Friday, July 15, 2016

Destabilize & Replace - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher

Destabilize & Replace - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:

Destabilize & Replace - Teacher in a Strange Land 

A tweet from Randi Weingarten (@rweingarten), after the DFER vs. actual progressives dust-up over the education plank of the Democratic platform:
#DemPlatform on charters: oppose 4 profits, accountable, transparent, teach all kids & they neither destabilize nor --not replace--pub schls
Lots of folks have written cogent and thoughtful analyses on the issue of how both parties should be re-thinking federal education in their platform documents, instead of offering up sanctimonious blah-blah around "fixes" that end up lining someone's pocket.   Hereherehere and here, for example--all worth perusing as we consider what it means for a political party to resist "destabilizing and replacing" public schools.  (And yes, I do realize that political platforms are not policy, and often have hope-and-change value equivalent to toilet paper: flimsy and disposable.)
But the phrase keeps coming back to me.  The rest of the tweet and platform language consists of weasel words that have lost their original meanings in intra-party ed reform debates.
The education community is thoroughly--depressingly-- familiar with the term "accountable." It's about being constrained to account for easily measured outcomes. It's evaluation of teachers by student test scores. It's shutdowns and turnarounds and pick a bale of cotton, because taxpayers are unhappy about funding the distasteful results of deep and ugly poverty.

So--we're encouraged to hold educators accountable--a different descriptor entirely from the one teachers and school leaders prefer: responsible.  All schoolteachers know, intimately, what accountability means, in practice. Plus--the media consistently bungles the reporting.
We also know how easy it is for non-profit organizations, even those with good intentions, to take what they need to self-perpetuate, all while wearing white hats as a nominal do-gooders. For-profit charters are just a bit more...transparent about their bottom-line goals.  
And speaking of transparency--does that mean we'll be getting more information on how charters are formed, funded and held accountable themselves? In Michigan, charter authorizers get 3% off the top, from taxpayer dollars, simply for saying they'll authorize, then monitor charters. That's a huge disincentive for universities, community colleges, intermediate and local districts to bring the hammer down on an obviously failing charter.
Not having democratically elected school boards? The antithesis of transparency. Does this mean there will be a push to tighten and delineate tougher charter policy, a state-by-state proposition? Doubtful.
Still--the obvious, flashing bit of cognitive dissonance here is the phrase "destabilize and replace." The very heart and soul of opening charter schools is the word school marketeers build their fortunes on: Disruption. 

Disruption is sexy and rebellious. Those old factory-model schools with their desks in rows and hidebound veteran teachers! Let's do something new! And digital! Something that will appeal to the Destabilize & Replace - Teacher in a Strange Land - Education Week Teacher:
Big Education Ape: Stop celebrating disruption | The Australian -

Big Education Ape: The Danger of Creative Disruption as a School Reform Theory | janresseger -

Big Education Ape: The D-List Reformer Does Disruption | EduShyster -

Big Education Ape: Keep Your 'Disruption' Out of Our Schools | Diane Ravitch -

Big Education Ape: The Disruption Machine: What the gospel of innovation gets wrong - The New Yorker -

Big Education Ape: The Trouble with “Disruption” and its Effect on Children -

Big Education Ape: A Handbook for Creative Disruption of the Public Sector — Yikes! | janresseger -

Big Education Ape: Just Released: My 3rd Book, School Choice: The End of Public Education? | deutsch29 -

Big Education Ape: The Disruption of America's (Broken) Education System - The Atlantic -

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