Tuesday, September 6, 2016

John Thompson: Pondiscio Exposes Split in Ed Reform Camps Over Role of Race - Living in Dialogue

Pondiscio Exposes Split in Ed Reform Camps Over Role of Race - Living in Dialogue:

Pondiscio Exposes Split in Ed Reform Camps Over Role of Race 


Although I wouldn’t spend too much time eavesdropping on the civil war between liberal and conservative reformers, it is fun to periodically check it out. The first of the loudest shots in their internecine conflict was issued by Fordham’s Robert Pondiscio in the aptly titled post “The Left’s Drive to Push Conservatives Out of Education Reform. He condemned “social justice warriors” who “no longer feel any compunction about accusing their conservative brethren of racism and worse.” Perhaps because he had done such a great job of stirring up the hornet’s nest, I once thought, Pondiscio took a lower profile for the next couple of months.
During Pondiscio’s seeming sabbatical, his Fordham colleagues have enthusiastically (and I believe correctly) critiqued the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach.  Free of needing to defend their commitment to education as the “civil rights movement of the 21st century,” these conservatives embraced No Excuses charters, but often they did so with the disclaimer that it is unclear whether they can be scaled up. For instance, Paul Peterson authored a lengthy treatise on the future of reform and only briefly mentioned so-called “high-performing, high-poverty charters.”   Then in a shocking display of the honesty that is rarely practiced by the liberal wing of the reform movement, Peterson acknowledged that expanding those charters is a “slow, arduous process,” and it will be achieved only if they “demonstrate that they can deliver a superior educational experience.”
And that leads to many conservatives publically demonstrating their true love – promoting schools for high performers, as opposed to the fight against poverty.  Recently, the top five posts on the Fordham Flypaper’s web site were: “The High Flyer Takes Off,” “States Should Use ESSA to Do the Right Thing by High Achieving Students,” “High Stakes for High Achievers,” “Bad Policies Harm Bright Kids in Baltimore,” and “Reflections on Gifted Education from the Olympics.
Such a devotion to “high flyers” could be a blessing.  We teachers could say “goodbye,” and even “go in peace” to conservatives and hope that they will focus on “high achieving” and “bright” kids, and stop attacking those Pondiscio Exposes Split in Ed Reform Camps Over Role of Race - Living in Dialogue:




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