As readers of this blog know, there is a healthy discussion about what to call those who now claim to be “reformers.”

In this post, Leo Casey of the Shanker Institute discusses whether there is any such thing as “corporate reform.” Larry Cuban says there is not.

Let’s review what I often refer to as “corporate reform.”

I call it “corporate reform” because the reformers want to use crude metrics to judge teachers and schools. They think that data are better measures of quality than professional judgment. On the basis of standardized test scores, they are happy to label schools as “failing” if their scores are low and happier still to close them for the same reason. The test scores are like a profit and loss statement. The corporate reformers speak about having a “portfolio” of schools, sort of like a stock portfolio, where you keep the winners and get rid of the losers.

When they manage school districts, they invent fancy corporate-sounding titles like “chief talent officer,” “chief knowledge officer,” “chief portfolio officer,” etc. to take the place of school titles like “superintendent” and “deputy superintendent.”

The face of the “reform” movement is Michelle Rhee. She works closely with such figures as Joel Klein and Jeb Bush, John Kasich in Ohio, Mitch Daniels (now ex-governor) in Indiana.

These so-called reformers advocate for private management of schools by charter organizations, whether nonprofit or for-profit.

Some (Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Tony Bennett) but not all of them advocate for vouchers .

They say that our public school system is “broken,” “failing,” and “obsolete.” So to them, it makes perfect sense to replace them with private management.

They advocate for high-stakes testing.

They want teachers and principals to be evaluated to a significant degree by the test scores of students.

They applaud the closing of schools (cf. Rahm Emanuel).

They disdain local school boards, which might slow down the process of privatization of public funds.

They want to remove any due process rights from teachers, so they can be hired and fired at will.

They seek to cut teachers’ pensions and benefits.

They think that “great” teachers need only a few weeks of training. They like to put non-educators in charge of school districts and schools. After all, if someone can market toothpaste, they can also market automobiles or schools.

If you think there is no movement to undermine public education and the education profession, I don’t agree.

If someone has a better name than “corporate reform,” I am all ears.