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Where is the Future of Education?

June 28, 2012

Where is the Future of Education?

Ok, so I was scanning my Google Alerts and one of the links I received was this one (above & below).  I would like to say upfront that I think Mr. Warlick is spot-on accurate when he wonders about the future of education in this country.

One thing about me that many of my readers may not know is that I have not always been a teacher.  Prior to teaching I worked in business, financial services to be exact.  It is still a hobby of mine to this day.  Being in the financial industry has given me a unique take on public education and it allows me to view my job through a prism that straight-out-of-college teachers don’t usually see.

The prism that I am speaking about is money!  Public education is funded by tax dollars, these tax dollars are a mandated funding stream which work to educate our populace and advance our nation for the common good of all.  Think about countries which don’t have a strong public education system…would you want to live there?  Of course not!

I have been beating the drum on my little blog for over a year now warning about the effort to privatize public education.  The reformers are doing it via a straw man type setup which states that teachers, and unions, and public education in general are all failing our children.  NOTHING could be further from the truth!  The real issue, is the reform set wants to privatize the public education income stream!  That is their goal, they view it as a river of money that they want to tap into…kind of like military contractors and their successful privatization of services to our troops in Iraq…do you get the picture?  This is highly disturbing, and it IS happening!

I will say it again…teachers NEED to be informed, teachers NEED to be active politically, teachers NEED to know the positions of the politicians they vote for with regard to their education ideas and agenda!!!

Please read Mr. Warlick’s article and think…

I was scanning through an infographic the other day from Occupy Educated, called “The Illusion of Choice.” It tells the story of how six media giants control 90% of what we see, read and hear.

Because you’re curious, they are GE, Newscorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.

Is this where the future of education is being planned –  corporate boardrooms?

I could go on and on, as many have already, about the threat this poses to a nation, formerly known as “Democratic.”

But – might there come a time, when we see at the bottom of this infographic how 90% of our schools are controlled by, say, three corporations, three boards of directors instead of local boards of education.

Thousands of educators, from around the world will be gathering in San Diego next week to share, teach and learn, tell stories, celebrate, eat and drink and leave, knowing more about supporting their students in their learning journeys. We’ll be talking about pedagogy, emerging and cool technologies, school and classroom management, creativity and games, and our students – and how to motivate them to want to make learning a lifestyle. We will also share stories about the multitude of barriers we face in promoting a progressive retooling of our classrooms.

But I have come to worry about a greater threat to the democratic foundations of education, a threat so big, so strange, and so insidious, that it is going largely Un-noticed.  It is so large and comes from such high places that I hesitate to do more than whisper it.  I am not a cynical person.  But people whom I admire and respect have gone this far and for some time now – and I will too.  I fear that there is, and has been, an organized and orchestrated effort by people in high places (and low places) to privatize education in America – to take over our classrooms.

Let’s look at this from a corporate entrepreneurial point of view.  According to a recent U.S. Census report, funding going to U.S. “public” schools in 2008-2009 totaled 591 billion dollars, with $55.9 billion coming from the federal government, $276.2 billion from states and $258.9 billion from local sources.  In many powerful circles, that translates to almost 600 billion dollars that are certainly being poorly spent by the “government” – and with zero bankable profits.

We’re being convinced that:

  1. The U.S. is falling behind other nations in education – that  our schools are failing.
  2. The success of schools and education can be precisely measured and quantified by a corporate testing industry and the constant testing of our children.
  3. Teachers, protected by labor unions, do not know what they’re doing.
  4. Business can do it better.

Each of these are so easily debunked.  But exposing their fallacies does not tell a story, and stories are what we need.  Are you a story?  Are you successful in your work and happy in your family and friends.  If so, then YOU are the measure of the success of your education – not the tests you took 5, 10, 15 or 40 years ago.

For me, I’m going to ISTE to find new language and new stories for proving that the purpose of education is not to prepare our children to be weighed and measured at the end of each year, but to prepare them for their future – and in ways that are as exciting as their future has the potential to be.

Oh yeah!   I’ll also be looking for cool new tech.

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