A week ago Thursday (on April Fool’s Day) I was honored to be the guest on the Seedlings webcast. Among other much more lighthearted topics, Bob Sprankle asked me to share some of my thoughts and perspectives on Race to the Top. I plan to share just that portion of the archived webcast here soon as a separate podcast, but if you’d like to read even more insightful (as well as depressing) analyses of our current educational politics in the United States I’d like to commend Doug Noon’s two most recent posts to you:

  1. From 11 April 2010: “We Are In Deep Doo Doo
  2. From 12 April 2010: “Capitalism : Bottled Water : : Democrats : Education Reform

It’s grim, folks. The Obama Education agenda IS the George W Bush Education agenda. Innovation in either plan is a farce. Eroding local control, strong-arming states to open more charter schools and permit private companies to tap into public education tax dollars, and connecting “teacher performance” to student test scores is NOT the way forward for education in the 21st century.

I reject the Obama Education Plan, and challenge leaders with REAL vision for educational innovation and constructive change to step forward in the United States. We’re headed in the wrong direction, and the man leading the charge campaigned on a platform of HOPE and CHANGE. So much for campaign promises.

Train wreck at Montparnasse 1895
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On this day..

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  • You can watch the entire video which is partially transcribed on Doug’s April 11th post from Blip.tv:


    Thanks Marc Dean Millot for that link.

    Here’s a short excerpt. Wherever you are on the political spectrum, this is a perspective that is worth hearing and considering. Lois Weiner contends:

    The analysis is the following: The market is the best regulator of all services, and the state, the welfare state causes problems by intruding on free choice. Next, the global economy requires that workers from every country compete with others for jobs. And since most people will be competing with workers in other countries for jobs requiring little formal education, money spent on a highly educated workforce is wasted. In other words, most jobs are in Walmarts. You know that. You know that; that’s the level of education – seventh or eighth grade. And the plan is – they say this in this document – we’re all going to be competing for these jobs that require a seventh or eighth grade education. Not all of us, of course. Some people are not. Therefore, money spent on education is wasted. It should be spent on other things: on dams, on roads, on health care. Of course they don’t spend it on dams, or roads, or health care. But that’s what they say in this report.

    And think about this, because we don’t need a highly educated workforce, we don’t need highly educated teachers. Therefore, we can have a teaching force that’s a revolving door. Teachers will use standardized scripts. Kids will be educated to a seventh or an eighth grade level. And that’s OK! That’s OK! In fact, not only is it OK; that’s what we should be doing. And then in this report, it says, What’s the biggest barrier to carrying out this program? Well, with their political power, teachers and doctors capture governments and protect their incomes when there is pressure for budget cuts.

    So understand that the de-professionalization of teaching that Diane talks about is NOT an accident. It is planned. It is planned to replace us. It is planned to limit access to higher education. That’s what this is all about. And you only have to look at the record in the rest of the world, and you see what is planned for us.

    Weiner contends this isn’t a conspiracy, because conspiracies are secret. This is public, and it’s in numerous documents. She’s connecting more dots than most people do, however, including Diane Ravitch.

  • Wes,
    I enjoyed the post – but don’t know if I really agree that there is some coordinated effort to dumb down the schools.

    However, the post did make me think about the purpose of education…

    If the purpose of education is to provide employees (and consumers) who are docile and manageable,
    And most of the jobs of the future require little education,
    Then maybe it makes sense to dumb down the schools

    If, however, the purpose of education is to produce a well informed citizenry,
    Or to produce in the students an ability to continue learning on their own (Dewey’s purpose for education – if I remember correctly),
    Then schools need to be reformed and greatly improved.

    If the purpose of education is to produce innovative and creative leaders that can begin solve the numerous problems that plague our nation and world (what we really need education to do),
    Then we’re not there and we’re not getting there very fast (or to use Doug’s lingo – we’re in deep doo doo).

    Keep pushing for the higher puposes!

    Regards,
    Kent

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