Arne Duncan, Obama’s Secretary of Education noted parents have a right to know how effective teachers are at raising standardized test scores. That of course begs the question of how effective standardized tests are at measuring learning. How much of this new push for what looks like a factory quality control measure has come about because of private for profit education corporation campaign dollars buying education policy?
Those of us who teach know how completely flawed an idea this is. That is because this will reward those who do nothing but teach the test. And it also codifies the ideological based curriculum guides being written by people with a political agenda to sell. I have too much respect for my role as a teacher to sell my students learning out to some politically motivated set of tests where I am competing for my job with those who have no moral compunction against cheating by teaching the test, and cheating their students out of an education in the process.
In California, the state Education Secretary Bonnie Reiss weighed in on this idea of Duncan’s stating, ” Publishing data is not about demonizing teachers it is going to produce a more market driven approach to results.” But is a market driven approach the best set of ideas or is it the marketing of a political philosophy set on selling out our public education system to the same Corporate America that is busy making America an economic third world country because of profitable globalization strategies that are stripping the wealth out of this country?
Can you guarantee freedom of academic ideas when corporations who want docile employee’s who won’t demand raises and might want sound environmental and energy policies that mitigate against industry profits are controlling what is taught and are using standardized testing to make sure the company line is towed?
In this debate about whether our public system is failing, teachers failing or some other factor or a combination of many factors that are causing the system to fail has anyone really explored all the variables or just the most politically profitable one? Has anyone asked is this special interest version of academia really reform? Is public education really failing? Is this solution of Duncan’s the best solution or the most politically expedient and profitable solution?
Any serious consideration of education should begin by questioning is treating children’s minds and the world of ideas as just raw materials and testing as the factory quality control module that enables us to measure if a teacher ( line production education worker ) is producing a standardized finished product or not is the most accurate and just way to measure learning and teaching effectiveness.
Any serious evaluation of our education system might want to look at how teachers are taught to teach and whether we continue to enable teachers to be creative and innovative with lesson plans and teaching. The answers to these questions might help us assess why over half of each years graduating teachers leave the profession by their third year out of school.
That doesn’t even get into whether Duncan and company want to get rid of American teachers so they can then claim a shortage of good quality teachers and manipulate the H1B Visa system to import hundreds of cheap low wage imported teachers who are graduates of online schools in their native countries that will enable them to get U.S. teaching certificates. That would save school districts millions in wages and may be Duncan’s real motivation in creating a factory model of teaching production. The creation of a cookie cutter method of instruction that would not require you to know much about our nation to teach our children is what other industries have done while trumpeting reform to cut their costs and still pretend they are maintaining quality and that they really do care about more than saving money. .
Experience has taught me to be skeptical of so called great reformers in my time. They have always been like the Trojan horse coming armed with a hidden agenda. I fear that Duncan’s new accountability push has little to do with the quality of our children’s education. Union busting in every industry has been the prelude to outsourcing and insourcing of cheap less skilled labor to increase profits or lower expenses or both. Quality has suffered every time because ultimately you get what you pay for.
Unfortunately for Arne Duncan and Barrack Obama and the education fraud I believe they are perpetrating, there are enough good creative and ethical teachers around who know creativity and teaching a child to think critically are not measurable on standardized test and we will stand up to them. But then do you really think those in power want the average person to be able to think for themselves. If you could who would listen to Limbaugh, Fox News or Glenn Beck and who would willingly accept what has been done to this nation.
For a great education web site that has some transcribed documents that can only be seen on microfilm at Pa. Museum and Historical commission on microfilm or on this site go to http://smithrebellion1765.com