Discover more from Rats
vs. us all
These days I am mostly about my kids, even though they are all grown and gone.
To get an idea of how I feel about my daughters, read Andre Dubus, "A Father's Story."
There is lots of bad stuff happening in the world, so much I don't care to even think about most of it. But if a friend or family or someone I deeply respect or appreciate is victimized by any of the bad stuff, I get crazy. And if anything in any way threatens one of my daughters, I get crazier and obsessed by the desire to help.
A couple weeks ago, Zoë heard that a good friend from her college, who had returned to Sudan for summer because he feared his family was in danger, was murdered. We don't know the whole story, but since his dad is involved in a telecom business, I'd certainly bet the motive was politics.
The only weapon I possess is words. So I'm going to delay my comments on education for a paragraph and propose that -- since the United States has long been cops of the world, and since our business/military/industrial complex has profited off of so many other peoples -- we should act far more graciously than we currently do to would-be immigrants, especially to any who are in danger of violence or dire poverty in their home countries. I mean, even if this calls for sacrifice on our part, those of us who consider ourselves compassionate ought to be more than willing.
Okay, now I will shift to education, and rant about how certain people and their foundations are threatening my other dear daughter, Darcy.
She is a lobbyist for public school districts in Arizona, which have become a particular target of interest groups I will not respect by calling them by their preferred name. I will call them profiteers. They are a faction of the business community that fails to include ethics or concern for anyone other than themselves and their allies in their approach to capitalism.
By the way, I am neither a socialist nor a capitalist. My economic attitude maintains that what works best should be practiced. In general, followers of the profit motive are best at delivering products. They don't, however, do so well at providing services such as health care, incarceration, mail delivery, library services, or education. Their hunger for profit gets in the way.
The natural enemy of the profiteers to whom I'm referring, I will call the public.
The reason the profiteers are doing battle against the public and so against my courageous daughter is, they want to privatize schools. And they have a rather sophisticated reason. If they can control the schools, they can teach that profiteers are the good guys and anybody who threatens their profits are socialists, communists, anarchists and/or minions of the devil.
Darcy is far outnumbered by the profiteer lobby, which turns much of her life into a battlefield when all she is trying to do is keep Arizona's public schools open and functioning.
Here is a taste of what she is standing up against.
Okay, Rats is supposed to be about higher education. So, here is a prophecy. To the extent that elementary and high school education become privatized, higher education will go the same way, perhaps so gradually most folks won't take note of the change.
I am reasoning from experience. Like this: My Zoë is now in college, and I firmly discouraged her from attending San Diego State University where I was an undergraduate long ago, before the insidious federal student loan scheme allowed the State government to gradually defund the universities, which has resulted in lessoning of the quality of education (see the first few posts in the Rats Archive) while increasing cost to students by a factor of 100. Not 100 percent. The tuition is 100 times what it was back then. Roughly ten times the rate of inflation.
So, private colleges have become an arguably better option, both for academic and financial reasons. Because lots of private colleges are so well endowed, they can offer generous scholarships and so undercut state supported colleges.
What has already begun and will likely continue is the transformation of state colleges and universities into business and vocational schools, meaning the upcoming profiteers will learn more ways to relieve us of our money and they will have plenty of workers to fix their cars and clean their teeth and spend decades paying the interest on their student loans.
So far, the most established and highly respected private colleges haven't entirely handed the reins over to profiteers. Why should they when they have endowments built over generations? So the profiteers and their minions attempt to discredit them and their students and grads by promoting the accusation that people from those colleges are "elitist" and "out of touch."
They must have a dictionary that defines the word "elitist" and the phrase "out of touch" to mean "preferring democracy to monarchy or oligarchy."
Rats in the Ivory Tower is a reader-supported publication. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber.