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Charlotte Thomson IserbytNo Way ESEA!
How Cor­po­ra­tions Prof­it from Hyped Up Edu­ca­tion Crises



  “Pear­son wields enor­mous influ­ence over Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion.
It writes the text­books and tests that dri­ve instruc­tion
in pub­lic schools across the nation.”

POLITICO report­ed on Stephanie Simon’s arti­cle “No prof­it left behind: In the high-stakes world of Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion, Pear­son makes mon­ey even when its results don’t mea­sure up,” Feb­ru­ary 10, 2015. POLITICO’s Morn­ing Edi­tion sum­ma­rized the arti­cle:

THE RISE OF PEARSON: PROMISES AND PROFITS: The British pub­lish­ing giant Pear­son wields enor­mous influ­ence over Amer­i­can edu­ca­tion. But Pearson’s dom­i­nance does not always serve stu­dents or tax­pay­ers well. A POLITICO inves­ti­ga­tion has found that the com­pa­ny stands to make tens of mil­lions in tax­pay­er dol­lars and cuts in stu­dent tuition from deals arranged with­out com­pet­i­tive bids in states from Flori­da to Texas. Pearson’s con­tracts set forth spe­cif­ic per­for­mance tar­gets — but don’t penal­ize the com­pa­ny when it fails to meet those stan­dards. And in the high­er ed realm, the con­tracts give Pear­son exten­sive access to per­son­al stu­dent data, with few con­straints on how it is used.

Below is a sum­ma­ry from the arti­cle itself:

The above quo­ta­tion, divulges the for­mu­la for mak­ing prof­its and chang­ing law. Take the ques­tion­able neg­a­tive sta­tis­tics (ear­ly 1980s) on edu­ca­tion, hype them up using the A Nation at Risk report to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, get Amer­i­cans on board by con­vinc­ing them the cri­sis is real, and then go on to impose an alien Out­comes- Per­for­mance- Results-Based Skin­ner­ian sys­tem (nec­es­sary for School-To-Work) on the nation’s schools, which also includes all com­po­nents of the tax-fund­ed school “choice” and char­ter school (under unelect­ed boards) agen­da, which ulti­mate­ly destroys pub­lic and pri­vate edu­ca­tion, all for the pur­pose of impos­ing a cor­po­rate (Fascist/Socialist/Communist) life­long work­force train­ing sys­tem in the USA.

Which is exact­ly what we are look­ing at today under Sen­a­tor Lamar Alexander’s Reau­tho­riza­tion of the Ele­men­tary and Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion Act, now apt­ly called the Every Child Ready for Col­lege or Career Act of 2015.

The A Nation at Risk agen­da was just one of the many dis­as­trous edu­ca­tion efforts which came out of the Office of Edu­ca­tion­al Research and Improve­ment in which I worked. I was not direct­ly involved in the A Nation at Risk meet­ings, but I was aware of what the report would be used to accom­plish. As Senior Pol­i­cy Advi­sor, I wrote a let­ter to the late Rus­sell Kirk’s wife explain­ing my con­cerns. (Mrs. Kirk was one of peo­ple, a for­mer teacher, who served on the pan­el which draft­ed the report.) I received a reply from her to effect I did not know what I was talk­ing about.

The fol­low­ing Ger­ald W. Bracey arti­cle, “Far­sight­ed or Fool­ish? The 20th Anniver­sary of Nation at Risk,” from the April 2003 issue of Phi Delta Kap­pan is so impor­tant. It explains how the Rea­gan Admin­is­tra­tion Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion, under the late Sec­re­tary T. H. Bell, used the Hegelian dialec­tic to bring about the neo­con­ser­v­a­tives’ so-called reform, the reform we are look­ing at today and which is enshrined in Sen­a­tor Alexan­der’ Reau­tho­riza­tion of the ESEA! Cre­ate the prob­lem (A Nation at Risk), get peo­ple to scream, and then impose the awful solu­tion. Here is what Bracey exposed about the A Nation at Risk report:

Dur­ing the years after the pub­li­ca­tion of A Nation at Risk, crit­ics of the schools not only hyped the alleged bad news but also delib­er­ate­ly sup­pressed good news—or ignored it when they couldn’t actu­al­ly sup­press it. The most egre­gious exam­ple was the sup­pres­sion of the San­dia Report. Assem­bled in 1990 by engi­neers at San­dia Nation­al Lab­o­ra­to­ries in Albu­querque, the report pre­sent­ed 78 pages of graphs and tables and 78 pages of text to explain them. It con­clud­ed that, while there were many prob­lems in pub­lic edu­ca­tion, there was no sys­temwide cri­sis….

Alas, we must rec­og­nize that good news about pub­lic schools serves no one’s reform agenda—even if it does make teach­ers, stu­dents, par­ents, and admin­is­tra­tors feel a lit­tle bet­ter. Con­ser­v­a­tives want vouch­ers and tuition tax cred­its; lib­er­als want more resources for schools; free mar­keters want to pri­va­tize the schools and make mon­ey; fun­da­men­tal­ists want to teach reli­gion and not wor­ry about the First Amend­ment; Catholic schools want to stanch their stu­dent hem­or­rhage; and home school­ing advo­cates want just that. All groups believe that they will improve their chances of get­ting what they want if they pum­mel the pub­lic.

Gerald W. Bracey

Ger­ald W. Bracey

It has been 20 years since A Nation at Risk appeared. It was false then and is false now. Today, the laments are old and tired. “Test Scores Lag as School Spend­ing Soars” trum­pet­ed the head­line of a 2002 press release from the Amer­i­can Leg­isla­tive Exchange Coun­cil. Ho hum. The var­i­ous spe­cial inter­est groups in edu­ca­tion need anoth­er trea­tise to ral­ly round. And now they have one. It’s called No Child Left Behind. It’s a weapon of mass destruc­tion, and the tar­get is the pub­lic school sys­tem. Today, our pub­lic schools are tru­ly at risk.

Relat­ed Posts:
Memo­r­i­al Day Trib­ute
The FINAL Reau­tho­riza­tion of ESEA
A Call To Action!