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Wed Jan 30, 2013, 01:16 AM

 

The roots of education deform go way back, & current developments follow previously outlined path...

GEORGE BUSH the Elder called it America 2000. Bill Clinton calls it Goals 2000. I call it an alphabet soup of bureaucratic interference in the lives of children, and I say to hell with it: CEI, CIM, NAEP, NAGB, NASDC, NBPTS, NCEE, NCEST, NEGP, NESIC, NSP, NTFEEG, OBE, OERI, OLT, SCANS, STW, TFTP, TIMSS, TSWE, and more. Much, much more. I admit that NCEST is my favorite acronym. Not because I ever remember what it stands for, but because the way you pronounce it suggests the intertwined relationships of the fiscal opportunists and ideologues promoting Goals 2000.

Goals 2000 is, of course, the offspring of A Nation at Risk, a teacher- and school-bashing report representing not so much an evaluation of pedagogical practices and student achievement as a Zeitgeist of the early 1980s... Writing in these pages exactly 15 years ago, I described the cheap rhetoric emanating from the corporate and political remittance men and their band of consulting mercenaries as being akin to "a nasty swarm of bloodsucking mosquitoes. Their bites may not kill, but they sure don't help us do our job."1 At that time, operating from a third-grade teacher's realpolitik of "This, too, will pass..." Times have changed. This time, we can't afford to shrug off the assaults on public education in general and on children in particular as just one more round of pricks from parvenu opportunists looking for easy, vulnerable targets.

By the time Congress passed President Clinton's Goals 2000: Educate America Act in March 1994, the infrastructure was already in place. Take a look at Reinventing Education: Entrepreneurship in America's Public Schools, by Louis Gerstner, Jr., chairman and CEO of IBM... The fact that it was published within a month of the passage of Goals 2000 is no coincidence. One of the noteworthy features of Goals 2000 is that Gerstner and his cronies got to name the problem as well as define the solution: claiming the need for choice, competition, and technology in the schools; defining students as human capital and the teaching/learning compact as a "protected monopoly" offering "goods and services"; describing the relationship between teachers and the communities they serve as that of "buyers and sellers." Gerstner and company talk about measuring school productivity "with unequivocal yardsticks"....They speak of the need for national tests and "absolute standards," insisting that schools must compare themselves to each other the way "Xerox, for example, compares itself to L. L. Bean for inventory control" . Now that's a fine notion: teaching as inventory control...

Read more: http://susanohanian.org/core.php?id=404

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