Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Social Power of Love and the Opt-Out Movement - Avalon Initiative

The Social Power of Love and the Opt-Out Movement - Avalon Initiative:

The Social Power of Love and the Opt-Out Movement

Sometimes in life we overlook what is obvious or important, because we are distracted by something less so. Such is the case of many prominent and influential education reformists.
By education reformists, I mean the combine of politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders, philanthropists, and academicians who have been working in concert for decades to “fix” American K-12 education on a national scale using corporate thinking and assets, and the power of the federal government. Their efforts are mainly based on a market economy mindset and ideology, one which is predominantly materialistic and, consequently, narrowly focused on what they think will benefit business and global markets.
These latter-day reformists have been systematically implementing a highly organized and detailed strategy developed in the wake of the 1983 Nation at Risk report, and supported by both Republican and Democratic political parties. Watching this strategy unfold at the federal and state level over the last three decades, I have observed the following ideas either implied or explicitly stated:
  1. Economic life is the most important sector of society.
  2. The primary functions of the other two main sectors—government and cultural life (including education)—are to foster economic growth and to further U.S. superiority in the global marketplace.
  3. Self-interested behavior, competition, and the desire for profit are the foundations of a robust market economy, and the same is true for a successful education system.
  4. Uniform national learning standards and standardized tests enable market forces to work more effectively in transforming our education system.
  5. Standardized tests are an essential component in identifying failing students and ineffective teachers and, in the long run, overcoming poverty and the learning gap between the well to do and the poor, and ensuring our national security.
  6. What the reformists think essential for a prosperous economy and society is what the next generation should also think.
Employing these ideas has led the reformists to create national educational goals, uniform national “Common Core” learning standards, and high-stakes standardized tests. These are meant to ensure that all children learn what is most The Social Power of Love and the Opt-Out Movement - Avalon Initiative: