Public education reform felt like abuse and oppression to those aware that they were being reformed in 2013. The reformers, like Robbie Cano, stated they were motivated to make their moves by intentions other than the enormous sums of money dangled by someone in Washington State.
Maybe the reformers do not intend to federalize public education. Maybe some superintendents and principals do think modules are the best thing they have seen in over 30 years in education. Maybe they really think that visiting museums will improve student test scores. Maybe they do think if students perform better on bubble tests, they will be more college and career ready. Maybe they really believe the correlation between poverty and poor student performance on test scores is coincidental, but the distribution of the worst teachers to the poorest districts is not. Maybe they really believe an over-emphasis on high stakes testing will not force teachers to teach to the test. Maybe they think the solution for the problems in public education can be solved by a committee of people causing the parental outrage. No one can know another’s intentions, but we can review their actions.
The reformers have created a system where the implementation at the local level relies on individuals promoting Common Core testing for their economic and/or political survival. Criticisms of the Core by those who work with it are either threatened to be punished or ignored. This puts good people within the public schools at odds with what they know is right and what they have to do. Subsequently, those who follow what they know is right are at odds with those that follow their orders. The resulting dynamic looks alarmingly similar to what a corporation undergoing a take-over looks like from the perspective of the people in the crosshairs.
Abusers minimalize their abuse, oppressors mask their oppression, and reformers manipulate their reform for the same reason: to control the abused, oppressed, and reformed and make money in the process. In the case of public education reform, higher standards yield enormous profits for the wealthiest corporations and “death penalties” for the poorest schools
We judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. A successful corporation’s intention is to generate profit and their actions during this reform have followed true. Teachers and parents share the same intentions: love kids, protect kids, and help kids. The reformers’ actions will create enormous wealth for the wealthy and reduce the control communities have over their schools. Parents and educators’ actions in 2014 will be a united defense of children because we love our kids and we will not watch them be standardized, demoralized, or marginalized.
As we enter 2014, know that the numbers of people involved in this fight will rise and the million whispers will be heard. Propaganda intended to minimalize, mask, and manipulate opposition to testing and Common Core implementation will be abundant and coercive. But it will not work because our intention is to love, protect, and help our children. Lace to the Top and keep fighting to remind others that children are more than a score.
Thank you for a great 2013. See you in 2014, the year the grassroots movements stop the corporate agendas.