Stuart Egan teaches AP high school English and Shakespeare in North Carolina. He has great interest in how words are used and he teaches his students to understand rhetoric. Thus, he has puzzled over the current use of the word “reform.”

 

In the customary usage, “reform” means to improve. In the current usage, it means to make changes that lead to profits for a few. He shows here how language can be used to awaken the public to the sham of “reform” and to the need to restore education to its real purposes.

 

He tries here to reclaim the meaning of the word “reform.”

 

He writes:

 

2016 is a huge year. With many veteran GOP legislators not seeking reelection and a surely contested gubernatorial race, we in North Carolina have an opportunity to add our own meanings to words in the dictionary used in Raleigh. Here are just a few that alphabetically appear on the same pages as “reform.”

 

Recommit – to pledge to fully fund public schools so they are not lacking for resources or personnel
Redact – to edit legislation that has previously negatively impacted public schools
Redeem – to transfer monies given to for-profit virtual schools and frivolous charter schools back to public schools
Rediscover – to again realize that our state constitution mandates our government fully fund public schools
Refrain – to keep from placing politics and personalities before students’ well-being
Reinvigorate – to give more voice to teachers and educators in school improvement initiatives as they are the people in the classrooms
Renew – to place a new focus on student progress rather than arbitrary test scores
Replace – to exchange current systems of testing and evaluation protocols with ones that truly measure teacher effectiveness and student progress
Respect – to value teachers with both monetary compensation and freedom to do their jobs
Restore – to bring back due process rights and graduate pay for new teachers
Resurrect – to bring back the North Carolina Teaching Fellows and stimulate more growth in our collegiate education programs
Revise – to review how the General Assembly is allowed to craft bills and legislation behind closed doors without proper debate
Revitalize – to allow our school system to have the power and right to make improvements as they see fit
Revive – to focus on all traditional public schools and their health before haphazardly constructing superfluous charter schools and virtual campuses
Revoke (two definitions) – a: to cancel and annul reactionary legislative acts that are simply repackaged, unproven educational alterations which recycle and reinstitute unproven practices that lead to a relapse of regression and regret and rely on resources created by for-profit companies which remove the importance of the teacher in the classroom and reject what educational researchers have identified as vital to the health of public education (shortened definition); b: to take away the legislative power of those who have harmed public education by electing legislators in 2016 who have public education’s best interests in mind.
And that’s just words that begin with “re.”

 

 

As the campaign commercials and advertisements become more frequent and riddled with political spin and stretched truths, just remember that the meanings of words can be manipulated like “reform” and that innocuous slogans like “Carolina Comeback” can be misleading.

 

In these next 10 months, visit your local public schools, ask teachers, parents, and students what obstacles could be removed to improve conditions and vote for those candidates in November who are willing to remove those impediments.