I hate to be the voice of bad news, but the U.S. must face a CRISIS IN EDUCATION!


  1. When students in the U.S. are compared to students in other countries, they simply do not measure up.
  2. U.S. teachers are central to student achievement, but “a discouraging number of them are incompetents.”
  3. The top students in the U.S. are being mis-served, their precious potential squandered.
  4. Science and math are vital for the U.S., and since we are woefully behind, new approaches are necessary.
  5. And “[m]ost parents just plain neglect this job, through lack of time, lack of interest or lack of confidence.”


But I must also add, all of this is from 1958—a series in LIFE magazine in fact.


How on earth did we all survive?

Professors as Public Intellectuals: A Reader

With Professors, We Need You!, Nicholas Kristof makes a case for professors as public intellectuals:

Professors today have a growing number of tools available to educate the public, from online courses to blogs to social media. Yet academics have been slow to cast pearls through Twitter and Facebook. Likewise, it was TED Talks by nonscholars that made lectures fun to watch (but I owe a shout-out to the Teaching Company’s lectures, which have enlivened our family’s car rides).

I write this in sorrow, for I considered an academic career and deeply admire the wisdom found on university campuses. So, professors, don’t cloister yourselves like medieval monks — we need you!

While Kristof’s plea stumbles in many places (for example, left-leaning academics appear to be discounted out of hand, suggesting that society can somehow be changed only by academics who hold ideologies similar to that public), Daniel Willingham’s follow up presents a strong case as well, notably targeting the role of professors as public intellectuals in the education debate: Συνέχεια


Monday, February 17, 2014

Public Schools Are Preparing America’s Children For Life In A Police State

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

Our children are the future of America, and our public schools are systematically training them to become accustomed to living in a “Big Brother” police state.  All across the United States today, public schools have essentially become “prison grids” that are run by control freaks that are absolutely obsessed with micromanaging the lives of their students down to the smallest detail.

As you will read about below, students all over the country are now being monitored by RFID microchips, their lunches are being inspected on a daily basis by school administrators, and the social media accounts of students are being constantly monitored even when they are at home.  Of course these sorts of things do not happen everywhere just yet, but on the path that we are on it is just a matter of time.

At this point, many of our public schools very closely resemble “totalitarian dictatorships”, and so if the United States ever slips into totalitarianism the students of today will actually feel very comfortable under that political system.

I went to public schools all my life, so I have experience in this area. Sadly, things have gone downhill quite a bit since those days. For example, one thing that was unheard of back when I was in high school was “active shooter drills”.  They are being held in school districts all over the nation today, and they often involve the firing of blanks and the use of fake blood.  The following is from a recent NBC News about these drills…

In a cramped, carpeted amphitheater in the basement of Troy Buchanan High School, 69 students are waiting to die.

“You’ll know when it pops off,” says Robert Bowen, the school’s campus police officer. “If you get engaged with one of the shooters, you’ll know it.”

“When you get shot, you need to close your fingers and keep ‘em in,” adds Tammy Kozinski, the drama teacher. “When the bad guy and the police come through, they’ll step all over you, and who will be saying they’re sorry?”

“Nobody!” the students cry in unison.

This isn’t a bizarre, premeditated mass murder or some twisted sacrifice led by a student cult. These are the 20 minutes preceding an active shooter drill, the 13th one Missouri’s Lincoln County school district has staged in the past year.

You can read the rest of that article right here, and a YouTube video about these drills is posted below…

Fortunately, the students participating in the active shooter drills in Missouri know in advance what is happening.

In other instances around the country, that is not the case.  In fact, sometimes teachers are not even told what is going to happen.  Just check out the following example from New Jersey

About 50 teachers at a New Jersey school experienced a terrifying moment when a shooting rampage turned out to be a drill, but the teachers didn’t know it.

It happened Aug. 28 at the Phillipsburg New Jersey Early Learning Center.

A man burst into the library and started shooting. But the gun didn’t have any bullets, just blanks.

Teachers took cover under child-sized tables, crying and trembling.

“People are crying. The girl next to me is trembling and shaking. You heard people crying. You heard other people praying. It was pretty dramatic,” one teacher said.

Could you imagine your own children being put through something so traumatic?

And of course “active shooter drills” are far from the only way that our public schools are being transformed into prison camps.  Just consider the following list…

-Public schools in some parts of the country are beginning to use RFID microchips to track school attendance. (Link)

-Some public schools are now systematically monitoring the social media accounts of their students. (Link)

-Listening devices are being installed in classrooms all over the nation. (Link)

-Bureaucratic control freaks are checking student lunches at many schools to ensure that they are “balanced”. (Link)

-Students are being suspended from school for simply making gun gestures with their hands. (Link)

-Some public schools do not even allow parents to walk their own children to class. (Link)

This next set of examples comes from one of my previous articles

A few years ago, a class of 3rd grade students at one Kentucky elementary school were searched by a group of teachers after 5 dollars went missing.  During the search the students were actually required to remove their shoes and their socks.

At one public school in the Chicago area, children have been banned from bringing their lunches from home.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Students at that particular school are absolutely prohibited from bringing lunches from home.  Instead, it is mandatory that they eat the food that the school cafeteria serves.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is spending huge amounts of money to install surveillance cameras in the cafeterias of public schools so that government control freaks can closely monitor what our children are eating.

A teenager in suburban Dallas was forced to take on a part-time job after being ticketed for using bad language in one high school classroom.  The original ticket was for $340, but additional fees have raised the total bill to $637.

It is not just high school kids that are being ticketed by police.  In Texas the crackdown extends all the way down to elementary school students.  In fact, it has been reported that Texas police gave “1,000 tickets” to elementary school kids over a recent six year period.

A 17-year-old honor student in North Carolina named Ashley Smithwick accidentally took her father’s lunch with her to school.  It contained a small paring knife which he would use to slice up apples.  So what happened to this standout student when the school discovered this?  The school suspended her for the rest of the year and the police charged her with a misdemeanor.

A 6-year-old girl in Florida was handcuffed and sent to a mental facility after throwing temper tantrums at her elementary school.

In early 2010, a 12-year-old girl in New York was arrested by police and marched out of her school in handcuffs just because she doodled on her desk. “I love my friends Abby and Faith” was what she reportedly wrote on her desk.

There are actually some public schools in the United States that are so paranoid that they have actually installed cameras in student bathrooms.

-Down in Florida, students have actually been arrested by police for bringing a plastic butter knife to school, for throwing an eraser, and for drawing a picture of a gun.

-The Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice has announced that it will begin using analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents and will place “potential offenders” in specific prevention and education programs.

-A group of high school students made national headlines a while back when they revealed that they were ordered by a security guard to stop singing the national anthem during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

In some U.S. schools, armed cops accompanied by police dogs actually conduct surprise raids with their guns drawn.  In this video, you can actually see police officers aiming their guns at school children as the students are lined up facing the wall.

Back in 2009, one 8-year-old boy in Massachusetts was sent home from school and was forced to undergo a psychological evaluation because he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross.

Are you starting to get the picture?

Our public schools are systematically training our children for life in a police state, and hardly anyone is complaining about it.

We are heading down a very dangerous road, and at the end of that road we would end up like other totalitarian regimes such as North Korea.

If you think that you would like to live in a truly totalitarian regime, just consider what a new UN report that was just released says is going on in North Korea right now…

The commission documents crimes against humanity, including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation.”

So why don’t the people of North Korea rebel?

Well, one prison camp survivor that escaped said that “we became so used to it that we didn’t feel anything”

One witness, a survivor of a North Korean prison camp, told the commission of seeing a guard beat a nearly starving woman who had recently given birth, then force the woman to drown her baby.

Others told of being imprisoned for watching soap operas, trying to find food for their families, traveling without permission or having family members considered suspect by the government.

“Because we saw so many people die, we became so used to it,” one prison camp survivor told the commission. “I’m sorry to say that we became so used to it that we didn’t feel anything.”

Perhaps you think that such a thing could never happen in America, but the truth is that we are also becoming very accustomed to the emerging Big Brother control grid which is being constructed all around us.

And the youth of today are sadly ignorant of what this nation is supposed to look like.  In fact, in the video posted below activist Mark Dice discovers that many students at one college in California cannot even name any of the Bill of Rights when they are asked to do so…

So is there any hope for the next generation of Americans?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.

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Governmentality in the current crisis Maurizio Lazzarato


Disclaimer: In the time intervened between my work on the government of inequalities, written on the experience of events that unfolded between 2003 and 2007, and the work I am presenting here, there has been a crisis of sovereign debts, which calls for a new reading of governmentality and thus of Michel Foucault’s thesis on liberalism. These two readings are different, but I don’t think they are contradictory. It is up to the reader to judge.


The financial crisis, which has turned into a crisis of sovereign debts, imposes new modes of governmentality and new figures of the subject both on the side of the governing (‘technical government’) and on that of the governed (the indebted who expiates his own guilt through tax). The novelties of the figures of these subjects are a manifestation of the true nature of governmental techniques and the relation liberalism establishes with capital, one that is better and deeper than previously identified in the period of the birth of neoliberalism. Συνέχεια

Walter Benjamin: Fascism and Crisis

The context of economic crisis and rising fascism cast a long, and fatal, shadow over Walter Benjamin’s world. This shadow strangely prefigures contemporary problems, with the economy once more in crisis and the far right on the rise. In the fourth of his eight-part series, Andrew Robinson discusses Benjamin’s analyses of the effects of economic crisis on everyday life in Germany, and his account of fascism as the ‘aestheticisation of politics’.

Precarity and Crisis in One Way Street

The collection of fragments titled ‘One-Way Street’ is an extended discussion of precarity and crisis in interwar Germany. Benjamin sees Germany – then in the midst of the Weimar period, before the Nazis took power – as caught up in a kind of regressive collectivism born of capitalism. The more people are driven by narrow private interests in their actions, the more they are determined by mass instincts. Συνέχεια

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Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction

reviewed by James C. Jupp — February 07, 2014

coverTitle: Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction
Author(s): Ralph W. Tyler
Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Chicago
ISBN: 022608650X, Pages: 144, Year: 2013
Search for book at

Ralph Tyler’s Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction (BPoCI) represented the perfect ideological tonic for culminating the historical epoch of curriculum theorizing between 1892 and 1958. Emphasizing the professional bureaucratization of its epoch, Tyler’s BPoCI and the Tyler rationale provided (and continue to provide) the hegemonic logic in curriculum design and development that you can simply not not want in the historical present.

During an epoch of professional bureaucratization, Tyler’s BPoCI “put the capstone on one epoch of curriculum inquiry” (Goodlad in Kliebard, 1971, p. 272). Emphasizing this epoch, the professional bureaucratization of curriculum theorizing accompanied the rise of graded public schools. Important in this discussion is the recognition that graded public schools, as they exist today, did not exist in the same form in 1900. For example, in 1900 only ten percent of school-aged children even attended secondary schools let alone graduated with diplomas, and as late as 1940, fewer than thirty percent of white children and fewer than ten percent of children of color finished high school (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1993). In this epoch of professional-bureaucratic transformation, the political battles over the organization of public schools and school curriculum represented an endless multitude of minute municipal, county, and state level skirmishes among conflicting interests and “stakeholders” along with state and local political machinery. Only in the context of state and local political machinery of the late 1800s and early 1900s—including corruption, nepotism, graft, and fraud (Duffy & Price, 2009; Tyack, 1974)—could rationalistic professional-bureaucratic titles like “curriculum specialist” even become comprehensible “needs.” Despite the accuracy of revisionist historians’ critiques of this epoch (Callahan, 1962, Kliebard, 1971; Spring, 2000; Tyack 1974), it behooves us to recall one aspect of the professional-bureaucratic transformation felicitously taken-for-granted in revisionists’ critiques: the epoch of professional bureaucratization represented a bold experiment in public investment. Συνέχεια

Enslave the robots and free the poor

Martin Wolf By Martin Wolf


The prospect of far better lives depends on how the gains are produced and distributed


Ingram Pinn illustration

In 1955, Walter Reuther, head of the US car workers’ union, told of a visit to a new automatically operated Ford plant. Pointing to all the robots, his host asked: “How are you going to collect union dues from those guys?” Mr Reuther replied: “And how are you going to get them to buy Fords?” Automation is not new. Neither is the debate about its effects. How far, then, does what Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee call The Second Machine Age alter the questions or the answers? Συνέχεια

Progressive Education Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find By Alfie Kohn



Spring 2008

* «What to Look for in a Classroom» (table)
* «A Dozen Basic Guidelines for Educators» (list)

If progressive education doesn’t lend itself to a single fixed definition, that seems fitting in light of its reputation for resisting conformity and standardization. Any two educators who describe themselves as sympathetic to this tradition may well see it differently, or at least disagree about which features are the most important.

Talk to enough progressive educators, in fact, and you’ll begin to notice certain paradoxes: Some people focus on the unique needs of individual students, while others invoke the importance of a community of learners; some describe learning as a process, more journey than destination, while others believe that tasks should result in authentic products that can be shared.[1] Συνέχεια

A Situationist Bibliography



Agamben, Giorgio et al.  I Situazionisti.  La Talpa di Biblioteca 1.  Rome:  Manifesto Libri, 1991.

Andreotti, Libero and Xavier Costa, eds.  Situationists:  Art, Politics, Urbanism.  Barcelona:  ACTAR, 1996.

—.  Theory of the Dérive and other Situationist Writings on the City.  Barcelona:  ACTAR, 1996.

Apostolidès, Jean-Marie.  «Du Surréalisme à l’Internationale Situationniste:  la question de Συνέχεια