What’s The Future Of Corporate School Reform During The Trump Administration?
How will the technocrats who have driven school reform respond to this new environment?
Accountability-driven, competition-driven school reformers, and we educators who oppose them, owe it to our students to take stock in the situation we all face during a Trump presidency. Regardless of the wisdom of their hunches about school improvement, should reformers keep up their campaign to use disruptive innovation to transform traditional public schools? If so, will they collaborate with the ultimate disruptors, Betsy DeVos and Trump, to advance their agenda?
In other words, how will the technocrats who have driven school reform respond to this new environment?
Not surprisingly, the best place to start an evaluation of contemporary school reform is with Professor Emeritus Larry Cuban. Cuban’s “Where Is the US in School Reform in 2017?” reaches three conclusions, the first being, “School reformers have overstated defects in the existing system and made gloomy predictions of disaster. Then they have understated difficulties of changing the system by proposing rose-colored solutions.”
Reformers committed unflinchingly to high academic standards, with state and national tests to determine whether all students meet those standards. Those test scores became the primary metric to hold districts, schools, students, and teachers accountable and to determine the success of their policies. Two of the main drivers of reform were teacher and administrator evaluation and compensation on the basis of student test scores, and expanded parental choice, mainly through charter schools. Great faith also was placed on technology.
Cuban concludes that despite the disappointing results of test-driven, market-driven reform, “the economic aim of preparing students for a market-based democracy continues to dominate public schools in the 21st century.” Moreover, he further explains that, “Most reformers, the general public, and educators have yet to distinguish between cycles of policy talk and action from what actually happens to policies when they are put into practice in schools.”
Cuban has long argued that school improvement is a linear process that “is a world apart from the hyperbole and gloom accompanying cyclical policy talk and action.” Cuban identifies trends that appear over time as he warns, “Because of school culture and organizational realities, change is gradual and episodic.”
On the other hand, recent posts by Cuban indicate that technology enthusiasts may be asking better questions. In a few cases, Cuban sees grounds for hope that technology will be integrated holistically into meaningful classroom instruction. If, as I believe is true,What's The Future Of Corporate School Reform During The Trump Administration? | The Huffington Post: