Home > Uncategorized > Crude But Accurate Tweet Rant Captures Conundrum of Towns Left Behind… and the Need to Change “The School Game”

Crude But Accurate Tweet Rant Captures Conundrum of Towns Left Behind… and the Need to Change “The School Game”

August 20, 2016

Chris Arnade, a Ph.D. physicist who worked on Wall Street for 20 years spent three years traveling around our country to places most people never see… and he came away frustrated at what he witnessed and full of insights about poverty. In a succession of 29 tweets, Arnade describes the major conundrum faced by those who find themselves stuck in towns with no future. Noting that “the elites” advise those who reside in factory towns where the factory is no more to move. But as Arnade observes, that is easy advice in the abstract but often impossible in the real world. In a tweet he rebuts that notion:

Move where? Moving is giving up on one of the few things they have. Their family. Their roots. Some also can’t move. Because obligations… Because moving means competing on a playing field built by the elites primarily for the elites… It means assuming another set of values…

Sure. Some will move. Some should move. Primarily the younger folks who buy into the system. Get an education. Get out….For the rest. Those not great at playing the school game. Those who place value on more nebulous things than .

Sh** will keep sucking

As one of the “elites” derided in Arnade’s rant I think he’s onto something. If you can’t “play the school game” or value “family and roots” or have “obligations” of one form or another, then moving out of a city, town, or backwater with no economic future is out of the question. And as things are set up now, to succeed at “playing the school game” often does mean assuming another set of values, and those are often values that place one in an uncomfortable and/or untenable position with regard to family and friends.

There IS a way out of this, though, and that is to change the rules of the school game to honor and accept those who place a higher value on “family and roots” and adapt to those who don’t strive exclusively after money. Maybe instead of seeking compliance with norms as defined by those who are good at the school game we talk to those in the community who are good at the LIFE game and adapt schooling to meet their standards.

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