(The previous article — 2/27 –– maintained that the move to small schools enables the rulers to increase fascistic control in a sort of “creeping” fascism.)
NEW YORK CITY — Although the separate identity and sharing of resources in these small schools may not seem fascistic, the subtle effect is that the working class is falling victim to these changes without connecting them to the ruling class’s need to increasingly control our lives. Indoctrinating students in schools seems like a natural way for the ruling class to prepare them for its future imperialist wars.
The rulers’ need to control by force all aspects of society is, for them, a necessary part of capitalism in crisis. The small schools help control not only the teachers and administrators but also to “creep” fascism into students at a very young age and win youth over to the bosses’ ideology.
The fact that over 70% of this city’s school population is black and Latino gives a racist character to this manipulation of the education system, and drags conditions down for ALL students. The rulers figure the large black and Latino student body is grist for their low-wage economy to grind out super-profits for the bosses, and drives jobless youth — the “fruit” of this inferior education — to enlist in the bosses’ military to fight and die in imperialist wars.
The small schools deepen the divisions the ruling class pushes on the working class. Not only does the working-class student suffer racism, nationalism and sexism, but the small school intensifies capitalist individualism under the guise of “school identity.” In one high school divided into smaller schools, the new schools insisted on “branding” — identifying each school in the building so visitors would know each school’s location. But this branding also separates the students and punishes those who were not present in the area of “their” school. Many students often faced disciplinary action because they traveled to their next class down the “wrong” staircase or hallway.
In one school that was “phasing out” of the building, students had classes in two separate areas, divided by one or more of the small schools. This caused them to arrive late to class because they had to walk around the small schools to avoid “trespassing” down their hallways. Often siblings would attend different small schools in the same building, causing problems when one sister tried to visit another attending a separate school in the building.
The administrators claimed the separation of the student bodies helped students focus on their studies. But in reality the rulers’ need for more control over the students in particular is the real reason behind this identity branding. The tightening of student movement is a form of preparing youth for future fascistic control.
The administrators in these small schools further push capitalist individualism by either having a dress code or a uniform students must wear while in school. Some schools have T-shirts and sweatshirts with the school logos on them to further link a student to a particular school. While there have always been school uniforms and dress codes, this new “branding” facilitates administrator’s control of the student body.
Many of these small schools are housed three or four to a building. Within the one building students must fight for resources that once served one school but now must accommodate three or four. Contrary to popular belief, small schools do not mean smaller class size. Most of the small schools face the same over-crowding as their larger counterparts. In addition, four separate schools have to share one gymnasium, making it difficult to schedule classes from four different schools in one gym.
Not only are students being short-changed in gym class, but they must share cafeterias, auditoriums and other areas of the building. At one small Brooklyn school, students were given gym classes without a certified gym teacher. Swimming classes were led by a teacher without lifeguard training, which is supposedly mandated by State Department of Education regulations. Worse, it’s life threatening for students as well.
Students are also being trapped into “theme” schools, although many “themes” are not real. Theater schools have no theater programs; law schools have no legal programs, etc. This indoctrinates youth into a lock-step way of thinking. And 12- and 13-year-olds are choosing — or being placed in — these schools without being allowed transfers (except for hardship or safety reasons). That’s fascistic.
Overall, this small-school movement is just another way the ruling class uses the education system — as they’ve done in the large schools — to herd students in the direction of supporting the bosses’ aims: a low-wage police state at home and as cannon fodder for imperialist war abroad.
(Next: The union’s role in this movement.)