Matt Amaral,Teach 4 Real, August 2015 - The discourse around Trump is never about concrete ideas because he has almost none of those; the conversation is simply about how ridiculous the whole spectacle is. Expecting him to have fresh ideas about education would be an assumption based on absolutely nothing, but looking at the way things are going, I think I can make some educated guesses as to how our profession will be affected. So let me tell you what high school might look like in a world where Donald Trump is elected president:
Our health classes will undoubtedly be replaced with “something terrific.”
Ethnic Studies will now be referred to in a hurry as SRM, or The Study of Rapists and Murderers.
Women’s Studies will be known as Examinations of Those Who Bleed From Wherever. And it will be banned.
Economics won’t even be taught anymore, because evidently we can get Mexico to pay for and build anything we want, so why worry about money?
Religious Studies will be a “personal” examination of the Bible in which students will prove mastery by not being able to quote a single line from the text.
As for me? Well, teaching writing and critical thinking does not seem like it will be needed much in the far off fantasy world of 2016. I mean, every single pundit, politician, expert, intellectual, writer, radio and tv host thinks the Trump campaign might bring about the end of America. They are all just saying it is one big joke. And yet they can’t stop talking about him, which in turn keeps him high in the polls and ever closer to ending America. Their own conviction that the worst person on earth cannot possibly be elected as president of the most powerful country on earth is giving the worst person on earth the chance to be elected president. It’s like they are all caught in some Orwellian meth spiral. It is both impossible to understand or explain, so teaching students how to read, write, and think in this environment seems unreasonable. To tell you the truth it seems downright absurd.
So in a world in which our President will be that guy, I imagine I will be teaching Advanced Placement Balloon-Tying, because I assume that will be a college major in the year 2016, and my students will get college credit if they can pass the AP test by creating turtles using tight twists and knots. I envision days spent trying to keep up with the pacing guide that requires me to go from dog to bunny to giraffe without any days in between for my own pedagogical creativity. My fingers will become hard and callused from tying off so many colored ends, and my evaluations will include an examination of my aperture during the blowing process. We will parade around the room with inflated rubber coronets on our heads like we live in a Salvador Dali painting where elephants with infinitely long legs walk above us bearing their ivory towers. It could be glorious.
The way things are going, I might have to go to Michael’s any day now and buy some balloons for my next unit. I mean, if the adults in this country can’t get it together enough to discuss something other than what they all agree is a joke, we might as well stop expecting it from teenagers.