Atlanta Stakhanovites

photo (23)It seems the floodgates are opening up in corruptionland. Teachers, administrators, district staff caught fixing test scores, the usual bribery of officials to give officials official jobs more official than those they already officiate. Oil leaks from pipelines but isn’t actually “oil” since it’s more a tar-cum-cement-oilstuffy and that isn’t covered by any regulation. Not all corruption is around the law or against the law, some corruption is the law.
While a bag-load of stone-faced political apparatchiks from A- in the semi-autonomous Oblast of N- Y- is the standard corruption of any age, the school officials from A- down in the southern provinces is a telling sign of what is truly rotten about this chapter in our Newbury Award winning primer One Clusterfuck Two, Red State Blue. Right now, it looks like a mother load of grandmothers are going to spend their golden years with three hot and a cot, or is that a few coots in the boot? What is interesting about this case is that it is the tip of an iceberg of erase and trace of so many people attempting to muss with “der systemund.” The growing shadow of assessment-based-performance-based-metrics-based education (and other industries using similar bunk) is that you cannot replace everything with a target unless that target is informed by so many other variables, and Americans can’t do math, so you work it out with a pencil. Corruption is inherent in metrics alone. Just the reality of it. Running a war, like in Vietnam and we need dead Charlie to fill a number set by D.C.? Your platoon rated on how many Charlie you tag and bag? Funny, those villagers look just like Charlie in the right light. Metrics care not for the reality on the ground and are set in place often not by those doing the actual work, by administrators and number crunchers who assume that because all Greeks are Philosophers and Pliny the Elder was a philosopher that all Greeks who score no less than 59.999% on their mid-year English Language Arts test should be advanced to the next grade. Just because the joke is numerically correct doesn’t make it true. While these blue-hairs are not an innocent lot, the teach-to-the-test industry will come down on them with all their might for their lack of character or because of some mental illness. Not because these people had to become rotten in a stinking system. The [alleged] crime was perhaps performed because they needed to keep up appearances for the gubberment, to play the corporatist game of metrics and performance pay, of storming, and meeting quotas, and reach outstanding achievements in science and production all with children from A- who may not have enough food, come from a family of illiterates, or be trapped within the cycle of povery and drugs that this country attempts to keep under the covers at night… unless it’s on the Cops TeeVee show… then pour on the poor as long as they end up in a squad car…. The Rhees and reformers will come out to defend their stinking fucktarded system from the “few bad apples.” The reformers certainly won’t “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to calling for more laws, guidelines, higher punishments for cheating students out of a “world class education.” The reformers are Randian Heros after all, they to a person wish to be Stakhanovites, all seek recognition from the Supreme Soviet for storming and rushing and meeting their quotas least they are sent to Siberia… wait, wrong system…. However, is it too far off? Did the SOVIETs continue their strange and deranged manner of production and mind the rules for those 70 years by following the rules, or knowing when to bend them, when the contradictions of the system could only remain an edifice when they had themselves taken to slights of hand, tricks of the books, and darker accounting methods to ensure that the system appeared to work not because it actually worked, but because all those tricks and subterfuge made it work. Truth or illusion, kids?
We will choose illusion. That is the way of our cloth, the state of our age. A show trial will ensue, they’ll be found guilty, they all go to jail, blah blah blah. Our system will be restored. A system that when it works, teaches to the test, assesses every fart to taste it for literacy, and still fails to deliver what is intended. But, with so much money to be made selling assessment snake-oil, What is To Be Done?

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