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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 01:00 AM
Original message
"Market-based dogmas", free market rhetoric are harming education.
I read this article by Rick Ayers at Huffington Post, and he spares no punches. That is exactly what both parties are doing right now....they are talking about educating our children using free market principles. It is not going to work.

Market-Based Dogmas Undermine Strong Education

One of the barriers we must overcome in framing a reasonable debate on school reform is the powerful hegemony of right-wing ideology which sees free-market mechanisms as the only way to organize a large social project such as education or health care. Indeed, the notion of a public space, a democratically controlled community effort, is almost impossible to advance in the current debates. For this, we have to thank the victory of the right-wing Reagan agenda, building on the dogmas of free-market gurus such as Milton Freedman and Ayn Rand.

The current free-market religion makes such pre-Reagan Republicans as Nixon and Eisenhower look like lefties. Politicians and researchers only a generation ago, even conservatives, entertained the possibility of various models of how to organize society, different versions of liberal capitalism, which allowed for aspects of social democratic ideas -- strong social supports, medical care, public education, etc. All of these are now under attack. The ideology of American politics today makes liberals such as Obama and Duncan act like blinkered rightists.


Yes, they are acting very right wing on education. It is like they do not hear the voices of the teachers or parents. They simply ignore us.

The author states that the Obama/Duncan agenda on education has turned it into a competition. They believe "States must compete against states. Districts against districts. Schools against schools. And they are most explicit about the fact that teachers must compete against teachers."

Under this program, teachers will be pressured to gather the most promising students, to remain isolated from peers,and to cheat; principals have already been caught cheating in a desperate attempt to boost test scores. In spite of the many millions of dollars poured into expounding the scheme of paying teachers for higher student test scores (sometimes mislabeled as 'merit pay'), a new study by Vanderbilt University's National Center on Performance Incentives found that the use of merit pay for teachers in the Nashville school district produced no difference in test outcomes for students -- even according to their measure.

And, at the bottom of the heap, are the students who are told from a young age that they are in a life-and-death struggle -- against their classmates and other students -- to climb over others to the top.


Ayers is right. The power play against education did start with Ronald Reagan. He was absolutely brutal. I remember wondering why they suddenly started talking about bad our schools were when in actuality they were not. He had an agenda. He used propaganda, and it worked.

Reagan's attack on public education

As governor of California:

And he certainly did not let up on the criticisms of campus protestors that had aided his election. Mr. Reagan's denunciations of student protesters were both frequent and particularly venomous. He called protesting students "brats," "freaks," and "cowardly fascists." And when it came to "restoring order" on unruly campuses he observed, "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with. No more appeasement!"

Several days later four Kent State students were shot to death. In the aftermath of this tragedy Mr. Reagan declared his remark was only a "figure of speech." He added that anyone who was upset by it was "neurotic."


He appointed a "blue-ribbon" commission which put out a report called "A Nation at Risk." It was not reality, but it did not matter. The media took up the report and hammered it into the brains of Americans. From that day forward education would be said to be failing.

After "A Nation At Risk" the nation's public schools were fair game for every ambitious politician or self-important business boss in the country. Its publication prompted a flood of follow-up criticism of public education as "blue ribbon" and "high level" national commissions plus literally hundreds of state panels wrote a flood of reform reports. Most presupposed that the charges made by Mr. Reagan's handpicked panel were true. Oddly though, throughout this entire clamor, parental confidence in the school's their children attended remained remarkably high. Meanwhile Mr. Reagan was quietly halving federal aid to education.

That sums up Mr. Reagan's educational legacy. As governor and president he demagogically fanned discontent with public education, then made political hay of it. As governor and president he bashed educators and slashed education spending while professing to valued it. And as governor and president he left the nation's educators dispirited and demoralized.


I notice that Arne Duncan appears to have stopped using Newt Gingrich to travel the country to push his agenda. Maybe he heard the outrage, or maybe Gingrich is working with him more quietly.

Under a Democratic administration Newt Gingrich is getting everything he ever wanted in the field of education.

From the On the Issues website:

Gingrich on education

Introduce competition among schools and teachers

We should apply the free enterprise system to our education system by introducing competition among schools, administrators, and teachers. Our educators should be paid based on their performance and held accountable based on clear standards with real consequences.

These ideas are designed to stimulate thinking beyond the timid lets do more of the same that has greeted every call for rethinking math and science education.
Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006


He is getting his free enterprise schools. He is getting his merit pay. More from that website.

Support charters; insist on change for failing schools
We should encourage the spread of public charter schools--one of the happiest new developments on the education scene--so parents, educators, & students working together can enjoy the maximum freedom to explore options and innovations until every child has a genuine opportunity to learn. As a corollary of this, we must identify the worst schools. We should insist on immediate change for bad schools. To start with, there should be no tenure and no binding contracts in the worst 20% of schools.
Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.208 Jul 2, 1998


Support charters, do away with tenure. Identify the worst schools and insist on immediate change.

He must be in hog heaven with Arne in charge of schools.

He hasn't gotten his vouchers from Arne yet, but Florida is giving them out freely now....even to private religious schools.

Private scholarships for students at hopeless schools

If there were families left without an acceptable public school, scholarships should be available for them to find a private one. I am a graduate of a public school, as are my wife and two daughters. All of us remain committed to the idea of public education. However, if the available public school is one that gives parents legitimate worry for their childrens future, there ought to be alternative to having to stand helplessly watching an incompetent bureaucracy destroy their childrens lives.

Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p.209 Jul 2, 1998


In Rick Ayers' article he tells the harm that will come from pushing these free market schools without evidence they work.

A recent article in the Boston Globe reviewed extensive studies that have shown that "improvement goals" and an obsession with upward graph curves have often led to disaster. It points out how General Motors' single-minded focus on market share led to shoddy design and ultimate disaster. Other cases, the Ford Pinto design, the Enron collapse, and the lending practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, followed the same pattern. Bending all educational efforts to achieving higher test scores has disastrous unintended consequences. But the market fetishists will not be deterred. This is because their commitment to market-based school reform is not evidence based, it is faith based.


The corporate world has taken hold of education to make it more profitable to them. We have a Secretary of Education ready to accommodate them.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 02:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Human beings, whether child or adult, are not widgets.
Something that those in power do not seem to grasp. Its been incredibly discouraging to watch the democratic White House and Congress adopt that line of thought.

Remember when DeLay was trying to keep the democrats from getting any corporate money? I keep thinking that a lot of the why for the policies for the last two years goes back to that period of time.
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Luminous Animal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 02:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. A K an a R. Thanks, madfloridian.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 06:48 AM
Response to Original message
3. Oddly, the coproate model has melted down around the
tax payers, and shifted all responsibility off of them.
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Starry Messenger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 07:11 AM
Response to Original message
4. k&r
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 07:30 AM
Response to Original message
5. recommend
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 07:34 AM
Response to Original message
6. We're seeing, now, what the corporate model means to the economy.
Profits at the top, unemployment, under-employment, eroding middle class, poverty, and hardship for the rest.

Corporate model for education? Who, really, does it benefit? Not students. Not educators. Not the public education system.
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RadiationTherapy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. A small portion of each group you mention will benefit in excess.
This is the point of capitalism and free markets. When it is competition and rules and boundaries, then a few will excel with those particular vectors in play. A few of those few will have a "successful", money-laden life.
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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 07:49 PM
Response to Reply #10
26. No, a few people will be exempt from the rules
And will own the game. That's the reality of Free Market Capitalism.

It won't be because they excelled, it will be because they are untouchable.
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
7. Privatization=Fascism.
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 09:41 AM
Response to Original message
8. This Has Already Cost Obama Votes. Why Doesn't He Listen?
Is he that confident of a win, that he can cast aside millions of votes? His attitude on the dismantling of public education makes no sense, none.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #8
13. I may be too idealistic, Dinger, but I...
...think he really wants to do the right thing for education and for our children's future...and the country's future...but he is listening to the wrong people. I do not honestly think he cares about the votes...at least not as his number one priority (unlike Rove did). I think he gets that education needs fixing and he wants to rebuild it. I have always agreed with him on the urgency and the goals.

But I also believe he is getting bad advice. He hears Gates and Sharpton and Gingrich (and Duncan) over Ravitch and teachers and others...like the author of this article. That's why I think teachers must continue to engage and be louder...and eventually be heard. Obama is intelligent...if we make our case in the debate, I think he will consider our ideas. If he loses teachers, the worse part won't be the votes he and the Dems will lose...as bad as that would be. The worse part will be a failure to fix public education for our children's future. JMHO. :hi:
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Dinger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 02:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Excellent Answer
Thank you Yvonne. I wish I could just talk to Obama, face-to-face about these issues. I do. But I really appreciate your reply.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. Thank you. I wish I could...
...talk to him about this, too. I am still hopeful that he will eventually hear all of us...including the voices of teachers. :)
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 03:14 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. He will not listen to teachers.
His advisors have him convinced that teachers are the devil behind all education problems.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. Then we need to get that much...
...louder. :7
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 03:20 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Nice sentiment, but
the louder we get the more the smug insiders are convinced that we are squealing from being caught and punished. They like it the louder we squeal. We did our part in electing this administration, but got, for our efforts, a WH that is intent on implementing ronald reagan's dream for education. We bet on the wrong horse.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. We disagree...
...on our horses. :7
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 04:00 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Okay. Maybe a good horse,
but one with no sense of direction.
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YvonneCa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #22
25. We've got to get those blinders off ...
...him. ;) He needs our help. :hi:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 05:12 PM
Response to Reply #16
24. There will be no need to listen to teachers if not done now.
This power grab is happening so quickly, there won't be time later. The damage will be done.

I believe he knows exactly what he is doing.
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 09:49 AM
Response to Original message
9. The free market is a powerful tool which fills many needs ...
... but none of the really important ones.

Mostly, it's just logistics, no deep issues involved.
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blackspade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 11:05 AM
Response to Original message
11. Thanks for posting this stuff.
As painful as it is to read, it needs to get out.
Why a Democratic president and congress are systematically destroying America's education system is beyond me.
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sulphurdunn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
12. "I am a graduate of a public school, as are my wife and two daughters." Newty
Which wife? :+
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ProudDad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 02:19 PM
Response to Original message
15. When I went to school...
Edited on Mon Nov-29-10 02:25 PM by ProudDad
If you were white and middle class...

Our parents finished up WWII and demanded that their children be EDUCATED...

There was a special emphasis on "critical thinking skills", assuming, rightly, that if kids learned how to think critically they could learn any particular set of facts that fit their chosen vocation or avocation...

They were right...

And we succumbed to a sudden outbreak of critical thinking that discovered that Lyndon Johnson(-D)'s Dirty Little War was bullshit...

And took to the streets...

And put our bodies upon the gears and wheels of the machine...

And demanded justice for Black people and poor people...

And demanded Democracy...

And questioned "authority" up the wazoo...

And took drugs after finding out that what we were told about them was bullshit...

And played that "rock and roll" music because it spoke to us instead of putting us to sleep...

SO...

The "powers that be" took care of that...

No more fucking "critical thinking skills" taught in classrooms now! They saw what happened the last time they created a (partial)generation of "thinkers"...

And we'll give them long hours of slave labor at lower pay, bullshit enemies to fear and 500 channels of crap to dumb down those "critical thinking skills"...

It seems to have worked...

While the Earth's warming up past the Tipping Point, and the phony Ponzi-Scheme capitalist "economy" is collapsing as the cheap energy runs out...

They're arguing about Obama the Socialist or, more likely, watching "American Idol"...
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Jakes Progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 03:16 PM
Response to Original message
19. Stupid is as stupid does.
And this administration's attack on education is evidence of real stupidity. Smug, self-assured, comic-if-not-tragic stupidity.
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Locrian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-10 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
23. this keeps coming up again and again
Edited on Mon Nov-29-10 04:57 PM by Locrian
The absolute BEST book I have read that counters the "free market" crap is Douglas Rushkoff's book Life Inc.

The insidious thing about all this is that what it explicitly promotes (ie selfishness) is what we are all becoming. We are all starting to act like self serving corporations instead of cooperating individual human beings. And this selfishness is all *sold* to us as the correct way to be (ie a Consumer).



http://rushkoff.com/books/life-incorporated /


Corporatism didn't evolve naturally. The landscape on which we are living--the operating system on which we are now running our social software--was invented by people, sold to us as a better way of life, supported by myths, and ultimately allowed to develop into a self- sustaining reality. It is a map that has replaced the territory.

Its basic laws were set in motion as far back as the Renaissance; it was accelerated by the Industrial Age; and it was sold to us as a better way of life by a determined generation of corporate leaders who believed they had our best interests at heart and who ultimately succeeded in their dream of controlling the masses from above.

We have succumbed to an ideology that has the same intellectual underpinnings and assumptions about human nature as--dare we say it--mid- twentieth-century fascism. Given how the word has been misapplied to everyone from police officers to communists, we might best refrain from resorting to what has become a feature of cheap polemic. But in this case it's accurate, and that we're forced to dance around this "F word" today would certainly have pleased Goebbels greatly.


Money is not a part of nature, to be studied by a science like economics, but an invention with a specific purpose.
Centralized currency is just one kind of money one not intended to promote transactions but to promote the accumulation of capital by the wealthy.
Banking is our societys biggest industry, and debt is our biggest product.
Corporations were never intended to promote commerce, but to prevent it.
The development of chartered corporations and centralized currency caused the plague; the economic devastation ended Europes most prosperous centuries, and led to the deaths of half of its population.
The more money we make, the more debt we have actually created.
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snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-01-10 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
27. K&R'd
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 07:22 PM
Response to Original message
28. ..
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-04-10 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
29. The school district my son is in has adopted the "Money System"
That means the teacher gives each kid a certain allowance of play money, and the kids can use that money on, oh I don't know, things like GOING TO THE BATHROOM and SHARPENING THEIR PENCILS. You can go into debt as well, but you have to miss recess until you're back in the black.

This is a second grade class btw
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