FATHER KNOWS BEST – NEW EPISODE: “THE BUDGET”
Father (Jim Anderson): Rick Snyder
Mother (June): would be her own person and a voice of reason, but she only validates Father obediently
Bud and Betty Anderson: Michigan’s public schools
For those too young to remember, FKB shared the daily lives of the Andersons: Father and Mother (Jim and June), spunky yet well-mannered son and daughter (Bud and Betty). FKB was a safe and simple world of unquestioned benevolent paternal authority, of decisions imposed for the kids’ own good (that they’ll thank Father later is a given). Twiddle the antenna’s rabbit ears to get the picture: warm cookies after school, frosty glasses of cold whole milk, simple solutions to simple problems in an idyllic generic suburb where poverty doesn’t exist. Can you smell the pot roast? Go wash up, dinner in 10 minutes! Yes, it’s the 50’s all over again and we are safe because Father Knows Best!
Tuned in? Good. You now can see things from Father Snyder’s perch of authority. We are Betty and Bud representing public schools in this episode, and we – rascally scamps that we are – are in BIG TROUBLE! Father has called us into the study for a chat:
Our allowance is being cut, but Father assures us the cut is actually an increase. Less money, but an increase. As kids we know that parents sometimes say things that don’t add up, but that to question them can lead to more confusing answers at best, punishment at worst. We don’t register more than mild opposition; we’re still smarting from Father’s last budgetary paddling. But the former Director of Michigan’s House Fiscal Agency, Mitchell Bean, has analyzed Father’s budget in his 2/13/12 article “K-12 ‘Increase’ Is Actually a Cut” (http://bridgemi.com/2012/02/guest-post-k-12-increase-is-actually-a-cut/ – .TzmYq09b0VN) Maybe an authoritative independent adult will make Father see sense?
Not likely. Father lights his pipe and sits back in his chair as he begins to surpass even himself in setting conditions on our behaviors. Only strict compliance on his terms will allow us to earn extra money to make up for the cuts from his “increase”. It soon becomes clear that Father knows nothing about schools or education, where the “products” are knowledge, inspiration, human development, and our nation’s future. Maybe his after-dinner cocktail is taking hold? He regales us: “I’m a steely-eyed corporate guy, a for-profit pragmatist. It’s a lean mean jungle out there, kids, so you’d better measure up or get cut from the herd! It’s time to grow up and face the facts using irrefutable metrics!” We want to say that we’re non-profits, that we don’t have bottom lines to march to, but his mention of facts and metrics freezes us in place to the same degree that it has been swallowed by the media (i.e., completely).
We’ve heard this before. What to do!? It must be the cocktails! His “facts” have been proven not to be facts, his “metrics” not to measure anything reliably: that learning and emotional development can be conclusively measured like car parts with test scores as calipers; that consolidation and privatization of services necessarily leads to more and better service; that “best practices” come from accounting principles rather than educational research. He’s reduced our entire mission, our very selves, to dollars and cents devoid of sense. He’s set the bars impossibly high using the wrong measures while denying us the resources to reach his bars, the same old “unattainable carrot-and-punishment stick” approach that is forcing more of us every month into the hands of Father’s equivalent of lock-down reform schools, Emergency Managers. Why does Mother keep bringing him cocktails!!!
Tune into the next exciting episode – FATHER GETS RECALLED AND ELECTION 2012