a quarter million dollars, I recall when 25 thousand would have been overkill. Fortunately (or so I thought) I knew a famous architect who taught at the University of Vermont, and I told my hosts I would ask him to testify against the accuracy of the state estimate. And so I called. Some hours later he was with us, reading the relevant papers. “These estimates are ten times higher than actual costs would be;’ he said emphatically. He told us it was a common trick employed by local governments when a decision had already been made, contracts already quietly pledged - he knew the firm which had been given assurances it would be building the replacement schooL But he declined to testify.
“Why not, for pity’s sake?” I asked him
“If I did, I’d never get another job in the state of Vermont, that’s why,” he answered.
I spoke as eloquently as I knew how at the church that evening, where every resident in the town was in attendance. But the state’s repeated threats had caused a tide of fear to suppress any further resistance. The tiny town passed the bond issue the state had demanded, went deeply into debt, and built the major eyesore in eastern Vermont, a big, boxy, mostly windowless factory school that had been forced upon it.
Once again, you will have to decide whether the dark world I perceive, where school decisions are made which defy common sense, rationality and even familiar greed are real or only phantoms in a disgruntled schoolteacher’s imagination. If you decide I have a piece of the truth, you must help me sabotage this thing because, like Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, and so much else in the new world order which has been built in America, our government thinks some companies are too big to be allowed to fail, and that schooling is too important to allow education to get in its way.