Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reformer motivation . . .

Amy is good at feeding me posts and articles focused on the reform movement, especially those against much of what is unfolding in today’s public schools.  One of her favorites is Diane Ravitch a champion of public schools and a fierce critic of the reform movement.  In this piece she questions the real goal of the reform movement.  Is it focused on creating better environments and learning for young people or is it focused on breaking the unions and toppling public schools as we know them to be replaced by privatization of all public schools?

The more conversations I have about the entire “reform” movement, the more convinced I am that it’s really about disbanding teacher unions so that the majority of education programs will eventually be part of a private industry thus paving the way for the privatizing of all public systems.

To support her argument she cites the regulations that public schools must work within compared to the freedom that charter schools are given.  She believes that the system being created by policy makers focused on test scores and teacher evaluations tied to them is designed for failure so that the real goal of privatization can be achieved.

It’s as if these policy-makers have found a way to rig the game: Create new rules that make for impossible goals and then watch a good system that serves the public fail under these new rules. They have set up the game so that the players will fail no matter what–IF you believe the rules are sound.

I do not believe that this is the driver for reform in our state as we still do not have charters and I want to believe that it is not the driver for the majority of policy makers and foundations supporting reform.  I do, however, believe that the coming Common Core assessments will give reformers that may be aligned with the goal of privatization additional leverage in the battle.  Those initial results across the nation and in our state will raise questions as to how well we are preparing young people for these college and career standards.  Will the charters and other private schools be faced with the same challenge or will their students not take the assessments?  If not, it doesn’t seem like a fair playing field. 

What is your reaction to this Ravitch post?

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

Diane Ravitch's books are well worth reading. She has an amazing background and extensive research and she keeps her finger on the pulse of today's movements in education though active participation in high level national appointments.

I always learn so much from reading her texts. If you check out some of her books from the library, maybe you'll come to the same conclusions about the reform movement, maybe not, but I guarantee you'll learn much about our place in the history of educational development.