Sunday, January 29, 2017

Jersey Jazzman: Reformy In the Age of Trump

Here's one of the very, very few positive things to come out of the Trump presidency: the neoliberal education "reformers" finally have to take good, long look at the conservatives they've made common cause with. For those who've clung tight to their moral superiority while defending the "reform" agenda, it's a cold slap in the face:---- Reformy In the Age of Trump
I wanted to call attention to Jersey Jazzman's post, especially given that the Democratic Party is looking for people to run opposing Trump policies, but when it comes to education, they are befuddled. That Corey Booker and Cuomo looks like best bets to go for the nomination in 2020 is a sign of how bad things are in the Dem party.

The DeVos stuff has shaken some of them up, though it was nice to see Eva come out for Betsy. 

I see how agitated even some of the core teacher Trump supporters who are teachers are by DeVos -- as if beating her off will lead to much better. I'd rather have an incompetent ideologue than some slick dude with like Duncan.

Now the Democrats are so nervous because DeVos may turn into Cathie Black and totally screw the Dem program which leaves a sliver of public schools to handle the kids no one wants and also to leave a sliver or teacher unions whose leadership is so good at managing the members and tamping down on militancy.

JJ points to Justin C. Cohen,
as reformy a centrist Democrat as you will find, telling us he will be  disappointed -- that's right, disappointed -- to no longer be able to work with the conservatives who are currently moving to install DeVos into the federal Education Department.
JJ argues that the Dems are as ideological as the right wingers and the so-called "evidence-based" argument is a beard.
Because the notion that neoliberal "reform" advocates are in reality "technocrats" is completely contradicted by their record. Many of the "reformers" on both the right and the left are driven by ideology, not evidence.

Sure, there is some evidence some charter schools in some cities with special conditions (Boston and New Orleans are on that list) get marginal practical gains in test scores. But only an ideologue would ignore the large and growing body of evidence that charter proliferation has incentivized bad behavior, abrogates the rights of students and families, segregates students by special education need and other factors, and has pernicious effects on public schools. Only an ideologue would blithely claim we should just "charter better" while problematic charter chains become the norm in the sector.
Sure, there is some evidence that test-based accountability led to marginal practical gains in test scores. But only an ideologue would argue that mandating employment consequences for teachers with these tests is warranted by the evidence, or that our current testing regime hasn't had the effect of narrowing the curriculum, especially in schools serving many disadvantaged students.

They applauded while Arne Duncan expanded charters and threatened to punish schools whose parents who opt their children out of testing, all while school funding stagnated. They cheered when John King, one of their own, took over at USED, even as they ignored the glaring problems with his own brand of educational "reform."

Duncan and King were better Secretaries of Education than DeVos will ever be -- but if we're setting the bar that low, we've got problems. Obama's SecEds were just as enamored with the "Poverty is no excuse!" arguments we now hear coming from the voucher pushers on the right. They were just as willing to sell the soft privatization of charters as DeVos is the hard privatization of vouchers. They were just as willing to gratuitously beat up on teachers unions and university-based teacher prep programs and suburban testing skeptics as the pseudo-intellectual pseudo-libertarians are now.
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Anonymous said...

Democrats are the emperor with no clothes. And the politicians and their consultants can't figure out why they keep losing. Notice that the recent demonstrations are spontaneous, almost leaderless? The Republicans elected their leader. I think the rest of us are saying what we want. I wonder if anyone on the Dem side is listening?

Anonymous said...

Dems listening? About as well as UFT leadership listens. With their heads firmly planted up their own asses or the asses of their corporate donors---you're going to need a bigger megaphone. And even then, I think they'd sooner cut out their own ear drums then listen to the truths told on blogs such as these. They are the addict that won't take that first step and admit they have a problem. Cuomo? Booker? Dems clearly have a raging addiction to the status quo. Roseanne McCosh

Anonymous said...

Just read an article in the NY Times referencing your point-
Personally, I'm not supporting what we used to call "back stabbers". If they didn't support the democrat and liberal agenda when they had power, I'm not not supporting them now.