Posts Tagged ‘education reform’

Sinking Democracy by Selling Education

One stream of the current education reform movement seeks to “unbundle” public schools.   Arguing that the “one size fits all” model of public education doesn’t fit all, its reformers seek school choice, not only as choices between schools, but also as options for commercially supplied curriculum products within schools.

The approach of the “unbundlers” is spelled out in a series of articles in a book edited by Frederick Hess and Bruno Manno: Customized Schooling: Beyond Whole-Group Reform.[1]  Hess is an education scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, while Manno is an official of the Walton Family Foundation, which is known for its advocacy of the privatization of public schools in this country.[2]

Their goal is to pave the way for commercial providers to sell curricular products in response to parental consumer demand. Continue reading

Advertisements

Education “Reform” that Deforms

Teachers are on the “firing line” for everything from failure with students in impoverished neighborhoods, the decline of schools generally, and even the decline of the United States in the global economy.  A broad coalition of “education reform” actors, spanning the political spectrum and extending to the editorial pages of the mainstream media, has come to believe that ineffective teachers, protected by their unions, are responsible for the decline.  The “reformers” are determined to right the listing educational ship.

Joanne Barkan, in a compelling article, analyzes the powerful campaign that promotes such reform, the billionaires that fund it, and the anti-union bias that fuels it.  The implied logic of the coalition is clear: “If we can just get the right kinds of teachers, with the proper teaching strategy in union-free schools, all will be well with education and the U.S.”  Its reform strategy involves universal standardized testing and using student test results to evaluate teachers.  And, if the reformers have their way, teachers can be fired if their students do not raise their test scores to an acceptable level.

Continue reading