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People Don’t Like Current Education Policies, So Why Do Policy Leaders?


People Don’t Like Current Education Policies, So Why Do Policy Leaders?

Jeff Bryant

The big annual poll on how Americans view public schools and education policy is out, and people who are eager to don the mantle of “education reform” might want to rethink their wardrobe.


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Well, let's see. Given the study showing that what everyday American citizens want from their government is entirely irrelevant (Rich people - 100% of policy, ordinary citizens - 0% of policy), and that students are just another commodity waiting to fill the pockets of the wealthy, why do questions like this even come up any more? Once we see that everything, including the education of our children, is nothing more than an investment opportunity, the answers just flow naturally. Politicians will do anything, to anything, to insure that rich people can make money from it. Education is NOT the goal, just making rich people richer. Until we take government away from the kleptocrats, what is important to US will remain irrelevant.


This is precisely the topic of my dissertation:the narratives that shape policy. In this case, the author is skimming the surface of the problem: he omits an exploration of the underlying concepts for Common Core and NCLB, namely that the US must be the dominant global economic force , and that American children must emerge from their education the most productive workers in the world. It's right there in the language of all education policy written since the Reagan years, and the release of A Nation at Risk. This explains not only the malaise experienced by most American families, but also the lack of success of minority groups whose cultures place different emphases on the purpose of education. It's a materialist, economic mold into which children are being forced, with profit and neo-liberalism as the driving forces. As long as policymakers adhere to this agenda, there is nothing the population can do other than pull their children out and passively resist. And BTW, charter schools, as long as they continue to push for the expansion of STEM related curricula, are just as much part of the problem as are public schools. It's all part of that set of narratives.


From the article:

"For instance, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated a desire to “punch the teachers’ union in the face,” repeating a comment he had made previous to the event."

Covert misogyny from that fat Pillsbury corporate dough boy!

"The reason we don’t is that in our current political climate, the “test and punish” reform policy is the easier path to travel. Stern rhetoric and “tough-minded” policy-making are rewarded as being “very serious” approaches to governing."

Far from being an "easier path to travel," the "test and punish" protocol does several things that are key to today's most entrenched entrepreneurs--the ones that pay lobbyists to make THEIR will the will of the land:

  1. There is massive profit in school testing and that means benefits for big testing companies, even to Microsoft ... the hardly-altruistic arm of Bill Gates
  2. The "test and punish" approach offers ZERO tolerance for poverty and the social disruptions of inner city communities and the schools they feature. Thus under the premise of "equal standards," those with the least are further punished for that status.
  3. Schools judged to be failures by these prejudicial metrics end up closed and the Public loses a sizable, valuable portion of The Commons
  4. Public schools are viewed as a financial Mecca which, once doors open, promises riches to a particularly savage breed of Disaster Capitalist and/or hedge fund fiend
  5. All of this focus on teacher evaluation is yet another version of sexism intended to intimidate and/or control (while devaluing the contribution of) working women

The Republican embrace of a 21st century Calvinism--given that this ilk OWNS and controls media--enables the constant mantra to sound that insists that the poor deserve to be punished. Through this illogic, the rich vultures can sweep down and steal away with what little these poorer communities have.


Wrong! This is an inverted Libertarian attack on public schools, teachers, and a staple resource of The Commons.

You purposely confuse an education system directed by paternalistic corporate outsiders with the IDEALS of public education; and you also discredit the up-until-recently independent curricula and committed educational efforts of many inspired and inspiring public school teachers.

In today's courtrooms, quite a few rulings are limited by "sentencing guidelines." These tie judges' hands, too.

In both instances, it is not the process of education or courts that in and of themselves are corrupt. It's what is being IMPOSED on both via top-down paternalistic entities. And since the move towards fascism--seen in things like "Citizens United" and allotting to corporations the right to purchase candidates and for the most part, determine elections--means that government powers fuse seamlessly with those of moneyed corporations. This covert merger allows anti-govt. types to insist that it's govt. that is the problem. This logic opens the way for yet more corporate takeovers of PUBLIC assets and policies.

THAT is not a recipe for anything other than greater carte blanche allotted to the Disaster Capitalists extraordinaire.


I mean you no offense but your line of reasoning (dissertation or otherwise) reminds me of analyses made by writers for Tom Dispatch who work from the assumption that the U.S. military is failing in its purpose by losing wars. Through latching onto this argument, the more difficult factors--like the profits generated from war, the status of the petro-dollar, and the interests of certain strategic allies can be ignored.

Based on the protocols of NAFTA and followed by other deceptively named treaties that tell the public that international trade deals will prove profitable to all and bring jobs; the actual facts are that most major formerly U.S. based industries have left town. Period. China has all that industrial infrastructure.

I've been listening to a wide array of economists to hear their thoughts on not just the recent roller coaster stock market activity; but also the FACT that currencies all over the world have lost value while commodity prices (indicating the purchase of items used for industry and indicative of "growth") have also been simultaneously tanking. The bottom line is that jobs WILL be cut.

So the idea that these tests exist to improve U.S. (young, emerging) workers' chances of solid employment in a competitive world is on a par with encouraging today's H.S. students to go on to get college educations when NO JOBS exist when they graduate.

Incisive analysis looks past all the P.R. to actual logistics.

Too often the P.R. version is taken for what's true and when false evidence forms the basis for any thesis, all it can produce is ca-ca.

Here are examples:

  1. Bio-genetic food is safe, substantially equivalent to the real thing, will reduce world hunger, and requires fewer pesticides.

EVERY ONE of those assertions is false yet these mantras STILL dominate what the public hears.

  1. The U.S. was attacked by 19 hijackers on 911.

Pay no attention to the laws of gravity, or the time-tested premise when any crime goes down: Cui Bono.

There are TOO many other examples to count.

The official story is typically 180-degrees apart from the truth.


Well, SR, no offense but you obviously have no idea what I am talking about and went off on an unrelated tangent. My background in International relations and strategic studies (MA in both) provides me with ample background for determining the appropriate lens through which to study public policy.
Thanks for your input.


So TRUE! Everyday people are only allowed to exist in order to be PROFIT-sources for the 1%.


It is a perfectl;y reasonable argument to say that today it does NOT matter much whether U.S. wars are "won" or "lost"---butm, that THERE'S LOTS OF MONEY TO BE MADE BY WAGING WARS. (You gotta "rotate stock", invest in "latest equipment" etc) Ditto for EDUCATION: money to be made by TESTING COMPANIES, FOR-PROFIT "Schools" etc. We The People are jsut cash cows to be milked by the Corporations & the 15...unless we (fainlly) come together & fight back.


Without even reading this blog, I would venture to guess it's because "they're going to make money from promoting "Current Educational Policy". How close am I folks? I can't afford to read everything I see. I've been dealing with dyslexia symptoms all my life. Got to select carefully. I apologize for my obsessive selection behavior.