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

Monday, November 09, 2015

My Reaction to Interview with Relay's Dean

by Jim Horn
A puffball questioner at Hechinger Report gave Relay dean, Mayme Hostetter, all the space she needed for a prime infomercial

This is my reaction, posted at Hechinger as the first comment:

Just as charter schools are businesses aimed to supplant most public schools and to desensitize the public to inhumane corporate environments for all public schools, Relay is a business aimed to supplant legitimate college teacher preparation programs and to replace pedagogical theory and practice with an oppressive and rigid instructional catechism based largely on a single book by a Harvard MBA, Doug Lemov.  The remainder rests on the acceptance of servile drudgery by would-be teachers who are brainwashed to believe that only they can save the children, even if dehumanizing practices are required to do so.

Both corporate charters and corporate teacher prep take for granted the educational value of a simplistic and primitive kind of psychometric bean counting that accepts standardized test scores, gained by whatever means necessary, as a proxy for learning, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and proof that these businesses should be rewarded with larger and larger chunks of the 700 billion dollar annual education market.

This plantation model requires the unpaid labor of children treated as slaves and teachers commanded by owners to become slave drivers.  In the meantime, an important secondary purpose is served, which is to turn the children of the poor into robotic servants to authoritarian and oppressive rule within a hard-fisted paternalistic social order.

These operations are businesses, not institutions for child learning.  As such, they represent the apotheosis of educational corporatization and the 21st Century re-cycling of what John Dewey called chain-gang schools some 80 years ago.  That these outfits could be taken  seriously by educators and the education press reflects how far and fast we have marched toward the demise of democratic institutions.

It is not too late to correct course, but these self-serving and miseducative enterprises must be called to account for the damage they have done to children, teaching, and to the conceptualization of what schooling means.

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