EduShyster has outdone herself with this brilliant post.

 

It is the story of how the business leaders of Massachusetts got hornswoggled by some fellow named (Sir) Michael Barber, who works for Pearson and does big thinking for them. [NB: As an American, I don’t recognize titles other than Mr., Miss, Mrs, and Dr.]

 

You know, of course, that Massachusetts made a “grand bargain” between its political leaders and its educators in 1993: a huge new infusion of funding in exchange for new standards and state tests, with equitable funding across the state and (later) a new investment in early childhood education. Massachusetts has long been recognized as the top-scoring state on NAEP.

 

Last week, Secretary Duncan visited Massachusetts to sound the alarm. These top-scoring kids are falling behind the global competition. That is a sign that there is trouble ahead and that “reform” is at your doorstep to tear apart everything that was carefully built over 20 years.

 

Then the business community conducted a poll among themselves and much to everyone’s surprise, their biggest complaint was that students spend too much time on testing.

 

Leave that sour note alone and turn to the main act: the business community commissioned a report from (Sir) Michael Barber of Pearson, who told them what Massachusetts must do to achieve real excellence. Well, you can only guess. A heavy does of privatization and–no surprise–more reliance on standardized testing. He is a numbers guy. If you read the linked article, you will see that a leading British columnist referred to him as “a control freak’s control freak.” His “bold” and “transformative” vision sounds as if it might have been written by Arne Duncan’s speechwriter, except for the part that was plagiarized from an article in the Boston Globe. As EduShyster notes, what did you expect from the great (Sir) Michael Barber for a measly $250,000? Original thinking? Real research? As we say in Brooklyn, fuhgeddaboutit!

 

Spoiler alert!!! Here is EduShyster’s brilliant ending:

 

One hundred and twenty pages later, we are confronted with a fiercely urgent question: will anything come of the bold report and its assorted unleashings? In a word, no. Here’s the Boston Globe’s James Vaznis:

“Business leaders may have a tough time selling their agenda to school leaders, teachers, and parents who resent corporate interests influencing the direction of public education. They fear schools will evolve into factories focused solely on producing workers and the joy of learning will be lost — a situation they say is already unfolding at many schools trying to boost test scores to avoid government sanctions.”

Now why couldn’t I have written that?

 

Thank you, EduShyster!