No, this isn’t a positive blog entry. I’m not out to coin a new term, Techapathy. Instead, you can summarize it in the same way Rodney Dangerfield’s character did in Back to School:

Apathy is a lack of emotion, motivation, or enthusiasm

John Spencer (Education ReThink) recently shared the following critique (Seven Thoughts on Education Policy) from a colleague when he shared a political eCard:

 “I really don’t like when teachers post political stuff on staff e-mail. Actually, I don’t think we should be getting involved in politics at all. Maybe privately, but not publicly.”

Ten years or more ago, this perspective would certainly have been mine. Education seems so “out of politics.” Politics is what those silly vain people get involved with, and education is what people with loving hearts do with students. Unfortunately, the lines between good, bad, and, unfortunately, indifferent are blurred to heck and gone.

Watching from the teacher trenches, as politicians pandered to the rich, the charter schools, the elite, I slowly lost my attitude of non-interference. My attitude soured towards politicians–include the current President and his administration–as I watched them do whatever was politically expedient. Expediency is the equivalent of an epithet.
As a result, it’s easy to get apathetic, to fall into a wakeful sleep where you know how you’re being abused but since so many forces overwhelm you, you decide to just push on, hoping somehow it will get better with time. After all, “In a thousand years, all will be dust.” Unfortunately, in that thousand years, we may find ourselves enslaved by a crippled education system and docile “general public” whose opiate is technology tools that sparkle and beep in synchronicity to the heartbeat of a despot.
When Doug “Blue Skunk Blog” Johnson sent me the following article, Public Apathy Over Surveillance, it occurred to me that the apathy that marks the general public finds its twin in the apathy that silences teachers as politicians trample over them in the scramble for the cash cow of public schooling. Who honestly believes that politicians want to tear down public schools so they can rebuild them as beautiful Camazotz charter school? We already know charter schools are often failing, working teachers like dogs before their bit of fish and a night of sleep in the ice. 
Freedom has to be won the hard way. Sigh.

In an age dominated by various kinds of techno-utopianism — the conviction that networking technologies are politically and socially emancipatory and that massive data collection will unleash both efficiency in business and innovation in science — the idea that Big Data might be your enemy is antithetical to everything we have been encouraged to believe. A soon-to-be-attained critical mass of algorithms and data has been portrayed as allowing individuals to customize the choices they make throughout their lives. Now, the data sets and algorithms that were supposed to set us free seem instead to have been turned against us. 

I regret that by the time I’m done, my only answer will be the same–Vote them out. Perhaps, it’s time to come up with a new approach.

Doug, come on down to Texas…maybe we can put you up for office? Help us see with blinding sight….

Note: No Teach for America staff were hurt in the writing of this blog entry.

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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