W.E.B. Dubois (www.nybooks.com).
by Steve Timmer
Jul 2, 2012, 10:00 AM

Alec teaches school

Friend, fellow DLer (one of the stars of The Wit and Wisdom of Michele Bachmann IV), and writer at Minnesota Progressive Project, Alec penned a terrific piece reprising the educational debate between W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington.

Booker T. Washington:

The following is somewhat of an oversimplification of very, very complex issues, but it is an attempt at a snap shot of the day. We had just come out of the Civil War. Labor was no longer free. The industrial revolution still required cheap, if not free labor. The great industrial powers of the country pushed for a vocational bent to public education. They had an ally in one of our heroes, Booker T. Washington.

And Dubois:

On the other side of the equation we had W.E.B DuBois. He knew that limiting education to only advancement of economic status meant limiting a persons ultimate human potential. Those first architects of education had [Booker T.] Washington’s face to hide behind as they intentionally limited the human potential of generations of students.

Well, Washington held sway:

We have to realize it is this century of history we have to overcome. We cannot fall back into the trap of “back to the basics” and just give them a vocational education so they can make good money. Public education has to create our next generation of leaders. Public education has to create our next generation of curriculum writers. We are letting the Booker T. Washingtons of the world win again, and start the 100 year struggle all over again. In his day, the wealthiest men and most powerful politicians poured funds and influence into Washington’s cause of black accommodation. It is eery how similar it is today.

Gee, Alec, this does sound familiar. Just some of the deform names have been changed: Michelle Rhee, Mike Ciresi, Terri Bonoff.

That’s all you’re going to get from me. Get yourself over to MPP and read the entire piece, knowing it won the first Spotty™ awarded on the new site. Remember, kids, that a Spotty™ is awarded for a op-ed piece, a letter to the editor, or a blog post or comment that I wish I had written myself.

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