Following our higher calling

People’s studies at some point in school, high school, or at the college and above level are sometimes referred to as higher education, study to a higher calling. That study, we are made to think, is engaged in by the student in order to try to be hired or somehow able to do work that is not considered onerous, in order to make a living; to be able to look forward to among several benefits, not having to work long hours, to be able to do for example, what I was able to as a measly typist clerk at Morgan Stanley 60+ years ago, work 9-5 as an 8 hour day which included lunch.
One day at lunch I marched with everyone around the Post Office/Federal Building for clemency for The Rosenbergs. I stayed longer than an hour and was not docked or chastised. I was, though, a pretty low-level office clerk.
Soon after, the 8 hour day more and more officially became me/everyone at the desk or factory line et al. working 8 hours a day, permitted an hour or a ½ hour off for lunch …– so, 8 ½ – 9 hours at the job site. Plus the hour each, there and back to get to the job.
Schooling is touted as how to find some relief from the slavery labor we’re permitted here on our Owners’ plantation, including most often even running our own business. ‘Wage slaves’ is not a joke. We have to go on to ‘higher education’ in order to get work that is variously more respectable, more meaningful, and less taxing on us. In 1963 I finished the training, to teach at the elementary – 1st-8th – grades. I owed $800 I’d borrowed to pay for it; excusable if I’d do teaching for 5 years, which I did. Following a higher calling – going on to ‘higher education’ is directly connected to being able to get the financing; that’s now largely reverted to being able to borrow it. Higher schooling got made so much more expensive, relatively, enabling lenders to make those huge profits off of our needing to borrow in order to get college level study.
The most respected schools – schools from which graduates are hired into the most prestigious jobs – cost extremely large sums. Following a higher calling is staying in school long enough, paying enough, to get training and the accompanying degree/s so to be seen as employable in a position the student tries to get, actually wants. My daughter wanted to study to be hired to do accounting, and did. (notice I keep not saying ‘be a teacher’, ‘be an accountant’… Can you figure out why I do that? Yes, it’s like not wanting to ‘be a consumer’, wanting us all to BE people and all that can imply instead.)
I, by the opposite example of people with declared studies they seem to want to do in order to be hired in certain positions, went to college – after an unwanted pregnancy – whoops!, my mistake, – and a divorce – whoops again, – to get certified to do school teaching. I long before, when I was 7 or 9 I remember, vowed not to be a teacher. The memory rests at a handsome toy my folks were bestowed for me, a roll-top desk – wood, with a matching small chair. I’d sat my cousin at it with pencil and paper and tried getting him to do some school exercise. He shortly got up saying he didn’t want to and walked away. The realization I didn’t want ever to ‘be a teacher’ didn’t occur immediately. But it did stamp on my mind soon around then.
School is the system’s control device. It is prevention of us living, learning within living, the classroom instead as an adjunct to experience rather than the pretense of experience or work, instead of actual production. The way to correct the problem is for us all to have jobs, all to produce necessities including ideas, pleasures, all our stuff, from the time they can get to it – at 10a.m. walk a ½ a block to some friends’ place to help pick up stuff around the house fifteen minutes every Tuesday, Saturday – when person is 2 years old; expected to come do that job – or any job the child finds to do and says s/he will do. And do it all day, if they want, if whatever job it is could take all day – or every day all week … But some job we know needs to be done that rises because we’re within the circumstance where the work arises.
These are unknown in the for-profit world. Because in this arrangement, our work is largely for our Owners’ benefit. THey don’t want us to figure that out. Thus school.
Education however, is being together at the many occasions where people fix and make and take care of our living. It’s sitting around and walking and running and sliding and teeter-totter-ing and researching a biology issue and everything. People learn because they’re there and in one way or another they care to. Among the population on site are people who’ll teach some of it because of other people who want to know some of it but don’t. Among the back and forth exchanges and maybe discussions ideas and topics arise that give rise to study of a calculus or a history literature art science gym health …., those commodities co-opted into school, extracted from the content of life into a saleable commodity purveyed by a person become a teacher.
Some come to need reading about them, and to be written about to tell oneself or someone something from the study. People sit down and study it like any instruction class, or work the situation, which becomes the teaching and learning – and leads to research – because we all always want to know – and yes, we’re ALL philosophers and intellectuals and geniuses. You’d see we are…
Now we are confined by financial constraints. Our brilliance – our natural quest – is suppressed by the need to get enough and more to live on, to provide for self and family, eventually to provide for an aged/aging self, a terribly expensive time; a time when earning income can become less or not possible. Setting aside a sufficient amount to survive old age is too challenging.
We make do with finding a work place opportunity, more often lately one position after the other, as one job type fades – the rug gets pulled out from under us – and another must be found. These are not job satisfaction. In capitalism “all that is solid melts into air”. It’s why you can’t find the soap that was always(ish) in this aisle of the store; they’ve moved it – so you can walk around and likely make an unplanned purchase of something you see while looking for the soap you came to get.
Not doing work that is meaningful, work we find pleasant, is frequent, usual, destructive. It’s that disorder that causes the alienation that makes us ‘go in search of ourselves’: Who am I?   What am I doing here? What is the meaning of life, of my existence? Where can I go to find these thing out? Living a productive life from our earliest age obviates these concerns. The ‘answers’ – the questions don’t even need to be asked – are lived experiences. Reason becomes self-evident.
In the for-profit structure, getting a job we do find worthwhile still comes to be done in uncomfortable conditions. Too many hours away from dear ones. Away from preferred activities for no good reason. The good job most often takes on boring characteristics, as well. And always, low pay compared to The Rich, which, while we say it doesn’t bother us, and often as far as getting along for a small number of people, getting vacations, and schooling for children, and comfortable housing, and easy ability to buy a dozen eggs, we’re doing ok. But we wonder why there’s a strain of those teeny few people who sit on literal piles of dough; we see that that happens as a result of abuse of Earth and our labor and are reasonably aggravated by that discrepancy. There ARE jobs which we’d rather work than do anything else. Scarce, but they do happen – at least for a while – until they become excessively taxing or not necessary any more, – as I’ve described.
There are actual ‘higher calling’ circumstances, for a teeny few workers. We know these throughout our time in school. These become oppressive to us as we go through school with the increasing awareness of the futility of our efforts, the coming drudgery, to follow the drudgery of getting through the schooling required in order to find relief from the lower orders of drudge work – the getting up each day – struggling out of bed with not enough sleep, the preparation ritual, the costly push to get to the job (in the advanced capitalist structure – and where people live in bantustan-like locations in relation to the location of the job) – we pay a great deal of money to be allowed to ‘work’, to not follow our ‘higher calling’, but on the whole, to maintain our Rich, our Ruling Class. All our work is related to our Owners’ control, THeir profiteering off of all facets of our lives. This regardless the fortune of money we spent getting the college degree.
Work to resist this relationship and to oppose this order of society is exceptional and undermined not only by low- if any pay, but by laws. Our Owners make laws against us working to stop THeir damage to us/Earth. Take another look at our Constitution.
We can work against that opposition to us leading pleasant lives. It’s hard. But there’s nothing else. Utopian struggle is all that remains. Going along, getting along – those are not even our choices….

normaha@pacbell.net

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Hard work – work hard …and ‘opportunity’

A superintendent of public schools writes into the local bulletin, phrase after empty phrase, breaking local ‘education’s’ arm, patting itself on the back as having been highly successful; as that we’re doing wonderful things. They’re good for almost everyone. Our school district is good.
The report is of vague allusions to ways of working in the classrooms, as well as names of specific programs and processes being used. Details familiar to some, not so much for many ‘hard working’ community people, of what’s being done in the local schools are part of this report, names of programs said to accomplish education’s goals, calling loudly for hard work – work hard to accomplish what you want – as though 8year olds – or 15 – or often 20year olds can guess, let alone be clear about what they want. let alone be able to achieve those, given the many hurdles before them.
Hard work is one I hardily fault. We don’t have to be dedicated to hard work. Our children should not be told they have to work hard. We should all tell us all we want to be able to work ‘easy’ – that we want to make our load of work to maintain ourselves and to enjoy our lives as light a burden as possible. Having to look forward to the lifetime of drudgery told in much of our famous literature, told in our churches and schools, told in our homes, enacted in our homes given the way work is arranged, is hardly the desirable objective. Families are riven by the time required at the job, getting to and from it, getting maintenance supplies on the way home. Keeping up with the requirement that parents are supposed to take charge of their child’s education as well, the process being so confusing in the first place, is another oppression we-people bear. School is the drudgery that portends the days of our lives. Much of our folks’ work, too, is that drudgery. These do not lead us to exuberance over the lessons we’re supposed to grasp. These do not attract us, child and adult.
The goal of our lives though, is to live enjoyably.
I can only hope you have found an environment that supports your sense that it’s all been too hard each day for no good reason, considering that most of our work is done to maintain our Owners, the wealthy Owners of the governments, of the armies, of the laws. The exceptions do not prove the rule – do not prove our lives are to be lived for all of our enjoyment.
Work needs to become to be seen as what we do in order to make life pleasant for us all; that it arises as the days go on; not as created be the exterior force, the boss/es, for their personal profit, power. Many of you who read this will reach into your analysis only so far, in order to say, I love/d school. I love my job.
I was talking with another one of those people just two days ago – the ‘I love my job’ people. She had schooling that prepared her to do the work she got hired and paid to do, in a prestigious location, in a prestigious work environment. Her training was not for a prestigious work.
It didn’t take long in the conversation to find that she loved it for all the reasons most people settle for the work they do; because it’s a job; it’s not too boring, it’s pretty respectable – has responsibilities that require some thinking on her part – it’s not all low level rote; it’s not menial work – the name given to cleaning up after other people or taking care of maintenance needs – the getting coffee level of assignments.
By contrast, the other people near her whose work she supports do it in a kind of ecstasy. Their work is because of their advanced study in a highly specialized field. …people who don’t even share a common speaking language, communicate through the common study they’ve done. This study was in a math or science area; it could have been in music, or in health care – one or another specialty; where common speech language isn’t essential in order to share skill, ideas, exuberance, joy at the work to do.
By comparison, she commented, her job was obviously less rewarding. That was acceptable to her. She settled for the light drudgery which was the result of the years in school that she spent in pursuit of the survival mechanism, the job.
You can see that she was in a peripherally necessary position, not central, certainly not one worthy of accolades for its creativity.
The work that the others were doing that was so exciting was in fields which would advance products with which to war, or to create need for more consumption, – high tech chemical or physical devices and methods to use in modifying the effects of our living on the edge of survival – all of us living on the edge of survival as profit destroys it.
Work allocated meaningfully, pretty much chosen by the person who does it – not all the time – but as needed, by contrast even housekeeping can be rewarding. In contrast to working at exciting research, by comparison, which captivates the theorists for even longer hours than the 40 hour week, maintenance, housekeeping are not done all the time; doing those shared by many people – a common living space with loved or closely related people, turns out not to be a distasteful chore, not to be the lowest level of work to the weakest member of the group, kind of like a punishment for only being 9, while 22 year olds get loftier assignments.
This office worker’s job had her relegated to a certain kind of clean-up position, with good pay, a great physical location – 8 hours a day the same every day, 40 hours a week. And she like so many in similar positions, was pretty but fat – not obese – yet.
All her hard work to get to this position still left her a wage slave, not quite bored out of her mind, but tolerant of… grateful for her position.
Along with abjuring dedication to hard work we also need to refuse to kowtow to opportunity. Everyone must have plenty all the time – plenty of enjoyment and material support. We don’t want to have to be running around trying to find opportunity, making a wrong guess, here; an unsatisfactory guess there; a wrenching hope – this or that attempt might get some security, get some self-respecting position, – or might not… There’s no reason why we can’t every one of us 2yr old 30yr old 90yr old do work and living we enjoy. There’s good work our community wants and needs us to do – for 8 hours a WEEK! or longer if we want and need to. And there’re good assignments we give ourselves, given the chance to assign us our work. Our work has to lop over to playing the piano and to sitting with someone else who plays – to teach and to learn it.
If we’d start to make a list of ‘jobs’ we need to do for our personal and community’s maintenance, the list would never end. There’re endless jobs to do – including creating work because we do this work. Work needs to arise from work, from idea, from our situations, that we do together.
Again, we have to move to where our work does not arise from the need to profit but because our work is successful – does what we in the community want and need to have done.
You’ve seen by this time that this book is to get us in contact with our best feelings about living in a good arrangement – with ourselves, and with everyone. You’ve seen I want to let you work to release us all from 4walled living, let us get outside into the air – which I know can be and is becoming more and more forbidding, limiting of our activities. But we might be able to deal with it – to tolerate the cold and hot weather and work on it to subdue it – to work to change climate change. And meanwhile to work in the middle latitudes middle seasons as well, to live comfortably doing work together pleasantly.
The Superintendent had to write about trying to deal with what really is an unworkable situation. School is not able to be made into a usable institution, that is, usable for humane living. Our question becomes how we can move into formations that let us let the various aged people be at a position with other workers, where they’ll pick up readingwritingandarithmetic the same way we pick up speech, and car driving, and some dancing and all the actions we watch and be with, and then be able to do, little by little or a lot right away. Our work needs largely to be like seeing someone ride a bicycle and eventually hopping on a bicycle and riding it…no one holding us onto the bike, telling us how to do it; us just picking it up and going along and doing it, inviting, by our very involvement, input from someone who knows more, or us researching more about it if that’s relevant. Each of those manymany jobs gives rise to needing to study some related skill and some idea. Living is never ending learning studying teaching.
As to there’s no reason why we can’t live idyllically, I can’t say that. There is the reason why. You know it as well as I do. The reason is the imperialism that runs our lives for our Owners’ benefits. The reason is our captive minds that leave us confused, dismayed, unable because of our financial status as well as because of our confusion, to find and take the path we really want. The wars and aggressions and use of our talents to serve these is the reason.
So for a time our work is to unify, to work to unify us so we can overcome that force, that power, that bad direction by our Owners. That’s the central discussion, study, work of our our times, to escape the bad reasons we live as we do.
The superintendent’s message, like education superintendents’ messages in so many districts, goes on to guarantee the school system is making headway to provide good experiences for the students, the children, here. Meanwhile, classrooms are uncomfortably disorderly, noisy, serviceable for the advantaged child – who can ally with other better off children to survive the limited provision and go on to better circumstances as they grow older. The variously alienated children, poorer, or otherwise marginalized, in difficult family situations, or somehow outside the mainstream at school, continue to dominate the school atmosphere. School is predominantly remedial for a majority of children attending them, never to be well served by these age segregated structures. Perhaps they’ll truant themselves, becoming blamed, like the rest of most people convicted of one or another crime, blamed for their resistive, or disoriented behavior, the behavior caused by the crazed societies’ inability to allow reasonable interactions.
The society that is about tearing up Earth, creating roboticized labor to do that is unable to let us treat us-ourselves reasonably. So the superintendent’s over extenuated wishes cannot materialize to form learning and teaching, study, which we enjoy, and which let us lead ourselves-each other to that ease that is all that’s necessary, given that we’re making a reasonable structure of society.
Socialist – toward communist – cooperative; prohibiting of counter-revolution so that we can build that system of comfort, that device – prohibiting overturning our work to build the structure to serve us all – is called by capitalism, totalitarian, in its own defense. Capitalism cannot stand us struggling for our benefit. It, and its precursors throughout the millennia, have murdered us who rise. They will continue to; we will continue to die, and to be tortured as they remain on the attack against our self-liberation. Our outlook is toward the amassing by our persistence and wisdom, expansion of our unification, so to withstand the incessant onslaught, if Earth abides.

normaha@pacbell.net

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My mistake – about ‘common core’

You can see I’ve assumed it is an imposition of standardized courses – history, science, arithmetic/math, and all, upon the subject group, the community, which is to submit to ‘school’, there to be ‘educated’ (because the students don’t know stuff – and need to be told by this much-confused system – which is constantly trying to find the way to stuff students with bodies of ideas. [see constant school reform].  The students resist.  So do their folks – their parents; their communities.  School is not nice.  Everybody gets that; students, parents, the community…)
But ‘common core’ is not a collected body of ideas as I’ve written in my article On Common Core Curriculum, here.  It is not per se curricula of facts, information, ideas, skills, et al, the impression I had when I wrote here, about what I thought it is.   It IS another device for opening up the student – kind of like a surgery performed to arrange a receptacle for the content to be shoved into; to make the student available to the education to be injected into him/her.  It has every appearance of a carefully worked out device for just how to access the student, keep them coming back – not ‘truant’-ing,  making them available to the process, making them able to absorb what they need in order to fit the system – this brutal system that skirts actual education, reaching over tangentially to tap it now and then in order to keep it advancing all the while against good human tendencies.
School is mind control of us all, particularly of dear young people.
We must speak to them as though they’re mentally limited, in content spoken in tones like the ones we often resort to when talking to our doggies and kitties – super sweet, a bit high pitched, the ookum snookum language and tone we kind of rarely use at infants any more, knowing that tweetie sweetie sound is heard by the child, who is being thus approached as incapable of understanding, knowing, and participating as an equal, – a 5year old equal, but an equal.  So we’ve learned to  use that tone rarely or not at all; which is pretty much ok, I think.
It’d be interesting to find which income brackets find it good and which don’t.  There’s a real split about it in the U.S. and farther.  …incomes, and geographic/demographic brackets …   Maybe I’ll be able to ad that datum; maybe that study’s been done, or is being done.  If you see it, do let me know.
But common core is method – the one that’s always being tried, always not succeeding; not content.

normaha@pacbell.net

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So many experienced teachers….!

…and journey people, too.

A newspaper article the last of 2013 is headlined, “Experienced teachers critical to schools”. “In an effort to keep education costs in check, America’s cash-strapped states, local school districts and charter schools are hiring less costly, novice teachers…. “
As newspapers do, there’s been no follow-up of this report.
However, experienced or not, teacher quality, ability, experience has not been able to make schooling workable. Ohyes, people get through school – some do well, many do not, for most it doesn’t well serve human beings. A fault remains; jobs are the way of stratifying people to lower or higher place, better or less good ability to access the ‘fruit of our labor’, enjoyment of life, security, comfort.
We have woodworkers and machinists and architects and steel beam makers and shoe makers and dress makers and music makers and book writers and care takers and house cleaners and surgeons, Arctic researchers, linguists, bear scientists, fungi scientists, physicians, lightbulb changers – You get the picture.  We have people knowledgeable and-or capable in sufficient degree in pretty much limitless fields, who’d rejoice to share their work.   Yet we insist on putting everyone through the wringer (the reference to the old clothes washing machine of 150+ years ago), to make them sit through classrooms of instruction that everyone hates, instead of simply to participate in production, care.

Producing a table requires able and improving, expanding language skill; ability to calculate; ability to put pen/cil to paper to write stuff down – the three-r skills; and yet another communication skill, drawing; plus the hammer and nail – or peg – skills; and the rest of table-making skills. This is for a complete, up-to-date process; not a school-type faux work; not, for example, making a table out of milk cartons or popsicle sticks.
(Although, given now sufficient musical instruments are being made from garbage retrieved from hills of waste deposits in such as Paraguay, we can no longer categorically disparage trash.)
People would have to do the whole composite of what goes on in those six or eight elementary grades and those 6 or 4 high school grades by doing some production or other.  People didn’t used to have to go to some four-walled hated institution to get trained to participate in the work necessary for our maintenance, including for our pleasure.  24month-old people,  – and six month old people – , got taken with and were around production and care situations. 90  year-old people were part of production and care, as they wanted and were able.
Not being able to be around the activities people do makes people unhappy, encrazes them. (like that – encrazes?  I do.)
I know we’ve allowed ourselves to be forced to ask The State to prepare people to make our stuff, take care of ourselves us all through passing grades in school and getting degrees, or diplomas, or certificates and appointments.  So we can force – teach – ourselves to resist compulsory education – compulsory attendance where we don’t want to be.  We don’t like school.  ….for good reason.   This goes along with disliking work – except for us teaching ourselves to like it for wrong reasons.
We don’t like it because it takes too much of our time for too little if any pleasure.
We don’t get to choose to be places we want to be, to do what we want to do – to try to do some things, to do things we’re able to do, like to do, get better at doing, get tired of doing so go on to do something else, perhaps to come back to do the work we are capable of, or have learned better to do…
We learn with masters.  It’s a different environment from making detested work out of the great pleasure that is learning and teaching.
It’s NOT an eight hour day.  Just because we won that, dying for it 100 years ago doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.  Again, we’ve learned here – I’ve quoted from Communitas – that allowing us all, the available labor force, to work we’d produce what we need and like in less than 4 hours a week at a job.
Given – we’d spend our weeks working – just on human time, not in competition with machines, not under the bosses’ lash.
Where’d that come from!?, having to divert ourselves from participation within the community, to go to school, to complete levels – grades – in order to be at a place where people are already doing what we’re itching to do, what they’re doing!?
Teachers are told ‘teach from where the student/s is-are’.  We could instead allow people – children or older – to say I want to do that, and then let them fit in to quickly or slowly, do it.  Or decide not to do it after all, meanwhile having learned a thing by trying it, finding it’s not for them.  These people who change their minds haven’t only learned they don’t want to do that chosen activity; they’ve also learned about that activity.  You choose to study a biological detail.  You work at it and find at some point you no longer want to.  But you’ve learned what’s involved by trying it out.
Then there’s the sloughing off of people.  Children, old people, categories of people are disincluded from membership in the day’s activities, using the schooling formula.  The teacher sent to monitor and instruct them is also set apart from the community at large. It takes a particular confinement of oneself to spend the major part of one’s day with gangs of people who don’t have similar interests – levels of interest.
We’re told otherwise; we’re told that being in that separated group is being part of the community.  That’s capitalism – it has its lies well formed, its deceptions necessary to maintain itself.  You can tell because you, student or teacher are so-o-o-o bored! yearning for – well, you know not what, since you’re not permitted to recognize your exclusion or to go find out what other interests you have.  Like the mother, you’re to love being plopped into and forced to remain in your role.  Mothering gets SO wearing just being what it is.
The necessity that can be met is to accommodate all levels of skills, as well as of interest.
The job is not to be in a hurry.
The hurry is just an element of profit-making.
Our loved ones are beloved by us as they manifest feeling strong, self-respecting, which come to us by being PART of society, not set aside for being too young or too old to have equal place in the community, not being PUT into school, or old people’s facilities, sent off to do old or young people’s things, instead of the actions that are central for us all.  We slough off categories of people while we usual people, adults, spend inordinate amounts of time at a job,  – necessary or not, but doing a job, regardless its use for us.
School in its present form arose with the industrial revolution.  Children were not being well indoctrinated into knowledge of their masters – the King, the State, the need not to question their misery but to accept the right of the business owner to utilize their virtual enslavement.  Children also quickly had to learn that many slackers did not deserve the salvation that having a job is.  School preached these rules as well as reading.

School then took up the whole range of additional course work our work-makers have decided we need in order to be compartmentalized, corporatized, making what could have been satisfying work into an experience like having to sit in church every day,  listening to lists of rules, being told how much we love doing that.
School teaches us to love competition.  In it we’re forced to compete against each other.
The system has to judge and grade us, exclude us from continuing in a chosen field because we’re judged lacking at it – get bad grades at the class, instead of being allowed to continue and become able at it, to be able to do a project we think we’d like to do – doctoring, for instance.

Competition with other producers of like products cause us to be in a hurry to complete our assigned segment of the production when we’re at the job.
So, let’s arrange to end that hurry.
We could.
That would help to reduce – END!!! – danger at the job site.  Then the 3year old, or 90 year old wouldn’t have to be prohibited from coming to the job site for fear they’d get hurt. They wouldn’t.   People going to work are no more suicidal or likely to be self-damaging than the general population – well, except for these ‘going postal!!!’ times – which can only be mitigated by letting people live lovely lives – which is altogether possible – if we end the profiteering.
The easier life that comes from us all being members in a social milieu of people taking care of us all is the life that lets us coddle each other, get coddled – cared for, cradled, treated gently.  These will even reduce to ending accidents (– which is about to be ended we’re told,  by these terribly complex vehicles we’re going to have to drive – the accident-proof cars – unfixable when they break down, by any but the most specialized mechanic!)
People see their children do a move and say stop it you’ll hurt yourself!  Please disparage that to where you’ll never react that way.  It’s wrong.  Children at the job know they’re respected and will be just as careful as you – anyone.  What we have to be sure to convince that worker, the worker that no longer sits in painful hours of instruction before being a productive member of society, but just comes in and makes, now, …what we have to be sure they know is that we’re NO LONGER in a hurry to finish the product – that we have time to do it right including carefully.  I don’t need to site the figures here of how many workers are hurt and killed by accident at the job.
For all people to be able to be at work sites, we have to be sure a worker is confident to say I can’t do this – I’m unable – I’m not strong enough; I need more people lifting with me, or a tool by which to lift.  Or people have to feel confident to say I don’t know – or I don’t remember – how.
People on the job need to be able to enjoy showing someone how to read so to read the instructions.  Reading takes no time to learn.  Everyone can teach it – and get the pleasure of helping someone learn a skill.  We need many people on the job – labor intensive – the opposite of the present production aim.  Besides the obvious, getting jobs done while doing the work in kindly ways, we’d be taking time to be friendly with each other.

A fine broadcast on Pacifica looked at  CUBED  A Secret History of the Workplace By Nikil Saval recent – 2014. For all the reasons you know, we’ve been put into cubicles. Work has been made simple, dull.  We all know we could be replaced by machines tomorrow – well, soon. By breaking work down into repetitive minutiae, our Owners have claimed our work – control of our work; they’ve taken from us the satisfaction of completing a job.
So many of us specialists could teach so many jobs with so many students.  What a pleasure!
And the journey-people could teach, too!

normaha@pacbell.net

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1 comment at a panel

When I put myself up as a school board candidate – candidate for Berkeley (Ca.) School Board Director – I along with the others am asked to participate in – oh – maybe 6 or so local forums to answer in 2 or 3 minutes each – gone to one minute, sometimes – questions considered to be meaningful, useful, about why I’m a candidate, and how me being voted into the office would benefit the school district. It’s taken me a couple of times of running to rearrange my appearance so that I do what’s necessary, take up the points important to be made, discuss them for those few minutes, and acknowledge the irrelevance of the questions …relative to fixing the problem school is. The questions want to address the problems school has, problems unable to be corrected by school.
Schooling is all about rehabilitation; it is not about education (again, consider the root of the word – ). Even 71 years ago when I was in 3rd grade, it was about fixing us – to fit into the world – the U.S. – system, in the abusive way necessary to do that, to mistreat us the way our parents were abusively fit into their required niches by whatever schooling they could extract, recent immigrants that so many of them were. The niches – their job, their ‘homemaking’, their subjectivity to producing children through unwanted pregnancies, their job outside the home – especially for the poorer household where almost all adult occupants had to take an outside job…
– Most people, even as today, could not get a fancy degree. A parent’s parent, living in the home, took care of any children. You might ask at home, – who remembers when completing eighth grade was considered a significant achievement; or some or all of high school, or especially even a year of college…
These are comments that’ve happened to me that I wrote while I waited my turn to speak – to answer… and then, to not answer a question.
The elitism – school places the children outside the productive realm, makes a little coddled, super ‘cared for’ group – of children who were largely being abused in the school, if not by the teachers, or by the grading, or by the misery of having to sit and take being taught at – especially in spring, or when it’d begin to snow; being abused by a bully, by not running really fast, by not catching a ball well, by not ‘getting’ social studies, or arithmetic; by missing mother or father or grandma – or a sister or brother or close friend – remember you or another child addressing the teacher as momma by mistake? – and having those sensations, those longings disregarded. You had to suppress the yearnings; they didn’t count. So you couldn’t even say them.
As babies we feel those ways. We never get over those unsatisfied yearnings. Those drive us toward a lover so hard, so desperately. Our lover becomes all those, as well as a sex partner. They become that friend we got and lost over and over, that unsatisfied relationship with a mom or dad or sister. You can see how different is a lover relationship when children live together unisex, mixed ages, and closely with their parents, working alongside them, or roaming around the home together. The lover relationship is likely to be much more reasonable, much clearer. Not unusually, a child is treated the way I discovered I was, as a princess, a little privileged person, not having to have responsibilities except to be the child, do children’s things – go to school, and to after school things, play while adults worked. In my childhood a child having a job – delivering newspapers – was an anomaly – to get accustomed to – oh, here’s a 9year old with a job…. I didn’t get that it was because you could get money that way. I didn’t recognize the limitation not having money was for me. It was, though.
Talking about myself is effectively talking about a class of people; I was like many others, whether I thought about that or not. And probably, everybody else… all the other children… or most of them … saw themselves as exceptional, too. Usually when I make a contribution at a meeting, others say yeah, me too. That’s what started me doing this all – participating, making myself part of THE struggle – because I’m like so many others – they’re like me – people, we’re like each other more than not. I noticed that when I watched a squirrel in my yard. I thought, I can’t tell what kind of squirrel it is, or male or female, or its age, its relationship with other squirrels, if any. I have some idea of the details of its maintenance processes through ‘science’. I only thought, oh there goes a squirrel. And it’s got to have had the same generic thought of me – oh, there goes one of them. And a different categorization about my dog – oh, there goes one of them. …making people just people, a handy way to work for justice. This is 1… 1 of the comments I wrote waiting to answer a question on a panel

normaha@pacbell.net

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On stealing credit HARPER’S MAGAZINE / AUGUST 2012 Easy Chair A Matter of Degrees By Thomas Frank

[fake stardom, or just trying to get a job…N.]

Two hundred thousand protesters took to the streets of Montreal a few months ago, clashing with police and triggering the provincial legislature’s passage of Bill 78, which placed strict limitations on Canada’s traditional freedom of assembly.

What motivated this demonstration, among the biggest acts of civil disobedience in Canadian history? Financial malfeasance? Another war in Iraq? No and no. What brought the vast throng to the barricades was a proposed increase in Quebec’s college-tuition rate, from its current annual average of about $2,100 to $3,700.

Americans can only observe this spectacle with bewilderment. For decades, we have sat by while the average price of college has grown to almost ten times what it is in Quebec. At some U.S. universities, students pay twenty times as much as does the average Quebecer.

Then again, Americans know something about higher education that Canadians don’t: the purpose of college isn’t education per se. According to a report issued last year by the National Survey of Student Engagement, American undergrads spend less time at their studies nowadays than ever. They are taught by grad students or grotesquely underpaid adjuncts. Many major in ersatz vocational subjects, and at the most reputable schools they get great grades no matter how they perform.

But we aren’t concerned about any of that. Americans have figured out that universities exist in order to man the gates of social class, and we pay our princely tuition rates in order to obtain just one thing: the degree, the golden ticket, the capital-C Credential. Doubters might scoff that a college diploma is by the year turning into an emptier signifier. Nonetheless, that hollow Credential is what draws many of the young to campus, where they will contend for one of the coveted spots in that gilded, gated suburb in the sky.

Choosing the winners and losers is a task we have delegated to largely unregulated institutions housed in fake Gothic buildings, which have long since suppressed any qualms they once felt about tying a one-hundredthousand-dollar anvil around the neck of a trusting teenager. The question that naturally follows is: Given the rigged, rotten nature of the higher-ed game, why would self-interested actors continue to play by the rules? The answer, to a surprising extent, is that they don’t.

It is a simple thing to pop a “von” into your name and pass as faded Austrian aristocracy. It doesn’t cost much to get one of those Bluetooth devices and walk around with it clipped to your ear all day like important people do. It is also easy to fake a college degree—indeed, there is an entire industry out there ready to help you do it.

We know how easy it is because people are caught doing it all the time, usually after a long career in which the forged Credential attracted no notice. Earlier this year, the CEO of Yahoo! quit when it was discovered that his degree in computer science was bogus. In 2006, the CEO of RadioShack stepped down amid a similar scandal—he had exaggerated his accomplishments at a California Bible college. And in 2002, the CEO of Bausch + Lomb admitted that the MBA attributed to him in a corporate press release was nonexistent. (The company’s share price plummeted on the dreadful news.)

Then there are examples from government, like the high-ranking former official in the Department of Homeland Security who loved to make her underlings address her as “Doctor,” in recognition of the advanced degree she had acquired from a prominent diploma mill. Her exposure led to a 2004 study by the General Accounting Office that scoured federal agencies for the alumni of just three diploma mills—three out of the hundreds of unaccredited Web-based enterprises that will issue you a degree in recognition of what they call “life experience.”

The GAO caught 463 offenders, more than half of them in the Defense Department.

One might assume that academia is practiced at sniffing out counterfeit degrees. But if anything, prestigious universities seem even more prone to dupery than other institutions. In April, the vice dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education was forced out after it was revealed that he had never earned the Ph.D. listed on his résumé. Last year, two top officials at Bishop State Community College in Alabama also turned out to have dubious doctorates. In 2010, a senior vice president at Texas A&M lost his job for faking both a master’s and a doctorate. (He also garnished his CV with a fiction about having been a Navy SEAL.) And in what may be the most satisfying irony to come our way in many years, the Dean of Admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—the very person responsible for assessing academic credentials and, in fact, the author of a book of advice for college-bound students—confessed in 2007 that each of her advanced degrees was strictly imaginary.

The world is awash with fake degrees, ”says Les Rosen of Employment Screening Resources, a leading background-check outfit. In several of the examples cited above, the fakers actually studied at the institutions named on their résumés—they just failed to graduate. Others conjured their accomplishments out of thin air. Still others simply purchased their Credentials from unaccredited institutions. All three approaches are undoubtedly on the rise. A consultancy in Wisconsin has for many years maintained a tally of educational whoppers told by the various job applicants it is asked to investigate; the resulting “Liars Index” (a term the consultancy has trademarked) reached its highest level ever in the second half of 2011.

Just how widespread is the problem? Rosen estimates that some 40 percent of job applicants misrepresent in some way their educational attainments. And he reminds me that this figure includes only those people “who are so brazen about it that they’ve signed a release and authorization for a background check.”

Among those who aren’t checked—who work for companies that don’t hire a professional background screener, or who refuse to sign a release—the fudging is sure to be even more common.

In view of the potential rewards to be gained, the prospective faker is well advised to avoid outright lies. The more rational choice may be a diploma mill. A British firm that tracks such rackets reports that the number of mills rose 48 percent in 2011 alone, and other sources suggest that they may generate revenues of as much as a billion dollars per year. The entrepreneurial view of higher ed is a commonplace among these spectral institutions. “Every additional degree earned assures the recipient a lifetime return on their investment,” the website of something called Amhurst University reminds the aspiring applicant, who will be offered an extraordinary range of vocational degrees, from “Acquisition Management” to “Quality Assurance.” The graduates of such schools, who congregate on networking sites like LinkedIn, sometimes comment on the soft stupidity of traditional-college grads and on the utility of their own degrees as they climb the ladder of success.

Some graduates, of course, wax bitter about the humiliation they felt when they were told their degrees were worthless. But these remorseful buyers should take heart: the fake degree biz has set up numerous fake accreditation agencies to attest to its genuineness.

Meanwhile, a parallel industry has sprung up to police the boundaries of educational legitimacy, and it, too, was growing explosively before the recession began. Over the past decade or so, it has developed ever more efficient ways of checking an applicant’s collegiate record electronically, through what is called the National Student Clearinghouse. And as we might expect, the industry has demonstrated its intellectual seriousness by starting a trade group, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners, to prevent just anyone from claiming to be a background checker. The NAPBS has lobbyists, conferences, best practices, and even seminars on, say, the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

It takes only a few hours researching diploma mills to make you wonder about the swirling tides of fraud that advance and retreat beneath society’s placid, meritocratic surface. And eventually you start wondering about that surface, too, where everything seems to be in its place and everyone has the salary he or she deserves.

The diploma mills hold up a mirror to the self-satisfied world of white-collar achievement, and what you see there isn’t pretty. Think about it this way: Who purchases bogus degrees? Judging by how the industry advertises itself, the customers are desperate people whose careers are going nowhere. They know they need a diploma to succeed, but they can hardly afford to borrow fifty grand and waste four years of their lives at Frisbee State; they’ve got jobs, damn it, and families, and car payments to make. Someone offers them a college degree in recognition of their actual experience—and not only does it sound attractive, it sounds fair.

Who is to say that they are less deserving of life’s good things than someone whose parents paid for him to goof off at a glorified country club two decades ago? And who, really, is to say that they know less than the graduate turned out last month by some adjunct-run, beer soaked, grade-inflated, but fully accredited debt factory in New England?

The United States is not the only nation to police the Credential with such zeal. Two years ago, Pakistan’s government attempted to revive a defunct 2002 law that required members of Parliament to certify that they were college graduates—not a requirement for members of the United States Congress, by the way, even though we turn out three times as many college graduates per year. According to news reports, even the bachelor’s degree of Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari was called into question.

Still, Americans do these sorts of things with a special élan. Perhaps the single most spectacular case of résumé fraud to make headlines recently was that of Adam Wheeler, a young man who first cheated his way into Harvard as a transfer student, then cheated his way straight to the top of its internal meritocracy, winning honor after honor with fake transcripts, fake grades, and plagiarized essays.

Like the story of the diploma mills, Wheeler’s tale has a peculiar, funhouse-mirror relationship to the conventional annals of American achievement. What he produced was a kind of parody of East Coast striving. In his application to Harvard, he claimed to have taken sixteen Advanced Placement tests; to have gone to Andover rather than the middling public high school he actually attended; to have briefly attended MIT; to be public-minded and community-conscious in every imaginable way.

And that was only the start. Having crashed the gates of the temple in Cambridge, Wheeler later sent out résumés asserting that he had coauthored books with his professors, that he spoke “Classical Armenian,” and that he had written a scholarly study on “maps of ideology”—apparently as hot a subject today as it was when I was in graduate school two decades ago. Such preposterous claims were closer to satire than to fraud. Yet Wheeler was able to fool one of the world’s most exalted citadels of higher learning by feeding it back mangled bits of its own jargon. Of course Harvard didn’t catch on—it just kept showering the con boy with awards and scholarships. We know as much as we do about Wheeler thanks to Julie Zauzmer and Xi Yu, who covered the story for the Crimson, Harvard’s student newspaper.

Zauzmer’s fascinating book-length treatment of the same subject, Conning Harvard, will be published this fall. Perhaps not surprisingly for something penned by a Harvard undergrad, her account is suffused with reverence for the legitimate meritocracy. Bowdoin College, which the villain Wheeler attended before Harvard, “routinely picks up awards for the best college food in the country.” MIT, which Wheeler claimed to attend, “routinely appears among Ivy League schools at the top of the U.S. News & World Report rankings of colleges.” And the Harvard admissions office, the ultimate custodian of merit, gets the highest praise of all. This “finely tuned, carefully guarded machine” is “intensive, rigorous, and deeply admirable in its thoroughness and its thirst for excellence of all stripes.” It is, in other words, a thing to be celebrated and defended, not tricked and trashed in the Wheeler manner.

After Wheeler was exposed, Harvard threw the book at him. The brand had to be protected—just think of the people who had paid all that money for a Harvard degree. And so Wheeler was prosecuted for identity fraud and larceny, ordered to repay the $45,806 in scholarships and financial aid he had won, and sentenced to two and a half years in jail. His sentence was initially suspended—but late last year, Wheeler was behind bars again, having violated his probation by listing Harvard on his résumé. That’s what you get, I suppose, when you fool Harvard.

When Harvard fools you, a different set of incentives applies. As Jim Newell points out in an essay about Wheeler in the latest issue of The Baffler, the school’s legitimate graduates and grandees—the very cream of the meritocracy crop—count among their number many of the folks who engineered the subprime disaster and the bank bailouts that haunt our economy still. They haven’t paid for those crimes of misrepresentation and fraud, nor will they ever.

Never has the nation’s system for choosing its leaders seemed more worthless. Our ruling class steers us into disaster after disaster, cheering for ruinous wars, getting bamboozled by Enron and Madoff, missing equity bubbles and real estate bubbles and commodity bubbles. But accountability, it seems, is something that applies only to the people at the bottom, the ones who took out the bad mortgages or lied on their résumés. The pillars that prop up the system, meanwhile, are visibly corrupt: the sacred Credential signifies less and less each year but costs more and more to obtain. Yet we act as though it represents everything. It’s a million-dollar coin made of pot metal—of course it attracts counterfeiters.

And of course its value must be defended by an ever-expanding industry of résumé checkers and diploma-mill hunters. The boundaries are artificial, and that is precisely why they must be regulated so intensely: they are the only thing keeping the bunglers and knaves who rule us in their jobs.

normaha@pacbell.net

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…and s/he never had a lesson

http://www.thenation.com/article/178023/permission-fail   “One artist who was constantly giving himself assignments was Mike Kelley, whose retrospective is currently on view at PS1 MoMA in Queens through February 2 (2014). Long in the planning, the show became a memorial when Kelley, age 57, committed suicide in 2012. And it can be grim: Kelley’s raunchy yet dark, saturnine outlook is always apparent. What he admired about the writing of William Burroughs is true of his own best work: it is “really morose and at the same time howlingly funny.” Much of it is, at least indirectly, about education, which he usually depicts as a form of abuse. But here’s an assignment: remember as many details as possible of all the buildings of all the schools you’ve ever attended; then construct an architectural model combining them into a kind of self-contained miniature city. That’s Kelley’s Educational Complex (1995)—an airless, senseless labyrinth whose only redeeming feature might be its incoherence. This is the emblem of the stultifying education that confirms the student’s inferiority. Some artists, with Jacotot and Rancière, think they see a way out; Kelley makes us feel that we need it.”

Nation articles are so consistently language brilliant! Wordsmithing evidences having spent constant time reading and writing, so becoming so facile and always appealing with the language – turns of phrases that make me breathless – as in ‘huh’?   How’d s/he DO that – get those words together to make me wander over hillanddale to come to the end of the line surprised that it ended up saying what it did.  I keep wanting to underline those – to go back and copy them – But they’re so in-context that it’d be impossible to ‘get it’ just taking the few sentences that climax the startling climb.

But that’s only indirectly what this is about.  This comment IS about what you can expect, reading what I’ve written about school.  ‘morose’, abuse, airless, senseless, labyrinth, incoherence, stultifying, …Ends at the beginning – confirms the students’ inferiority (I’ve changed the singular to the plural.  All the students must deal with being made inferior.  Some climb out better than others.)

As to the other details of the article, I have no need to argue.  Whether those philosophizings’re helpful or not is peripheral to the point of this composition:  School is not the right place for people.

The right place is everywhere.  People belong from their beginning, together; making doing being – working, actually.  Within each site arises education.  Because that’s how we are.  All your concerns – where will the student learn to read, write, calculate – if you take the time to ask yourself the question, you will answer ‘at work’/play/living/being.  Because we’re all teachers and students all our lives.

Specialties need to be learned because of communal necessity; in the for profit system people get to be able to do a kind of work in order to have a job, to get paid. The front page of a business section of the newspaper will regularly tell people – or used to, before this immense lapse in job making, we need teachers, nurses, scientists, … In the coming years there’s a superfluity of any of those. Wages stay low. It’s difficult to get a job in that field a student studied.

This is about not making bridges or ribbons or piano playing for profit, for pay.  It’s about needing wanting those and whatever we do.

Studying how to do it happens on site – at the ribbon making tool, at the piano, at the places to see that a bridge is wanted and to do what’s needed in order to build it.  Since there’s no hurry anymore, no budget to meet, no other reason to worry about timing of a job, people sit down together to design it, to show people how to design for this job, how to calculate for this job, how to read what’s needed in order to work all this out.

People learn by being around, with people who are doing these works. They do some of the job, and later on, do some more of the next job.

Or don’t do any engineering and go on to playing the piano and cooking a meal and preparing a shipment of stuff to a place – and…whatever work needs to be done. This is the new person that arises from the work for us to take over everything, to learn we can create that caring society.

So let’s see how this artist finds ‘education’ abusive. By this time – in reading what I’ve written already – we know he doesn’t mean education; he means school.  He means a teacher placed in ascendancy over students because that’s the structure of school.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Mike+Kelley%2C+articst&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGNI_en

Having glanced at the websites – Kelley’s and his ilk’s works – I am not surprised to find that in order to understand that comment – that he considered education abusive, I have to be told that’s what the art means. None of the art is self explanatory to me.  I’ve always looked at art and reacted to it you could say, superficially; that is, I don’t look up explanations of what the artist is attempting to communicate.  The work is enough for me.  I love it – ALL, really.  I feel as though I have a total physical reaction to it, from my eyes, then through my body and head at the same time, a slight ecstasy  – often great, sometimes less.  The meaning can come to me by way of explanation from someone else, some other time.  …or never.

Today, for instance, there’s a show on TV about Van Gogh, a theater-type piece using only the language of the some 900 letters he wrote, most to his brother Theo, many with drawings on them.  I love those drawings – they feel good to me, my body-mind feels good looking at them.

I left to write this after listening to the explanation that he hopped from job to job, thinking he was required to work at some conventional occupation, and never being able to stay in a position.  The show told of his concern for the people among whom he lived – their tortuous poverty, the torturing jobs they were ‘allowed’ to work.

You know the capitalists give us jobs – we were told throughout elementary school.  There’s a recurring elemental undercurrent of that interpretation throughout the years at school; sometimes it’s explicit.  In those advanced institutions, institutions of ‘higher education’, maybe it’s taught – although, teaching out loud that capitalists give us jobs, can lead to students’ awareness that – so we do the work, we workers….  …must be careful what we teach.  Working class consciousness is dangerous…

Informational data about the artists’ motives do not change my everlasting captivation by Van Gogh’s and thousands of other artists’ works – including Beethoven’s ….music composers.

I know they’re people like me, with contents derived similarly from their living – some taught by practitioners of the ‘art’; many not.  Many got caught up doing art because they couldn’t resist it.

But we’re all artists – or, no one is an artist but we all art work. If we don’t – well, you know why people think, then tell people, oh, I can’t sing – or draw – or any next step expression that then is art, of our ideas.

That we don’t all do some art regularly speaks to our alienation at some point in our lives.  We will not have achieved justice until no one is AN artist, and everyone does art – music, dance, song, paints, builds stores and houses and warehouses and bridges.

EVERYONE can sing draw sculpt write design EVERYONE. It feels good to do.

Van Gogh did not engage in formal instruction from anyone in order to draw and paint – except that in his earliest years he did have some class in school where instruction included drawing.   But this was just living, just passing through some experience.

We’re told of many people whose contributions in the world come not from extensive classroom training, but from living and doing – which is how we all need to learn and teach together.  Most importantly, we need to live with our children , and with our old people.  We need to get to be able to love them, instead of have to take care of them, which is too costly to our hours and our money.  We need the different way of living so that those people who need care are not an imposition, but are just positioned so they get cared for as part of how we do all that we do.

A TV show this evening had a person sort of breathlessly telling of his rapturous discovery; he was teaching a math class; the students weren’t ‘getting’ the content, were uncomfortable with it.  He also had to do building on the land where they were living.   The students – young people – that is teens or so – helped build, did the measuring, the calculating, the designing, the math that went with the building.   He didn’t say that some got so caught up in number that they went on to work in math – but that happens, too, as you guess.

normaha@pacbell.net

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