It is hard to fathom the disastrous and arrogant American educational policy being rammed down the throats of those who know best: teachers but that is what Obama and his education czar Arne Duncan have attempted to. About a year ago some brave teachers said “Enough” and the brush fire has quickly spread across the US. More and more educational jurisdictions are saying no to the Common Core curriculum which seems addicted to massive testing and neoliberal austerity—break the unions, hire greenhorns with no preparation, refuse to see the link between poverty and education and oh yes, privatize, privatize, treat education as a business and bring in Simon Legree with no pedagogical training as the principal.
Of course the larger agenda is the attack on public servants (hence the union busting) and the opening of the public good, education to corporations who are slobbering over the chance to take over another market. A fortune is to be made in testing materials, consultancies and for profit charter schools. Leading the charge, sad to say is Bill Gates and no surprise her, the Walton family of Walmart.Other 1%ers have chimed in with the power of wealth and the ownership of media and the sponsorship of right wing think tanks. Their ridiculous panacea, “teaching to the test” has gutted imaginative areas like art, music, drama. It has sapped the creativity of teachers.The failure of charter schools and the shining example of Finnish education (# 1 globally and no standardized testing) has not stopped this egregious assault.
Anthony Cody a teacher sardonically writes
March is the month when teaching ends and test prep begins.
Federal education policy is a disaster.
The Bush-Obama agenda has de skilled teachers and made testing the most important aspect of US education.
Cody quotes teachers at length. One says:
“I wish you could hear my colleagues telling me “they don’t mind this” as it gets kids “ready” or solves them having to plan actual learning. They’ve been so de-skilled they don’t even feel the connection to instructional leadership. To them the school is a rote drill factory.
“The teaching profession has been redefined. A teacher is now the manager of a workbook drill. No projects, no model making, no literature, no research, no discovery. The planning you do is taking prefab programs and administering them. Sort of as if you were giving a test like the state test ALL the TIME. Room empty, pencils out, bubble. All things arranged around test prep. No themes, no critical thinking.
This is not education.