Education reformers are pretty picky when it comes to educating their children. No 80 days of high stakes testing for them. No mandatory grade retention or denying high school diplomas based on a single test. For decades they have used their vast wealth and political power to impose an unforgiving, unproven and unfair education reform ideology on everyone else’s children but their own.
It’s clear that those pushing education reform are far more interested in grabbing the $600+ billion dollars spent annually by states on public education than doing what’s best for the nation’s children. It’s equally clear that these guys will use any means possible to justify their goal to privatize our public schools. Education reform is little more than a series of unfounded legislated experiments designed to cause deep suffering to our “ordinary” children, discredit their teachers and question the competency of school boards. Reformers have zero intent of ever exposing their own “elite” children to the same unbearable fate.
They prescribe for our children a narrowed teach to the test curriculum that kills curiosity and joy. Yet their children attend schools that focus on creative hands-on learning, celebrate critical thought, place a high value on human interaction and recognize the importance of daily physical activity.
The Education reform lobby spends billions persuading state legislatures that relentless high stakes computer testing and course acceleration is a cheaper, better way to go. This down-market vision for our children contradicts an ironic preference among the reform-minded to limit digital access for their own children.
They promote privatized K-12 virtual charters for our children as a way to “customize” learning. They tell us that it’s better to replace our children’s so-called “ineffective” human teachers with computer screens. They know full well that too much screen time inhibits creative thinking and shortens attention spans.
The children of Reformers enjoy year round access to their libraries yet our children are routinely shut out of their own which are transformed into testing centers for as much as 60% of the school year. Across the nation legislators have repeatedly tried to overturn the will of the people and reverse constitutional class size amendments. Reformers know class size truly matters, so their children attend schools where student/teacher ratios are often 8:1, certainly no more than 15:1.
Reformers flood the media every year with “national summits” and skewed television events like Education Nation selling the virtues of top down punitive education reform. Warnings of doom and poor performance, mixed with the mention of manipulated test score improvements, always conclude with the same notion that no gain is ever enough.
It’s this culture of disapproval that robs our children of a long list of exciting electives and robust PE, art and music programs. The very things that help children invest in learning are impossible to measure with data. These critical elements have been deemed irrelevant by the reform agenda.
Our nation’s public schools are built on the core value that every child, regardless of ethnicity, religion, circumstance or ability has the fundamental right to a free high-quality education. Reformers choose schools that are unabashedly selective, often geared only to high-performing and gifted students. Financial aid for tuition is sometimes available to the deserving, but schools reserve the right to deny applicants for any reason.
America’s public school children are hurting. They are being deliberately harmed by an education reform scheme led by politicians and vendors who want to privatize and profit from our public schools. These folks just want the money. Our kids, their schools, teachers, superintendents, teachers unions and school boards are mere barriers to business.
What will it take for us to finally reject the dishonest intent of these so-called “reformers” who are elitist when it comes to their own children and profit driven when it comes to ours?