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

Friday, August 12, 2016

Neoliberal Corporate Education Reform… for “other” peoples’ kids

“CCSS assume an American population embodied with a similar history of freedom and cultural ‘neutrality’ or ‘universality’” — Donald H. Smith, Ph.D.

The Atlantic has a surprisingly candid piece entitled “A Public-School Paradox” about the hypocrisy of the establishment elite in Washington not sending their own offspring to public schools. This has been exacerbated by the fact that the most vociferous neoliberal corporate education reform proponents — like Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, and Hillary Rodham Clinton — are all private school parents. Disconnected and disinvested from the public commons, they advocate for horrific, racist, classist “reforms” that only serve to widen the gap between working class families and themselves. Especially disturbing is this trio of Democratic politicians’ full-throated support of the white supremacist Common Core State Standards (CCSS), a curriculum from which their own scion were spared. This is equally true, if not more so, for reactionary, right-wing troglodytes like Donald J. Trump, whose, as The Atlantic piece points out: “five children all attend(ed) private schools”. It’s almost a given that George W. Bush, whose contempt of public schools was apparent in his support of segregationist charter schools and imposing NCLB on a hapless nation, would have sent his scion to private schools while president, had they been that age.

My brief comments in reaction to the piece follow.

Sidwell Friends School is the polar opposite of the horrific KIPP dungeons Obama advocates for other POC kids. My editor at Schools Matter — Dr. Jim Horn — has been publishing chapters from his book on KIPP, but I have a paper copy I’ll read once the MPRE is over. It was Horn that coined the phrase “cultural sterilization” to describe the no excuses model inflicted on students. I can’t think of a better way to frame it, nor anything more removed from the experience of establishment elitists that advocate it for “other” peoples’ children.


  1. Anonymous5:15 PM

    Very few of their children enlist in the military, which may play a part in explaining their ease and recklessness in placing other people's children in harm's way.

    Abigail Shure

  2. Mr. Obama choice in a school for his kids continue the pattern that public officials want the cache and bragging rights of a self selective school as it will provide his children the access to the movers and shakers of this country. Additionally, after this gig Mr. Obama wants to sit at the big peoples table and having his kids attend Sidwell Friends helps cement this. The fact that he and the majority of policy makers, in this country, have their children in elite schools provides them peace of mind, and also insulates them from the needs of certain school reform. If, during their period in power, schools do not improve, Oh well, their kids are OK.