A reader commented on Oprah’s television mockumentary about the “miracle” of charter schools in New Orleans. By the state’s own data, New Orleans ranks 70th of 70 districts. By the admission of the pro-charter Cowen Institute at Tulane, two-thirds of the charters are “failing” schools. But the myth lives on. Another zombie idea.
Now we have the reality TV circuit manufacturing an image (note the overlapping soundtrack) to reinforce the charter school myth. What reality TV constructs is research-lite. It proposes to give insight, yet in this case, the proposal is cloaked with the intent to forward the privatization of education –research bias at its finest. What is consistently apparent in charter schools is the pick and choose basis of its student population while siphoning monies intended for public education –education as commodity while the neo-liberal train rolls on.
A disturbing actuality about the reality-genre, is that TV shows in the past (from Leave it to Beaver to Family Ties and onward) constructed a wall between the viewer and the constructed image plastered on the screen. Viewers for the most part had an understanding that “life is not like that.”
Now the wall has become permeable, luring the viewer to “believe” that the actuality exists and the marketing agents are absent from the narrative. What we witness today is an illusion that the marionette’s strings have been severed. Furthermore, the critical lens to examine, find limitations, and query further is never proposed or suggested. The proof is in the pudding and celebrities like Ms. Winfrey are the peer-review validation to such pseudo-research. Why have a discourse about education when the bottom line dictates the propagating narrative of choice?