Three Inherent Contradictions Within the Corporate Ed Reform Movement

Modern man {sic} must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.

Vaclav Havel

1. By emphasizing “accountability,” and then “holding teachers accountable” to teaching content through high stakes testing, corporate ed reformers reinforce the artificial, all too rigid silos (math separated from science, etc.) of traditional curriculum and then complain that students aren’t prepared with “21st Century Skills.”

2. By focusing on knowledge acquisition within the silos of this curriculum and then holding teachers accountable for such content through high stakes testing, corporate ed reformers ignore the far more important issue of the fundamental dispositions needed for what Michael Fullan calls “The New Pedagogy,” which is learning how to learn. The result is students who are bored and struggle with the relevancy of their time in school, and teachers who are stuck with an imposed, limited way of imagining the why and what of schools.

3. Given the above, teachers are then ignored in the ed reform conversation in favor of charismatic, and rich, corporate innovators and their ilk, because, although teachers are set up to fail within the parameters created by policy makers, they are also blamed for this failure and accused of protecting the status quo when they are actually working to protect the souls and imaginations of the students they work with from the corroding effects of a hyper- achievement oriented culture.

It’s crazy.



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