child's pay
I‘ve been corresponding with (Mr.) Jan Eggers of the exceptional blog Dirtgrain. Jan is a teacher who writes often of the frustration of dealing with an education system that is dysfunctional, bureaucratic, co-opted by corporatists, shrugged off by parents as a cheap day-care centre, and, nevertheless, full of teachers who give a damn and want to make a difference. He tells it like it is:

The Learning Asylum, by Jan Eggers

Committed to the learning asylum,
they come in droves to
breathe stale air mocked by
the jetliner noise of ventilation.
Attention trapped–daydreams killed–
by windowless rooms and puke yellow carpets.
Fluorescent headaches pang down,
wilting creative energy.
Stagnant chairs clash with restless limbs,
learning drivel pinning them down.
They forget their place in nature.

Where are poems nourished?
In a snowy forest,
a grimy street corner,
a threshable field–
in an ever changing milieu–
not in the wilting classroom.
So many able poets–
manacled by education.

If we had more fearless, never-say-die, articulate proponents of education reform like Jan, maybe we could really fix the system.

Image above is from Child’s Pay, the award winning video from MoveOn that CBS refused to show. The video depicts American children working to pay off the staggering and obscene Bush debt. It could also be said to depict the jobs that will be left if actions aren’t taken to end offshoring of American jobs, and if improvements to the education system aren’t made, in contrast to the grossly underfunded, misguided and cynical Bush ‘No Child Left Behind’ program.

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  1. Dick says:

    I retire from teaching (very much against my will) next year. During my time as a teacher in the UK I’ve watched education emerge gradually & tentatively from the dark ages of pre-war values & approaches, into a brief, heady period of experimentation & enterprise & then back again. The dead hand of schooling lies as heavy on education now as ever it did. ‘Educational reform’ is merely a liberal euphemism for a more subtle & insidious sweetening of the pill. What is needed is what A.S. Neill proposed more than 80 years ago – educational revolution.

  2. Dave Pollard says:

    Dick: And the British system is what most of the once-good educational systems in the world were modeled on. *sigh* I’ll add Mr. Neill to my ‘to read’ list.

  3. Ray Jefferd says:

    Opposed to Offshoring and Luddites more similarities than differences.

  4. Rob Paterson says:

    Can’t wait to see you next week Dave – We are now onto our 14th day off school since Christmas – the machine system can’t cope. 42% of our kids never even finish school. Most are bored out of their minds and made helpless by the dependency creating mechanism that is school as we know it

  5. Kurt Andersen says:

    If you are interested in an analysis of the educational establishment which takes the hypothesis that the educational system is actually doing exactly what it is truly designed for, and that all the other claims of actual education is just a smoke-screen, check out John Gatto’s _The Underground History of American Education_ (

  6. The “Fourth Purpose” documentary series is an ambitious project aimed at exposing and challenging the myths of modern schooling. I urge anyone interested in educational revolution, for a positive future for our global community, to offer encouragement and support for this project. Please visit the Odysseus Group – John Taylor Gatto Web site @ and add your voice and support to the cause.

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