"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

Search This Blog

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Educational Reform: It's All George Bush's Fault! Or Right Wing Corporate Greed!

Does this book have ALEC's name on it or the president's?  Who should shoulder the blame for ed reform policies? Rightwing (and other) organizations or Obama?

We have four more years of Obama's educational blueprint.  Some progressives believe this blueprint is being written by right wing organizations.  The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been tagged as right wing because it is funded by private corporations to boost corporate power and profits.  It establishes model legislation for states to use in education as well as other areas.  Think of it as private corporations tapping into taxpayer funding via legislative models (such as charter schools).  StudentsFirst also fits the mold of wanting to create more quasi private/public programs, but founder Michelle Rhee is a Democrat.  Like the heavily demonized right wing organizations, she apparently also loves money, power and control and has fit herself nicely in the "free market" niche that really isn't "free market".  Her TFA program and push for charter schools uses taxpayer money for private companies, which does not meet the test of a true "free market".   She is not technically rightwing (because of her political affiliation) but she certainly fits the mold of private corporations determining how tax money is spent.

Whether or not the organizations funding these "reforms" are left or right is inconsequential and the privatization blame of the educational system should not be placed on the corporations.  These organizations are just doing what corporations are allowed to do via political decisions.  The politicians and appointed officials are the ones to hold responsible in educational legislation, mandates and waste of billions of dollars.  Obama and Arne Duncan are regulating and/or mandating Race to the Top state and district grants, common core standards, teacher evaluations, FERPA revisions.....but  many progressives believe Obama was still the best presidential candidate even though he went against their educational ideas.  Government officials have the power to allow the corporations to use private money in a "free market" ruse and they are ultimately responsible for the privatization of education.

Whether or not Romney would have restored educational control to the states, we'll never know.  I'm not holding my breath that Obama's associate and friend Bill Ayers' letter imploring Obama to change his educational stance will make one iota of difference in the centralization/privatization of education.  It doesn't matter to Obama which private corporations/think tanks are providing services necessary to implement the Federal mandates. Disappointed progressives should be holding politicians/appointed officials accountable for allowing this transformation of education to occur.  When Race to the Top funding was approved, the Democrats controlled the House, the Senate and the White House.  The politicians and appointed officials are the ones are responsible for these mandates stagnating public education, not the "right wing" educational cabal now profiting from this legislative decision.

Do you believe George Bush's NCLB was bad?  It was.  So what does Obama do when he assumed office? Did he relax federal standards and mandates?   Not by a long shot. He pursued RTTT, teacher accountability tied to test scores, waivers to NCLB (referred to as NCLB on steroids) and financial help to states by requiring them to sign on to common core standards.  However, the educational progressives believe Obama is preferable to a candidate who at least espoused states' rights for educational decisions.

We will probably witness four more years of mandates that the Federal Government can't fund and neither can the states or districts.  Teachers will complain, students will perform badly on common tests, and public education will decline even further.  Private corporations (whether from the left or right side of the aisle) will realize tidy profits as a result of the federal mandates on what constitutes a good education (more computers, common assessments, etc).  Meanwhile the progressives will blame it all on the "right" wing school choice organizations (even as some are made up of dedicated Democrats) instead of where it belongs: the Obama administration and the Democratically controlled Congress and Senate in 2008-2010.

Why George Bush is a target for the progressives for his poor educational decisions while Obama deflects criticism for even more onerous educational policies is puzzling.  Right wing organizations  keep getting blamed for educational failure, privatization of public schools and wasted funding.  The blame belongs with the politicians allowing this to occur, both on the national and state level.  But somehow, I bet this is still George Bush's fault.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it clean and constructive. We reserve the right to delete comments that are profane, off topic, or spam.

Site Meter