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Learning at its Best

The Conditionals of Money

I have finally come to a very simple, poignant and strong belief.  Money is the be-all in education.  This is not something that I am proud or happy to admit.  In fact, this conclusion brings on me great depression, despair and a little bit of loss of my own humanity.  Unfortunately, just like the rest of society, especially in a capitalistic society, money rules the world.  There is no way around it.  Money finances our schools, what we teach, how we teach it, and who gets to teach it.  From the technology that is used to the advancements in experiments, field trips and even school events, money is involved everywhere.  It seems, as though it is often, inescapable, as everything we want to do, in and around education costs money.  What is the most disheartening, however, is that money is tied, without any cut in the string, directly to what we teach, how we teach and most specifically, what students “learn.”

However, there is good news.  Money has not gotten into our brains (at least not yet).  We are still able to think, think individually, critically, with self-expression and with an understanding of who we are and what we hope to accomplish.    We still have the ability to have an imagination and to be creative and innovative.  It was once said by Picasso, “If you can dream it, it is real,” and this is something that money has not bought, at least not yet.  We still have one glimmer of hope.  What is this hope, you ask?  We must have the conviction to shift the educational paradigm to directly using money as the vehicle, but do so without any conditions.  I am a firm believer that education can be obtained, without any schooling at all, but I also understand the reality in the time in which we live, a time in which education is clearly defined by buildings, classrooms, and community of people.  However, what must shift in our society is an emphasis on education, as the most important element of our society, and not simply as lip service, designed to keep the large majority of the public silent until the next election outcomes are concluded.

Politicians, educators, economists, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff members talk a great deal about money in education and the need for it to be funded – but what is rarely suggested is that it must not just be funded, but funded as the #1 economic component of our economy.  I would argue that even above health care and far more than the military, education is what will save our democracy and without it, and with its continual decline, all other services become weakened and ineffective, eventually leading to the collapse of the empire.  However, it’s not just the funding of education that needs this dramatic shift, but the condition of NO CONDITIONS must be attached to those funds.  The schools, the administrators, the teachers, must all be liberated, to teach, advice, and work without an attachment to “earning” a certain amount.  Education can no longer be a conditional element of our society; it must be the heartbeat of it.  I suggest to you, that taking any less approach than this, is denying the reality of the system in which you are participating in and, unfortunately, you are only making incremental dents in an iceberg the size of Greenland.

Listen up!  Teachers are NOT the problem.  Administrators are NOT the problem.  Parents are NOT the problem.  Students are NOT the problem.  Staff members are NOT the problem.  The School District is NOT the problem.  Even the Department of Education is NOT the problem.  The only problem is the belief that in order for an educational system to exist, which learning is involved, is that it must be proved through an arbitrary move, that the system will benefit society in a capitalistic way which will provide a value in future earnings or expanse of the economic system.  Fortunately, or Unfortunately, learning does not fall into this line of thinking, it does not work in this system, so in order to make it fit, money must be the lynch pin (or fall guy), which proves the belief to be true.

Unless we fund education, as the most important element of our society, while simultaneously transforming and shifting the paradigm of education to eliminate and erase economic conditionals, which attach themselves as a cancer to critical, creative and innovative thinking, then we are doomed, not only for the individual and collective liberty of our children and their future, but also, for our empire as a whole.  It’s ironic, isn’t it?  The exact thing which accelerates our economic, capitalistic growth the most (new ideas), is the exact thing that we are training out of our youth.  Ask yourself this one question: As long as money is tied to determining the worth of a child, the extraction and determination of their learning, do you see our educational system dramatically improving at any time?  I know my answer, what’s yours?

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About caseykcaronna

A 27 year old Master of Arts in Education Degree holder from the progressive, liberal arts school, Goddard College. I am interested in Holistic, Community, Progressive, Democratic and Student-Centered Education. I am currently a part-time employee with the Boy Scouts of America. I am writing my first book on holistic education and looking for full time employment in education, throughout the United States and Canada. I am interested in all things education and hope to make trans-formative changes to the educational system(s) in America and in the process help to improve the lives of the individuals in whom it serves.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “The Conditionals of Money

  1. Perhaps free-market (i.e., regulated by those with capital instead of government) capitalism is not a panacea as profits require output be throttled back and uncontrolled “new ideas” and innovations tend to disrupt profitability .

    Perhaps we are not as democratic as might be thought. It is clear big money drives politics (I think it always has).

    Perhaps “Rack-Rent” sums up the current state of education in the U.S.

    Perhaps “the problem” is not a single issue, but a fabric of intertwined conventions that assure a society remains stable, subject only to relatively slow change, that is to say, perhaps our culture determines the “whatness” of education (and other matters) while education (and other matters) simultaneously determines our culture.

    Perhaps we are in a closed-loop that involves money-to-education and education-to-money and back again.

    Such are my thoughts while considering my recently incurred debt for an MA-as-commodity.

    Best wishes,
    Brent

    Posted by Brent Snavely | January 12, 2012, 7:51 am
  2. Hi Brent, I think we are in a cycle and loop, that evolves around society placing money as an importance, while money determining was is important in society. However, I think, the way in which we learn (and by learn, I mean think and feel, both critically and emotionally) is outside of this cycle and without using proper finance, without conditions, we are never going to see this rejuvenated. This is not the Utopian way, at least not for me, that of course would mean that no money at all was necessary in this process. However, realistically, I see money as such a central focus, that we must use the constraints of money, to unchain our trained learning.

    So what comes first? Eradicating money from the educational system, in order to simply focus ideas? I believe this would be ideal. Or, using money, but hinge its use on no conditional requirements to that money at all? Educational non-profits seem to fall somewhere in the middle, while private schools completely use personal funds, and yet, cater only to the exclusive, and public schools are completely with-holden to the all mighty dollars and its carrot on the string trick. Ultimately, money needs to be simply distributed, through grace and not with any “what if’s” or “how to’s.” Until it becomes simply a given, that the appropriate amount will always be given and distributed, I find it very difficult that any major shifts in the current structure can take place. We cannot justify ourselves by suggesting the great difference we are making (which we are) is really having a large, sweeping effect, because it isn’t. How does this shift happen? We must prove to all, that educational lip service isn’t enough and that a faith in those in education is. Imagine, if educators (by this I mean all those involved in professional and non-professional capacity) were given the liberty and freedom to teach, learn, interact, instruct, listen, help transform, care and peacefully co-exist? What amazing, thought provoking things would be possible — if we simply supplied what was necessary and left fear, anxiety and the obeisant need to prove that society’s investment in their children must produce a capitalistic result was left at the door step.

    In Educational Solidarity,
    Casey K. Caronna M.A. Ed.

    Posted by caseykcaronna | January 12, 2012, 6:54 pm
  3. I think insomuch as no one is to blame, everyone is responsible (and I’d probably go so far as to blame some people). I also like the idea of the condition of no conditions, but thinking about it brings me back to one of the essential concerns of educational transformation – what is our responsibility to schools, communities, and learners who stick with the system as it is – or who are denied options to leave it? One condition of no conditions is the status quo.

    All the best,
    C

    Posted by Chad Sansing | January 16, 2012, 12:49 pm
  4. Hi Chad! Thanks so much for your post. I agree that everyone is responsible, and there are individuals to blame, but this post was, and admittedly so, a dramatic attempt to highlight the role of money as it relates to theory and practice. Interesting thought on what are responsibility to schools, communities and learners. The real answer, obviously is a revolution from within and from without, but from my personal ideological perspective, my responsibility is the LEARNING. I am no longer concerned about schools and communities are defined in many ways, but the learning cuts through all of bull and it, to me, is the only real responsibility we must have. Schools and communities is where the learning occurs, and without the discourse of first understanding how we learn best, we can have no responsibility to the schools, communities.

    My post was to highlight the obsession for learning (education) to equal worker, for job to equal success in school, for money to determine that success. Once one gets bogged down in the in the small issues, we loose sight of what should be the overall objective, which is creating spaces where the maximum amount of potential for learning is to be held.

    Without directly addressing the overwhelming and overarching theme of money in education, we are maintaining our role along the periphery of the transforming of education sphere. This is where the unions, the administrators, the parents, the students all get lost. The theory of money equalizing success, of memorization equalizing learned ability, the job equalizing gained ability and skills, has created a divide and conquer technique, keeping all the bee workers busy, dealing with multiple crisis and while the larger and largest concerns are directly in their sight.

    In Educational Solidarity,
    Casey

    Posted by caseykcaronna | January 16, 2012, 10:39 pm

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