I have a background rich with communism. Strange, given that I am a middle of the road American, raised on a small family farm, educated in a progressive and normal suburb of the healthy American metropolis, Denver Colorado, educated at an agricultural college, Colorado State University, pulling down a decent 3.2 grade average, and dutifully serving my country as an artilleryman in Viet Nam.
It all went bizarre in Viet Nam, as I reflect on it. Uncle Sam kindly introduced me to Asian cultures, and my Meyers Briggs INFJ personality, a rather wayward spirit knowing no chains, enticed me toward the exotica I found in peoples who live very differently than the peoples of my Denver suburb. And especially toward the women peoples found looking stylish and pretty, always with smiles and lively humor.
So I became a rather common-man's Somerset Maugham, sitting in the corner of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore under a palm tree and slowly spinning ceiling fan, watching half-naked dancers leap between and over snapping bamboo sticks at risk of losing an ankle or two, sipping a beer (not a girlie drink like a Singapore Sling), and making notes for a new story in a bound notebook largely full of empty pages.
When I returned to the States, I fled my roots for good, moving to California and whatever was waiting there. Well, I discovered the joys of a Murphy Bed waiting there, swinging down from its storage space in the wall, in my dumpy little apartment in Hollywood just off Melrose. Down to my last $120, I moved in with my girlfriend, a pert and pretty Chinese girl from Singapore, schooled in London, legs from heaven, mind from Mensa with an IQ around 170.
|Protesting K+12. Are these our teachers?|
That was my first brush with communism, for her father was a dedicated commie, having fled from his capitalist wife early in his marriage, going to China, and writing commie writings. My girl friend, soon to become my first wife, indoctrinated me in the challenges Chairman Mao faced to unify a huge, very poor country split into a bazillion fighting factions. So if he was a little ruthless, it was for the greater good.
I became a long-haired rebel and earned my FBI file by attending anti-war protests, the war being in Viet Nam. The trend line went something like this. Drive to rally. Have car license plate recorded by FBI. Watch non-descript brown van show up across the street off and on for several weeks with a funny antenna sticking up from the back. Make sure sex is loud and untoward anti-American comments are not.
My second brush with communism came between marriages 1 and 2 when I was continuing to explore other cultures, and the women thereof. This time I was dating a Mexican labor union organizer. Well, I learned that basically labor organizers and communism in the U.S. were rather like soul brothers. Both are inclined to see corporations and capitalists as evil, greedy, self-serving bastards. Never quite catching on that corporations are the reasons jobs exist in the first place, and if the capitalists were not out there innovating and getting efficient, the laborers would still be hauling coal out of deadly dust-filled mines in buckets rather than cruising to the very clean Aircraft manufacturing plant in used but quite serviceable Chevrolets
So I can spot a good commie when I read one, and so I quote from people representing teachers in the Philippines:
- Mr. Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, of labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno, protesting the expansion of school grades: "K+12 seeks to systematically produce contractuals who receive lower wages and are denied of benefits, job security, and other rights. K+12 will give away diplomas for entry into severe exploitation by big capitalists."
- Mr. Benjie Valbuena, Vice-chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT): “Pnoy must prioritize education in a genuine way – in the current budget call and planning, address long standing deficiencies, shortages and call for a higher Salary Grade for teachers in particular. Job creation and poverty reduction will not happen if the same failed globalization policies of previous administrations are retained. There must instead be more democratic income, asset and wealth reform and greater assertions of economic sovereignty in the country’s international trade and investment relations."
- Ms. France Castro, Head of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT): “If President Aquino is genuinely concerned on the quality of our education, he should not blindly follow the dictates of monopoly-capitalists."
This kind of blame-the-other-guy mentality, wrapped up in some ideological statement that takes capitalism as a swear word, makes me want to puke.
Well, fortunately, these people are the warts, not even the nose, and certainly not the mind and body of education.
I'm all for teachers organizing and getting a unified voice. But how about an intelligent one? And one that takes one's self-responsibility as the primary charter, and what others do as a secondary interest. Not one that is always out looking for someone else to do the good, hard work to make education and teaching whole. Do it your damned self. There is nothing worse than an educated whiner who pretends to teach values to our children, thereby teaching children how to whine. Meanwhile doing nothing to promote innovation and efficiency in teaching.
- Capitalists are the reason for failure of education in the Philippines? I don't think so. They are the solution, if you'd look up from your painting of simplistic commie slogans on cardboard and notice things like the internet. The internet is a beautiful capitalist tool.
- How about the Catholic Church being one very big reason by virtue of a morality that promotes overbirthing in a poor nation that can't provide that many well-paying jobs?
I get sick of a "solution" that keeps asking for more money, like beggars in graduation gowns groveling for jobs because the beggars exist, not because they are talented and ambitious and can make the capitalist employer wealthy enough to pay them big wages.
End of rant.
I was led to this verbal binge by a comment on my blog from the good Angel C. de Dios, Ph.D. at Georgetown University in the U.S. With a name like that, how can you go wrong? His web site is at:
I believe Dr. de Dios is sincerely interested in the well-being of education in the Philippines. He has done some thoughtful articles about curriculum issues and, of course, represented the pro-teachers (as labor) groups I have quoted.
I disagree with educators blaming President Aquino or the budget. I believe they ought to focus on how shrill and disorganized they are. How un-unified. How unimaginative. And how they look past the issues of morality (overbirthing) and culture (over-blaming, with little self-responsibility). And kindly lose the commie ideology and words; they were hot in the 1950's but read "imbecile" in 2012.
Two busted institutions in the Philippines are education and the courts.
It is not really a budget issue in either case. It is a case of the subject institutions being disorganized, inept and in denial as to their own failure to stand up.