(This post was written in conjunction with The National Day of Blogging for Real Education Reform.)
Scenario: Zombie invasion.
Your mission: Survive.
A. Arm yourself heavily & prepare to wallop hundreds, possibly thousands, of undead humanoids upside the head?
B. Find a Cold War relic bomb shelter and hermetically seal yourself inside until the canned food runs out and/or septic tank runs over?
C. Resign yourself to your fate and spend last moments of life combing Rachel Ray recipe books & substituting all meat items with “living flesh”?
D. Employ Method Acting skills to channel your inner zombie in an attempt to hide yourself within the undead New World Order?
E. Keep watching reality TV and pretend nothing is happening?
(If you chose D, you understand REAL ed reform. If you chose anything else, well, let’s just say, your brain will taste delicious on a cracker.)
Amid all the comparative analysis — Who’s in 1st? Who’s in 2nd? USA is ranked what?! — we forget that the real goal of education is to prepare students for the future; a future that is wholly unpredictable I might add. For example: Who would have thought 200 years ago that we’d be enjoying such quality programming as Jersey Shore today? No one, that’s who, and that’s my point. We must prepare students for the unpreparable.
The current ed reform narrative goes something like this:
- Unions suck because they protect teachers from discriminatory firings & working ungodly hours;
- Teachers suck because a couple (of the 4 million) stink;
- Everything would be a whole lot better if we’d just let the masters of the universe (who know little or nothing about teaching and learning, but a bunch about earning cash money) run our education system; and
- Standing in the way of our educational utopia are education experts (who know little about earning cash money, but a bunch about teaching & learning) and who seem to think that kids are individuals.
But we know better. When the undead strike, it doesn’t matter if kids are individuals or not, they all taste delicious, if they don’t adapt. Therefore, we’ve got to prepare students for the Holy Grail of Black Swan events: Zombie Invasion.
You’ll be happy to know that since the mid 80′s, with the landmark release that changed the face of education forever (I’m talking about Michael Jackson’s Thriller, not A Nation at Risk), the CIA & the Pentagon have been working in conjunction with the Department of Education to develop a plan for survival of the American Way once the walking dead rise from the graves and commence with feasting on flesh.
You’ve seen the video, and know how scary it really is. You’re thinking, “Thank goodness ed reformers are on this!” Well, Yer Welcome.
Given that students are increasingly physically unfit, the chances of them fending off hordes of hungry “Walkers” is unlikely. Plus, anyone who’s been to a little league game knows that most of those kids strike out. What’re the chances that they’ll suddenly develop some head crushing skills with the bat? Not likely, right?
Enter Operation Test Prep, stage left.
In clinical studies we’ve found that students who spend their school days on dittos and bubble sheets actually end up acquiring the perfect anti-zombie defense: mimicry. After years of mind numbing test prep, they begin to look and act like zombies so much so that they may well be able to pass themselves off as fellow brain munchers.
Laboratory tests with the undead confirm this. The lumbering dead have a hard time distinguishing between the stench of rigorous programs and actual rigor mortis. In some cases, the students who successfully attain the unblinking glazed-eye look favored by zombies are accepted as ghoulish brethren and can lurch their way to full citizenship within the zombie society.
However, the same studies reveal that students in vigorous programs exert a life force that “walkers” immediately sniff out. (On this point, it is worth forgetting that the same research indicates that students from experiential based programs are altogether more resourceful and tend to survive longer in post apocalyptic computer simulations due to their increased capacity for critical thinking and innovative creativity.) Therefore, it is more desirable to blend in than it is to stand out.
Creating programs that suck the life force out of students is not as simple as it sounds. For one, “Sucking the life force out of students” does not generally sell well as a sound bite. And two, teachers typically enter the profession hoping to inspire students, not to numb them into a walking coma. The former is solved with some simple rhetoric: Achievement & Performance (on test after test). The latter takes a bit more work.
Beating Up Teachers for the Good of Student Survival
In order to ensure the survival of the human race, we’ve launched an attack against teachers in hopes of demoralizing them. So far, it is working. Today’s teachers work harder than ever before and many leave the profession within 5 years. As a result, students are not benefiting from teachers who have enough years of experience to truly know how to teach. The ones who do stay must endure our continued taunting and a barrage of pink slip threats.
Additionally, the ones in the classroom are shouldered with the burden of needing to save the world with every lesson. This pressure cooker approach wears them down and burns out that “passion”.
The benefits of exhausted teachers are many. Overworked and demoralized teachers . . .
- . . . are more likely to blindly teach what we tell them to. In this case, scripted curricula that effectively bores students into a living zombie-dom.
- . . . cannot adequately engage in the kind of professional development that leads to invigorating teaching, which, by proxy, then keeps student vital signs barely above living (making them difficult for zombies to track).
- . . . begin to resemble zombies themselves by the end of the year, thus providing students with relevant and meaningful exposure that effectively prepares them for life with the non living.
In the end, we must continue to keep school as uninspiring as possible by publicly berating our teachers and testing the snot out of students. It is the only way to ensure that today’s children are fully prepared to integrate themselves into tomorrow’s zombie society.
What could be more important than that?
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