The Corporate Education Reformers are becoming increasingly desperate in their goal to privatize public education.
Their original concept was to create a system whereby public schools and their teachers could be made to look like spectacular failures, thereby opening the door to charters schools, vouchers, outsourced curriculum, for-profit testing and the diminishment of teacher unions.
This plan called for high stakes testing, on a massive scale as we have detailed on Join the Future for over 3 years now. Their plan hit a snag. No one who actually has a stake in public education, from parents, students, teachers and administrators thought this "plan" was a very good one.
We'll let one of the biggest Corporate reform boosters explain their failure to enact their agenda:
a great many parents — and a huge fraction of teachers — appear to have had enough. They grump, with some justice, that
- Too much school time is given over to test prep — and the pressure to lift scores leads to cheating and other unsavory practices.
- Subjects and accomplishments that aren’t tested — art, creativity, leadership, independent thinking, etc. — are getting squeezed if not discarded.
- Teachers are losing their freedom to practice their craft, to make classes interesting and stimulating, to act like professionals.
- The curricular homogenizing that generally follows from standardized tests and state (or national) standards represents an undesirable usurpation of school autonomy, teacher freedom, and local control by distant authorities.
- Judging teachers and schools by pupil test scores is inaccurate and unfair, given the kids’ different starting points and home circumstances, the variation in class sizes and school resources, and the many other services that schools and teachers are now expected to provide their students.
If that all sounds familiar it is because that's what everyone opposed to the profiteers have been saying all along.
The high stakes testing and "accountability" however was never their primary goal, so jettisoning it in order to save their real agenda becomes unfortunate but necessary.
From the same article, comes their new prescription:
3. Quality choices.
4. Attaching the money to the child.
More school "choice", more outsourcing of teaching to technology and more money for charters and vouchers. In their desperation, they are revealing their true agenda.
If it was ever about quality and accountability, why would they now argue for even more money to flow to Ohio's failing charter school boondoggle? Why ask for more money for vouchers when the current demand doesn't come close to what's being offered? And if anyone thinks computers are primed to replace teachers in the classroom - go ask students in Reynoldsburg how relevant and rigorous their online education has been these last 3 weeks.
It's time that the people responsible for creating the current mess took a timeout. We don't need another Corporate Education Reform "reboot", we need a whole new conversation.