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Outrage of the Week…

May 8, 2011

http://tinyurl.com/3hf9yqj

There is a May 3rd writing in Education Week by Diane Ravitch with the title: “Outrage of the Week.”  In this writing Diane goes over a list of outrages with regard to the ongoing trend towards corporatizing education.  Here is an excerpt:

It is way past time to get mad. Each week, it is hard to know which of the latest outrages against American public education is the worst.

Perhaps it was the agreement between the Gates Foundation and the Pearson Foundation to write the nation’s curriculum. When did we vote to hand over American education to them? Why would we outsource the nation’s curriculum to a for-profit publishing and test-making corporation based in London? Does Bill Gates get to write the national curriculum because he is the richest man in America? We know that his foundation is investing heavily in promoting the Common Core standards. Now his foundation will write a K-12 curriculum that will promote online learning and video gaming. That’s good for the tech sector, but is it good for our nation’s schools? Oh, and one more outrage: The Gates Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation, both of which maintain the pretense of being Democrats and/or liberals, have given millions to former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s foundation, which is promoting vouchers, charters, online learning, test-based accountability, and the whole panoply of corporate reform strategies intended to weaken public education and remove teachers’ job protections.

The scariest thought is that the Obama administration welcomes the corporatization of public education. Not only welcomes the rise of educational entrepreneurialism, but encourages it. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s chief of staff Joanne Weiss, who has experience as an education entrepreneur, wrote the following in a blog for the Harvard Business Review:

“The development of common standards and shared assessments radically alters the market for innovation in curriculum development, professional development, and formative assessments. Previously, these markets operated on a state-by-state basis, and often on a district-by-district basis. But the adoption of common standards and shared assessments means that education entrepreneurs will enjoy national markets where the best products can be taken to scale.”

I am very concerned about the Obama administration’s approach to public education.  He seems to be such an intelligent guy who has surrounded himself with corporate lackeys when in comes to education and education policy.  It is frustrating when you consider the sheer amount of money that is at stake which is presently pitted against teachers.  It is also unnerving when you consider less support and blown out class sizes and you realize that the kids will most definitely suffer.

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