Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Education Funding: Beyond the Bake Sale

Public schools are turning increasingly to private money to supplement the money they receive from penurious taxpayers who say no to whatever they can. This is what has brought vending machines dispensing unhealthy food and drink, and now even some corporate branding of the schools themselves.

Soon individual classes will have sponsors, like Sex Education, brought to you by Johnson Controls. The section on homosexuality would be sponsored by Johnson&Johnson.

Many sponsors are lined up to fund Driver Education. Between NASCAR, the various auto and tire makers, petroleum companies and the producers of the Fast and the Furious movies, the young menaces to navigation should lack for nothing.

We can't pursue this trend fast enough. Since the whole point of an education is to learn to be a good and voracious consumer, and to gain the job skills necessary to earn enough money to contribute to the economy by keeping consumption high, a strong corporate presence in the schools is like having the young ones tag along while the experienced tribe members hunt or gather. It brings the real world right into the classroom.

It's in the corporations' best interests to produce successful people. This isn't just a tax deduction. This is a chance to take real control of curriculum.

The taxpayers still remain in the mix. That ought to make school administrators' lives hell, as they try to answer to both the citizenry and their corporate sugar daddies. But eventually the citizens will get bored and go away and let the corporations take care of things. Freedom is a pain in the ass. You have to keep taking care of endless details, paying attention to the shell game. All anyone really wants is a comfortable, hassle-free life. Strong corporations run by decisive leaders can provide it better than anyone. That's what their marketing says.

Questioning authority is so passe. It might have been necessary in the Dark Ages, when authority was wrong about so many things, but nowadays authority is really good. Questioning it just creates antisocial turbulence. Now off you go to School, Inc.

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