Dan Walters continues to use his position as a major editorial writer in the Bee in support of corporate style school control in support of the fake school reform industry and consultants. (Sac Bee, Nov. 15, page A3) He does this by regularly describing neoliberal charter advocates such as Gloria Romero and Michelle Rhee and others as advocates of “school reform”.
In reality they are advocates of more testing and test driven change.
High-stakes standardized tests, and the new curriculum they have spawned, require teachers to avoid thinking deeply about the information we’re sending to students. The aim of testing is to provide demonstrable, measurable evidence that work is being produced — that teachers and students are not thinking creatively when they should be lecturing, memorizing, studying. The idea is that a teacher’s job is to get information into the heads of students, and a student’s job is to write it out, unchanged, on a test.
When we teach content and skills that will be on the state test instead of history and politics, language and literature, we neutralize the power of knowledge and undercut the possibility of building relationships with our students. By insisting that the structure of class remain controlled by testing day to day (and enforcing it through teacher observations and evaluation, as many urban school districts do), we produce a dry unimaginative form of instruction that shaped by corporate interests.
This inevitably leads to teachers designing lessons in which they hold the answers and the kids guess — instead of thinking critically and creatively.
The testing crowd, including those who call themselves civil rights organizations, do not work in schools- they consult and “manage”, they claim to lead. They are well paid consultants and advocates for the testing agenda and more corporate influence in public education – the very policies that demonstratively failed in No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top.
School reform tries to improve the schools. Civil Rights groups seek to provide greater quality education for all not market driven test driven change.