Saturday, April 28, 2012

NO to Education Reform. YES to Education Redefined.

The Corporatocracy of America has set its claws on dismantling public education by blitzing the populace with Orwellian tactics.
Spread Fear with Misinformation:  failing schools, outdated educational system maintaining the status quo, lagging behind, shortcomings of schools pose national security threat
Denial of Truth:  Refuses to admit or find solutions to the  equity and  poverty problem plaguing our nation, which especially effects our children.
Manipulate support with Propaganda Doublespeak:  Education Reform, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, Common Core embedded with 21st Century Skills
Impose Surveillance and Limit Divergent Thinking: States' Department of Education have reorganized their education support into an Office of Accountability.  This office's responsibility is to closely monitor and evaluate teacher practice through bogus accountability measures. Also, the purpose of the Core Curriculum is to create a national database on every student.
So, who are we?  Who are we that resist?

Some want to save our schools.  Others are against testing, or wish to dump the nation's superintendent. Some belong to Opt Out groups, or home-school to avoid the mess altogether.  But again, collectively,  "Who are we?"

Before we answer that question, consider R Gary Valliant's paraphrased comment on Teaching and Learning in Hostile Times : "The purpose of public education has always been to produce compliant workers for the corporatocracy."   Whether you accept that as truth or not, I believe I speak for most in saying this is also not what we fight for today.

In his comment Valliant later asks, "do you want to save public education, or redefine it?"  

That is who I believe we are.  We are the ones fighting to redefine a public education system where the very ethos of the democracy our founding fathers envisioned can exist.  We fight for a public education system where students learn to reason, to coexist, and create a society where unalienable rights and the pursuit of the American dream are achieved as never before.   

Even if the corporatocracy could fulfill its promise of delivering the "Skills of the 21st Century," of what use will be they be to a generation devoid of these basic civil liberties?

Let us not just protest our interests, or save our schools, or opt out of testing.  Let us work to redefine education.


  1. "Who are we?" is maybe not the most immediate question. Perhaps we must first figure out how to gain the space to define ourselves. Regardless of differences, small groups ought to share the goal of self determination and should be willing to stand together to demand it. In this particular struggle, tearing down the monolithic structures that have been put in place to ensure national conformity is the key.

  2. R. Gary Valiant, again I agree and follow your lead.

    How do we gain the space? I believe, for teachers, it is by reclaiming the union. Please understand, by that I do not mean you pay up your membership and let them go to bat for you. I mean, we become an active group working together in this struggle. We put our energy and vest our time in redefining education, not in tasks for the corporatocracy that is repressing us.

  3. I believe that following the money is the way to to "truth" as much is there is a "truth" behind any large scale change initiative undertaken by government.

    If you consider that the big money is either spoken for or has dried up in the previously lucrative areas of government spending - defense, insurance/medical, pharma, energy - it was natural that the hoary eyes of big business would settle on education.

    When, empirically-speaking, there was no crisis, a crisis was manufactured and a "common sense" private sector "solution" was proffered to "fix" a system that really wasn't broken.

    A two pronged attack on education was undertaken - first the drive to privatize the schools through bogus efficacy metrics schemes that showed them all as failing, and then union busting.

    The banks wanted their share of the loot, and one of the last, vast and untouched piles of money left is that which is sitting in state pension funds. This drove economists to manufacture a "pension crisis" that doesn't exist, so the unions (and their members) could be smeared as lazy and greedy, living a lavish lifestyle off the public teat while the good, hardworking folks of the states struggled to pay for their summers off. Naturally, privatizing of the pension funds is crucial to keeping them solvent, so the staid, responsible fellows at Goldman Sachs are being tasked with "saving" them. But the reality is, they will be robbed of 30% of their value that goes directly into banker bonuses.

    The real crisis at this point is in the way that public opinion has shifted from supporting educators to viewing them as venal and inept - thus presenting opportunities to shift the flow of money away from actual educators and toward private educational "consultants" with the promise that they would make things better.

    You see where I'm going with this? At the end of the day, this has really been about taking your money and benefits away and privatizing them. The public is behind it because the mainstream media has run endless stories about bad teachers that they managed to paint the entire occupation with that broad brush.

    So... how do you fight back?

    I see the tactical approach as being to undermine the idea that money should be directed away from classrooms to consultants who in reality bring no value.

    The taxpayer cares about how their tax dollars are spent. It's crucial to make them understand that their money is being totally wasted via reform.

    Strategically, I believe that funding for education should be decoupled from property taxes and come from the states' general funds, so there is greater equity in funding across the board. That's actually something that could potentially have legs - homeowners would probably be happy to support it.

    Anyway, I have lots of ideas, but I'm not an educator, just a parent with two public school kids, so I'm no expert, but I'd be glad to help develop a strategy for countering this looting of education - I'm just sick of the theft of our futures.

  4. I follow and very much like the discussions here:

    They are on FB too.