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Automated Teaching Machine: A Graphic Introduction to the End of Human Teachers

2013 0805cb (Image: Arthur King)“The machine lasts indefinitely. It gets no wrinkles, no arthritis, no hardening of the arteries . . . Two machines replace 114 men that take no coffee breaks, no sick leaves, no vacations with pay,” proclaims the watch-twirling, hard-hearted CEO Wallace V. Whipple in a particularly prescient 1964 episode of The Twilight Zone. Despite the emotional pleas of the workers and their union, Whipple robo-sources 250,000 factory jobs to the “X109B14 modified, transistorized, totally automated machine.” The machine – a cardboard prop filled with vacuum tubes, twirling doo-dads and feverishly blinking diodes may be hilariously outdated, laughable even. But less laughable, though, is that this cautionary tale has come to pass: Today, 50 years later, American workers need not only compete with foreign labor, but with automatons. It’s no longer science fiction, but common-sense corporate practice.

Mr. Whipple was not a warning, but rather, a muse.

Nowhere has Mr. Whipple inspired more watch-twirling CEOs of late than in the Global Education Reform Movement, which seeks to privatize public education. Last year, Adam Bessie profiled this movement – lead by billionaires, industrialists and the Wall Street elite – in a three-part comic series with graphic journalist Dan Archer “The Disaster Capitalism Curriculum: The High Price of Education Reform” (See also episode II, and episode III).

Now, it’s time to see the next phase in the corporate takeover of public education – automation. While the corporate media hails the mechanization of education as another sign of progress toward a techno-utopia, Adam teams up with fellow community college instructor and illustrator Arthur King to give readers another perspective in this nonfiction comic, based on extensive research, and their personal experience as veteran educators.

Needless to say, Mr. Whipple does not approve.

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