Thursday, November 13, 2003

Yahoo! News - Dictionary Editors to Keep 'McJob'

Dictionary Editors to Keep 'McJob'

Silly McDonalds. If you don't want crappy dead-end burger-flipping jobs to become inextricably linked with you, then stop providing them as the bulk of your employment. Or work on changing your image, humanize your employees, stop building so damn many burger factories. And keep the beef tallow out of your french fries, so vegetarians can eat them.

When I was in high school, my biology teacher, Mr. Younglove, started every year with his infamous McJobs unit. It was essentially an excuse for him to rail against the establishment for allowing the quality of education to disintegrate. He never said this directly, but I think he blamed the continued influx of different ethnic groups into our community--Mexicans in particular. I think he felt that having so many families supporting themselves in service jobs was detrimental to the work culture of the school and the community. However, I am being charitable when I phrase it in those terms. He was a racist, more than likely.

Mr. Younglove spearheaded a reform effort at my high school that ran on a two-tiered approach to school improvement. The first strategy was called Progressive Discipline or something. Basically, it was a high school version of the 3-strikes law. Once a student had received three demerits, they were relegated to the "Reform" track within the school. The tracking system was the other pillar of his plan. There were three tracks: Reform, Vocational, and College Prep.

The College Prep track included all the courses one might need to get into college: upper level sciences, math, AP classes. IF the system had existed when I was there, this would have been my track.

The Vocational track was for people without college aspirations, and basically treated their classes as holding pens for them until they graduated.

The Reform track was designed to hold the discipline problems. I often imagined teachers with guns and whips enforcing classroom order.

In all, it was a very stratified and cruel approach to school improvement. I wrote a letter to the school board in which I described all the shortcomings of the Magna Charter (clever title, but I saw no evidence of a social contract in the proposal). Several of my best teachers left the school in protest (a damn damn shame). Ultimately, the charter was defeated.

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