Skip to main content

In the 1980s, corporate CEOs slowly and systematically began taking control of our public schools by pushing current major education reform known as "High Standards for All" or "High Stakes Testing".  CEOs from Accenture, American Express, AIG, Exxon Mobil, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, Morgan Stanley, and 145 other big businesses currently serve as members of the Business Roundtable, the association pushing the agenda for our public schools.

I've created this diary to examine the conventional wisdom regarding public education in the U.S., starting with this C.W.:  "Businesses Know Best What Kind of Schools We Need".  

The impetus for the Business Roundtable's education agenda included both the Civil Rights Movement and the weakening of the U.S. automobile industry. Kathy Emery, Executive Director of the San Francisco Freedom Summer School Program, writes in her dissertation, "The Business Roundtable and Systemic Reform: How Corporate-Engineered High Stakes Testing Has Eliminated Community Participation in Developing Educational Goals and Policies":

In education, one manifestation of such [Civil Rights] organizing was the increase in the number of educators promoting student-centered, interdisciplinary, experiential, and multi-cultural education and an increase in the number of school boards allowing such education into the classroom. These events threatened to challenge a dominant culture and political process that was fundamentally dependent on racism. The cultural and political challenge to the status quo of the sixties was made more serious by the invasion of Toyota trucks and cars. ... Corporate CEOs turned to educational reform as one of several means to address the economic, political and cultural challenges of the post-Cold War era. They did so because business leaders have always seen the educational system as both a means to "externalize" training costs as well as a means to socialize a citizenry to support the national interest (as defined by business). [emphasis mine]

The Business Roundtable (BRT) has grown tremendously since it came to consensus in 1989 as to its educational agenda. In the last 20 years the BRT has worked to:
•Set the agenda for President Bush’s 1989 National Goals Education Summit
•influence the training of superintendents and school board members
•train people to start other organizations that push standardized, high stakes testing in schools
•create an organization that provides pro-business agenda information to the media
•seat members on the Education Commission of the States
•replace school boards, or make them mayorally elected
•partner with dozens of state and national business organizations, state and federal governments, private foundations and non-profit organizations
•lobby state governors and legislators for its pro-big-business agenda
•pressure teacher unions and parents to conform to their agenda
•create state-level BRTs in every state
•meet with President-Elect Obama to influence his transition teams

These just hit the highlights, but it's clear that the BRT has its tentacles in every facet of influence over education policy. As the BRT's influence grows, community, parent, and teacher influence has become almost non-existent,and our "national interest" becomes framed by failing and misguided corporations.

Next post: The BRT’s agenda and why progressives should organize a counter-movement.

Originally posted to jenbie44 on Fri Nov 21, 2008 at 09:25 AM PST.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site