Abolishing America (contd.): Educrats At Work – With A Little Help From The Census
A few weeks ago, the principal called me into
“I`d like you to represent the Lodi Adult School at
Adult Education Research Conference,” he said.
“No way!” I replied. “I haven`t done
anything to deserve that!”
Visions of the last education conference I attended
came rushing back to me. Within hours, the event`s
crushing boredom ground me down to the tiniest nubbin.
Long-winded teachers gassing about
brain-based learning, or whatever the nonsense du
jour may have been.
I pleaded my case with the principal. “I`ll do
anything. I`ll teach senior citizens how to send e-mail.
I`ll give driver`s Ed to non-English speaking high school
kids. Just don`t make me go to that conference,” I
“Think of it as an enrichment experience,” he
said with a grin as he handed me the brochure.
Dejected but determined to make the most of it, I
returned to my desk. I mapped out my plan. I`d drive the
school jalopy over to San Francisco, show up late, leave
early and make plenty of spare time to catch up with old
friends. Maybe I`d have a nice dinner down at Fisherman`s
Opening the brochure, I saw that I had to report to
Cesar Chavez Student Center on the San Francisco
State University Campus.
again? Is there a Ronald Reagan Student Center in
Mexico or postage stamp honoring the U.S. president who
amnestied 5 million illegal aliens? If not, there should
be. When you think of the benefits Mexicans
received from Reagan, a tribute to him would
certainly be fitting.)
Once at the Chavez Center, I had to select from five
pre-conferences that were held in either the Rigoberta
Menchu Hall or the
Rosa Parks Hall.
(Rigoberta Menchu? That`s when I knew I was in
trouble. I thought she had been exposed as a
fraud and a
phony. Who knew that she had a hall dedicated to
her? But this is
San Francisco, I reminded myself.)
My five pre-conference choices were:
- Chicano (a)/Latino (a):
(this means male and female Hispanics – Romance
Spanish don`t have a neutral gender, so it`s
politically correct in California to impose this on
English. But the enforcers can`t decide between Chicano
and Latino). Students and teachers were to discuss
“research and programs being developed to give voice to
Latinos on a local, national and international level.”
The stated purpose: to promote the “global
perspective of Chicano (a)/Latino (a) scholars.”
- Asian Diaspora: a
“forum for critical dialogue on issues,
concerns and problems relevant to
Asian Diaspora.” The brochure proudly pointed
out that this was the “first ever-Asian Diaspora”
pre-conference in the 44-year history of the A.E.R.C.
- African Diaspora:
offered “historical research on people of African
descent who are involved in adult and continuing
education“ and “a forum for critical
dialogue among students of African ancestry on
practical and theoretical issues.”
Indigenous People: “First Indigenous Scholarship
Pre-Conference” ever (!), would “collectively
and experientially explore Indigenous Scholarship to
understand and articulate how knowledge in our
cultures is created, sustained and for what purpose
perpetuated.” Students to “dialogue” about
the “development of pedagogues [sic] which
worldviews.” (I`m not getting it but since I am
not going to enroll in the Indigenous Pre-Conference,
it doesn`t really matter.)
- Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, and
Anniversary (!) of the LGBTQ Caucus. Questions asked
but not necessarily answered included “Have Queer
replaced family/citizenship/democracy?” And
this incomprehensible triumph of Edspeak: “How do
Queer communities engaged in sense making beyond
hetero/homo duality reconstruct
social differences in meaningful ways?”
Morning presentations on LGBTQ issues were to be
“followed by a walking tour of
“the Castro”, San Francisco`s most famous `gay
neighborhood.`” Your tax dollars at work!
By this time, I realized that the principal – an
all-around good guy – was having a few laughs at my
expense. He is fully aware that given my choice between
attending one of the pre-conferences and a week spent on
the rack, I would take the
rack every time.
But I do have two questions:
* Where was the pre-conference focused on
Anglo student needs?
For years, I taught a G.E.D. preparation class for
welfare recipients. Mostly
poor white students were enrolled – the descendants
of the Okies whose Depression-Era migration here was
chronicled in Steinbeck`s
Grapes Of Wrath. And they faced lots of
educational challenges that aren`t covered in A.E.R.C.`s
didn`t know where or when to use a comma, how to do
basic math or how to write a coherent 200 word essay.
That may not seem too challenging but when your students
haven`t been in a classroom for over 20 years, your work
is cut out for you.
Of course, these white students were Americans. Who
cares about them?
My current Hispanic students don`t know about commas
etc. either. Most of them have only a few years of
education in their native countries; some have never been
inside a school at all. But they can`t speak English, so
their situation is even worse.
Which leads to my second question:
* Where was the pre-conference designed for the
English as a Second Language teacher?
Incredibly, there was not one session in A.R.E.C.`s
entire four-day conference.
This despite the shocking, staggering, stupefying,
mind-numbing, astronomical increases in the Hispanic
population over the last two years that were reported
earlier this week by the US Bureau of the
Census. There are 3.5 million more Hispanics in the
US than in 2000—a 10% increase.
“It is part of the
continued growing diversity of this country which
strengthens us not only politically but economically.”
Joe Guzzardi [email
him], an instructor in English at the Lodi
Adult School, has been writing a weekly newspaper column
since 1988. This column is exclusive to VDARE.COM.