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Doing The Right Thing

In a post this morning on the wonderful Answer Sheet blog, a guest writer connects those of us trying to push back against the current wrong-headed education “reform” efforts by business and government to people living under a corrupt former Communist government.

Ok, maybe a stretch.

But his major point is a good one: how do you mount a campaign against a system that is wrong in so many ways?

In the case of fighting back against the Rhee/Gates/Duncan/NCLB test-obsessed, data-driven, pseudo-reform movement now in control, he says educators can’t be the only ones involved.

What’s to be done? Working teachers living paycheck to paycheck are in a poor position to resist. Others, safer from retaliation, organize citizen groups, sign petitions, make protest speeches, write books, articles, op-eds, and letters to editors and to the president, the secretary of education, and members of Congress.

But nothing happens. If those inside the Beltway are to hear the message that the present reforms are simplistic and reactionary, that they’ve all been tried before, that they’re at odds with research and practical experience, that excellent programs have been pushed aside to accommodate endless reading and math drills, then the message will have to come from parents who love their kids enough to refuse to allow them to be short-changed by mind-limiting standardized tests. [my emphasis]

That’s certainly true.

However, I look around our relatively affluent overly-large school district and wonder how many parents are dissatisfied enough to enlist in an effort to overthrow the current system.

Most seem to be more worried about their kids racking up enough points to score a place in a college with an expensive name plate, not whether they are learning anything useful.

The first step is convincing parents and students that this familiar, insulated, comfortable, and relatively orderly system is not good for them, or the country as a whole, in the long run.


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  1. Tom

    It’s such a seismic change that needs to happen. Parents need to accept that the model of education they went through was not ideal. But to do that will call into question the value of their own education. Which is a really hard thing to do and never going to be popular.

  2. Caroline

    Your are spot-on. Parents are frogs-in-heating-water around here. It will take a catastrophe for them to understand how wrong-headed FCPS administration is in pushing the business model approach onto little human beings and their brain-washed parents. … Oh wait. We HAVE a catastrophe! 20% Hispanic dropout rates. Kids loading up on Red Bull and Starbucks to get through their sleep-deprived days. A too-high depression, drug use, and suicide-ideation rate. Too many kids not finishing college (FCPS: “Who cares what happens once they leave? Our Jay Matthews Is God index is sky-high.”) … But this crew doesn’t like ugly things. That’s why FCPS has more than 20 communications staff and self-nominates all its own self-lauded “awards.” All Hail the Chamber of Commerce.

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