Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Complicit Accomplices of Education Reform

This post comes as a result of a posting to Jay P. Greene's blog for an article titled, "Gates Foundation Follies Part 2" (I would've used the French, deux in homage to the comedies of Leslie Nielson!).

Though I agree with Greene 100% when it comes to his thoughts on Bill Gates, I am constantly irritated by the reach-back to educational choice in nearly every one of his blogs - as though CHOICE is the ONLY manner of saving public education at this time. My favorite - total dismantling of the Federal Department of Education - is never mentioned unless to discuss the folly of such an idea as impossible.

While reading the Gates blog, I was stunned to see another man retorting to several of Greene's comments. Though I'm afraid he was talking over my head, this blogger definitely made my ears perk up with his last post.

What is irresistible about that? “Out with the old, in with the new,” is not exactly the best maxim to live by.

Besides my point, and I’m sorry if it wasn’t clear, was that the social and governing ideologies are “management” or “business” ideologies and these infect all organizations in some ways. Thus the original idea of unionization is still valid and necessary, more than ever, as a protection against the manipulations of wealth and power.

You point out the dwindling, and as you’re on this blog I assume you approve of such, as if it is somehow going to lead to some kind of prosperous future that has been “held back” due to the evils of cooperation and the integrity and dignity of communities of workers.

The Broadsides are clear in their intent as pieces of agitprop to serve the masters of wealth–your masters I assume. They will step on you too in the end, I fear, and you will have been complicit in every action.

After reading this, I couldn't help but respond with the comments below:

Interestingly, while I feel I can 'sense', if you will, a spirit of egalitarianism in Mr. Storm's postings which makes my brain bleed, I do actually see with true clarity the brilliance in his last sentence.

"They will step on you too in the end, I fear, and you will have been complicit in every action."

School Choice is NOT the answer to our current "we have big schools, spend lots of money, build huge bureaucracies all while teaching kids virtually nothing" education crisis. School choice is a ruse. School choice is the avenue for more federalized control over education through vouchers and tax credits, both of which will eventually render inert the only REAL choices in education right now - home schooling and private schooling.

Yes, it is true and even Coulson at CATO is beginning to sound the alarm over vouchers. My inherent distrust of all things federal government (I'm a firm believer in Reagan's thoughts on the issue - "I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you"...) make me keenly aware that ANY avenue utilized to propel school choice is ostensibly to find avenues for the tentacles of the federal government through it's entrenched programming - such as the American's with Disabilities Act - into the lives of families and children who simply want nothing more than to have an UNREGULATED 'choice'.

That this idea is embraced by 'Republicans' or Conservatives - or whatever they're termed (opposite liberals, progressives or Democrats) makes them in fact complicit as Storm suggests - at least in jumping the conservative principles of 'personal freedom' and 'free market' for the 'trendy', 'shiny' education 'reform' ideas covering the dark chocolaty center of statism.

As an example; Jeb Bush jumped headlong into the education crisis fray with his Foundation for Excellence in Education. Since he is a Republican and his dad and brother were Republican presidents of these United States he MUST know much more about education than any of us, so Republicans and conservative education policy wonks follow him into this foray head first.

The Chiefs for Change portion of this organization has published their manifesto of what they want seen in the re-authorization of the ESEA. Please note how it is nearly exclusively dictating MORE federal control. A Republican dictating MORE federal control? In a down economy? When government has spent itself into oblivion? Isn't this statist - which is NOT Republican? I'm confused.

Maybe we should also point out that Jeb's dad signed America up for the UNESCO World Declaration on Education for All, globalizing education in America - also very Republican.

To this we could add that his brother G.W., took Clinton's ESEA re-authorization, "Improving America's Schools Act", amped up the AYP nonsense and simply re-labeled it "No Child Left Behind" - now arguably one of the greatest failures in education 'reform'. From Democrat president to Republican president, education 'reform' became 'reform' in fact because the name was changed.

Additionally, the younger Bush's Foundation for Excellence is embracing wholeheartedly the idea of 21st Century Skills. If you go to the p21.org website (Partnership for 21st Century Skills) you can download a 'white paper' there that details their mission and framework for their program. In it, you will find that p21 principles rest solely on the backs of Dewey, Vygotsky and Piaget - 3 of the most openly Socialist/Marxist members of education 'reform' at the turn of the last century. VERY Republican, yet no conservative/Republican seems to be very offended by this fact and in fact, many openly welcome this in the name of 'education reform'.

The Foundation for Excellence also embraces nearly every portion of the Core Curriculum State Standards initiative (including the onerous and very 1984 idea of collecting lots and lots of data on school children all in the name of getting them to graduate high school) excepting that of school choice.

I fear that those on the 'right' of the spectrum are most DEFINITELY being led into the category of useful idiots by those on the 'left' of the political spectrum who have controlled educational framework, access and rhetoric since before even Dewey. It appears that we are falling blind to what has been growing slowly before our eyes for nearly a century and even those who wish to be labeled 'education reformers' are now nothing more than accomplices to its demise.