Sharing information and reporting on all that reeks in American education, especially corporate reform in K12 education, the agenda to privatize the right to a free public education for every child, and general corruption in K12-higher education. Calling out and exposing rather than cowering.

AND eager for your help. Have a story of power, manipulation, self-interest or injustice which needs attention? Let me know and we'll let the world discover "what's that smell."

"If you're a profession of sheep, then you'll be run by wolves." -- David C. Berliner

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: Everything else is public relations." -- George Orwell

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -- Paulo Freire

*A slideshow of Ed Reform-Critical Boxer's "Greatest Hits" memes runs at the bottom of this page.*

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! ;)

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT! ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mondo Marketing Make-Over in New York State!: Pearson, Product Placement and the Push Ed Reformers Always Wanted

Our friends at the Lace to the Top blog have posted an intriguing tidbit of information which helps illustrate exactly how saturated and infiltrated is corporate marketing not just within the policies of ed reform but within the products they create as well.

Apparently Pearson recently sent a story to media suggesting it did not mention products associated with its bottom line in the text of the NY State ELA tests. But a little research revealed this wasn't true. Indeed, several products with ties to Pearson get direct mention in the test. Click here to read more about this most-likely lie from Pearson and the actual truths of the matter.




We shouldn't express shock when we see corporate ed reform branding. Branding and brandishing are part of the plan: Brand public schools as places of failure; brandish alternatives to public school once parents see their children and schools "fail" based on the criteria the ed reformers (and not actual teachers) set forth. 

Generally speaking, this branding/brandishing is a long-term strategy. Gates has said it will take a decade to see if the CCSS is "working," though what he means by "working" is debatable. But, some in New York are expediting the process. 

According to Rochester, NY, news station WHEC 10, "as the complaints [regarding Common Core]  have increased, so has enrollment at area private schools."  Indeed, one local private in the area markets itself as the "cure for the common core!" 

Echoing my mention of Gates' 10-year plan, reporter Rebecca LeClair writes, "Right from the start, the education department planned on taking 12 years to fully implement the new standards but many families aren't willing to wait, so they are simply walking away from public education."

Families who have the resources to do so, of course, and who inadvertently act as another built-in profit  for ed reformers, who show success in charters by enrolling a community's least-needy children while ignoring populations needing special attention. Some call this "skimming."

But the entire ed reform machine might best be labeled "scamming," as these New York-based marketing scenarios suggest. The most capable students might not act as product placements for the charters or other public alternatives, but they can act as sorts of placed  products, offering trumped up evidence of alt schooling's superiority over public education and helping the marketing machine of the School Reform Mad Men (and Women). While privates might not be charters exactly, remember voucher talk remains on the outskirts of the corporate ed reform movement. While privates may not have to abide by CCSS, they still get to choose the programs and textbooks and hardware and software companies like Pearson create, support, or by which they are supported.

"I got served by Pearson and Common Core!

Joshua Katz Discusses Toxic Culture of American K12 Education in this TED Talk, Plus

Recently, Joshua Katz delivered an atom bomb of a TED talk which every stakeholder in American education needs to watch and memorize. He tackles all that is wrong with current trends in and perceptions of teaching an learning.

 Obvious influences include this cartoon or its quote's originator, Diane Ravitch, and superhero tropes. What's not to love? Well, if you're an ed reformer, it's that he's speaking the TRUTH. He knows his education history too, and especially the the rhetoric of "crisis" and "failure." I can't recommend viewing this video enough.





Some salient quotes:

"The only way to feed a business model in this toxic culture of education is to perpetuate a picture of failure."

"There is no money in long-term student success."

"Rigor has replaced the word relevant."

"Follow the money."

"The reality is that most teachers are accomplishing amazing feats of human achievement and motivation with their students everyday, and what they are able to accomplish is being done despite a professional environment of questioning, belittling, and self-doubt due to accountability measures and evaluation systems we [probably meaning teachers, teacher educators, and the general public, most likely] had no stake in even creating."

While you're in the movie mood, watch the below documentary, which influences EduStank's thoughts on public school reform and offers more actual, good solutions to real problems in the system which need addressing.


The film is entitled The Inconvenient Truth About Waiting For Superman, and if the YouTube link doesn't work, try the vimeo link. It reads best when viewed after seeing the very pro ed reform Waiting for Superman.

Taken together, they offer great content in an accessible medium and with frankness most anyone can understand.

Special thanks to University of South Florida  professor Joan Kaywell for bringing the TED talk to my attention.

UPDATE:

In the spirit of selling this post as a one-stop resource for great filmic representations of the arguments against ed reform, I present to you a link to the documentary Building the Machine: The Common Core Documentary:




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

P.L. Thomas Discusses Worries Associated With IL District's Ban on Talk of Ferguson, Brown

Some days it feels we really can trace all that needs reconfiguring in education to Illinois, home of NCTE, the Chicago Ed Reformers, and our current Secretary of Education, not to mention the POTUS. 

This news about an Illinois district near Ferguson banning discussion of recent events regarding the killing of Mike Brown won't alleviate that feeling.

Though, Paul L. Thomas, Associate Professor of Education at Furman and perhaps one of the best minds fighting for public education and speaking truth to power, will at least make you feel better-informed once you read how he contextualizes this error of judgement in Edwardsville, IL. 

Click here to read his piece on the subject, which makes the point "Prohibiting students from talking about events in Ferguson offers them exactly the opposite of what they need."

Arne Duncan and David Coleman: Bearracuda Lovin' as $$ Flows To AP, College Board

Fellow ed reform oppositioner and blogger Peter Greene reports Arne Duncan is funneling money to the College Board, now overseen by David Coleman, the unqualified mastermind behind the English Language Arts Common Core State Standards. 

"Tuesday, the Department of Education proudly announced its AP Test grant program. Forty states, DC and the Virgin Islands will be handing over $28.4 million to the College Board so that low-income students can take the AP test," says Greene.

Greene explains the benefits of such a move and why they help Big Education more than they do the average student. 

Also worth noting in ed reform news is reportage from Bobby Jindal, the  Louisiana governor who is flip-flopping his position on government-controlled oversight in his state. 

Th "Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) issued a press release where the Chief Executive Officer of PARCC Laura Slover revealed the true goals of the federally funded PARCC assessment - to control curriculum," says Jindal's website. 

How are these stories connected? Part of the ed reform agenda is TOTAL Control of public education and its alternatives once public schools are a tapped market and reformers have shifted consumer influence over to charters or other alternatives to brick-and-mortar publics. 


Coleman's rise to power is 100% rooted in ed reform, dating back to his days working with Michelle Rhee, who herself was once a Teach For America agent. 


Coleman has exerted unfathomable influence on K12 education and now controls the flow in higher education as well.


Keep thinking CCSS isn't an aligned curriculum if you want, but every bit of evidence suggests otherwise.


Indeed, for perfect alignment, the power players have to form multi-linear daisy chains to do business and keep one another properly lubricated and stimulated. 


It appears Arne's funnel fulfills Coleman just fine.


Please read Greene's reporting and commentary, and the comments from readers are informative as well.

They'll help you see who is getting pleasured and who is just getting screwed. 





Sunday, August 24, 2014

MUST-READ Information Comic on Gates, Education, and Equality

Please click here to read Adam Bessie and Dan Carino's graphic journalism piece, "The Gates Foundation Education Reform Hype Machine and Bizarre Inequality Theory," just published with Truthout.


No Irony Here: Data Breaches Show CCSS/Ed Reformers Oblivious to Human Element

Maybe you missed it, because it's the sort of story many with media influence wouldn't want you to hear, but in April of this year a school district in Missouri announced a data breach associated with CCSS-era stockpiling of student information.


Park Hill School District of Kansas City released a statement revealing the breach as not the move of external hackers but a former employee who,

 “…downloaded all files from this employee’s work computer onto a hard drive without consent. When the hard drive connected to a home network, all the files became accessible from the Internet for a period of time. Unfortunately, this meant it was possible to find the files through a Google search or other sites that logged the IP address. We know that at least one person accessed the hard drive and left the former employee a message warning that the information was available online, but we cannot tell whether that person or anyone else took any information.”

 Among the data collected: That which many have admitted school systems can't adequately secure and which contains intimate, important particulars like academic assessments scores and student social security numbers. Employees’ sensitive identifying info was accessed as well.

 In total, the breach put for 10,210 people at risk, including folks no longer associated with the district.

 That number does not account for damage the breach could cause to those thousands’ families, of course.

Such breaches reveal a telling Truth about ed reform and ed reformers. First, a note about educators: 

Many teachers and teacher educators hold the ideal that teaching should, at its center, “Do No Harm.” 

A lofty ideal since no one can ever know the full consequences of an action, sure, but one which should apply to an educator’s sense of how to plan, assess, learn about students, and calculate risk. One which centers education on the human element.

Further, before the era of Big Data and as forces gathered steam for what would become the CCSS initiative, several forewarned applying the "Do No Harm" maxim to K12 (and Higher Ed) data harvesting would be especially tough.

The human element seems less important to data mongering architects of ed reform and the Common Core State Standards.

Bill Gates, for example, has extolled the possibilities of individualized custom markets based on data created when facts gleaned from the ether coalesce to reveal the specific needs of specific kids whose specific parents can pay specific companies, most likely Pearson, to help address the specific academic areas needing work. 

He's tempered his enthusiasm by suggesting states might make their own decisions on how to use data, but, generally, the possibilities seem to make him giddy with excitement.

Maybe one reason for happy giggles?: Microsoft’s cloud system is reported as a major data storage provider.

The market vision of fast data and customizable consumer portfolios must look amazing to those who see datum and dollars.

But to those of us who see instead children and hard-working men and women, any beneficent potential from the educational utopia created from mining Big Data turns horrific. Harmful.Or, with the potential to create harm when all variables are considered, anyway. 

Certainly, breaches such as these, even if they're result of simple human error, violate the “Do No Harm” maxim and show how eager corporate entities and their supporters are to collect, market, and sell. 

They also reveal a Truth those of us critical of CCSS and other ed reform initiatives have known for years:

At its core, the CCSS – along with many key tenets of contemporary educational reform – do not account for the human element. 

Districts which must gather data must have people who are able to access it. The cloud is not secure, nor are databases nor hard drives in brick-and-mortar facilities.

Other breaches have occurred. El Paso Independent School District was hacked in 2011, and in 2013 Guilford County Public Schools (NC) had some situations in which, ultimately, leaders had to admit to the community that their data mining operation would not and could not be 100% secure.

And they’ll continue to happen. Even if the cloud were to become a floating Fort Knox, there’s no accounting for the human element.


A central blow to “Do No Harm” ethos; a central flaw of CCSS and ed reform. 

Please, read more about the Park Hill data breach at the Missouri Education Watchdog blog. Anne Gassel gives full treatment to the event, why it is worrisome, and why Park Hill's breach won't be the last. 

Further, here's a great blog post (from which this post's graphic originates) on data breaching paradigms.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Evidence Surfaces, Shows LA School Leaders' Unfair Bid Fixing Re: iPad/Software?

Fellow ed reform opponent and blogger advocate Big Education A.P.E ( A parent Engaged) reports the bidding for contracts to supply Los Angeles schools with technology were topic of clandestine discussion, making the bidding process dubious, skeevy, and maybe even...illegal? We'll have to wait until the story develops to see, assuming the indiscretions aren't swept under the rug. Unearthed emails suggest real worries about the process, though, with Pearson contacted well before any other possible bidders.


Please click the link to read the full story at Big A.P.E. Education, from whence the above meme originated.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Less Testing For Now, But Worse Testing Situations? Arne Duncan's "WTF" Week

Hot off news support for the Common Core State Standards is plummeting across multiple demographics, but especially among teachers, Arne Duncan has suggested maybe the assessments -- money-makers planned from the beginning as part of the CCSS/ed reform package -- associated with CCSS are causing too much stress for students and need to be delayed for a while. As well, they're stressing teachers. 

According to The New York Times' Motoko Rich, "Duncan announced on Thursday that states could delay the use of test results in teacher-performance ratings by another year, an acknowledgment, in effect, of the enormous pressures mounting on the nation’s teachers because of new academic standards and more rigorous standardized testing."


"Well, maybe not just yet. But eventually. By which I mean 'now' for many of you and your students."

While he's quoted as saying, "too much testing can rob school buildings of joy, and cause unnecessary stress," there is no evidence Duncan seeks to disentangle dubious, unfield-tested standards with no research base behind them from Value Added Models of assessment tying teachers' job security to students' scores on standardized tests, also of which have dubious (and conflicting) research. 

So, my guess what we're seeing here is a time grab. But not for teachers. Not for children. 

Perhaps within the next year or two some Gates-funded studies on Value Added Models of teacher assessment will yield results amenable to Duncan's long-term goal of exactly more of the same.

What's more, today, a single news cycle after Duncan's not-so-reconsideration, The Washington Post's Valerie Strauss reports not only are developmentally-inappropriate standards being implemented this year, but many will see such testing integrated into Kindergarten.
"Bill Gates, Arne Duncan, and President Obama say I'm not 'college-ready!'"

Even among those who think the CCSS are acceptable, there is great concern CCSS early childhood standards and expectations are especially poorly-conceived and even harmful. But, just as Duncan is saying it might be time to hold off on so many tests, some 5 and 6 year old's will be subjected to end-of-grade style final assessments.

And in at least one state, those scores will be part of teachers' own assessment scores (VAM). 

As terrible as it is to test students this young, imagine having your salary and job security based on how well a class of Kindergartners does on tests based on curricula known to be beyond their developmental abilities. 

Rest assured, Duncan's "reprieve" isn't a chance for teachers and students to catch their breath.

 More than likely, if an intermittent break from VAM and high-stakes tests comes, once the break is over, teachers and students and research money will have been used to reinforce their utility based on the definitions of "success" and "failure" the ed reformers continue to control and manipulate.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

When the Metaphor Fits: Denisha Jones' "WELCOME TO THE TEACHING PROFESSION: ARE YOU READY TO GO TO WAR?"

The metaphors we use to describe teaching say much about us. When I taught ELA methods classes at an aspiring tier 1 university on the U.S./Mexican border, often I asked my students to think about the dominant metaphor they held regarding teaching. This "Teaching is..." reflection was followed by reading from the excellent comics adaptation of Bill Ayers' To Teach, in which he explicates several common teaching metaphors and debunks them as simplistic, sometimes media-driven, even harmful solipsisms in need of critique, challenge, and refinement. 

 My own dominant metaphor does not appear in To Teach. I've come to view teaching in militaristic (though not necessarily violent) terms. My dominant metaphor is as such: Teaching is the Fight Against Ignorance.

"Welcome to Teaching, Pre-Service Student. Hope you Survive the Experience."
A warrish conceptualization of education may no sit well with many in K12 classrooms or colleges of education, but I was appreciative when I saw Indiana University teacher educator Denisha Jones appropriate the language of battle in a recent article entitled, "Welcome to the Teaching Profession Are you Ready to Go To War?".

Jones writes the article to her teacher education students, who will work with her in her eleventh year as a teacher educator. While she wants them to love the careers they've chosen, she is blunt about contemporary K12 teachers' realities:

The teachers who stay in the profession have realized that they are in the fight of their life. Teachers can no longer do what they love, what they spent years being educated to do; they have to fight for their students, their parents, their colleagues, and their selves. They have to fight against the education reformers who have never been teachers but somehow are allowed to make policies that impact other people’s children while their children go to private school. They have to fight against democrats and republicans who take money from corporations hell bent on privatizing public education and treat education like it is zero-sum game. They have to fight against a society that expects teachers to make miracles happen every day but does not respect them, value them, or pay them enough to do it. If they want to stay in the classroom and make a difference they have to fight. Because if they do not fight then they will no longer love what they do.

Teaching as fighting for that which is fair and just and against that which is perverse and market-driven and certainly not learner-driven. Teaching as a battle. Jones knows professing in teacher education in the age of corporate reform is to profess pugilistically; so too is public school teaching a sometimes seemingly unending shadow box against forces intangible and very real but apparently untouchable. 

Jones ends with a call to arms which reads more like a plead than a battle cry:

Please do not be scared off by my words and tone. I do not want you to pick another profession. I have a responsibility to make sure that you are prepared to become a teacher. I can show you how to write lesson plans, design meaningful assessments, and create a democratic classroom community. But none of that will matter if you are not prepared to fight for your profession. I hope you are ready to go to war, because we need people like you to remind us what is worth fighting for.

I encourage you to read the rest of Jones' words. They strike me as insightful, passionate, and the EXACT sort of honesty and courage needed from those who lead teacher education classes. I've long praised and tried to create "teaching it real" atmospheres in which I as the professor am not afraid to field any question about the realities of teaching and eschew strongly embedded institutional notions that I have to, for lack of better words, "blow sunshine up the assess" of my pre-service teachers to keep them in the program so the department's per capita stays strong and everyone with power is happy with the bottom line while the consumers/students are left in an "ignorance is bliss" coma soon to be challenged and most-likely contributing to the 50% attrition rate among new teachers within the first five years of their careers. 

Please, read the Jones letter. Better yet, share it with the teacher education majors in your life. She is correct to speak of teaching as a fight, and her end goal is for future teachers to be armed with knowledge to best win the fight. 

And good on you, Professor Jones, for your forthwith courage and necessary frankness.  


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

As School Begins: Questions All Education Majors Should Ask Their Professors

You're an education major; you have a right to information on your school's and professors' K12-related  policy stances and how they might affect the education you receive. Edustank wants you informed and hopes the guide below helps.
So, you're an education major and an aspiring K12 public school teacher, eh? Good for you! To be the best you can be, keep yourself informed about current education policies and efforts to transform American public schools. What you find might inspire you, surprise you, or even help you revision your life- and career goals. 

Below are 13 (mas o menos) questions to ask of your professors, especially those directly involved in your preparation as a teacher, about the current state of K12 education reform and how your college's decisions and values are driving the kind of education for which your tuition dollars pay. The list isn't exhaustive, but it's a great start. Feel free to add other worthy questions in the comments and/or send me professors' replies via the "Contact" button to the right of this post. 

What are you doing to combat the privatization of public education in American schools?

What are you doing to actively fight against implementation and continuation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)?


      Will we discuss CCSS in this class, and, if so, will that class include a multitude of perspectives on it, especially those from career educators and teacher educators? Will we discuss the competing versions of who created the standards, how they came about, and who was and was not part of the conversation? Will we contextualize CCSS in relation to Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind?

     Of what professional organizations are you a member, and what are their stances on ed reform and CCSS?

      If the professional organizations of which you are a member stand in opposition to your stances regarding corporate/political ed reform, privatization, charter schools, and CCSS, why do you remain a member?

      In what ways have you gained or stand to gain by supporting CCSS and other affiliated ed reform policies; opposing them; staying quiet about your opposition to them even though you oppose them; remaining in professional organizations and establishments (including this university); or speaking out about CCSS and the ed reform movement?   





How did we do on the latest National Council of Teacher Quality report, and how was our ranking/score on that report reflective of the department and/or university’s positions on CCSS?         

                            

If you are an untenured professor or non-tenure stream teacher, do you fear for your livelihood if you speak out against corporate ed reform? Why or why not?

     Will we discuss Teach for America’s growing role in corporate education reform?



     Can you point me to resources to help me grow my thoughts on current ed policy actions?



     (For secondary ed majors) What should I ask my content area professors regarding their thoughts on CCSS and corporate ed reform,  and how should I react if I find a schism of ideologies between the Education school and my content area’s home department?



       Is it possible for me to have agency and advocacy for children based on how I am positioned regarding my opinions on corporate ed reform? How can my stances on CCSS and privatization affect my ability to gain employment as a K12 educator?


       Do you believe CCSS and current corporate/government reform efforts hinder or expand democracy, social justice, and equity in schools and society? Explain.


Meet the Common Core State Standards Enforcement Division: EdReports.org to Police Instructional Material for Alignment

Shane Vander Hart of American Principle Project reports the Bill Gates-funded "nonprofit"  EdReports.org will oversee K12 curricula, policing textbooks and all manner of curricular material to make sure it is "aligned" with the Common Core State Standards. 


Ever hear a CCSS proponent say we need to "teach the standards" rather than make what would illustrate an informed understanding about the difference in standards and curriculum? Ever worry that the appendices and exemplar texts suggestions weren't just possibilities? 


Now the CCSS trifecta is in place: Control of standards, curricula, and assessments. Virtually every sector of the public education industrial complex is under Gates' control or beholden to Gates funding.

Indeed, one might revisit statements about "teaching the standards" and see that they were not made erroneously by people ignorant of differences but by people who knew exactly what they wanted all along: A tightly controlled national curriculum with its own police force acting as "quality-control" enforcers, strong-arming publishers and driving any curriculum progressive enough to challenge CCSS to extinction via labeling it inferior and unaligned. 

And if the efforts of EdReports help drive public schools into extinction as well, no worries for Gates. He's invested in charter schools too. 

Not only might we see a national curriculum emerge, we're seeing the equivalent of a dictatorship, one man controlling every aspect of American education and creating a shadow monopoly right under our noses. 








Sunday, August 17, 2014

Education Reformers: The New Segregationists and the Assimilationist Ethic


 What more proof do you need that the current rash of corporate education reforms is designed to destroy public education than the fact that Bill Gates and others supporting the Common Core State Standards also push for charter schools? If the testing supposedly accompanying CCSS reveals nationally what it has revealed in New York -- mainly that students fail these tests at higher rates than they passed others -- the big "reveal" will be that Gates and other reformers double dipping in public education and pseudo-private charters have custom-created a market, with our children as the victims and the public as the pawns.

"Failing" public schools with faculty forced to meet standards that are illogical and not developmentally appropriate -- especially in the delicate early elementary grades -- are, essentially, in a double-bind such that they exacerbate their own demise. Stakeholders who see schools as failing may be more apt to seek alternatives. So, public schools assist reformers like Gates by accepting and implementing  models designed to decenter them from their "monolopy" (rather than what I see as "the right") that is public education.

More charters open, maybe even with public support. They are less regulated (if regulated at all) than public schools, so they get to pick and choose who they accept. Even if charter leaders use a lottery system to pick students at random, they can implement policies and practices to drive out students who are difficult to serve or do not measure up somehow. As well, they can decide where and when the lottery is held, possibly limiting access to potential "undesirables." Where to send the kids who won't illustrate excellence and hold the charter school's scores down? Back to public schools, where the better-performing and less-needy students may have been skimmed from the enrollment already and where they may once again act as illustrators of the schools' "failing" based on tools designed to create the market for the charters in the first place.

As more public schools fail, new charters move in. Perhaps they focus on special populations and keep class sizes small. Or, perhaps they plop kids in front of computers and beside unqualified, unlicensed teachers and call it education. Charter operators get to define their own definitions of success, which may or may not be comparable with the definitions foisted/self-imposed upon public schools.

Charters under-serve the most vulnerable students in public schools. Generally, they do not serve special needs students or those designated as ESL/ELL. These students may also be the ones who, regardless of how much work is being done to assist them, can't have true growth measured via CCSS-model standardized tests but have to take them anyway. While there are charters which exist to serve special needs students only, they do not constitute the rule but rather the exception.

Here is the Gates model to school reform: Segregate and Conquer.  It is a model used to some degree by most corporate-centric school reformers:

1. Claim schools are failing.
2. Use influence to craft and implement curricular standards designed to further prove the claim (define the problem and create the tools to prove the problem you defined).
3. While public schools are exacerbating their own demise, build up the new resources such that once the claim is "proven," you control the alternative market.
4. More schools "fail" based on the definition you asserted and states accepted.
5. Advertise your ready charters as better alternatives.
6. Skim least-risky students from public schools to ensure your success in charters.
7. Watch as public schools do worse based on remaining students who are less capable of succeeding under your imposed and accepted definitions.
8. Offer more alternatives for students in those schools, alternatives you control.
9. Rinse, wash, and repeat.

Somewhere in there is work that convinces politicians that this new free market education system will be good for the economy overall, which may be the only thing politicians think the public cares about anyway or see as that which will best help them get re-elected. Convince the power politicos that opening up the new market will improve the bottom line regardless of the social carnage or the rejiggering of values associated with the public good and the right of a free public education. Add a president and his partners who make accepting the CCSS mandatory to even be considered for a new pool of government funds at a time when states are reeling to make ends meet -- a "thank you" gesture to some of the president's earliest backers --  and you have your new pauperizing process.

In the meantime, as the corporate clock-maker gods sit back and watch the system play out as devised but under false aegises of public demand and public accountability, the divide between the have's and have-not's grows. This too is part of the overall economic reform system, but with children as the central victims. Other people's kids: the easiest gloss.  The goal is reform for profit, not reform for improvement. Certainly not for equity.

Make no mistake: The reform movement is the New Segregationist Movement. All of us accepting these reforms or not actively fighting them are part of the movement. As a teacher educator in a CCSS state about to experience a charter market wave (click here for a scholarly source on who is supporting charters in Washington State), I am part of the movement. NCTE, IRA, AERA, NEA -- all organizations that have not directly, boldly challenged the system and new market? They are part of the movement.

All stakeholders in this nation, especially teachers, teacher educators, and their professional organizations, are in an exigency where they may feel  they must assimilate or die.

I propose a different possibility: Assimilate and die.

I have to teach my students how to deal with CCSS. I try to counter this by making sure they know  their daily goals and objectives are not synonymous with meeting standards. The phrase "teach the standards" keeps popping up in high-profile places, making the distinction between goal-oriented teaching and standards-based teaching harder to make to young people who know the jobs they'll seek may require an assimilationist attitude, but I attempt to get my students to see the standards as a tool to meet the needs of their students and to get them to see teaching and learning as a situation in which the learner comes first and standards are at least secondary to daily and annual teaching goals.

When I discuss the CCSS with my students, we read works offering support for them and works detailing problematics.  I chant the mantras, "You don't work for the standards; make the standards work for you and your students" and "Use the tool of standards; don't be the tool of standards," but my efforts feel less and less revolutionary as I accept the perceived fact that I must accept what I want to disavow. I'm assimilating out of perceived necessity, but my soul and conscience are dying.

I'm not sure what I do is near enough. I've engaged in "Facebook advocacy" by sharing resources with my network. I've joined the Badass Teachers (BATS) and The Network for Public Education (NPE).  I try to follow those who are speaking out about these rhee-forms or deforms or whatever the reactionist phrase de jour may be, but perhaps I need to be more public in my worries, writing my elected officials and working to influence which ones find themselves with power.

But as a public employee at what is essentially a government-sponsored institution, do I put what little privilege I have on the line by speaking out?

If I feel this way as a visiting professor not yet on the tenure track, how do my TT colleagues feel and why aren't they speaking out more too or taking actions to influence their national organizations?

Many of us in teacher education have much to gain in terms of professional comfort by continuing to give our money to the organizations that have yet to take a hard stand against the reform movement. We have what feels to us much to lose by speaking out. And our tenured professors? Perhaps they're just too comfortable overall, too removed from the pressures of failure that the New Segregationist movement have spawned. They're the success stories and power-players of the profession, after all.

I can conjecture at best regarding these questions, and there are folks fighting the good fight and embracing the consequences, I know; but let it be said: the New Segregationist Movement, just as it feeds on double-binds regarding K-12 schools and forced acts of desperation from state leaders,  feeds on contemporary notions of success and visibility and viability accepted by those in the field of teacher education, binding professionals who should know better to systems of self-preservation and organizations that may no longer have all of America's children at the center of their values.


I know I'm part of the problem. I can't rebel against the system such that I can ignore the presence of CCSS and other reforms, and I'd prefer not to scare my most-promising 22-year-olds out of teaching, hoping instead maybe they'll be able to fix this mess the rest of us, those too far in even as we scream to get out, make and remake even as we resist from our precarious perches with just enough privilege to placate us from taking stronger actions against our oppressors, who, to a degree, are us by design.

In short, any battle against the New Segregationists is a battle against forces stronger than any one of us, forces that can control our comfort and careers and the definitions of our profession and our viability within it, and against forces that have ensured we have to fight our own demons before we can tackle the new quagmire they continue to create as we struggle under the forks of their wealth, influence, and power. The enemy is us, and them, and the us they've helped us create. The right to a quality public education for every child and to the kinds of reforms that are necessary to make that a reality are at stake.

Make no mistake about it: "Public education" is an entity being reduced, redefined and devalued every day the public school reformers are the same people supporting public school alternatives like charters, a key cog in creating the machinery of their New (true) Monopoly of K-12 education (not that they're stopping there).