Monday, December 29, 2008

Excellent CounterPunch Article on Arne Duncan Appointment

Cheers for Kenneth Libby, teacher-in-training in Portland, Oregon. Please take the time to visit CounterPunch where his excellent piece on the appointment of Arne Duncan as Ed Secretary has been published.

I've been slammin' Duncan quite a lot on this blog but I believe Kenneth is right on target when he points out that Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same worn-out coin. He rightly speaks of "the collusion of government officials and corporate interests" and has some important things to say about our nation's spending priorities.

Some excerpts from Libby's article:

The policies touted as educational "reform" by the New Democrats apply the same neoliberal theories responsible for NAFTA, the WTO, and GATT with the same results: the inequalities become greater while those in positions of power receive even greater rewards. A two-tired education system lurks in the distance, the result of neoliberal efforts to create equality. The gradual privatization and outsourcing of public schools represents a shift towards the voucher system, the ideal school system envisioned by Milton Friedman and present-day neoconservatives.

The dull, "research based" education models explicitly required by sanctions in NCLB, inflicted on America's poorest children, and peddled by private, for-profit companies are designed explicitly to raise test scores. The marginal gains accomplished in the so-called "turnaround" schools are the result of data manipulation and drilling students with the question-answer format used in high-stakes testing. This is far from genuine education and contributes to a curriculum void of civics, history, social studies, physical education, health education, and active community building. Most importantly, this kind of education treats our children as either young factory workers or future executives based almost exclusively on their access to quality education. The educational inequality helps ensure poor children learn to read simple instructions and compute basic math, skills suited for minimum-wage employment, while middle- and upper-class students learn the "21st Century Skills" desired by corporate America in private schools, the affluent suburbs, and exclusive charters operating within impoverished districts.

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