Friday, September 14, 2012

How Many Mies Gieps are Out There? - The New Educational Gestapo

She was fortunate that one of the
arresting officers was from her
hometown, otherwise, Mies Giep
could have faced a concentration
camp for helping the Frank family.
When I was 19 years old, I visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam.  Since then, I have often wondered what would I do if I faced danger in order to help someone survive.  I know I'd like to say I'd risk my life to help others, but, having thankfully never been in that difficult position, with very real concerns about my own family's well-being, I cannot say for sure. And, let's be honest, many people do far less for others under far less treacherous conditions.  There were very, very few Mies Gieps in Nazi-occupied Europe, afterall. 

I would never compare my plight to that of the young, frightened Anne Frank, but have been thinking a lot about the reign of terror waged on our country's educators and teacher's different strategies for self-preservation, and there are similarities between it and the tactics of the Staatspolizei.  People who do not accept the brainwashing are deemed traitors, and those in power are on the lookout for the disloyal.  If you question the propaganda, you will be terminated (very close to exterminated).  No ideological subversion is permitted.  People are scared, if not for their lives, at least for their livelihoods.  Teachers look around or close doors before speaking, speak in code, mistrust everyone, and generally live in fear.  Before you know it, we will be meeting in obscured alleys wearing trenchcoats and fedoras.  The atmosphere is toxic, and it is an intentional campaign from the top and their lackeys.  I am not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that those in power, our politicians, are slowly brainwashing our citizens into behaving in ways that suits their means. 

A former KGB espionage expert, Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, describes the four steps the USSR employed to socially engineer a people with "active measures", so that, despite a preponderance of evidence, people can no longer reach reasonable conclusions.  First, demoralize the populace, which he estimates to take 10-15 years, or the amount of time it takes to educate a generation.  Of special interest to me is his mention of the students' "soft heads" and lack of moral principles.  The next step is destabilization, which takes 2-5 years, in which you work on the essentials such as foreign relations, defense, and economy.  After that, crisis, which up to 6 weeks, and finally, after a "violent restructuring of power structure and economy", you have the cynically named "normalization". 

To make an analogy with the current state of education is not at all difficult.  The easiest corrolation is, of course, demoralization and "soft heads"; I see these first hand every day in and out of the classroom.  And, even educated people who do not work in a classroom believe the lies that the education "reformers" spout, despite an avalanche of evidence that charters don't work and punitive measures against teachers cannot erase a child's history of neglect and poverty.  Second, addressing the destablization, well, our weak economy needs no explanation.  Have we yet reached a crisis?  In my mind, yes, but we are not yet at normalization.

I have noticed that teachers are a paranoid lot.  They are constantly worrying about what they say and to whom.  They will tell you who they trust, and who goes ratting people out.  And the teachers who are chosen for persecution, many will avoid them.  You do not want to be seen with them, for fear that the administration may see you as commiserating and fomenting dissent. 

Which brings me back to Mies Giep.  It is impossible to know anything until you are faced with the scenario.  So, please, those who blame teachers for all of society's ills, until you have walked a mile in my shoes, do not judge me or my colleagues.  And, unlike the Frank family hiders, I try to curry favor with the powerful, and hesitate to align with the unfavored, and I am not proud of it.  But, at least I am not a hypocrite.

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