Friday, June 10, 2011

How a Teachers’ Rally Made Me Anti-Education

From Zombie:
I write this essay with a heavy heart.

I’ve always considered myself an ardent advocate for education. But a recent rally staged by teachers and students in favor of school funding forced me to reluctantly acknowledge an awful truth:
We have to destroy education in order to save it.

Let me explain how I came to this miserable conclusion.

The May 13 “State of Emergency” School Funding Protest

A few weeks ago (on Friday, May 13, to be precise) teachers up and down the state of California protested for more school funding. This mass multi-city “State of Emergency” protest was meant to be a Big Deal, a headline-grabbing statewide walkout, but you probably didn’t even hear about it at the time, since I suppose the media and the public have grown weary of endless political demonstrations.

But not to worry — blogs to the rescue! Fellow photojournalist Ringo of Ringo’s Pictures fully documented the Los Angeles protest, and I myself had camera duty at the San Francisco rally, the results of which you’ll see here (along with a selection of L.A. pictures).

You may be wondering: if these protests happened back in May, why are we only seeing the pictures now? Very, very good question.

These photos have been languishing on my hard drive for three weeks because every time I got the notion to blog about them, something stopped me. I’ve been making fun of protesters for over eight years now, but this time, I felt conflicted. I mean, c’mon, what have you got against poor teachers and young kids pleading for a few more pennies to keep their schools open? What are you, some kind of cruel anti-education knowledge-hating sadist?

I had some serious cogitatin’ to do. And each time I pushed this report to the back burner, unbidden thoughts kept percolating, simmering in the back of my mind. And it was not until today that I figured out why these otherwise unremarkable protests were so disturbing, and why I could only grumble under my breath at what ought to have been a legitimate social complaint.

I can’t blame the adorable children; most of them probably only had the vaguest grasp what their adult-made signs even meant. [SF]

Go read the whole thing.