Is the death of education here, near, inevitable?Is it worth it now to go to college?What’s the end game?Debt on top of more debt?See here what the student loan fraud is all about.
“As a result of neoliberalism, the ‘grand experiment’ of the community college, as that of ‘Democracy’s college,’ is coming to an end.”
We stay at slave wage levels because we are afraid of the truth in our poverty.
It’s always been something of a problem for two reasons. The first reason I discovered in my years as a freelance writer in the 1980s and 90s. That is: magazines and newspapers want to please their advertisers. Their advertisers want to think they are reaching wealthy people, people who will buy the products. They don’t want really depressing articles about misery and hardship near their ads.The other reason is that typically the gatekeepers in these media outlets, the top editors and producers, have been from a social class quite far removed from what we are talking about. They have no clue. I found that this could be very, very dispiriting.I remember pitching a story to an editor in the 1980s. It had something to do with working-class men. The editor said, ‘Well, can they talk?’It’s almost otherworldly. The editors would use the word ‘articulate,’ as in, ‘Could you find someone articulate?’ Like the rest of the people are just going around grunting. Those are two long-standing structural forces against good coverage in the media.
The humanities are a foundation for getting along in the world, for thinking, for learning to reflect on the world instead of just reacting to whatever force is turned against you. I think the humanities are one of the ways to become political ~ Earl Shorris, Clemente Course founder, Riches for the Poor
The Clemente Course provides college level instruction in the humanities, with the award of college credits, to economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals at no cost and in an accessible and welcoming community setting. Participants study four disciplines: literature, art history, moral philosophy, and American history. Like their more affluent contemporaries, students explore great works of fiction, poetry, drama, painting, sculpture, architecture, and philosophy, while learning also about the events that define America as a nation. The course also offers instruction in writing and critical thinking, while the seminar style of the classes and dialectical investigation encourage an appreciation for reasoned dialogue.
Edward Said argued that the public intellectual must function within institutions, in part, as an exile, as someone whose ‘place it is publicly to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma, to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations.’ From this perspective, the educator as public intellectual becomes responsible for linking the diverse experiences that produce knowledge, identities, and social values in the university to the quality of moral and political life in the wider society; and he or she does so by entering into public conversations unafraid of controversy or of taking a critical stand (Giroux 140).
Since 1976 he has lived mainly in El Paso, which sprawls along the concrete-lined Rio Grande, across the border from Juarez, Mexico. A gregarious recluse, McCarthy has lots of friends who know that he likes to be left alone. A few years ago The El Paso Herald-Post held a dinner in his honor. He politely warned them that he wouldn’t attend, and didn’t. The plaque now hangs in the office of his lawyer.For many years he had no walls to hang anything on. When he heard the news about his MacArthur, he was living in a motel in Knoxville, Tenn. Such accommodations have been his home so routinely that he has learned to travel with a high-watt light bulb in a lens case to assure better illumination for reading and writing. In 1982 he bought a tiny, whitewashed stone cottage behind a shopping center in El Paso. But he wouldn’t take me inside. Renovation, which began a few years ago, has stopped for lack of funds. “It’s barely habitable,’ he says. He cuts his own hair, eats his meals off a hot plate or in cafeterias and does his wash at the Laundromat.McCarthy estimates that he owns about 7,000 books, nearly all of them in storage lockers. ‘He has more intellectual interests than anyone I’ve ever met,’ says the director Richard Pearce, who tracked down McCarthy in 1974 and remains one of his few ‘artistic’ friends. Pearce asked him to write the screenplay for ‘The Gardener’s Son,’ a television drama about the murder of a South Carolina mill owner in the 1870′s by a disturbed boy with a wooden leg. In typical McCarthy style, the amputation of the boy’s leg and his slow execution by hanging are the moments from the show that linger in the mind.McCarthy has never shown interest in a steady job, a trait that seems to have annoyed both his ex-wives. ‘We lived in total poverty,’ says the second, Annie DeLisle, now a restaurateur in Florida. For nearly eight years they lived in a dairy barn outside Knoxville. ‘We were bathing in the lake,’ she says with some nostalgia. ‘Someone would call up and offer him $2,000 to come speak at a university about his books. And he would tell them that everything he had to say was there on the page. So we would eat beans for another week.’McCarthy would rather talk about rattlesnakes, molecular computers, country music, Wittgenstein ~ anything ~ than himself or his books. ‘Of all the subjects I’m interested in, it would be extremely difficult to find one I wasn’t,’ he growls. ‘Writing is way, way down at the bottom of the list.’His hostility to the literary world seems both genuine (“teaching writing is a hustle”) and a tactic to screen out distractions. At the MacArthur reunions he spends his time with scientists, like the physicist Murray Gell-Mann and the whale biologist Roger Payne, rather than other writers. One of the few he acknowledges having known at all was the novelist and ecological crusader Edward Abbey. Shortly before Abbey’s death in 1989, they discussed a covert operation to reintroduce the wolf to southern Arizona.
If you think about some of the things that are being talked about by thoughtful, intelligent scientists,you realize that in 100 years the human race won’t even be recognizable.We may indeed be part machine and we may have computers implanted.It’s more than theoretically possible to implant a chip in the brain that would contain all the information in all the libraries in the world.As people who have talked about this say, it’s just a matter of figuring out the wiring.2
When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him. Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before. Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world. His hand rose and fell softly with each precious breath. He pushed away the plastic tarpaulin and raised himself in the stinking robes and blankets and looked toward the east for any light but there was none. In the dream from which he’d wakened he had wandered in a cave where the child led him by the hand. Their light playing over the wet flowstone walls. Like pilgrims in a fable swallowed up and lost among the inward parts of some granitic beast. Deep stone flues where the water dripped and sang. Tolling in the silence the minutes of the earth and the hours and the days of it and the years without cease. Until they stood in a great stone room where lay a black and ancient lake. And on the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadow on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.
In other words, we must act beyond the walls of our classrooms ~ in our colleges, in our local communities, in our states, and at the national level ~ and resist the neoliberal dismantling of education that directly threatens the academic function of the community college.We have to model for our students the very same values and beliefs that we teach in the classroom.We need to stand up and fight for faculty rights and resist any political and administrative actions that threaten our ability to teach.We need to fight for more full-time faculty, while at the same time fighting the exploitation of part-time faculty.We need to work to strengthen our unions and to fight for more faculty inclusion in college governance.
Those potential economic blessings of the transnational corporation while living in those respective physical communities like Spokane, WA, or Cleveland or Tucson, where there are huge chunks of the cities that are flagging and deteriorating because no mom and pop or middle-sized market venture can compete with the economies of scale the McDonalds wield.
They attacked liberalism [fascists gaining power in 1930s Germany] because it seemed to them the principal premise of modern society; everything they dreaded seemed to spring from it; the bourgeois life, Manchesterism, materialism, parliament and the parties, the lack of political leadership. Even more, they sense in liberalism the source of all their inner sufferings. Theirs was a resentment of loneliness; their one desire was for a new faith, a new community of believers, a world with fixed standards and no doubts, a new national religion that would bind all Germans together. All this, liberalism denied. Hence, they hated liberalism, blamed it for making outcasts of them, for uprooting them from their imaginary past, and from their faith. ~ Fritz Stern
“Twin totalitarianisms plague the world ~ the dictatorships of consumer society and obligatory injustice,”
Colleges that have young earth geology courses. Colleges that accept creationism AKA intelligent design as a valid form of scientific inquiry. I kid you not.
Part 2 of the series puts the spotlight on the new poor. Tavis also talks with Vicki B. Escarra, CEO of Feeding America.
Part 3 focuses on the housing crisis. The conversation continues with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Part 4 examines jobs and the unemployment crisis. Tavis also talks with the director of Columbia’s Earth Institute and co-founder of Millennium Promise Alliance Jeffrey Sachs.