Private Sector Bias

Article Mentioned (for some background/context): http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/28_04/28_04_cloues.shtml

With the increasing involvement of corporations in the public sector, especially in education, there is no [read: very little] hope for having an un-biased education.  Even without corporations swaying the attitudes of teachers, students and material that is used in the classroom, there is still a lot of bias that comes from textbooks and the curriculum in general.  While the information in the textbooks is accurate, it doesn’t necessarily create a whole, inclusive picture and it frames the history of the United States to make America seem like a country that was solely the underdog and always did things for the best possible reason.

Framing, which is the presentation of information from a perspective that can lead the audience/readers to a certain conclusion, is usually thought of in the context of politics.  It is also used a lot in textbooks, meaning that the children of America are learning what textbook publishers want them to learn, and only that.  This is how “white-washed” education has become a problem, because history books make out white settlers to be the winners of history, especially in regards to the justifying the means used to achieve the end.

The example with Target in the article is just one more way that schools and education are being used by corporations.  Education has become more about how to get money to keep school programs going than about what kids are actually learning.  Textbooks sway knowledge towards micro-aggressive racism while corporations like Target sway education towards consumeristic values.  There are so many other examples of this happening, but the biggest question is WHY is this allowed to happen?

This happens because the public education system doesn’t provide enough money to schools to keep them from succumbing to the high monetary prices that come with endorsing corporations or the need to buy the cheaper textbooks.  If a school is in need of money, and most of them are, then those are the ones giving in to the private sector the most.  The lowest SES schools are the ones with the most corporate-based education, which keeps them from expanding their knowledge base beyond what private companies tell them.  This is seen less with schools that are in areas where the families are of higher SES, but they still receive a lot of bias from private companies because rarely is a school system ever really given enough money to keep the schools running smoothly and efficiently without temptation of more money to ease the pressure.

Obviously the “quick fix,” that many of our minds will jump to is just for the public sector to give out more money to the education system, but when the people giving out the government money are also the ones who benefitted from the education system already in place, why would they seek to change the system?  If they haven’t experienced, firsthand, what it means to be taught information that doesn’t directly correlate with your interests/beliefs, then they don’t understand how detrimental it is the kids who have experienced this.

Amy

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