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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Corporate Deforming of Education at Heart of Resistance by Teachers


HT to Stan Karp:

Today’s Washington Post Answer Sheet column includes the latest in a series of posts and exchanges about the Broad Foundation’s education “reform” efforts in NJ and across the nation. As Post reporter Valerie Strauss writes: “The Chicago teachers strike has made school reform national news, and here’s a piece that helps explain some of the controversy. This is a follow-up to a post I published last month about plans by the California-based foundation of billionaire Eli Broad to expand its influence in school reform initiatives that include charter schools, merit pay and other market-based reforms. The original piece and the following one were written by Ken Libby, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Stan Karp, director of the Secondary Reform Project for New Jersey’s Education Law Center and an editor of Rethinking Schools magazine.”


The Washington Post Answer Sheet
The Broad Center’s efforts to “accelerate” disruptive reform do not improve school districts. Instead they destabilize them, promote the privatization of public policy and undermine the common ground public education needs to survive and improve. Broad’s support for charter expansion, school closings, test-based teacher evaluation, merit payTeach for America, hostility to teachers unions and top-down business management of school districts is wreaking havoc in urban districts across the country. Our “interest” in the Broad Center’s programs is in stopping them from doing further damage to our schools, students and communities.

The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems
What the Aug. 21 Answer sheet blog post doesn’t tell you is that nowhere in the memo referred to are the words “privatize public schools,” “run schools like businesses,” “corporate school reform” or “influence schools.” That is because these are not our goals.  We don’t believe in these things, which is why you won’t see that language in any correspondence we produce. 

The Washington Post Answer Sheet
A recentmemo from The Broad Center (TBC) proposes a series of strategic shifts in the foundation’s education programs designed to “accelerate” the pace of “disruptive” and “transformational” change in big city school districts, and create a “go to group” of “the most promising [Broad] Academy graduates, and other education leaders, who are poised to advance the highest-leverage education reform policies on the national landscape.”

In response to a request under the NJ Open Public Records Act (OPRA), Education Law Center has obtained a confidential proposal prepared for the Broad Foundation by the NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) to “turnaround,” take control, and potentially close over 200 public schools over the next three years. 

Parents Across America
The question I ask is why should Eli Broad and Bill Gates have more of a say as to what goes on in my child’s classroom than I do? – Sue Peters, Seattle parent

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