Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Not Your Parents' TFA

Paul Goodman:

...The so-called Northern Student Movement is a group of college-students who take a year off from college to tutor urban underprivileged kids referred by the public schools; but the NSM has now declared its policy not to restrict itself to the curriculum and aims of the school system. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee is about--I am writing in June 1964--to go down to the deep South, primarily to help in the voter-registration of disenfranchised Negroes, but also to try out little colleges for adolescents, with 5 graduate-students teaching 25 teenagers a curriculum relevant to their economic and political advancement. Accompanying the numerous school-boycotts there have sprung up "Freedom" schools that started as one-day propaganda demonstrations but have been lively enough to warrant continuing.

In my opinion, the highly official Peace Corps has the same underlying educational significance. At present it is rigidly selective and super-collegiate; indeed it is, by and large, an operation for upper-middle class youth and well-paid professors and administrators: it costs $15,000 to get one youngster in the field for a year. Nevertheless, the whole conception is unthinkable except as dissatisfaction with orthodox schooling and with the status-careers that schooling leads to. (Compulsory Mis-education, pp. 57-58)

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