Jack Hassard, professor of science education, assesses creeping authoritarianism and the growing resistance to it among educators.

“The authoritarianism of standardization has spread harm and inflicted damage to America’s public schools during the last two decades. The profits from standardized tests and teaching materials associated with the Common Core have overwhelmed the nature of learning in public school classrooms that one wonders if this goliath, which has trampled on the very heart of education in a democratic society, can be brought down.

“The conservative world-view is at the root of standardization, not only in the United States, but in most countries around the world. This world-view has set in motion the reform of education based on a common set of standards, high-stakes tests, and accountability metrics that demoralize not only students and their families, but the educators who families regard as significant and positive others in the lives of their children.

“I think of standards-based education reform as a kind of “spray” analogous to how we used DDT as an agricultural insecticide. We sprayed it everywhere to stamp out disease carrying bugs. For example, from 1940 – 1972, more than 1.3 billion pounds of DDT were released into U.S. communities indiscriminately. This indiscriminate and relentless spray would eventually be shown to be harmful and a serious threat to the basics of ecosystems.”

Hassard describes the fight to block authoritarianism in education, which is closely aligned with the resistance to authoritarianism in the public arena.

He writes about a vanguard of resistors, some of whom are gentle and others not so gentle (he uses the word “gentile” but I think that is an error or auto-correct gone amok, as I am neither gentile nor gentle).

”So, what is this vanguard voicing opposition to? All are questioning the lack of wisdom, profound ignorance, and inexcusable ineptness of an educational reform movement that is rooted in a very narrow purpose of schooling: teaching to the test. According to Sahlberg, the movement can be summarized in four words: Global Education Reform Movement GERM).”

Are you part of GERM or part of the resistance. Chances are, if you are reading this post, you are part of the Resistance.