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Beware of Corporate Politicos Talking About Reform

Publication Date: 2009-06-05

Corporate-politico school reform is worse than stealing ice cream from children.

Earl Morris begins an op ed blog in the New York Times by asking a rhetorical question: "Why do people believe in imaginary returns, frauds and fakes?

Bernard Madoff, A.I.G. , W.M.D.âs ⦠How did this happen? Do we believe things because it is in our self-interest? Or is it because we can be manipulated by others? And, if so, under what circumstances?

Funny that the corporate takeover of the schools in the name of reform is never right up there with Madoff and Weapons of Mass Destruction.

And over in the Chicago Tribune there's the scandal of the woman stealing a 12-year-old's ice cream money.

The victim placed a $20 bill on the counter when another customer, described as a blond woman in her 40s, distracted the girl by asking about her favorite ice cream flavor.

Grabbing her own ice cream and the girl's money from the counter in the same motion, the woman exited the store with three young children in tow, police said.

Definitely not nice.

But what about the education of Chicago's public schoolchildren that's being stolen every day in the name of reform? Every major media outlet in the country keeps its silence about this thievery. Well, never mind, it's only happening to those kids.

Actually, the evil here is worse than silence: Many media venues such as the New York Times editorial promote and praise the thievery.

Here's what you get when you put school reform in a search at the New York Times.

  • Many states and school systems will want to claim federal money while preserving the disastrous status quo. Mr. Duncan will need to resist those pressures while pushing the country toward the educational reforms it desperately needs.-- April 8, 2009

  • Congress took a potentially transformative step when it devoted $100 billion in the stimulus package to education. Carefully targeted, this money could revive the reform efforts that began promisingly with President Bushâs No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 â" but later languished when his administration buckled under to political pressures from state officials.-- Feb. 21, 2009

  • On the other side are the partyâs self-defined âeducation reformers.â Members of this group â" a loose coalition of mayors and superintendents, charter-school proponents and civil rights advocates â" actually admire the accountability provisions in No Child Left Behind, although they often criticize the lawâs implementation. They point instead to a bigger, more systemic crisis. These reformers describe the underperformance of the countryâs schoolchildren, and especially of poor minorities, as a national crisis that demands a drastic overhaul of the way schools are run. In order to get better teachers into failing classrooms, they support performance bonuses, less protection for low-performing teachers, alternative certification programs to attract young, ambitious teachers and flexible contracts that could allow for longer school days and an extended school year. The unions see these proposals as attacks on their membersâ job security â" which, in many ways, they are.-- Sept. 5, 2008

  • And so on.

    As I read this, bamboozle came to mind. So I did a search of bamboozle. I found a reference to a 40-year-old chess strategy. The Times updated the term for modern times:

    Now comes the new United States co-champion, Grandmaster Joel Benjamin of Brooklyn, with a strategem that might be called the "Evans reversed." The idea is to suggest an end-game transition to the opponent, and when he refuses, kill him. One can see Benjamin carry this out in his game with Grandmaster Boris Gulko in the 12th round of the United States championship in Estes Park, Colo.

    Certainly this is what they are doing to urban teachers in the name of reform: Bamboozle reversed. Only education reformers like Arne Duncan call it "turnaround." When teachers don't go along with corporate reform, kill 'em! Empty a school of all its teachers and staff. And bring in new: New Leaders for New Schools, Teach for America--bring' em in. Retired military, out-of-work stockbrokers, secretaries, car salesmen, fashion merchandisers, contractors, custom painters, translators, pilots, accountants, electricians, chemists,animal trainers, and so on and so on. Don't forget recent college grads who want to build their resumes before applying to grad school.

    No experience with children or pedagogy needed. Just come in and be a reformer.

    Arne intends to bring this plan to 5,000 schools across the country. Broad and Gates will help him.

    Corporate-politico school reform is worse than stealing ice cream from children. The effects of corporate-politico school reform--stealing an education--will last a lifetime.

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