I took a little time today after a meeting with Ian to go to the media library in the MACK building and start throwing some ideas around so that I could finally get the ball rolling on my blog postings. When I was doing this, I remembered an article that I read this morning, while doing my daily internet motivated slacking. :
If you can’t access it or if the link has expired, I’ll give you the gist of what’s going on, and why I weep for the future. McDonald’s has proposed to the British school system to allow classes that give students McDonald’s experience to be counted as high school credits. These classes would give students experience with running their own McDonald’s franchise, marketing etc.
Once I got over the initial hilarity of the sheer idea that someday I, or those who I love, could one day walk across a stage with their colleges and potentially accept a McDiploma, this actually started to concern me. The concept that McDonalds could one day be the face of education scares the shit out of me.
If corporate interestes are introduced into a classroom, and once said company controls the funding, where is the line between the best interests of the students and the best interest of a company's hope for future workers going to be drawn? This, to me, is forcing a classroom to become a non-place (Bolter, 179). Education will become simultaneous with consumer culture, and we’re looking at a generation of kids who could have daily consumption taught to them as a meaningful, educational experience. If education gets in bed with corporations to this extent, we’re looking at a school system with the potential that teachers will only have access to the propaganda provided; will everything taught be a reflection of the best interests of the company, rather than the best interests of the student? It’s one thing to have school boards sign up with corporations to provide poor quality food that’s void of any nutrition value, but this?
For McDonalds to attempt to remediate the traditional apprenticeship programs to make its agenda seem altruistic and in the best interest of the mass, to me, is completely offensive. While I am aware that conventional education involving classroom settings and text books are not productive for everyone, and that hands on training and experience are key in giving students skills, this is just ridiculous. I am not appreciative of is the idea that the North American class room has the potential to become just another staple that could be seen anywhere in the world – a place with no relevance outside of its consumerist context -- a wonderful non-place where you can get your fries and education too.
Furthermore, let’s look at the definition of a “McJob:” “A job, usually in the retail or service sector, that is low paying, often temporary, and offers minimal or no benefits or opportunity for promotion” (http://www.answers.com/mcjob&r=67)
Yes, let’s encourage children to go towards this sort of work. Aim high kids, aim high!
With proposal of such a ludicrous curriculum in the works, I wasn’t at all surprised to find a blog article that described McDonald’s attempt last year to banish the current definition of the word “McJob”(http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/comm-oddities/2007/03/mcdonald
If the McDonald’s corporation can make the word have friendly, inviting connotations, if they teach the children how to work for them, they’ll ensure that the McDonald’s corporation will continue their legacy of tasty French fries and Justin Timberlake jingled commercials for the future generation that will have no choice but to work for them. And with a little time and encouragement, the future McDonald’s staff will be loving it.
Bolter, J. David and Richard Grusin. Remediation. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
Remediation. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999.
“History, calculus and McDonald's? Chain to serve up high school credits.” CBC.ca. 28
Jauary 2008. http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2008/01/28/mcdonalds-credits.html
"McDonald's wants a break today: 'McJob' definition must go.” Comm-odities. 22 March2007. 28 January,
“McJob.” Answers.com. 28 January 2008. <http://www.answers.com/mcjob&r=67>