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

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Final Push to Polish the New ESEA Turd

There's a renewed urgency among AFT/NEA/NPE bagmen like Peter Goodman and Steven Singer to sell, once more, the big nasty ESEA bolus that Congress is now trying to dump on the American electorate.  One version from the Senate gives all the federal money to charter schools, and the other version from the House gives all the money to charters AND vouchers.  Big difference, right? Both preserve federal testing every year, and each is written by either the progressive wing or the conservative wing of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.

And yet Singer pretends to believe, or maybe he is stupid enough to actually believe it, that the federal government is the culprit in the testing madness that is killing us all.  Taking a page from the Tea Party, he declares:
We all know the sad story of how these supposedly “state” standards were pushed on states from the federal government.
Does Singer, a seemingly nice and intelligent man, believe this nonsense?  Does he not know that U.S. education policy has been in the hands of the Business Roundtable since 1989?  Didn't the corporate unions and the corporate foundations give Singer or Goodman a history lesson before sending them out into the blogosphere to make fools of themselves?

Singer is not alone.  In a comment in recent days from Ravitch pal, Peter Goodman, Goodman, using Ravitch talking points,  paints himself as not an armchair "purist" but, rather, a man of action that gets things done.  You know, not one of those principled fools who refuses to play the game but, rather, one of those pragmatic men whose talking, we may presume, has some resonance with those  actions that his rhetoric is intended to justify.

Well, this kind of pragmatic action aura, at least, has some appeal to me, I must admit. Who can argue with doing what works, right?  At the same time, though, I and many others remain insistent upon asking a further question that neither Goodman nor Singer is interested in asking: Works for Whom?

That is what separates real pragmatists from Peter Goodman, the AFT, the NEA, the NPE, Steven Singer and the corporate foundations, all of whom find the new massive ESEA turd worthy of more polish.


  1. Anonymous10:04 PM

    Is there a purpose to standardized testing other than demonizing teachers and closing schools filled with high needs children? Oh, yes, there are charter school proliferation, union busting, TFA and return on investment.

    Abigail Shure

  2. Hey, Schools Matter! Let me get this straight. You believe that almost every state in the union adopted the same subpar corporate created, unproven Common Core standards of their own free will? And they adopted them even before they were completely done being written because... they just had faith!? Really!? Why would anyone accept anything that replaced something you already had that wasn't broken, had never been proven to work, and wasn't even done being made? I wouldn't buy that unless there was something else going on, like I was being coerced into doing it.

    May I give you a history lesson? One of President Bill Clinton's key education policies was voluntary national standards. This was Common Core before it got that name. It failed. George W. Bush then tried to do the same and failed. But it wasn't until Obama that the Fed succeeded. The federal government had just cut off stimulus dollars to states and - in many cases - Republican legislatures and governors were slashing education funding left and right. But here comes the Fed with all this extra money if the states will just adopt Common Core. That's the way it happened.

    But I have to admit I don't see what that really has to do with whether the ESEA is a good bill or not. If you read my article with even one eye open, you'd see that I said there was a lot of crap in it. My argument is this: the current law (No Child Left Behind) is a disaster. If we can make the ESEA even slightly better, we should support it. Then keep pushing for more reforms to make things even better than that. Real positive change usually doesn't happen all in one swoop. It's incremental and slow.

  3. Bill Clinton's and Diane Ravitch's version of Common Core in the mid-90s was due to support from the Business Roundtable and the NGA, which Clinton had co-chaired with Lamar Alexander some years before. Small world.

    To argue that that we should accept the new privatization ESEA plan because it doesn't have a federal mandate for high stakes tests while allowing states to test as much as they like is logically equivalent to applauding the end of federal laws allowing slavery while leaving every state to continue the practice.

    You, Mr. Singer, would like to make the world safe for another generation of neoliberal misleadership by another Clinton or another Bush. Public education can't afford that, nor can our planet support a continuation of the ecological suicide mission that both Clinton and Bush both support.