We are living through what future historians will surely describe as one of the darkest eras in American education -- a time when teachers, as well as the very idea of democratic public education, came under attack; when carrots and sticks tied to results on terrible tests were sold to the public as bold "reform"; when politicians who understand nothing about learning relied uncritically on corporate models and metaphors to set education policy; when the goal of schooling was as misconceived as the methods, framed not in terms of what children need but in terms of "global competitiveness" -- that is, how U.S. corporations can triumph over their counterparts in other countries.
There will come a time when people will look back at this era and ask, "How the hell could they have let this happen?" (Source)
At some point, when I have more time, I want to do an anlysis of the language used by corporate ed. reformers. It uses words like "achievement", " data-driven", "accountability", "performance-based", and "incentives".
Parents and educators need to understand better than they do that this mentality is destroying the traditional humanistic foundation for the American public education and replacing it with a technocratic one. In a technocracy the only thing that matters are bureaucratic mandates and the things that can be measured, i.e., the quantitative. The qualitative doesn't count, but the qualitative is all, really, that matters. Ask yourselves what you want for your kids or grandkids: Do you want teachers whose primary motivation is to boost your child's test scores or teachers whose primary motivation is to help to unfold your child's potential over time. Achievement is important, but it's secondary to healthy development.
Do we want kids whose primary skill is in taking tests and gaming the system, or do we want kids who have developed the intrinsic motivation to become lifelong learners? That's the most important skill schools need to teach--how to learn, how to process and communicate the barrage of information that will inundate them at work and in their private lives. We want our schools to develop in their students adaptive, supple minds that are curious and comfortable with complexity. And that means something different for every child.
That's certainly not something we're seeing from our political elites, whose simplistic, fear-based thinking and primitive motivations are leading this country to the brink. And the last thing we want is these foolish, out-of-touch people dictating what we must do in our schools. That's why I'm running for school board--to push back against this insanity. The current board, especially the incumbents running for election this cycle, have been far too comfortable with this wrong-headed technocratic mentality. They proved it when they extended Maria Goodloe-Johnson's contract earlier thise year and raised her salary to the north side of $260K. If nothing else--and there is so much else--that alone is reason to vote them out.