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Grades Are Capitalism in Action. Let’s Get Them Out of Our Schools.

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The capitalist economic system has major failures. It generates extreme, socially divisive inequalities of wealth and income. It consistently fails to achieve full employment. Many of its jobs are boring, dangerous and/or mind-numbing. Every four to seven years, it suffers a mysterious downdraft in which millions of people lose jobs and incomes, businesses collapse, falling tax revenues undermine public services, and so on. If these failures were widely perceived as the inherent failures of the capitalist system, the desirability and thus sustainability of capitalism itself might vanish.

How, then, has capitalism survived? Its persistence can best be explained in terms of ideology. The system produces and disseminates interpretations of its failures that blame these problems not on capitalism itself, but on other altogether different “causes.” Institutions have developed mechanisms to anchor such interpretations widely and deeply in the popular consciousness.

One key example is the concept of “meritocracy.” Schools are a key institution that teaches and practices meritocracy via the mechanism of grading. From primary school through the completion of my doctorate, I suffered the imposition of grades (A, B, C, etc.). Since becoming a professor, I have constantly been required to assign grades to my students for matters such as papers, exams and class performance.

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Grading takes up much of my time that could be better spent on teaching or otherwise directly interacting with students. Meanwhile, grading has little educational payoff for students. It disrespects them as thinking people. And finally, it chiefly serves employers — but often in ways that are not much good for them either. In short, grading remains an immensely wasteful, ineffective and largely negative aspect of education at all levels: primary education, secondary education and higher education.

Let’s start from the teacher’s perspective as grader. When I read a paper or exam, I can see when a student presents a reasonable version of what I intended in my lectures or what I found worthwhile in the assigned readings. But of course, I cannot be sure whether the student is simply demonstrating their short-term memory and repeating whatever I stressed in class, or whether the student has genuinely understood — in the sense of grasping and internalizing — key points, as part of the student’s own intellectual formation. Without much more time and interaction with the individual student than schools enable or allow in 99 percent of cases, I cannot know which it is when I assign a grade.

When I see that a student has not understood the concepts that were taught, the possibilities become more numerous. Did the student understand the material differently from me in ways not reducible to matters of right and wrong? After all, every piece of verbal or written material is subject to perfectly reasonable multiple interpretations. Education is not well served by insisting on one answer as right and alternatives as wrong. Such insistence is more like indoctrination than education; it undermines creative, critical thinking. Grading has little educational payoff for students. It chiefly serves employers.

Alternately, did the student’s lack of understanding reflect poor teaching more than poor learning? Education in schools is, after all, a relationship between people: a relationship to which both persons contribute. Grades reflect and represent the power of one side in that relationship over the other. Grades students get from teachers affect their intellectual development, their school and work careers, and major dimensions of their self-esteem. Most students never assign grades to their teachers. The few that can know full well how much less power their grading of teachers wields than the grades imposed on them by teachers. Moreover, teachers and students disagree over their relative responsibilities for “poor performances” by either. I was present in countless faculty meetings where teachers defensively blamed students entirely for the poor grades they “had achieved” (i.e., teachers had given them).

Should teachers have the compensated time to carefully read, listen to, or watch multiple presentations and responses by each student? Should teachers have the compensated time to explain to each student how they have approached and evaluated their work? Would not education be best achieved if students and teachers together were able to discuss, compare and debate their respective interpretations of questions, answers, issues and analyses? If all that were done — a very rare scenario in the U.S. educational system today — why also assign a grade? It would add little of substance.

Today’s economic system precludes teachers engaging so carefully, repeatedly and thoroughly with students. Capitalism’s enterprise organization — a small minority of employers (owners and their top executives) directing and controlling a large majority of employees — is replicated in private and public educational institutions. That organization and its financial constraints combine to preclude the interactions among teachers and students that real education requires. Beyond docile acceptance of the second-rate education they can offer, most schools shy away from efforts to hold the system responsible for fear of antagonizing university donors or officials. Education in schools is a relationship between people: Grades reflect and represent the power of one side in that relationship over the other.

While capitalism’s imposed limits help explain the practice of grading, they do not excuse it. It is a very poor substitute for far superior educational practices thereby foregone.

Grading is not only a mechanism designed to save money spent on “education.” Grades also function as a major foundation and support for the meritocracy. The merit ideology functions as a crucial defense mechanism for capitalism given its failures. The U.S. idea of meritocracy asserts that one can quantitatively rank individuals’ qualitative capacities. Each individual’s work skills, production capabilities, contributions to output — as well as their intelligence, discipline, social skills, and much more — can be ranked. This framework holds that there are some individuals who best or most possess such qualities; some who possess the worst or least of them; and many who occupy positions between those two quantitative extremes.

Within the framework of meritocratic ideology, employers seek to hire the “best” employee and are willing to pay such individual workers more than they pay workers with “less” merit (ranked lower on some scale of productivity). In meritocratic logic, those offered no jobs can only blame themselves: They must assume they have too little merit. Workers learn in school to seek to accumulate merit and achieve higher rankings along the scales that count for employers. Coalitions of educators and employers have inserted the educational system into this merit system as an important place to acquire and accumulate merit that employers will recognize and reward. Better jobs and rising pay reward rising merit acquired through more education as well as “on-the-job” training. Meritocracy redirects the blame for capitalism’s failures onto its victims.

Schools not only enable the consumers of education to acquire and accumulate merit; their operations also exemplify the merit system they support. Harvard University conveys more merit, per credit, than Kentucky State University. Schools that signal more merit can charge students more money. Among schools, within each school, and within each classroom, merit rules.

Meritocracy and the educational system’s key place within it are important because capitalism’s survival depends on them. The merit system organizes how individual employees interpret the unemployment they suffer, the job they hate, the wage or salary they find so insufficient, the creativity their job stifles, and so on. It starts as schools train individuals to accept the grades assigned to them as measures of individual academic merit. That prepares them to accept their jobs and incomes as, likewise, measures of their individual productive merit. Under this framework, unequal grades, jobs and income can all be seen as appropriate and fair: Rewards are supposedly proportional to one’s individual merit.

This paradigm leaves little room for any systemic criticism. Inadequate educations are not blamed on an inadequate educational system unable or unwilling to fund high-quality mass schooling. Unemployment, bad jobs and insufficient incomes are not blamed on the capitalist economic system. Had they been so blamed, both systems could well have come under criticism and opposition and died off long ago.

Meritocracy redirects the blame for capitalism’s failures onto its victims. Schools teach meritocracy, and grading is the method.

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We Need a Politics That Is Not Only Class-Focused, but Class-Rooted

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When the pandemic eventually ends, globalization may no longer accelerate at the same rate as before. Particular sectors will remain hard-hit, and tensions between the United States and China will continue, and may even become more menacing (to borrow from Mao Zedong, the making of a global capitalism is not a “tea party”).

But none of this signals the end of globalization, an imminent collapse of capitalism, or an inevitable decline of the American empire. Global business will still be profiting from the commodification of nature and human activity, US corporations will still be a leading force in high tech and business services, the dollar will still be the global currency, and the Federal Reserve effectively the world’s central bank.

The crisis that consequently frames the political opening beckoning the American left isn’t capitalism’s economic but social failures; capitalism’s vulnerability is marked by the destructive impact of its successes on popular needs, aspirations, and fears.

And with the responses from parties and states to the rising popular discontent falling short, this crisis of legitimacy has expanded into a political crisis. Alongside popular anger with policies like free trade and austerity has come a loss of faith in state institutions ranging from social agencies to the judiciary and the police, as well as disenchantment with mainstream political parties.

The pandemic further exposed the distorted priorities and social irrationalities of capitalism: its lack of planning capacities and unpreparedness to deal with social emergencies, the ugliness of its inequalities, its general disregard for those who produce needed goods and provide essential service. The health pandemic was, as well, the canary in the mine for the far greater environmental pandemic waiting in the wings, a threat which will demand very much more than social distancing, lockdowns, or vaccines.

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COUP-IN-PROGRESS: White Collar Mafiosos Fauci, Pelosi, Cuomo & Cuomo Conspire to Topple Trump

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Let’s put THE GREAT SCAMDEMIC aside for a moment.

And let’s jump ahead to Election Day — November 3, 2020.

Three things are certain based on Deep State’s no-holds-barred MO.

First, the DEMs will steal the Senate just like they stole the House during the 2018 midterms.

Second, the DEMs will increase their majority in the House with even more election fraud and theft.

Third, the DEMs will either politically incapacitate Trump between now and Nov. 3…
or, they will outright steal the POTUS election now that the electoral process has been thrown into chaos and confusion…
or, they will let Trump win so that they can impeach and convict him in 2021 with their solid majorities.

Now let’s take a close look at THE GREAT SCAMDEMIC, and especially how it will be used to manipulate the 2020 election outcome.

This thing — THE GREAT SCAMDEMIC — goes way beyond the Democrats and Deep State.  It goes way beyond CROWNgate and Pedogate.  It goes way beyond the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers. It even goes beyond the Cahilla and the Khazarian Mafia … as well as the Black Nobility and the International Banking Cartel & Crime Syndicate.

THE GREAT SCAMDEMIC is so HUGE and has so many objectives that you know it’s the end … the final end … … … as in the “End-times” !

But that’s not the point here.

What happens between now and Election Day will determine the fate of the American Republic.  The future of the American people hangs in the balance with the 2020 outcome like no other election in U.S. history.

The election outcome (and process) will also dictate the inevitable consequences for the Democrat Party, as well the destiny of Deep State.  The Patriot Movement also stands to gain or lose a LOT!

This is why TPTB have strategically positioned so many Deep State Democrats all over the place.

We’re talking about white-collar mafiosos like Fauci, Pelosi, Cuomo & Cuomo.

The liberal power elite have installed a top hitman in every position that counts.

It’s like JFK driving through Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963 surrounded by the 8 C.I.A. sniper nests (yes, there really were at least eight sniper’s nests).[1]

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FALSE FLAG ALERT: Obama Foundation tweeted about George Floyd on May 17th, a week before his supposed murder – UPDATE

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(Natural News) We have now confirmed that the Obama Foundation was tweeting about George Floyd on May 17th, more than a week before the day Floyd was reportedly killed by police in an act of violence that sparked the worldwide riots we’re all witnessing.

George Floyd was killed on May 25th. So what was the Obama Foundation doing tweeting about Floyd on May 17th, when nobody knew who he was?

UPDATE: Some people are saying that Twitter retroactively alters images from the history of your timeline when the source URL changes its image. However, what investigators have already confirmed is that the Twitter URL validator was used by the Obama Foundation to validate this image on May 17th, in advance of releasing it publicly. Thus, the image was VALIDATED more than a week before Floyd’s claimed death. This, combined with the new video analysis that claims George Floyd’s death was faked using crisis actors, raise serious questions about the authenticity of this event, which appears to have been planned and carried out for political purposes, right in time for the 2020 election. The Obama Foundation Twitter picture is only a tiny fragment in the larger picture that is now emerging of a pre-planned false flag event.

The answer, of course, is that the whole thing was planned in advance. Just like on 9/11 when the media was reporting that the WTC 7 building had collapsed even while it was still standing in the frame directly behind them, it looks like the Obama Foundation got its wires crossed and accidentally started tweeting about George Floyd a week in advance.

Once the first tweet accidentally went out, they couldn’t delete it without raising suspicion about it, so they just left it up and are relying on Big Tech’s censorship to make sure nobody learns the truth that this was all planned in advanced and rigged as public theater.

In fact, there is growing evidence that George Floyd isn’t even dead. We’ll cover more on that later. We’ve already documented the fact that actors are now posing as cops as part of a rioting psyop (psychological operation) that’s being used to brainwash more people into supporting the communist uprising.

YouTube is now banning all videos that discuss the Obama Foundation tweet about George Floyd on May 17th, and Facebook has made sure that no one can share any link from NaturalNews.com as a further suppression of truthful, independent reporting.

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