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Whenever you listen to the rhetoric of “reformers,” you must always bear in mind that what they mean is actually the opposite of what they say. “Reform,” for example, does not mean that they want to improve public schools; it means “privatization” and the elimination of public schools.
Emily Talmade, teacher-blogger in Maine, says that we must be wary of the new reform focus on “social emotional learning.” They do not mean that teachers and parents should pay attention to children’s ability to work and play well with others, or to their feelings of adequacy and self-worth.
Behind the new buzzwords is a renewed effort to push competency based education (CBE) and computer-based teaching and assessment. The leaders of the new reform movement hail from the tech sector–Gates, Zuckerberg, Reed Hastings, Pearson, and more–and they see a future of computer-driven education, teaching and testing at all times, measuring and ranking students.
Can they be stopped? Emily doesn’t say how, but the answer lies with local school boards who are informed and who refuse to jump on their bandwagon. Maybe that is why ALEC is so determined to strip power from local school boards and transfer it to governors and state control. After all, it is easier to buy 50 governors than to persuade nearly 15,000 local school boards. The answer also lies with informed parents. Be aware of what your state is doing; refuse to allow your child to be subject to data mining and CBE. Opt out. Send a message: Not with my child.