Public schools are the next strip malls of America?

We can stand by and pretend that the latest top down fads make educational sense. We can chose to believe that the state is offering teachers quality in-services about "good" instruction. We can just trust that federal and state legislators do their research and know what they are voting for before they vote. We can stand by and think that our kids may test well, so this doesn't impact us... But what we may not realize are the goals of the business people behind these ideas.

In this post, a reader has a few thoughts about ed reform: "Standardized testing has nothing to do with improving education–not for wealthy suburbanites in Westchester and not for needy children in the Bronx. It’s all about scale, and propping up a vast and growing “education industry” that’s only worth the trouble (money) of the likes of Gates, Murdoch, the Waltons, and the Bushes, and, sadly, Obama and Duncan, if it’s standardized and millions of customers–I mean children–are buying." 

I remember when I first began seeing colleges and universities with unfamiliar names in strip malls, between Subway stores and nail salons. It struck me as odd, and still does, yet we have gotten used to the sight of them. It still makes me shudder to see ads for on-line cyber schools. A few people I know seem to like them, but I want my kids in classes with their peers, with in-person teachers who get to know them, and in locally controlled school districts.

But imagining public schools as the next strip malls of America? Deeply disturbing.
Why so? Because it seems to fall in line with the same kind of thinking as strip mall universities & on-line learning.

"This testing revelation has resulted in the worst atrocities of curriculum-trimming, test-prep, and educational “disruption” being visited upon only the poorest schools and districts. The dawning revelation of social inequity makes a convenient defense when what you’re really trying to do is transforms schools into the next strip malls of America."

It is entirely possible that the "curriculum trimming, test-prep, and educational disruption" aren't being saved for the poorest of schools. What if they were just the appetizers?
It is highly suggested that we not accept any new educational ideas at face value. We must research everything and look for connections to Gates, the Broad foundation, the Koch brothers, ALEC, the Bushes, Obama and other anti-public education players. Even our most beloved leaders may be passing along questionable ideas and practices. Just because someone says something is a best practice doesn't make it so. If the goal is to turn our schools into strip mall schools, no one is safe. Question everything. There is no secret sauce.


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