Reformers vs ‘Reformers’

I think we need to come up with a different term for the two camps…since we are both calling ourselves reformers.

On one side, you have the US Department of Education (and certainly, by extension, the Obama administration which is remarkably similar in this respect to the G.W.Bush administration), Michelle Rhee (of DC Public Schools fame), and large corporations (such as Pearson) who’s definition of reform is more testing, more accountability, more one-size-fits-all curriculum standards and less equity across school districts.

On the other side you have folks like Diane Ravitch (formerly a part of the aforementioned G.W.Bush administration and one of the architects of NCLB), John Kuhn, Pasi Sahlberg, and many others who are strongly advocating the exact opposite: less testing, more responsibility, more autonomy to allow districts, schools and teachers to authentically assess the growth of their kids and more equity to allow EVERY student, regardless of Socio-Economic status access to a quality education. This group also includes virtually every educator and administrator I have ever met, as well as virtually every parent I have ever spoken to.

The groundswell of the latter group is starting to make themselves heard in many other states. Thanks to Arne Duncan’s remarks over the weekend calling out suburban moms (http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/arne-duncan-regrets-white-suburban-moms-comment), more and more voices are starting to get into the action, but we can always use more.

I strongly encourage you to research all sides of the public education ‘reform’ issue and make your opinion known. Whether or not you agree with my viewpoint does not matter…we MUST continue to make this a national conversation so real reform can happen. Only then will our next generation be truly prepared for the future that faces them.

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