Et tu Ar-nay?
The new numbers from the World Economic Forum have the US ranked a fine 7th out of 144 nations on overall competitiveness. We were recently ranked 2nd. What is more important about these statistics is the story behind them. When we dig deeper we find out that US K-12 Education has been scapegoated as usual.
The Economic Forum noted that distrust in government is a major reason for the slip in ranking. There is concern about the ability of government to avoid getting too close to private industry and the ability to spend wisely.
What we have seen as the US dropped from 2nd to 7th is a massive and growing diversion of funds away from regular public schools. We have seen money diverted to charter schools, private schools, and TESTING. We have also seen the private sector try a coup and take control of public education through virtual schools and profit hungry charters. States like Florida also drain money from public schools into private schools. The relationship between state governments- fueled by dirty money from “Race to the Top” and other federal scams- and private industry is frightening. Arne Duncan is the cosmic wrench- clogging up the system. He is Uncle Sugar with strings that would fluster any marionette.
The way our federal, state, and local governments are scapegoating public education, mirrors the concerns of the World Economic Forum. The fact that we are as high as 7th overall is a tribute to workers. These workers are educated here by teachers fighting billion dollar bandits. We are turning out great workers and thinkers despite the malevolent relationship between government and private corporations. And the problem is that we are fighting against 23% child poverty while government and privateers have forced common core on us- another diversion. The answer to poverty is always MORE TESTING and BLAME SCHOOLS.
The PROBLEM is that money diverted to the educational testing complex is rising each year. More and more funds are diverted away from traditional public schools for virtual labs and credit recovery scams. Private industry gets millions each year to run tutoring sessions. Private industry, unlike public education, teaches to the lowest common denominator- cost/profit. Public education seeks to raise the lowest common denominator- to free thinking excellence and a well-rounded education unfettered by government testing and onerous regulations. When will we be allowed to do so?