"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, April 21, 2006

Speller and Fellings and Feints

Spellings and media lap dogs, Ben Feller and Co., have put a wrap on their week-long public relations campaign against state departments of education, schools, and teachers--with the final piece appearing yesterday. Let’s see what Maggie has accomplished along the way:
  1. States have been blamed for implementing NCLB mandated test score reporting policies that are now described as loopholes that states have found to wriggle through. In the meantime, ED can be seen as an advocate and potential rescuer of the children whose continued failures ED and NCLB has assured.
  2. Teachers have been blamed for giving low odds, when compared to parents, for chances of ever meeting NCLB’s impossible demands of 100% proficiency by 2014. While surprising that only half the teachers surveyed understand the impossibility of 100% proficiency, we should not be surprised to see Feller and Co. paint teachers as bigots and Spellings as the Savior of the Oppressed. The survey didn’t ask how many teachers believe that the Queen of Pain’s racist policy of manufactured failure is a back door school privatization plan.
  3. Tutoring corporations have been portrayed as providing a public service to entrepreneurial couples in the suburb trying to start businesses, rather than as the mercenary trough feeders that they are.
  4. School systems have been portrayed as lead segregationists, rather than as desperate bureaucrats willing to do anything, morally reprehensible or otherwise, to avoid having ED shut them down for not meeting NCLB test targets. This is the moral equivalent of blaming the prison officials in Iraq for the torture policy implemented at the Pentagon. Wonder who’s left holding the head bags or the Ziplocs of child vomit, respectively?

All in all, it’s a pretty good week of work for Spellings, a dedicated public servant ever intent upon using a willing media to rescue the public from the policies her own department is perpetrating. Now that's what I call PR.

Look for NAEP (Not Any Escape Portals) and Growth Models (making poverty invisible) to be next on the road to rescue.

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