Courting Corporations

There is just no way to fund public education without the help of corporations.  Many American voters feel that if you are really, really trying, you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps in your chaotic middle school where your math teacher never shows up and work summers at a minimum-wage job and study on the weekends at home because your library’s hours are limited until you save up the cash to get the $40 grand you need for college.  Voters aren’t paying for more tutoring, after school programs, or state support for public universities.  We just have to get corporate sponsors for public education.  There’s no other way.

It might seem like a great leap forward from those Pepsi-loyal cafeteria contracts, but when you balance the incredible cost of educating a child (especially one raised in poverty) against the minor inconvenience of changing the curriculum and redecorating our classrooms, the answer seems obvious.

Corporations would not be sponsoring English classes to control English teachers, they would be doing it so that the English teachers would be aware of their concerns and educated about their needs.  Let me say, as an English teacher myself, that I am deeply, deeply insensitive to the concerns and needs of corporations.  We didn’t spend even thirty seconds on that in ed school!

By restricting our students’ views of corporate history and current events in school, we are treating corporations as second-class citizens.  They need a fair shake.  A corporation has just as much right to be studied in school as the Confederacy, the Soviet Union, or the founding fathers.  Let Coca-Cola sponsor the Vietnam War.  They know all about fighting for territory in other countries who don’t necessarily want you there.  It’s a natural fit.

When Aetna sponsors health class, and American Express sponsors economics, we can let the teachers balance the interests of those corporations with their other knowledge and decide what kids really need to know.

I’m sure they won’t let the hazy threat of losing their jobs get in the way of teaching our children ethically.  Teachers are stronger and better than that.  They went into education to make the world a better place.

They knew there would be compromises and deal-making to get the job done, but they would never betray their basic duty.  Unlike our do-nothing, hand-greasing, flip-flopping politicians.  That’s another story.

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