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Tuesday, August 19 2014 @ 11:50 PM CDT

The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Capitalism at its Dirtiest

Capitalism

On December 12 the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held an official hearing on ending the so-called School-to-Prison Pipeline. The witness list for this hearing included the National Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, the National Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Ohio Attorney General, Edward Ward, a former Chicago City Schools student and youth leader of Blocks Together and the Chief Judge 
Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Georgia, Steven Teske.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Capitalism at its Dirtiest

On December 12 the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held an official hearing on ending the so-called School-to-Prison Pipeline. The witness list for this hearing included the National Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, the National Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Ohio Attorney General, Edward Ward, a former Chicago City Schools student and youth leader of Blocks Together and the Chief Judge 
Juvenile Court of Clayton County, Georgia, Steven Teske. Despite the good intentions of some of these witnesses, and the senate hearing, all persons involved concentrated on the worst abuses, the most heinous instances of injustice and none addressed the larger, systemic issue which plagues public education in this country—capitalism.

Capitalism is an economic system which regulates the cost of labor through its purposeful extortion of the labor market. There are surplus people in this country—people who are not needed for the manual labor the system once required and whose literate and skilled presence in the labor market would devalue the price of white-collar work. Their marginalization is the purpose which prisons now serve. They house those whose existence threatens the stability of capitalism. It has long been known that future prison populations are determined by third grade reading test scores. Contemporary American culture requires a high rate of functional literacy to acquire basic needs: food, shelter and housing. Literacy has become a human right because without it people cannot secure their basic needs. Seventy percent of incarcerated people are illiterate. However, the US Department of Education conducted a five-year, $14 million study of U.S. adult literacy involving lengthy interviews of U.S. adults—the most comprehensive study of literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government.  This government study showed that 21% to 23% of adult Americans were not "able to locate information in text", could not "make low-level inferences using printed materials", and were unable to "integrate easily identifiable pieces of information.” The data was grouped by literacy level — how well the interviewees responded to material written in English — and indicated that 40 to 44 million of the 191 million U.S. adults in the least literate group earned a yearly average of $2,000 and about 50 million adults in the next-least literate of the five literacy groups earned a yearly average of $5,ooo at a time when the Census Bureau considered poverty level for an individual to be $7,000 per year (National Center for Education Statistics). This is the “other” America, which Dr. Martin Luther King first identified and that Michelle Alexander, author of Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness, has recently detailed, is the America which the cannibalistic system of capitalism feeds upon in order to sustain itself. The prison population is culled from this other America and is located through the compulsory education system. 

The solutions mainstream liberals advocate are predictable. Ira Glass, on the September 14th edition of This American Life, suggested that character education is the key to eliminating this portion of the American education system which compromises this “achievement gap.” Of course, this is thinly veiled racism. White, middle-class values are judged to be the “good” values, while radical, black and other cultural values are “bad.” Other suggestions, such as the Senate Committee’s witnesses’ suggestion of the elimination of zero tolerance policies will only serve to abate the most heinous and obvious methods of marginalization. Other suggestions the witnesses made were—no surprise here—privatizing education since private schools have higher success rates and lower crime rates. Judge Teske—like many well-intentioned liberals—argues that supporting struggling students and avoiding incarceration and recidivism is good for the economy. The reforms he has made in his county in Georgia—although an admiral attempt and one which certainly benefits the youth who would otherwise be sentenced to a life of marginalization—are fundamentally opposed to a system which requires the exploitation of some to serve the needs of others. He says, of his reforms, “It is grounded in research that supports common-sense notions—that keeping kids in school will increase graduation rates that in turn will positively impact community safety and improve our economy.” What Judge Teske fails to realize is that these youth—like many in America right now—if they graduate, will find a glutted labor market and be relegated to menial labor. It’s much easier to preserve the façade of capitalism’s meritocracy if individual lack of skill or character can be blamed.   

Education and incarceration have been receiving more media attention recently—mostly spurned on by fiscal concerns. In a capitalist system money is the root of all. However, as Slavoj Zizek has so convincingly argued, the issue is not where does the funding go—towards prevention and assistance or towards punishment and capital investment—the issue is: get rid of the need for funding.

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The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Capitalism at its Dirtiest | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Capitalism at its Dirtiest
Authored by: kidsrpeople2 on Monday, January 28 2013 @ 09:13 AM CST

Violent School Corporal Punishment of Children, even disabled, Kindergarten through Twelfth Grade by Mandatory Child Abuse Reporters, School teachers, coaches and administrators hitting them with wooden boards/paddles to inflict Pain Punishment for minor infractions (assault in public) with No Safety Standards remains Legal in 19 US States, AL, FL and TN among states that Do Not Require parental consent or notification for children to be hit in school! See brutally violent injuries to schoolchildren from US Public School Corporal Punishment at YouTube video trailer for Documentary Movie "The Board of Education" by Jared Abrams. The ACLU recommended enactment of Federal Bill HR 3027 "The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act" Cost $0, at the Groundbreaking Senate Hearing to End the School-to-Prison-Pipeline held 12/12/12. Search "A Violent Education" 2008 Study by Human Rights Watch and ACLU for disturbing facts. School Corporal Punishment is already Illegal in Schools in 31 US States and Prohibited by Federal Law for use against convicted Felons in ALL US Prisons! No conversation about safe schools and bullying can take place as long as violent corporal punishment of children in taxpayer funded public schools remains legal in the U.S. dont hit students dot com

The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Capitalism at its Dirtiest
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, January 28 2013 @ 02:13 PM CST

What exactly does Moira mean by this:  Capitalism is an economic system which regulates the cost of labor through its purposeful extortion of the labor market.?

Isn't the basic problem that a "labor market" exists in the first place; i.e., a system in which people buy and sell their labor?