Here's a new one for the ol' Reformy Thesaurus: the "Opportunity Culture" in education.
Sure sounds good, doesn't it? Who doesn't want our American kids to have more opportunities in life? Except--oops--this campaign, rolled out by Public Impact, is actually about opportunities for "teacherpreneurs" to make more money by teaching oversized classes--and of course, for school districts to seize that same opportunity to save money through "innovative" staffing models.
How did this exciting window of opportunity emerge? Public Impact explains:
That's a whole lot of leaping and surging. Unfortunately, it's based on a faux statistic, sitting triumphantly on a pyramid of dubious research, prettied up with some post-modern infographics. Like other overhyped blah-blah of "reform"--the "three great teachers in a row" myth, for example, or nearly every "fact" in Waiting for Superman--it's a triumph of slick media slogans over substance. A quick look at the Opportunity Culture Advisory Team tells you what the real purpose of the OC is: cutting teachers, privatizing services, plugging charters and cultivating a little astroturf to cover the scars.
The Opportunity Culture's bold plan begins with a policy recommendation: Schools should be required by law to identify the top 25% of their teachers. Then, once that simple task is completed, OC suggests ten exciting new models for staffing schools, beginning with giving these excellent teachers a lot more students (plus a merit pay carrot) and ending with enlisting "accountable remote teachers down the street or across the nation" who would "provide live, but not in-person instruction while on-site teammates manage administrative duties and develop the whole child."
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