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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Join the National Boycott Against Pearson

Share widely.  From United Opt Out:



Pearson, ALEC, and the Brave New (Corporate) World:  Stand Up to Pearson Now!
Supporters of Public Education,
The curtain has been pulled aside recently from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), exposing the seedy underbelly of our democracy. Organizations like ALEC circumvent the democratic process in favor of corporations. Financial resources are used to influence public officials and provide model legislation meant to easily pass through state houses of governance. Recent examples include infamous “Stand Your Ground” laws and others that seek to limit the voting rights of marginalized populations. Education reform legislation is also part of ALEC’s agenda, with substantial sponsorship from corporate funds to divert the flow of valuable taxpayer dollars away from public schools.
ALEC-inspired advocacy for public education reform typically follows a path to privatization; that is, viewing educational practices vis-à-vis economic and capitalist principles. Strict school choice models, vouchers, private charter management organizations, and the erosion of collective bargaining rights are all examples of the economic management of public education. As opposed to a valuable public good, certain entities prevalent in the education reform debate are forcing schools to motivate themselves by profit and competition. What it means to be an educated person (e.g., college and career ready), what is important to teach (e.g., common standards), and how success is measured (e.g., standardized tests) are currently under significant transformation without the thorough vetting via democratic processes. And with the frustration and confusion ensuing from rapid developments occurring behind closed doors, outside the public spotlight of democracy, there are large corporations conveniently present to sell us products that will solve all of our problems.
Pearson is one such entity that as of late always seems to be at the right place and precisely at the right time. In other words, just as new legislation is passed, as new educational mandates are set, Pearson is suddenly able to provide the legions of educators and school systems clamoring for some kind of answer with just the right product. How can this be? In recent years, this once relatively small publishing house turned itself into a massive provider of a range of educational products, from traditional print materials for the K-12 sector, higher education resources and technology solutions for public school systems. It is one thing to have various products to sell and to allow the marketplace to judge their success or failure. It is another matter to reorganize the rules so that Pearson products are all one needs to buy to satisfy a range of emerging Federal and State education mandates.
For better or for worse, education reform in the United States is largely controlled by legislation. It appears then that Pearson is successfully implementing a two-pronged approach: grease the democratic process in their favor so that certain rules must be followed and from the other side perfectly match their own products so they have exactly what can be bought to satisfy those requirements. Pearson, through connections to ALEC, has become the dominant provider of education resources and services in the K-12 and post-secondary markets. The following are some of the affiliations that made this perfect alignment possible:
  • Pearson acquired the Connections Academy, whose co-founder and executive VP is Mickey Revenaugh, also the co-chair of the ALEC Education Task Force. Both Connections and the for-profit University of Phoenix have been or are currently subsidiaries of the Apollo Management Group. The CEO of AMG, Charles (Chaz) Edelstein, was Managing Director of Credit Suisse and Head of the Global Services group within the Investment Banking division, based in Chicago. He is also on the Board of Directors for Teach for America, which is a provider of temporary and inexperienced teachers and also frequently associated with corporate education reform. One prominent name in this regard is TFA alum Michelle Rhee, the failed former Chancellor of DC public schools.
  • According to Pearson’s website: “Pearson Education and the University of Phoenix, the largest private (for-profit) university in the United States announced a partnership which will accelerate the University’s move to convert its course materials to electronic delivery.” [emphasis added]. As such, Pearson will certainly provide the materials and the mode of transmission. It must also be stated here that many for-profit universities have been under investigation for student loan fraud and unethical recruitment practices.
  • America’s Choice was also recently acquired by Pearson. This organization is directly associated with the Lumina, Broad, and Walton Foundations, all active members of ALEC. They each promote so-called “innovations” that appeal to the corporate and for-profit mindset.
  • Bryan Cave, LLP is the lobbying firm for Pearson. Edward Koch is currently one of the partners at Bryan Cave. Edward Koch sits conveniently and comfortably on the board for StudentsFirst NY, a branch of the national initiative StudentsFirst, which is the brainchild of failed former Chancellor of DC public schools Michelle Rhee. It must also be stated that Rhee’s tenure is under a dark cloud of investigation for rampant test cheating and tampering in the district.
  • Pearson is contracted with Stanford University to deliver the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) to more than 25 participating states. According to Pearson’s website, “TPA is led by Stanford University, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, and Pearson.”Furthermore, “Pearson’s electronic portfolio management system will support candidates, institutions of higher education, and state educational agencies by providing registration and account management services,submission of the portfolio for scoring and results reporting.”[emphasis added]. Pearson provides the administrative management skills and broad-based technology and delivery systems that will support the Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) and bring it to a national scale. Stanford University’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) selected Pearson to provide these needed services for the TPA. Let it be known that the U.S. Dept. of Ed. is currently considering teacher preparation programs to be evaluated based on accountability measures similar to public schools.
  • Sir Michael Barber is the current Chief Education Advisor for Pearson. It is no secret that Mr. Barber is a powerful advocate for the free-market approach to education, including union busting, merit pay, and turning public schools into privately run charters.
  • Pearson contracts with Achieve to manage the PARCC assessments. Achieve is funded by Lumina, State Farm (both members of ALEC) andThe Alliance for Excellence in Education (AEE). AEE chairman Bob Wise is a regular contributor to and participant with the ALEC educational agenda. Moreover, PARCC awarded Pearson a contract in January to develop a new Technology Readiness Tool, which will support state education agencies to evaluate and determine needed technology and infrastructure upgrades for the new online assessments. Pray tell, who will sell those upgrades?
  • The Tucker Capital Corporation acted as exclusive advisor to The American Council on Education (ACE) and Pearson on the creation of a groundbreaking new business that will drive the future direction, design, and delivery of the GED testing program.
  • The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) partners with a whole cast of other organizations that promote a corporate, anti-public education reform agenda. CCSSO Central “partners” include (among others) McGraw-Hill and Pearson. CCSSO Director Tom Luna works closely withJeb Bush, whose associations with ALEC and corporate-reform are too numerous to mention.
  • GradNation is a special project of America’s Promise Alliance, sponsored by Alma and Gen. Colin Powell. Grad Nation sponsors include State Farm (ALEC), the Walton Foundation (ALEC), AT&T (on the corporate board of ALEC), The Boeing Company (ALEC), the Pearson Foundation and Philip Morris USA (ALEC). The GradNation Summit list of presenters reads like an ALEC yearbook.
  • Gen. Colin Powell sits on the Board of Directors for The Council for Foreign Relations, which issued an “Education Reform and National Security” report (co-chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleeza Rice, directed by Julia Levy). The report states, among other things, that: “The Task Force believes that though revamping expectations for students should be a state-led effort, a broader coalition … including the defense community, businesses leaders, the U.S. Department of Education, and others … also has a meaningful role to play in monitoring and supporting implementation and creating incentives to motivate states to adopt high expectations. The Defense Policy Board, which advises the secretary of defense, and other leaders from the public and private sectors should evaluate the learning standards of education in America and periodically assess whether what and how students are learning is sufficiently rigorous to protect the country’s national security interests.”[emphasis added].
  • According to Susan Ohanian: “In the introduction to the Education Reform and National Security report, Julia Levy, Project Director, thanks ‘the several people who met with and briefed the Task Force group including the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Mary Cullinane formerly of Microsoft [Philadelphia School of the Future] [now Vice President of Corporate and Social Responsibility for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt], Sir Michael Barber of Pearson and David Coleman of Student Achievement Partners …’ They were briefed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, andPearson.”
  • Pearson has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a series of digital instructional resources. In November 2011, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave ALEC $376,635 to educate and engage its membership on more efficient state budget approaches to drive greater student outcomes, as well as educate them on beneficial ways to recruit, retain, evaluate and compensate effective teaching based upon merit and achievement (the Gates Foundation recently withdrew its support for ALEC under the heat of public pressure). However, their billions of dollars still flow to other far-reaching organizations dedicated to dismantling public education.
  • The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards is a private-sector member of ALEC. Bob Wise (Chairman, of NBPTS) and Alliance for Excellent Education presented on “National Board’s Fund Initiative to Grow Great Schools” at the Education Task Force Meeting at the 2011 ALEC annual picnic. According to the NBPTS website, they “announced that it has awarded Pearson a five-year contract for the period 2009-2013 to develop, administer and score its National Board Certification program for accomplished teachers. Pearson will collaborate with NBPTS to manage its advanced teacher certification program in 25 certificate areas that span 16 subject areas.”
  • Pearson has also acquired partnerships with companies to deliver PARCC, SAT testing, GED testing, and was the central player (through Achieve) in the design of the National Common Core Standards. The GED Testing Service, while wholly owned by the American Council for Education, entered into a joint venture with Pearson to transform the GED for some 40 million adult Americans (one in five adults) lacking a high school diploma. This is an entirely new market.
Even with all of Pearson’s efforts, they are not the only game in town. McGraw-Hill is another publisher forging similar connections and making money hand over fist due to NCLB-mandated reading programs like Open Court and SRA Reading Mastery. Of course, after billions spent on Reading First and the McGraw-Hill materials, the federally funded evaluation of the program showed no increase in reading comprehension by third grade. McGraw-Hill is also one of the biggest test publishers in the U.S. and publishes the CTBS, the central competitor to Pearson’s illustrious SAT-10.
The legislation forced upon states to adopt the curriculum (i.e., the Common Core) and its required testing measures (i.e., PARCC) essentially eliminates the possibility of consumer choice (supposedly a key concept in free market ideology) and requires that taxpayer dollars for education be handed over to Pearson and McGraw-Hill as the sole providers of nearly all educational resources available to the schools. It is frightening that Pearson, profiting billions from public education, is simultaneously operated by and sponsors organizations that promote the destruction of public education. It is essentially forcing the public to pay for the demise of its own education system.
It is possible that Pearson and its allies will deny and attempt to refute the information bulleted above. Perhaps the magnitude of their efforts will project the magnitude of their guilt. Whatever the semantics here, if a connection is really an association, if ownership is actually sponsorship, or if partnership actually means membership, it is interesting and coincidental that the above cast of characters constantly find themselves associated with each other. Additionally, the common friend to all seems to be Pearson.
If Pearson is truly interested in profit, as all corporations typically are, then consumer pressure is the best way to be heard. We at United Opt Out National are calling on everyone to take a stand against Pearson by doing any or all of the following:
  • Refuse to buy their materials or adopt them in your courses or for personal use.
  • Bring these concerns to local PTAs, school boards and libraries.
  • If required to use Pearson products due to professional obligations, do so under public protest.
  • Promote the use of ACT rather than SAT, as SAT is a Pearson product.
  • Inform Pearson of your actions.
  • If you are in higher education, discuss your concerns with your local Pearson representative, informing them that for these purposes you are not going to adopt their materials in any of your courses.
Raise public awareness so the brakes can be put on this madness. Please see our sample letter at the end of this research document, which you are encouraged to share so that others may refuse Pearson products.
Sincerely,
United Opt Out National

Nashville's Mayor Dean Commits Almost 10% of 4-Year School Improvement Budget to One KIPP


In Nashville, as in many metropolitan areas, capital improvement funds are short and the need is large.  Nashville Metro has identified needed school improvements that amount to $185 million. Mayor Dean has committed $16 million, or almost 10 percent of Nashville Metro’s 4-year school capital improvement budget, for a new segregated KIPP, Inc. corporate charter school, even as the Fisher, Gates, Broad, and Walton Foundations, along with other wealthy patrons, pour in hundreds of millions of dollars into this charter chain that has just over a hundred schools nationwide.  


Meanwhile, Nashville's public school teachers that serve the poor use garbage cans to collect water from leaky roofs and do their best in overcrowded and damaged classrooms.  At Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet, a high-performing integrated public school, kids eat lunch in the hallways and do not have a functioning gym. 


KIPP's urban penal pedagogy model has the backing of Wall Street and plutocrats that Diane Ravitch calls the Billionaire Boys’ Club, which translates to support by both Republican or Democratic politicians on both sides of the aisle of the corporate jet.  These folks like to tout the testing accomplishments of KIPP, while ignoring the fact that KIPP children are subjected to punishing behavioral techniques that no middle class parent would allow. 


These same supporters of KIPP ignore the fact that KIPP educates fewer special education students, fewer English language learners, and fewer students whose behaviors threaten the KIPP total compliance model.  KIPP also enjoys extra resources from the bottomless well of tax-sheltered dollars from venture philanthropists.  With these advantages plus 40 percent extra time in the classroom spent in test prep, their test scores are, indeed, high.  How could they not be?  


The sad fact is that the high test scores are then used by politicians and their patrons of the Business Roundtable to 1) demonize the public schools for having lower test scores, thus opening up the path to more charters, and 2) to pretend that zero tolerance and no excuses provide the educational solutions for children suffering the ravages of poverty.  Sadly, the citizens of Metro Nashville must now bear the financial and moral burden of this corporate charade.

By Julie Hubbard| The Tennessean
The vintage 1930s Highland Heights school used by KIPP Academy charter students will keep its facade, but the rest of the building will be torn down and replaced with new construction.
The plan for the East Nashville landmark is a compromise between city officials, who last year suggested razing the building, and neighbors and members of the school board and historic commission, who noisily objected.
The new plan will cost $16 million, city officials said Thursday.
The 350 KIPP students soon will move to another vacant school, Ewing Park near Dickerson Pike, for two years during construction. The new school will open in 2014.
“This is the best compromise,” said District 5 Metro Councilman Scott Davis, who represents that East Nashville area. “You keep our historical style there, and it’s also less expensive than remodeling that whole building.
“At the same time, it gives the kids a great place to go to school.”
Since 2005, when KIPP started leasing the building on Douglas Avenue, students have made giant academic gains inside a subpar building, Davis said. He said their performance could improve even more in a modern building.
Two years ago, Mayor Karl Dean asked the Metro school board to deed the building to the city in exchange for a $10 million pledge to renovate it. Public charter schools weren’t supported enough by the city, Dean said at the time.
High school on wayOnly a quarter of the building is functional for students of KIPP Academy, which now plans to add on a high school.
“The biggest thing is … we will have the entire middle school and entire college prep high school in one building,” said Randy Dowell, executive director of KIPP Academy Nashville. “It’s something we can’t do now because of the condition of the parts we don’t occupy.”
There’s no wiring for new technology, such as Smartboards. The radiator heating is half functional, plumbing fair to poor, basement moldy and attic infested with bats, a condition report revealed.
That’s why most of the building needs to come down, and costs are projected to be higher than the $10 million originally set aside by the city, said Dominique Gobbell Arrieta, project manager for the Gobbell Hays Partners architectural firm, hired to design the new school.
“We met with the historical commission and are very comfortable about that,” she said. “We will demolish the 1970s (addition) and old gym and build new onto the backside of the property.”
Construction will be awarded this fall for an 18-month build.

The new facility aims to have wrap-around traffic and separate entrances for the middle and high schools. A curtain or wall in the new cafeteria would separate the middle and high schools but could be opened up for a large community space.
The 91,000-square-foot, three-level school will include a walking path, community meeting space and a parklike feel.
“We are going forward with a capital budget request of right over $6 million, since we already have the $10 million approved,” said Director of Metro General Services Nancy Whittemore.
Traditional Metro public schools, with an estimated $185 million in repair needs, may get help this budget season as well.
During a budget work session with Metro public school officials and Dean this month, he said Stratford High desperately needed help, as did Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet, which has no gym.
“He has indicated in budget hearings there hasn’t been a real capital outlay budget for a while,” said Senior Education Adviser Wendy Tucker. “He’s aware of the conditions and expressed his concerns.”

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Guest Post: Educating Business Ethics, Douglas Storm

Educating Business Ethics

Douglas Storm


The population of the US seems to be experiencing a kind of national awakening regarding the harsh and endemic inequalities of our “Us vs Them” economic reality.  Though it seems possible that our bail-out and bubble-induced slogans of solidarity will fade into our historical moment to be studied by the future (should there be one for humans)–put our “we are the 99%” beside “eat the rich” and “make love not war”–we might still push as hard as we can against the reigning ideologies that protect business interests as the “greatest good to all.”
Currently there is a systemic “war” on public education that appears more “hot” than our military murdering via drone proxy in the Middle East.  Primarily Republican-controlled state legislatures have been passing laws designed to undermine the funding of our public education system.  But we should note that the current national administration which calls itself Democrat is pushing the same agenda.  Our public school system is one which many among us would point to as the most “equalizing” institution in our nation–the cornerstone of a democratic politics. This is undermined in various ways:
Voucher programs send kids to private religious schools; corporate industrial charter schools serve to defund existing school districts; testing programs are used to “fail” schools and place them in the hands of the state so that the state might sell their operation to “turn-around” corporations; teachers are singled out as the decisive factor in student success outcomes in order to place the blame for the “failure” in testing on them and so downsize them and replace them with corporate labor (Teach For America).  I could go on with particulars, but ultimately these “reforms” are intended to achieve the end of “freeing” the educational “market.”  That is, the educational system is simply becoming more purely a factory for the replication of people who privilege private property as the ground of freedom.  This kind of person would extol property as an absolute, whereas a collectivist or communitarian would treat property as a relationship.
The system of private ownership was developed gradually with the rise of the commercial ethic.  The merchant-landlords, aided by the judicial interpretations, fought long and hard for the “right” to make property “alienable” (that is, to withdraw this means of production from communal use and reserve it exclusively for private exploitation).  After 1688, in the English Acts of Enclosure, judicial complicity in the development of these “rights” was reinforced by explicit legislation.  Eventually the serf was “freed” and “mobile.”  The two-way relationship, whereby he was bound to his land and his use of the land was bound to him, had been dissolved.  Many of the people thus “freed” died in abject poverty.  Many migrated to the cities, where the new industries absorbed them.  Many came to America, to dispossess the Indians and set up the same system of private ownership that had victimized them abroad.*
———————————
If all the world were crooks, and the ideal of crookedness were enshrined in all its institutions, would you prepare a youth for citizenship by condemning thievery or by teaching him to steal?  Would you ask him to work for a better world, or to get ahead by the standards of this one?  There are many scrupulous people who might choose the more Machiavellian course as regards the individual.  But the cooperative virtues form an important aspect of our equipment for survival as a race.  And since “goodness” is fundamentally so close to social utility, when considering youth as a group (as educational theory must) even the toughest Realpolitik can lead to the conclusion that the young must be taught to reject the status quo.  for in the end, a considerable percentage of “civic virtue” must be embodied in a society’s methods of production and distribution if that society is to be workable–and there are times when people must endanger themselves as individuals to benefit themselves as members of a group.
Hence the predicament in which the proponents of the “new” education have always found themselves.  They begin by noting that the economic system under which we live comes pretty close to organized crookedness–i.e., the systematic effort of individuals to draw more from the communal pile than they put into it.  Yet educators are by trade a peaceful lot–and here enters Anomaly One: That even in a world highly militant, the educator may most easily set himself at peace with his fellows by subscribing to the rapacious values in authority and training his students to accept things as they are.  To be sure, he need not deny the evidences of trouble all about him.  He may parade some modicum of discontent with the present.  It is even advisable that he call for a better future, if only his pleas do not imply a basic attack upon current institutions which, if preserved, would make this better future possible.  “Futurism” of this sort may be in exceptionally good repute, if the several complimentary tributes to the forward-looking uttered by the authors of Redirecting Educationare evidence.
Unfortunately, it is quite reasonable that an educator’s attempts to alter the social framework in any serious respect should be resisted.  A society which believes in itself and its values will insist that its schools be used to perpetuate these values.  A society of crooks which firmly believed in crookedness as a “way of life” would probably insist that its children be taught how to steal.  And similarly a society built around the expropriative devices of capitalism will insist that the fundamentals of expropriation be taught and hallowed.  In the natural order of events, education is a function of society.  If we imagine an ideal world, for instance, we think of a just and stable economic structure, with a system of education designed for teaching youth how to maintain this justice and stability.
But insofar as society is in disorder, and a group arises which questions the set of values in authority, we may expect at tendency to reverse the relationship between education and society.  The dissident group wants to make education an instrument of social change.  Or, in Dewey’s terminology…it wants to make society a function of education.  It would make education evangelical or reformative, rather than conservative.  To educate for socialism in a capitalist country, for instance, would be a schismatic, evolutionary, or revolutionary act, designed to make society a function of education.  But to educate for socialism in a socialist country would be a conformist and conservative act, designed to make education a function of society.**
 ___________________
When thinking about perpetuating the “crook’s way” of life I am reminded of a recent series of books for the “Young Adult” consumer fiction market–The Ranger’s Apprentice.  The series is very effective and while reading them aloud to my children I found myself entertained and as well wishing to identify with the principle male characters…to “be” them the way I might imagine myself a type of Jason Bourne (in the movies, 1-2-3).  What the fictive emotionalism and identification does is elide all the extremely important considerations of what these men are doing, why the do it, what kind of society they perpetuate, and so on.  This is a series based on the chivalric code and one which pushes for a strong and benevolent monarch.  The men with whom we identify are actually spies and enforcers of “law” within the kingdom and even well beyond its borders (as it serves the interests of the state, er, Kingdom).  Further the “code” of individual “honor” taught by these “self-reliant” men (though obedient to a higher law) extends to other men of similar stamp in other nations.  One nation, for example is indeed a nation of “crooks”–a nation of sea pirates from the “north.”  These are hardy and rugged men (giants really) who master the sea to raid nearby “merchant” states.  This nation and our “good” nation form a kind of alliance after they band together to fight another people who (much like the Mongolian Khans–in fact given the birth name of Genghis Khan, Temujin–these are Temujai raiders) are invaders by war (making whole peoples assimilate to their ways) and not by trade (which is an acceptable non-violent way to lose your nation and way of living to another people and “idea”).
I felt it worth the time here to use this example of a kind of education to point out the way our very corporate, mercantile ideologies are put to use in the fictions (smuggled in) sold to our children.  This is one of myriad ways we are teaching our children that success as a human being must be equated with being an economic victor: successful is the owner, the buyer, the landlord.  It is further important to note that these “winners” are all protected by the state and that in reality they ARE the true state as they embody and compose the “state” in both ideology and in flesh and blood.
When it is said above that “a society which believes in itself and its values will insist that its schools be used to perpetuate these values” we can readily conceive how what is called the “attack” on public education is not at all an “attack” but rather a fuller conveyance of the values that our society wishes to perpetuate.  Corporate schools will teach, not only in their curricula but also in their very existence (the medium creates the message) what we must readily concede is and has been the social “good” of capital expropriation.  We might as well label them, in a jovial and sunny way, institutional Lemonade Stands.  In any event the goal is clear: citizens must conform to the business state as the only business of state.  The continuing enforcement of this social ideal embodied in all our external circumstances from “social media” to popular novels, movies, video games and music as well as the infotainment we call “news” will continue to “create” the stupefied human as subject to systems of economic dominance.
J.S. Mill illustrates this in On Liberty, expanding on some remarks of Wilhelm von Humboldt, says “two things [are] necessary conditions of human development, because necessary to render people unlike one another; namely, freedom, and variety of situations. The second of these two conditions is in this country every day diminishing. The circumstances which surround different classes and individuals, and shape their characters, are daily becoming more assimilated. Formerly, different ranks, different neighborhoods, different trades and professions lived in what might be called different worlds; at present, to a great degree, in the same. Comparatively speaking, they now read the same things, listen to the same things, see the same things, go to the same places, have their hopes and fears directed to the same objects, have the same rights and liberties, and the same means of asserting them. Great as are the differences of position which remain, they are nothing to those which have ceased. And the assimilation is still proceeding. All the political changes of the age promote it, since they all tend to raise the low and to lower the high. Every extension of education promotes it, because education brings people under common influences, and gives them access to the general stock of facts and sentiments. Improvements in the means of communication promote it, by bringing the inhabitants of distant places into personal contact, and keeping up a rapid flow of changes of residence between one place and another….The combination of all these causes forms so great a mass of influences hostile to Individuality, that it is not easy to see how it can stand its ground.”
We see this conformity of common influences, necessitated by the disjunctions of mobility–always being on the way to somewhere else–, being pushed to even further extremes with the creation of a “Common Core State Standards” (adopted by nearly every state government–not by the people of the state, it should be noted) which asserts, as Susan Ohanion characterizes it “that schools need to deemphasize fiction and obliterate any semblance of reader response. No feelings, no imaginations, no speculations: Just the facts, kid.  What children need, asserts Coleman, is a close reading of “informational text.” That’s what he calls non-fiction. No opinion, no flights of fancy. No creation of new worlds. The teacher’s job is to make sure kids stick just to the text. Informational text, pronounces Coleman, is what will give students the world knowledge necessary to compete as workers in the Global Economy…”
How is that folks believe that the interpreting animal should be educated to eliminate the single factor that makes it special?  People are messy (and inefficient and inexpedient) and our improvers and managers stand very much against that very quality that might be best expressed in a state of  liberty.  That is, the freedom to discover and express the self in relation to other selves.
—————————–
*Burke, Kenneth. “Property as an Absolute.” 1936
**Pulled whole-cloth from a book review by Kenneth Burke called “Renaming Old Directions” published in The Nation in 1935.