The MACE Manifesto: The Politically Incorrect, Irreverent, and Scatological Examination of What’s Wrong with American Public Education is a gonzoistic examination of what is wrong with the institution known as American Public Education. In this Gonzo style of writing, Dr. John Trotter and Mr. Norreese Haynes make no high-minded pretenses of being objective but give colorful and compelling explanations of what are the real problems of public education, not what the so-called “school reformers” think are the problems. Trotter and Haynes bewail the teaching conditions in America’s public schools and especially in the urban schools. They often cite the MACE Mantra: “You cannot have good learning conditions until you first have good teaching conditions.”
Trotter and Haynes contend that the so-call school reform efforts are misplaced, misguided, and cause much more harm than good. These efforts start, according to Trotter and Haynes, from a false premise, viz., that the teaching corps is the problem with our public schools. They, however, write that the number one problem in the public schools today is that power has been taken away from the teachers. They contend that teachers have been denuded of power and influence over student discipline and the curriculum that they teach in their classrooms. Trotter and Haynes state that teachers need to be put back on their thrones in their classrooms and that school administrators should get the heck out of the classrooms and quit “snoopervising” the teachers. Instead of micromanaging teachers, good teachers should simply be hired and allowed to have the freedom in the classroom to be creative, and the administrators should back the teachers to the hilt when it comes dealing with rude, defiant, and disruptive students. The authors contend that a loose net will catch any weak or incompetent teacher but a tight net will suffocate creative teachers and drive them out of the profession.
Besides defiant and disruptive students, Trotter and Haynes state that the other major problems in public education are the irate and irresponsible parents; angry, petty, and abusive administrators; systematic cheating on standardized tests as well as on regular tests and assignments; and the treating of most lack of learning as technical breakdowns instead of motivational breakdowns. They rant against the standardized tests which they say have become the curricula as well as “the false gods of public education.” They also bewail the inordinate, onerous, and inane paperwork and meetings that encumber the teachers on a daily basis.
Trotter and Haynes explain that when it comes to mega changes like the pushing of Common Core Standards throughout the nation’s schools (which through the backdoor becomes the national curriculum), it really is “all about the money.” They see the push for Common Core by Bill and Melinda Gates and Pearson Education as the attempt to take over the American schools by nationalizing and homogenizing the curriculum. But, Trotter and Haynes contend that “local control” of the curriculum is very important because each community is different with different needs. Trotter and Haynes see U. S. Secretary Arne Duncan and the controversial Michelle Rhee as the “acolytes” doing much of the work for billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, the latter two of whom they call “denizens” in public education.
The MACE Manifesto is organized in six major parts, though there are many sections that stand alone. The major parts of this book are (1) Expounding Theories (19 chapters); (2) Explaining Race (five chapters); Exhaling Rants (21 chapters); (4) Exposing Myths (five chapters and 25 myths); (5) Eviscerating Accreditation; and (6) Exhibiting Appendices (26 appendices).
This book had been described by attorney Preston Haliburton as “a gripping and riveting read” and by educator James Yawn as “the tour-de-force on public education.” © Big Daddy Publishers, 2014.