Category Archives: Education

Elements of Time Among the Compson Brothers

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An obscurity of time and the disordered chronology in The Sound and the Fury* is a structural tool which William Faulkner uses to articulate a sense of disconnect. That is, he uses the example of the Compson family’s decent from affluence as an analogy for the decay of social order in the American South. He does this using the mangled narratives of the three Compson brothers Benjamin, Quentin, and Jason. Each struggle profoundly in their awareness of time, and a shared, interdependent past. Benjamin has no concept of time, Quentin is obsessed with time’s limit, and Jason is compelled by the future but is shackled to the past. Each brother is dedicated a chapter to recount the events of a particular day. However, the order in which the chapters are placed challenges conventional notions of linear time. This is Faulkner’s way of challenging society to reassess its decisions given each generation’s limited range of time.

Benjamin, or Benjy for short, opens the book with his account of April 7th, 1928. The audience is immediately faced with a stream of consciousness which seems to be, if not completely unfocused, free of any sense of linear direction because of his mental handicap. Events and interactions between characters seem to happen in no particular order and thus seem to be completely unrelated to each other. Events are often interrupted by other events, and the narrative makes no distinction between consecutive occasions. Though it may be deduced from Benjy’s narrative alone, it’s not until having the benefit of Quentin’s perspective does the audience understand that Benjy is mentally handicapped, or retarded. Benjy’s narrative is, then, justifiably considered as though Benjy himself is the constant, is static, and it is time which whirls around him, and the obscure fragments of both past and present blend into each other.
Benjy exists in a kind of timelessness both mentally and physically. From the onset of the chapter he is said to be thirty-three years old, “‘Listen at you, now,’ Luster said. ‘Aint you something, thirty three years old, going on that way…'” (3), “going on that way” referring to Benjy’s crying for attention, but meant to imply that even though he is a grown man, he is perpetually a child, stuck in a particular time. Benjy is, then, completely unable to comprehend, much less clearly articulate his understanding of chronological events within his family. Instead he relies on simple physical stimuli to contextualize the workings of his family, and he is entirely dependent upon others to verify him. In other words, events merely happen to him and he cannot necessarily react, thus cannot interact. This is important to the nature of his narrative in that he attributes the same amount of intellectual weight to each occurrence (intellect being relative to his mental capacity), and thus favors no detail, regardless of how consequential it may be.

The audience is cued to Benjy’s disconnect from linear time by whomever his caregiver, or chaperone is. By the end of the novel it is clear he has had three in his lifetime, Versh when he was a child, T.P. when he was a teenager, and Luster as an adult. He freely navigates through his memories and present events, and the audience can keep relative track of when he is referring to by his caregiver. For instance, he narrates a moment from his childhood when, after supper, he, his sister Caddy, and Versh walk to the servant’s cottage on the family property, “We went down to Versh’s house. I liked to smell Versh’s house. There was a fire in it and T.P. squatting in his shirt tail in front of it…Then I got up and T.P. Dressed me and we went to the kitchen and ate” (28). The memory of the smell of the servant’s cottage triggers yet another memory from adolescence of waking in the cottage next to T.P., which takes place several years later, and he continues the narrative down this train of thought without ever having made a distinction between the two events.

A few particular events do seem to carry some emotionally traumatic weight for him. He remembers Versh helping Caddy climb into a tree wearing nothing but her muddy underwear, “Then we couldn’t see her…The tree quit thrashing. We looked up into the still branches…I saw them. Then I saw Caddy, with flowers in her hair, and a long veil like shining wind. Caddy Caddy ‘Hush.’ T.P. said” (39). This is a particularly vivid, and largely painful memory which all three brothers share of Caddy disappearing into an apple tree. For Benjy this triggers another memory of Caddy’s wedding, after which she essentially disappears from the family, and as far as Benjy is concerned, leaves him. This upsets Benjy greatly because Caddy was particularly sentimental and loving towards him, which is in sharp contrast to the rest of the family who seem only to tolerate him at the most. In an other instance he remembers finding the ever promiscuous Caddy sitting on a swing with a neighbor boy, “‘I’ll have to take him to the house.’ she said. She took my hand. ‘I’m coming.’ she whispered. ‘Wait.’ Charlie said…Caddy and I ran. We ran up the kitchen steps, onto the porch, and Caddy knelt down in the dark and held me…Caddy smelled like trees…They sat up in the swing, quick. Quentin had her hands on her hair. He had a red tie” (48). Benjy associates his sister’s promiscuity with that of his niece, Miss Quentin, when he discovers her in almost the exact same circumstance on the swing. Because he has no working knowledge of logical time these events happen in a relatively disproportionate succession to him as a result of association.

Benjy’s brother, Quentin, on the other hand, is acutely, almost manically aware of time. Yet, paradoxically, as much as he is immersed in his awareness of it, not only does he have a skewed, or erroneous sense of time, but he seeks to exist outside of it, and to remove himself entirely from it; thus, his commitment to self-destruction. Quentin is obsessed with what he sees as his family’s failing sense of virtue and honor, and he is particularly affected by Caddy’s behavior. He sees her as a harbinger of shame to the family, and is keenly aware from childhood, specifically since the incident of Caddy climbing the tree, of faults within the family. He harbors a contritely, and almost incestuous interest in his sister, and is traumatized by her promiscuity as she grows older. That, combined with obligations he has to his family to finish a year at Harvard, along with having been treated as an outcast, being disenfranchised by his own family for the entirety of his upbringing drive him to commit suicide.

Quentin’s narrative occurs on June 2nd, 1910, eighteen years before Benjy’s chapter. This alone is a structural tool Faulkner presents to further attenuate the audience to the complexities of these characters’ stream of consciousness. Quentin, having resolved to commit suicide, realizes that he has very little time to live, and is thus hyperaware of time. The very first sentence in his chapter illustrates his manic infatuation with time, “When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtain it was between seven and eight o’clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch” (76). He even takes something as abstract as time and internalizes it as physical using the example of the sound of the watch his father gave to him. He ironically recalls that, after giving him the watch, his father also warned him that “…speculation regarding the position of mechanical hands on an arbitrary dial…is a symptom of mind-function” (77), that he should not take time too seriously. However, Quentin us unable to heed this advice and becomes a desperate slave to the relative position of the hour.

Quentin, in some respect, is almost accepting of his place in time because he is aware that it will end soon. Still, time continues to haunt and taunt him. Much like flowing water can slowly smooth a stone, he feels each passing moment to be one less proverbial grain of sand in the hour glass of his life, “That Christ was not crucified: he was worn away by a minute clicking of little wheels” (77). In a fickle attempt to rebel, and in some way control time he breaks the watch, “I went to the dresser and took up the watch, with the face still down. I tapped the crystal on the corner of the dresser and caught the fragments of glass in my hand and put them into the ashtray and twisted the hands off and put them in the tray. The watch ticked on…There was a red smear on the dial. When I saw it my thumb began to smart”  (80). He breaks the watch in attempt to deny and refuse time’s progression. But while he feels slightly vindicated as he discards of the allegorical “fragments” of time, he discovers he is not only tragically unsuccessful, as with most everything in his life, he is also further wounded by time as the watch has cut his thumb. The wound in this case is a metaphor for the suffering the emotional wounds, in his subjective perspective, of his family’s fall from grace.
Throughout his narrative Quentin refers to his shadow. On these occasions he says, “I stood in the belly of my shadow” (100), his body like a sundial, always attached to the hour. That is, until sundown, when a shadow, an allegorical symbol of time, is no longer articulated, and he walks into the river to drown himself. Quentin is ultimately unable to come to terms with the inevitable decay of his family, and so resolves to cheat time, its inevitabilities, and cuts it short.

The third brother, Jason, is the only one to have a sense of the future. He is afflicted by, what he considers to be, his victimization by past events. A begrudging, bitter, and spiteful young man, his narrative focuses on the present as the circumstances of decay that have resulted from those past events, which he alludes to, but rarely describes. He is intent on a future life away from his obligations, the family he sees as a burden, yet it is because his actions are precariously compulsive that he is always behind current events, and thus he is trapped in a constant state of reaction. His future is entirely dependent on his finances, which he works in vehemently, and monstrously dishonest ways to ensure security of. All his affairs revolve around the thin possibility of fortune, or as far as he is concerned, reinstating the association of his name with wealth, though with no regards to his family. He holds stock in cotton trade, works in farm equipment retail, and pockets child support Caddy sends for her daughter, Miss Quentin, whom he is legal guardian of. Still, for as forward thinking as he is, in all these affairs he is always, without fail, hazardously late.

Jason’s chapter is narrated on April 6th, 1928, in contrast to Benjy’s chapter which is narrated the day after, the 7th. However, Jason’s chapter is placed later in chronology of novel, thus hinting at his characteristic tardiness, that he is already behind current events in the context of the story. Ironically, and in contrast to his brother Quentin, he is almost oblivious to, and ignorant of time. Early in the chapter he drives his niece, Miss Quentin, to school to be sure she will not ditch classes, and will be on time, “I stopped in front of the school house. The bell had rung, and the last of them were just going in. ‘You’re  on time for once anyway…” (188). The irony is that he is certainly not on time. The bell has already finished ringing before he pulls up to the school, and the straggling students he is referring to are late for class themselves.

At one point he is in the telegram office and discovers a missed opportunity to act on his stocks, “‘Smart, hell,’ Doc says. ‘It was down twelve points at twelve o’clock. Cleaned me out.’ ‘Twelve points?’ I says. ‘Why the hell didn’t somebody let me know? Why didn’t you let me know?’ I says to the operator” (217). This happens in all his interactions with his niece, Miss Quentin, “…I was looking at my watch. It was just two thirty, forty-five minutes before anybody but me expected her to be out. So when I looked around the door the first thing I saw was the red tie…But she was sneaking along the alley…I went on to the street, but they were out of sight” (231-232). Much like Wiley Coyote and the Roadrunner, Jason constantly finds himself one step behind, and out witted by Miss Quentin. In the end, she steals back the money which Jason had withheld from her and skips town with a musician. Jason tries in vain to find her and get, what he considers to be, his money back, and solicits the help of the Sheriff, “…‘But you don’t know they done it,’ he said. ‘You just think so.’ ‘Don’t know?’ Jason said. ‘When I spent two damn days chasing her through alleys…and you say I don’t know that that little b–’ ‘Now, then,’ the sheriff said. ‘That’ll do…’” (303). Jason never seizes the right moment, and thus remains bitterly at odds with his circumstances.

These three brothers represent both the timelessness of their family struggles to coexist, and the period of the fall of the traditional social order in the American South. The images of their sister, Caddy, haunts these brothers and challenges theirs, as well as the audience’s presumptions of this timelessness. They are the ageless metaphor of something that is not timeless– mortality.

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*Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York, NY: Vintage International Edition, 1956.

Thoughts on Checkhov’s Lady with the Dog

Anton Checkhov

I recently went through some papers of my from my undergrad years at Cal-State, Long Beach, and found this brief gem– “gem” being used loosely. Checkhov has, of course, been written about more than anyone might care to spend their lives reading, but Lady with the Dog, however, is a story that has stuck with me throughout the years. This paper was written for an upper division course, taught by the absolutely wonderful Meg Pennington, whose infectious laugh will also remain with me, always.

***

The notion of a moral sermon within a story is something that Anton Chekov is not predisposed to. He chooses to remain objective about issues of morality in his writing, often times at the risk of heavy criticism as being indifferent. Yet he sees good and evil as inherent qualities of humanity. He does this by writing about common people whose ethical and moral shortcomings are blatantly clear to the reader, as with the characters Gurov and Anna in Lady with the Dog. Both characters face the emotional consequences of dishonest choices they consciously make, but cannot reconcile their actions with an otherwise far more dishonest life. In other words, adultery is the most honest decision they make. It’s Chekov’s sense of unbiased compassion that showcases these characters’ shameless humility.

Dmitry Gurov is a middle-aged man who spends time in Yalta seeking casual romantic affairs. Yalta is a resort town, a tourist destination in Ukraine where people stay only a short while, never enough time to make any serious social connections. Because of the fleeting, inconstant nature of society in the town, Gurov is free to dash in an out of affairs, and he does this almost in spite of his marriage and family. He had married at an early age to a woman who seems to not care that she pronounces his name wrong and “whose caresses were insincere.” Likewise, Anna Sergeyevna is in Yalta to escape her own cold marriage to a man whom, when describing, says that she “does not know what he does at his office, But I know he’s a flunky.” She too was young when she married by immature impulse, curiosity, and the desire for “something higher.” It is this youthful angst that carries over into mature years, though thriving on different terms for both characters when they meet. It is immediately clear that Gurov and Anna are in Yalta with the intention of engaging in an affair. Gurov even remarks to himself that “If she’s here without her husband…it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make her acquaintance,”  then Anna is easily willing to join him after a chance meeting first meeting at lunch. However, it’s as if they are able to cast off the ethical implications of adultery in favor of a spiritual engagement and the deserving passions they lack in their marriages.

Chekov further examines Gurov as a man who not only thinks little, if nothing, about adultery, but as man who is almost to the point of misogyny being so bitter about his marriage and experiencing the nature of the women he has affairs with. His wife not only pronounces his name wrong, but he considers her as arrogant, “shallow, narrow-minded, and dowdy.” Then, when deceiving her, he finds that his “elusive charm in his appearance and disposition” attracts women, and almost too easily “[catches] their sympathies.” It’s as if he feels that, regardless of his charm and looks, he has no need to respect the gullibility of women to fall for it so easily. Then, once the affair has taken place, the women return to their husbands, leaving him alone again to continue the search for passion and meaning. After so many women, a few of which “aroused in him nothing but repulsion,” and whose “lace trimming on their underclothes reminded him of fish-scales,” this burgeoning contempt begins to weigh heavily on him to the point that he refers to woman as “the inferior race.” This raises an issue of perspective in the story. The narrative follows Gurov’s perspective. This leaves Anna as a delicate, fragmented theme which challenges Gurov to reengage and decipher his emotional afflictions. In the beginning of their affair, Anna expresses a heartfelt concern that he will lose respect for her if they continue. This is here where Chekov uses a sense of Anna’s distance from Gurov as “[a] solitary candle burning on the table scarcely lit up her face, but it was obvious that her heart was heavy.” Gurov’s callousness towards women begins to melt, just as the candle does, and it becomes clear to him that Anna is much more important to him than just an other sexual conquest. Chekov has thus presented two seemingly self-interested, lamented characters who discover their unethical actions lead them to unexpected fulfillment, moral judgment is then appointed to the reader.

In this story, where the moral dilemma and ethical implications are reversed– meaning the reader’s sympathies lie with the afflicted Gurov and Anna instead of the victims of their actions, their spouses –the antagonistic influences are difficult to discern. The two might have experienced a rekindling of a passion for life within themselves, a reconnecting with the vibrancy of life, but they are both pressured by ethical standards to return to their marriages. Yet, after having done so, both must live with a burden of dishonesty to their spouses, and more importantly a dishonesty to themselves. As Gurov tells himself, “when you [come] to think of it, everything in the world is beautiful really, everything but our own thoughts and actions,” he comes to terms with the consequences of what happens “when we lose sight of the higher aims of life, and of our dignity as human beings.” That is, the consequences of forfeiting our aspirations for a meaningful life far outweigh the consequences of breaking from ethical standards. Chekov uses the example of a night-watchman who passes by them as they sit together on a bench, and later in the story, when Gurov goes to visit Anna for the first time, curious boys watching them in a stairwell. It’s as if the watchman and the boys act as judgmental figures of society, but the bond between Gurov and Anna is stronger than any social stigma of adultery. For indeed, they had forgiven “one another all that they were ashamed of in the past and in the present, and felt that this love of theirs had changed them both,” but the burden of proof, or  acceptance of their love is left to society. At this point Gurov and Anna have already come to terms with their actions; a contemptuous, grudging society is then invited to do the same.

Anton Chekov relates to the reader a sense of self-determination, that we are all accountable to the same fallacies inherent to human nature. In other words, we are all accountable to ourselves long before any social standards are imposed that attempt to define morality. Chekov challenges the readers’ assumptions about such issues by presenting the story of blatantly flawed characters, as if holding a mirror to the reader, in which case, humility is the responsibility of the reader, of society.

[April, ’10]

“Because it’s got electrolytes”

Yesterday morning I woke up, and, for the first time, I participated in the “Black Friday” race to the socioeconomic bottom. There could be no more reproduced image of your typical American capitalist denizen than that of a lower-middle class, minimum wage-earning white male handing over a credit card to a Target employee in his early twenties in order to purchase an iPad. As I walked out of the store I looked down at the box in my hand and thought, “Because it’s got electrolytes.”

Then, last night, I went to see the film Arrival for the second time. The first time I saw it I was alone in the theater, and even surprised the theater employee when I stood up to walk out. She almost dropped her broom when she realized I was there.

I mentioned the film to  a mentor of mine, Nancy Ward, curator of the Artistic License Fair. She had already seen it, she said “It was amazing– a poem.” I couldn’t agree more.

As I walked out of the film the first time I couldn’t help but wonder that, if the film had come out before the election, would it have had any effect on how people voted? At the moment, I can’t point to any evidence to support the notion that the broader American audience is capable of understanding a film like this. My “heart mom,” Lisa Marie Oxenham, said “We may have to accept that people aren’t ready for this kind of film.” However, there is a very striking line in the film. Louise, the protagonist of the film, says to her daughter, “You’re unstoppable.” The little girl, Hannah, responds, “I’m unstoppable.” Inevitability. The ineluctability of the girl’s presence, her significance, should be absolutely arresting to anyone whether or not they are “ready” for her. That is, everyone should recognize Hannah as an image of the inevitable change that our species and the planet will experience. Whether or not we survive that change is anyone’s guess at the moment.

Matt Taibbi wrote an editorial in Rolling Stone about the experience of the surprise Trump win of the presidency for journalists and others in the media. Of course, the film Idiocracy just celebrated it’s 10th anniversary and many have referred to the film this past year. Taibbi points to the film saying that it is “ostensibly a comedy but destined now to be remembered as a horror movie” (Taibbi, 38). He goes on to say that many reporters “found themselves thinking about this film when we [heard] voters saying they were literally incapable of understanding the words coming out of Hillary Clinton’s mouth. ‘When [Trump] talks, I actually understand what he’s saying,’ a young Pennsylvanian” told Taibbi, “‘But, like, when fricking Hillary Clinton talks, it just sounds like a bunch of bullshit.’”

This is, of course reminiscent of the scene in Idiocracy when Joe wakes up after 500 years of cryogenic sleep and is unable to communicate with people. He is “able to understand them. But when he spoke, he sounded pompous and faggy to them.”

It’s a humorous moment, for sure, but when we begin to recognize, further still, our current judicial system in the courtroom scene of Joe’s trial the humor turns to dread, especially considering Trump’s Supreme Court nominees are likely to be as technologically, sociologically, and scientifically illiterate as his executive cabinet is turning out to be.

I’m reminded, also, of something Jim Jefferies says when referencing the distinct repudiation of even the most basic form of critical thought on the part of Trump supporters.

What happens is, he says really simple shit that means nothing, and then fuckin’ dummies…right? If you’ve ever said this sentence, ‘I like him because he’s a straight talker,’ you’re as dumb as shit. Just because someone says something simple that you understand, it doesn’t mean they’re a straight talker…he says ‘I’m gonna make America great again,’ and you’re like, ‘I got every word in that sentence!’

If posts on social media from my Trump-supporting friends are any indication of the sensibilities of the rest of the 42 million Americans that voted for him, then I, along with many others, I’m certain, are greatly concerned, not simply about the way his election has emboldened neofascist groups, or the racist and sexist rhetoric during his campaign speeches, but with the “wave of anti-intellectualism,” to borrow Bill Hicks’ phrase, that has defined the the cultural identity of this country. I will acknowledge that there is always some headline, “Americans are increasingly X,” “Y is on the rise in America,” and so on. Yet, when our federal government, ostensibly directed by an internet-troll, of all things, has vowed to remove itself from the Paris Accords much to the dismay of all of the other COP20 nations, when the Education Secretary does not have a degree in the field of education, etc., it is absolutely alarming when direct parallels can be drawn to the Executive Cabinet in Idiocracy.

Zizek argues that the mechanisms of manufacture of consent are broken, but I think it’s quite the contrary. Those lulling mechanisms– media, tech companies, prime time, advertising agencies, etc. –have done their job so well, that now Americans are statistically unable to distinguish an articulate career politician (for all her failings) from a developmentally stunted schoolyard bully who brags about sexual assault, and the same being true for down-ballot races across the states. Disney, HBO, Netflix, Call of Duty, and UFC have all done their part well to lull the electorate. To quote Zach De La Rocha, “They packed the 9, fired into prime time. The sleeping gas, every home was like Alcatraz…You’re brain dead, you got a fuckin’ bullet in your head.”

I’m conditionally inclined to agree with Taibbi when he and others suggest that identity politics have gotten in the way of a clearer vision of the true issues (climate change, nuclear proliferation, the global refugee crisis, healthcare, and so on), and that “America’s cultural elite [has] trained for so long to think in artificial distinctions like Republicans and Democrats instead of more-natural divisions, like haves and have-nots.” Go figure, Rollings Stone’s editorial board, in its endorsement of Hillary Clinton earlier in the campaign, outright dismissed Bernie Sanders by arguing that these issues were fringe, marginal, but now those very same issues seem a distant utopian future where national dialogues might include such elevated topics. However, I agree, also, that we must be careful not to level blame at those who have fought for civil rights and basic cultural and legal representation, for as Melissa Warnke writes in her LA Times editorial “progressivism isn’t a cause divorced from consequence.” Those representations are, predictably, likely to be met with social resistance from other ethnic and cultural groups, but they are still a noble and just cause.

I will likely come back to Arrival in a later post because there is much to be unpacked from the film. As I’ve told all of my friends, it combines three of my favorite elements in narrative: linguistics, aliens, and stunningly gorgeous redheads. Until then, if there’s one theme from the story that I think is worth articulating as clearly as possible, it’s this– we, as a species capable of drastic global consequence, absolutely must raise the level of literacy in all academic fields. We need to “Make America smart again,” said Neil deGrasse Tyson during a spot of the Late Show.

America, in particular, must rediscover the value of intellect rather than disregarding it as elitism or “liberal bias.” As Albert Einstein once warned even as far back as 1934 when addressing the Progressive Education Association, the stakes are too high. “Security of the United States, as for other countries,” he says, “lies only in a satisfactory solution of the world peace problem. Youth must not be allowed to believe that safety can be obtained through political isolation” (Einstein, 57-58). I would go a step further to argue that cultural and economic isolation are equally obstructive. “The spirit of international solidarity should also be strengthened,” Einstein continues, “and chauvinism should be combated as a hindrance to world peace. In schools, history should be used as a means of interpreting progress in civilization, and not for inculcating ideals of imperialistic power and military success.” Education should be valued by a society, it’s the greatest investment in it’s own future that society could ever make as a sort of insurance plan. Much like genes are passed down through biological generations, knowledge should be passed down through the generations to “interpret [the] progress” of society, and the education system is the conduit for that knowledge. Never again should our society tolerate the fact that its electorate was able to vote for a candidate who has promised to “bomb the shit out of” someone in another country without being able to so much as point out where that country is on a map.

And yet, our government attacks, and defunds it’s own education system for the specific purpose of lowering educational standards and privatizing and monetizing schools. To yet again quote Chomsky, at some length because, I think, he brilliantly summarizes the value of public education:

We see it in the attack on public schools. Public schools are based on the principle of solidarity. I no longer have children in school, they’re grown up. But, the principle of solidarity says that I happily pay taxes so that the kid across the street can go to school. That’s normal human emotion. They have to drive that out of people’s heads, ‘I don’t have kids in school, why should I pay taxes. Privatize it,’ and so on. The public education system, all the way from kindergarten to higher education is under severe attack. I mean, that’s one of the jewels of American society. You go back to the ‘golden age’ again, the great growth period in the 50s and 60s. A lot of that is based on free public education…The US is way at the lead of developing extensive public mass education at every level…Now in half the states, most of the funding for public colleges comes from tuition, not from the state. That’s a radical change… In the 1950s, there was a much poorer society than there is today. It could never the less handle, essentially free, mass higher education. Today a much richer society claims it doesn’t have the resources for it. That’s just what’s going on right before our eyes. That’s the general attack on principles that, I mean, not only are they humane, they’re the basis of the prosperity and health of this society.

Again, more on Arrival soon. Until then, as President Not Sure says, “I don’t know, read a book or something.” Just don’t do it in a waffle house.

*Update 12/4/16*

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! interviewed three women who are directly involved in the fight to protect American public education– former Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, Center for Media and Democracy Executive Director, Lisa Graves, and member of the Detroit Board of Education, Tawanna Simpson. Ravitch brings up an important point, that education voucher systems break “the long history of a separation of church and state because most of the vouchers that are used in the states that now have vouchers are for religious schools. And most of them are not going to — it’s not enough money to go to an elite school or to the best school, it’s usually very, like in the South, it’s backward fundamentalist church schools that have uncertified staff.” Watch the whole interview here:

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Works cited:

Einstein, Albert. Ideas and Opinions. Ed. Cal Seelig. NY: Three River Press, 1982. Print.

Taibbi, Matt. “Trump’s Payback: Journalists and politicians blew off the warning signs of a Trump presidency– now, we must all pay the price.” Rolling Stone. Issue 1275, 1 Decmber 2016. Print.