Poor schools underperform largely because of economic forces, not because teachers have it too easy
In the great American debate over education, the education and technology corporations, bankrolled politicians and activist-profiteers who collectively comprise the so-called “reform” movement base their arguments on one central premise: that America should expect public schools to produce world-class academic achievement regardless of the negative forces bearing down on a school’s particular students. In recent days, though, the faults in that premise are being exposed by unavoidable reality.
Before getting to the big news, let’s review the dominant fairy tale: As embodied by New York City’s major education this weekend, the “reform” fantasy pretends that a lack of teacher “accountability” is the major education problem and somehow wholly writes family economics out of the story (amazingly, this fantasy persists even in a place like the Big Apple where economic inequality is ). That key — and deliberate — omission serves myriad political interests.
For education, technology and charter school companies and the , it lets them cite troubled public schools to argue that the current public educationsystem is flawed, and to then argue that education can be improved if taxpayer money is funneled away from the public school system’s priorities (hiring teachers, training teachers, reducing class size, etc.) and into the private sector ( , replacing public schools with privately run charter schools, etc.). Likewise, for conservative and - disproportionately bankrolled by these and other monied interests, the “reform” argument gives them a way to both talk about fixing education and to bash organized labor, all without having to mention an economic status quo that monied interests benefit from and thus do not want changed.
Meanwhile, despite the fact that many “reformers’” policies have spectacularly , prompted and/or offered , an elite media that typically amplifies — rather than challenges — power and money loyally casts “reformers’” systematic pillaging of public education as laudable (the most recent example of this is cheering on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel after he cited budget austerity to justify the — all while he is also proposing to on a new private sports stadium).
In other words, elite media organizations (which, in many cases, have their in education “reform”) go out of their way to portray the anti-public-education movement as heroic rather than what it really is: just shrouded in the veneer of altruism.