Schools are, as you know, full of innocent young people searching for knowledge and self-expression on their way to becoming the foundation of a productive and peaceful society. But that isn’t the worst of it, they also contain teachers who dedicate their lives to the service of others, giving up money, appreciation, ambition, and prestige without a second thought. As you concentrate on the big picture of your evil reign, do not neglect to exterminate the small-scale stirrings of decency in your local center of learning, lest it prove your undoing in the end. Even the neophyte evildoer can bring out an awe-inspiring amount of degradation, over time, working at the grassroots level to undermine the abstract educational ideal that human senses cannot perceive. Working on your side is the inexorable slide toward entropy that is the surest way to ensure that what was once a point of pride in the neighborhood will become an embarrassing wreck fit only for the salvage price of the copper in its walls.
- Less is more. More students crammed into less space with fewer resources makes for a seething cauldron of productive discontent. If they lined up all their years for every little thing from gym use to bathroom facilities, they will be that much less likely to line up to try to save it after it is in its decline.
- Curriculum gaming. Lard it up with fluff and trivia which have nothing to do with learning or study. Blow the minor areas of study up out of proportion, and take a soft approach to the core subjects. When the alumni realize how poorly prepared they ended up, they may well take the place down with their own bare hands.
- Keep the teachers busy. Testing, testing, testing. Working on grant proposals to stock their barren classrooms and to supplement their own meager incomes. And oh the clerical work.
- Activities are your friends. It is the easiest thing in the world to whip up sports fan hysteria, even among citizens who never attended the school in question. If you can arrange to seed a couple of celebrities among your youngsters the amount of distraction from the business of learning may be worth the slight expense.
- The taxpayers. Remind them of the cost of the schools, particularly if it happens to be someone else's children being serviced. Better yet, cast aspersions on the amorphous figure of “the Government” and its incomprehensible size and thus divert attention away from the actual youngsters being cut off from support.
- Decrepitude. A few well-placed handfuls of asbestos-laced dust, a splash of lead paint here or there, a broken window which never seems to be repaired. See if you can start a health scare which will have the parents clamoring to have the building torn down.
Strokes of genius
- Crumbling buildings. Do not be to impatient to see the main load-bearing walls slump down into dust. These are typically the last to go, long after neglect and vandalism have claimed the chalkboards, the linoleum floors, the light fixtures, and the wall treatments. As long as no one alive still remembers or cares about the unsightly heap, these masonry remnants will stand as a testament to your malignant influence.
- Stir them up. Make life among the little wretches interesting by insinuating racial, or class, or national origin wedges between them. Just because you think they all look the same does not mean it is not easy to magnify the differences they see among themselves, bringing their own destruction and that of their school.
- A self-perpetuating cycle. As the school declines, so does the neighborhood, and so will the region as the populace sinks into ignorance and apathy. Also, vice versa, so if you have measures drawn up to erode the social network surrounding a school, rest assured that these will corrode their way inwards as well.
- For want of a nail. Perhaps when it's time to paint the walls, one can arrange to have them use watered-down primer, or no primer at all. Help pay for the cost of the new library security system by discontinuing subscriptions to a couple of encyclopedias and keeping the old atlas. Pretty soon the whole thing will be in tatters, and will require only a little push (a hurricane, maybe, or a business cycle) to bring it all down.
Traps for mere fools
- Tipping your hand. There is no need to denigrate the school or its staff. You may publicly repeat all the fine words said in support of the educational establishment, while laboring behind the scenes
- Zealous former students. The best way to handle the defenders of the old place is to emphasize the contrast between the halcyon olden days and these debased times. Perhaps one small little thing which has not been preserved between the past and the present can serve as a disproportionate symbol of the discontinuity between the two.
- The stench of excellence. If the school in question is in danger of doing well in some area, whether that be academics, athletics, test scores, or teacher proficiency it may actually be in your interest to foster the same area at a competing institution (or trick one of your adversaries to help them out for you), just so they can be knocked down off their lofty perch of self-esteem to where you can stifle them with discouragement and mediocrity.
- Contractors with ambitions. The best way to keep tradesmen from seeking to rescue the school from the ruin you envision is to entice them over to easier and more lucrative projects elsewhere, free of the bureaucratic red tape and scheduling constraints that cluster around school construction contracts, and let their own self interest take over.
Precious and needful
- Class warfare. The theory of perpetual class struggle lives on and flourishes in the hallways and schoolyards every day, lacking only the uniforms and jackboots of the right and the Molotov cocktails and intricate subterfuge of the left to reveal its true form. Children raised in a police state atmosphere from an early age complete with an ever-present fear of violence upon their persons become ideal recipients of your ministrations in later life, as well as passive citizens who will fail to raise their voices against the destruction of the institution that crushed their own spirits.
- Hidden poisons. Airborne, foodborne, waterborne, and spread by contact: all are effective in the close confines of the school grounds.
- Mass hysteria.
- Anonymous accusations.
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Created by: . Last Modification: Thursday 16 of September, 2010 07:25:59 EDT by .