Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo
If you haven't yet read the New York Times article on what school choice has meant for the children of Detroit, please do. I could not read the piece without tears coming to my eyes and my blood coming to a boil. As I have said in previous posts and as many others have been saying for years, school choice will destroy public education. It has already done so in Detroit.
The Times piece lays bare the true motivation of corporate education reform: to try to get people to focus on schools as the problem, so that they won't look behind the curtain at the real problem facing the country - income inequity. As the historian and social theorist, Michael Katz, put it in the 2003 update to his great book, The Irony of Early Education Reform, "education has been used in America as a way out of public dilemmas - as a painless substitution for the redistribution of wealth." Education reform always fails because it is not meant to succeed; it is only meant to distract us from the real issue.
I have been in education long enough to have been through several reform movements. In 1976, I was appointed to a Pennsylvania commission called Project 81. Project 81 was a five year plan aimed at strengthening high school graduation requirements in the state through "competency-based education.". The governor and legislature of Pennsylvania, had determined that schools were not being held accountable enough and that graduation requirements needed to be strengthened (sound familiar?). As a representative of my school district on the commission, I attended conferences, met with teachers from across the state, listened to the best minds on competency -based education and assessment, wrote reports and Russ on Reading: Don't Look Behind the Curtain: The Education Reform Switcheroo: