Consider this historical satire. It was written by Paul Horton, who teaches history at the University of Chicago Lab School.
A Modest Proposal for the Gang of Four
(Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush)
Your plan for defeating the yellow dogs of reaction has not been effective. You need to get serious. Because you know very little about the history of revolutionary progress (Mr. Duncan, you were fed the phrase “Potemkin Village” by someone with a reactionary history degree) you need some motivation. If you cannot make this happen within two years, you will not benefit from a future in the Foundation Politburo, you will not be granted a passport, and you will not be allowed to shop in party stores.
To continue the Cultural Revolution in Education we need to break the spirit of the reactionary teachers who insist that there might be value in teaching literary and philosophical classics, languages, culture, and what some describe as the “Humanities.” The Humanities are nothing but selfish, evil Bourgeois reaction that slows the creation of “21st Century Skills” acquisition. All else is pretense: we need 21st century workers and we need them ready for community colleges that will feed our factory dormitories with skilled workers.
We will achieve the global VAM (value added measurement) threshold in four years. Reactionary teachers all over the world will be pitted against each other and resistance will be crushed.
Until then, we need to “Clamp-down” harder (The Clash) to create fear so that the reactionary house of cards will fall very easily.
Year One: Invite criticism from teacher’s unions and compile a list of members of teacher’s unions.
–selectively quote teacher union criticisms of revolutionary reform in revolutionary (corporate) media outlets
–target all union members in appearances on major talking heads show segments
–create “forums” at major universities, Chambers of Commerce, and civic organizations to explain the voluntary nature of all reform efforts
–instruct Red Guard (Teach for America) to receive ideological instruction at Foundation Politburo School
–hire Red Guard into the College Board, Pearson Education, Educational Testing Service, state and local superintendent jobs
–elect Red Guard into jobs on state school boards, into state legislatures and senates
–cozy Red Guard up to Congressmen and Senators, especially those who sit on Education and Budget Committees
–Red Guard will coordinate with ALEC to sponsor “parent trigger legislation” to create more charters and jobs for Red Guard
–pay for Red Guard as Education policy staff for all elected officials
–pay Red Guard to attack, spit on, and humiliate commenters to reactionary blog posts
–hire Red Guard as public and charter school administrators to attack the reactionary yellow dogs who speak of “democratic process,” “progressive education,” and “laboratories for democracy.”
–instruct Red Guard administrators to create intentional “hostile workplace” to intimidate reactionary teachers. All union members should see their files thicken and be exposed to frequent “shake-downs.” The older, more depressed teachers should be further intimidated by frequent negative observations and assessments. At assessment conferences, the sentence “we have viewed your e-mail messages over the past five years and we strongly encourage you to resign” should be shared at the end of negative evaluation.
–pay Red Guard Administrators a bonus for every experienced teacher who resigns or retires
Year Two: Learning from the New York Experience
–have state superintendents “cut” scores so that only those in impoverished neighborhood schools fail
–use “low student attendance” and “overcrowding” to close public schools in underserved areas. This is often a two-step process: close schools for low attendance, then consolidate to create overcrowding to justify opening more charters
–use sticks and carrots to coopt local and national political officials
–congressmen in suburban districts will be told: “if you go with the program we have campaign funds from potential investors for you, if not, you are political toast.”
–corporate leaders will speak often at meetings in well funded suburban districts to gain the support of upper income parents and opinion leaders
–have all revolutionary (corporate) media outlets supplied with talking points that repeat “higher standards,” “21st century skills,” “low test scores mean higher standards,” “voluntary,” “state driven,” “charters are innovative,” and “teachers are lazy reactionaries” every day.
–block all revolutionary media access to reactionaries
–pay for astroturf (disguised Red Guard) protests in favor of new charters at school board and city-council meetings
Year Three: Reeducation Camp: Rat Islands (The Aleutians)
–the Red Guard will be instructed to eliminate all complainers
–reactionaries will be deported to work camp
–reactionaries will be instructed to respect data and will be forced to write programs for educational video games for “Turn it Up” corporation
–Are you a reactionary?
Think about it!
The Friendly Foundation Politburo (Comrade Narrow)