Friday, August 27, 2010

a senior, American education administrator speaks his mind.

The following comment from a senior American school administrator is describing exactly what has been happening in New Brunswick. Do not trust your newspapers. They say what they are told to say. Usually, that should be no big deal. Newspapers have always lied and/or censored the news. But these are our children they are interfering with. Parents should have the courage to speak publicly about what is going on, and what they think of it.

New Brunswickers are not used to standing up and speaking their minds. For the sake of their children, they had better learn how to.

Although I’m a career educator, I’m

also a skeptical, questioning independent,

not a mindless defender of

public schools. I believe our nation’s

public education system must be

changed (dramatically so at the secondary

level) for the U.S. to retain

its economic competitiveness and

democratic freedoms.

I worry that many of the changes proposed for

schools could be motivated by aims other than economic

or democratic ideals. Simply, a growing number

of the changes to the public education system may

be motivated by entrepreneurial greed with little or

no consideration for the consequences of the changes.

Hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to end public

support for schools and privatize the system, Americans

would have to believe privatization was necessary.

To justify privatization, the public schools would

have to be discredited.

If I wanted to discredit the public education system,

I would:

1. Reluctantly and minimally fund the system and

restrict spending flexibility within the system.

2. Mandate punitive accountability standards that

force school districts to stress the basics at the

disadvantage of elective courses.

3. Legislate burdensome compliance standards that

require more administrative personnel to


4. Discredit those who defend the system and

those who work to make schools successful.

5. Divide the ranks of school employees by

creating suspicion about compensation

decisions made by administrators and boards of


6. Hype the instances of public school violence,

mismanagement, incompetence, and the results

7. Shift blame for violence and poor student

behavior to educators.

8. Absorb any discretionary school district funds by

creating unfunded or minimally funded


9. Blame teacher turnover on the lack of administrative

support for effective classroom discipline

instead of on low salaries and the vexing societal

maladies that spill over into classrooms.

10. Minimize the benefits of the teacher retirement

systems and increase the cost of school district

and individual contributions to those systems.

11. “De-professionalize” the art of teaching by

promoting a recipe-driven method of

instruction that minimizes the importance of

pedagogy and great expectations for all children.

12. Devalue teaching certifications by allowing “just

about anyone to teach,” but simultaneously

require all school districts to have highly

qualified teachers.

13. Develop legislative incentives that encourage

competition among public schools and

minimize the compliance and accountability

standards for the competition.

14. Implement a comprehensive strategy, accompanied

by unlimited private funds, to continually

tout the advantages of home schooling, private

schools, charter schools, and virtual schools.

15. Call attention to political differences between

wealthy and poor school districts and encourage

feuding over limited resources.

16. Deny that market forces are driving up

administrative salaries or be proactive and

blame increasing administrative salaries on

incompetent school boards.

17. Disguise the aforementioned actions as school

improvement efforts.

These strategies aren’t all inclusive. I’m certain that

other public school supporters can add ideas from

their own experiences.

I hope my intention here is clear: I want citizens to

be savvy about distinguishing between changes that

could bolster our democratic and economic ideals and

support public schools and changes that would harm

public education for enigmatic, avaricious reasons.


  1. it seems to me that looking at america is important for many parts of our society, not just education. America seems to always be a little further down the trail of self-interested, idealogical rot than Canada.

    i worry that building structures and policies that work for the general citizenry takes effort and time while capitalist tactics can take moments and leave the general citizenry in the dust.

  2. too true. And in New Brunswick it is very difficult to communicate when the people who want changes harmful to us own the newspapers.
    As well, NBers have a fear of taking public stands on public issues. That's why we have such sandbox politics.