Factory Education

I created and drew the cartoon for the 6 November 2001 edition of The Pride student newspaper of California University, San Marcos.

I created this cartoon for the 6 November 2001 edition of The Pride student newspaper of California State University, San Marcos.

In many ways, I want to revise this political cartoon. I want to add color and make the characters much more prominent and creative upon entry and much more factory-stamped on exit. But it will just have to remain as is.

When I created the cartoon, I wanted to bring light to the fact that those in power were making the decisions for those who were paying for education. If you look closely, you will see the characters are on a conveyor belt, as if in a factory. Just like the factory where I now teach. There are four enthusiastic learners running to get an education, but what comes out of the factory is three graduates who no longer show any signs of enthusiasm, as if the wind was taken out of their sails. They appear the same. They have been molded into the next generation of worker bees who are trained and tested to perpetuate the institution.

I wish I could say that I’ve made a significant difference, but I haven’t. Yes. I’ve reached some students and helped them unlearn and begin a journey to what is real. But for the most part, I have banged my head against a wall in frustration for the border-line impenetrable wall of programming from K through 12 and beyond. It takes me on average of, who knows, 16 to 32 weeks to get through and illuminate what has transpired for the individual learner. Sad but true (sorry for the clichĂ©). I unlearn as many as I can, but I am up against a massive power structure, and it will take a massive countermovement to balance such a situation. We have to take education back. It is about giving. Right now, it is drowning in taking – taking the foundation of creativity and critical inquiry from the learner in order to create yet another product of a broken system, a worker bee trying to please the queen.

About Jim Newell

Associate Professor of English, Daytona State College / Thinker / Ponce Inlet Surfer / Improviser / Dad
This entry was posted in corporatization of education, factory education, new paradigm, Problem, Teach the Willing, unlearn and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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