This diary is based on a comment that I left on an edweek article today, that told of the rift in public education between the wealthy, know nothing deformers, like Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, and Arnie Duncan, and those of us in the trenches who know all the 'Reforms" are really modeled on ideological beliefs.
Read on to see my comment:
The crisis in American education began when we discovered that our comparable, international test scores ranked the US well below many other nations, where only the elite attend secondary schools. What we knew then, and what we know now, is that when one adjusts the scores for poverty using Free and Reduced Lunch program data, we have the highest performing schools in the world. We also have the highest rate of poverty among first world economies. But instead of fighting poverty, we have decided to fight teachers and the public school education system.I'm heading toward the end of my career, but I will always stand up for public schools. I attended K-12 in public schools and my BA and M.ED were from the excellent state college and university system in New Jersey. I have worked in the third world country of Arizona for a good part of my adult life, and I know the difference.
The privitizers, wealthy and ideological, promulgate the myth of a failing American public school system. Just today, I heard Jim DeMint of the Heritage Foundation, while interviewed by NPR, refer to American education as a failing system. There was no follow up question.
"Reformers" like Gates, Duncan, ALEC and Rhee, who have the media's ear and the policy contacts, influence state legislatures to mandate test-based programs that will flunk most of the schools the children of the poor attend. Then, they use that test data to create legislation that funds charters, often run by profiteers. The southern state legislators also create tax credit schemes to fund private school programs, and in AZ, help fill the coffers of legislators who created the legislation.
David Berliner debunked the "manufactured crisis," in 1995, and Diane Ravitch and those of us in the trenches of this field for 30 or so years have picked up the torch. Educators are not failing public education. Education policy is failing public education.
I'll say it again. Educators are not failing public education. Education policy is failing public education.