Did the Global Village School Zone in Newark have a chance?
Did it get enough time?
Did it spend enough money?
Does Superintendent Cami Anderson have better ideas?
Doesn’t reform take time?
You ask an interesting question – “doesn’t reform take time?”
Over and over I hear from the reformers how we have no time to make sure we get reform right. We simply must act now as soon as possible with as much disruption as possible.
That was Geoffrey Canada’s message at Education Nation a few years ago when somebody said something about trying to make sure reforms made sense. “We have no time!” he bellowed in that self-important way he has, then proceeded to say that poor kids and kids of color had been harmed by the current system and the only remedy to this was quick, fast reform done NOW.
Merryl Tisch said the same thing in her propaganda piece in the Post this week over the NY State evaluation system known as APPR. The UFT simply had to simply come to an agreement over the local part of the agreement as soon as possible because we have no time to get things right – we simply must act as soon as possible regardless of the concerns that the remedy to the evaluation problem might be worse than the problem itself.
And of course edu-entrepreneur and former NYC councilperson Eva Moskowitz has made “Bolder, Faster Change” the slogan for her charter school company.
These Shock Doctrinaires may believe their own words – that taking quick actions regardless of the consequences of those actions is better than taking a slower road to reform and thinking through consequences before taking action.
Whether they believe their own propaganda or not doesn’t matter, however. They are mixing up taking action with doing something meaningful to solve a problem.
Humans have this destructive habit of needing to always be in motion, always being “doing” something to solve problems.
Sometimes quick, decisive action is warranted. Sometimes a more thoughtful, deliberative response is warranted.
What is never warranted is “Bolder, Faster Change!” because “We have no time!” to think through the consequences of our actions.
The reform movement, financed by Shock Doctrinaires like Michael Bloomberg and fronted by Shock Doctrinaires like Rahm “Never Let A Crisis Go Unused” Emanuel and Arne “Katrina Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To New Orleans” Duncan seems to think differently than me about that.
The cynic in me says the “urgency” these people constantly talk about is more to get people to go along with the actions than anything else and that their agenda is something other than what they say it is publicly.
Remember the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq? Same procedure, even though there was plenty of time to plan and consider the consequences.
Bad policy and incompetence in pursuit of $hort-term gain demands that we suspend our doubts and good sense in order to follow the dictates of those who fancy themselves superior to us mere mortals.
“Those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.” The ancient Greeks had it right. We would be mad to follow the edudeformers into the catastrophes they are creating.
Thank you, reality-based educator, for your posting.
“When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” I don’t know where this saying came from but it does seem appropriate to share it here.
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