Exposing Ed Reform- Volume One
“Volume One” consists of a quote by education historian Lawrence Cremin- author of Popular Education and Its Discontents. Cremin correctly points out that fiscal and monetary policy determine economic competitiveness. Politicians and their allies love to scapegoat schools to distract from bad policy. This is how the likes of ALEC, Tony Bennett (and the rest of the chiefs), Arne Duncan, David Coleman, Michelle Rhee and Jeb Bush like to distract from their harmful education agenda. Test scores are their political hammer- and they fight to keep it. Common Core is a velvet cover for the hammer. The extra testing creates a manufactured crisis (see Berliner and Biddle) to justify the hammer.
The “reform” (sic) crowd loves to scare us into thinking test sores = economic greatness. Of course this is anti-evidence. Test scores generally run along socioeconomic lines (see Bracey, Krashen, Berliner). The US has always been ranked at or near the top in dozens of economic competitiveness measures (see World Economic Forum). Are schools failing? Of course not. Did I mention that the US is a leader in child poverty (see UNICEF)? Did I mention that our non-poverty students score at the top of the world on international tests? Does it matter? Nope. As someone with nearly 30 years in the classroom, I can tell you that standardized test scores offer some of the least valuable information I get about students. We do not have a standards or teacher quality problem as NEA, AFT, IRA, ASCD, USDOE and NCTE want you to believe. Schools are always scapegoated for poverty, violence, bad public policy and other ills of society.
And here is the quote from Dr. Cremin that sums it up…
“… to conclude that problems of international competitiveness can be solved by educational reform, especially educational reform defined solely as school reform, is not merely utopian and millennialist, it is at best a foolish and at worst a crass effort to direct attention away from those truly responsible for doing something about competitiveness and to lay the burden instead on the schools.”