Monday, January 18, 2010

Origins and Purpose of "No Child Left Behind" and AFT/UFT Complicity

Susan Crawford wrote on the NYC Ed News listserve:

In looking up the site reference for Kathy Emery's dissertation on the Business Roundtable's 1989 conference on education (which I
sent to these lists last June, and for to there is link below), I came upon this speech which she gave a few years later, but which gives a short, concise version of the material she explored in her dissertation and subsequent book.

I suggest we each forward this to every member of the state legislature before they vote on the charter school cap on Tuesday ... or
anything else they are contemplating related to how our children are being educated or miseducated.

It's all here -- right down to the bifurcation-by-charter-school of the college-bound versus drop-out track, replacing the previous college versus vocational tracks. Closing this next batch of schools would seal the deal here in NYC. Anyone who wants to pursue a vocational track after that can go to a for-profit tech school and wrack up obscene student loans.

Re the testing mania cited, it would be interesting to see, if the PEP votes to close these schools, what would happen if HS students decided to sit out Regents week as a result. And the Acuity tests. And if lower grade students sat out the upcoming state tests. And Regents week in June. What exactly will it take to restore our educational system to the people who actually use it?

Susan Crawford

Kathy Emery was a participant - along with Bill Cala (read his current piece: COMMENTARY: Mayoral control doesn't work and is wrong) and Susan Ohanian and 20 others- at the meeting John Lawhead and I attended in Birmingham Al (thanks John for getting me to go) in March 2003 that helped open up my eyes to the "agenda." Boy I wish people had listened to what they had to say then. I put Emery's piece up at Norms Notes:

Origins and Purpose of "No Child Left Behind"

Note this point by Emery:

No Child Left Behind represents only the latest manifestation of a bipartisan bandwagon of standards based advocates – a bandwagon built in the summer of 1989 by the top 300 CEOs in our country. At this meeting, the Business Roundtable CEOs agreed that each state legislature needed to adopt legislation that would impose “outcome-based education,” “high expectations for all children,” “rewards and penalties for individual schools,” “greater school-based decision making” and align staff development with these action items.

I can't put my hands on it the Kahlenberg book right now but I remember reading just how embedded Shanker and the AFT/UFT were with the Business Rountable agenda and how Shanker participated in either their meetings or the national governors meeting that endorsed a lot of what turned into today's nightmare. So those who were surprised at the UFT/AFT capitulation to the ed deform plans, look to the roots.

Susan Ohanian wrote last year on just this issue:

A Nation at Risk, Al Shanker, and the ‘Accountability’ Movement

“If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”

With this introduction, the publication of A Nation at Risk in 1983 is a good starting point, not because there weren’t other corporate screeds attacking public schools before then, but because it provided such a powerful rallying point, and it really is the grandfather of NCLB.

Incoming American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten confirmed this in her presidential remarks. Embracing A Nation at Risk, Weingarten claimed it “affirmed that we should accept nothing less than universal attainment.” Weingartem continued, “We believed in high standards — and we still do.”

Democratic (small “d”) educational theorist David Gabbard has observed that we should consider A Nation At Risk as the greatest lie that the state has ever produced regarding America’s public schools.

In that same piece she wrote:

The mantra is everyone should go to college. But the facts have always been clear that the number of jobs requiring a college degree have not increased nor are they projected to do so. Read Richard Rothstein. Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. In The Shell Game, Clinton Boutwell postulates that Corporate America wants to increase the number of college educated engineers and computer programmers to increase the supply of college educated workers well beyond the need for them, thereby paying them less. I set up my website against NCLB — — in 2002, a couple of months after it was signed into law. By now, I feel rather like a reverse of Dickens’ Mme. Defarge, keeping track of what’s going on, knitting a register of outrage.

Susan's full piece "How the Educational Testing Industrial Complex Was Created" is at

She also wrote about it at Substance:
Read Susan Ohanian's piece at Substance:

The predicted results are now coming in from Chicago where so much of this mayhem all began - materials from George Schmidt I started distributing in ed notes at every delegate assembly as far back as 2001,

See the Chicago Trib report out yesterday.,0,3877012.story

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