There's nothing like a good Paul Krugman Friday column to see the glaring reality and truth. As the chattering class, the corporate education hacks and the clueless corporate media lament about recent PISA scores and how the U.S. is falling behind in education, Krugman gives us a good dose of why this is happening and it has nothing to do with teachers. In fact, most teachers are doing a heroic job under the circumstances and are heroes each and every day in their classrooms as they deal with the onslaught of greedy, know nothing policies that do nothing to make their jobs and their lives easier. This has been going on for three decades but has finally reached a crescendo.
Three decades of a propaganda campaign demanding more testing, more accountability from teachers while privatizing every aspect of education and the rest of our public spaces has enabled the powers that be to decimate public education all in the name of making the U.S. competitive in the global economy.
As governors across the country, like Chris Christie in NJ, neglect crumbling school buildings in the poorest areas of their states, local politicians and Arne Duncan continue to play "lap dog" (as Elizabeth Warren said) to billionaires like Broad, Gates, the Waltons and a host of others tied to the Pearson world view of education. Meanwhile, public school administrators and teachers across the New Jersey are scrambling under huge amounts of stress and anxiety, worried about their own jobs, pensions and standard of living while being good soldiers and transitioning to the Common Core State Standards. The huge lie that national standards tied to merit pay and test scores based on crackpot science like Value Added measures (VAM) will prepare our students for college and a good career, experienced teachers are fleeing the classroom as fast as they can. Public schools in the most vulnerable and depressed areas in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark, and on an on are closing their doors to make way for for profit and semi-private charters free from the mandates and policies forced on traditional public schools
The private sector and Wall Stree is there waiting to swoop in to the rescue with their efficient on line for profit colleges and for profit everything. They are turning public education into one giant Walmart for those who can't afford to access Nordstrom, Saks and Bloomingdales or a private college or public university. It makes you wonder if the entire country has just gone mad.
If teachers are some of the biggest losers, than what does that make their students? Parents, it is going to be up to you to stop the madness.