If NCLB Poisons, Obama’s RTTT Kills

Look for the NEA and statewide teachers’ unions (like Indiana’s ISTA) to begin to rail on President Obama’s education reform plan. Thanks to Arne Duncan’s idea that MORE MONEY will help failing schools, the unions and public school statists are once again placed in the awkward position of complaining that the money has too many strings, and “the right people” don’t have control of the funds.

Too many of those darn Republican governors will get to hand out the grants. Read “Bennett and Daniels: Using Race to the Top as an excuse to Kill the Teaching Profession” for some, uh… perspective.

For a more tame and realistic point of view, EducationNews.org has this to say:

Instead of triggering a fundamental rethinking of education, Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s billions will simply hasten the destruction of the institution I love – universal, free, public schooling.

Notwithstanding the press releases about the expected miracles from unleashed market forces, the money will be spent trying to salvage the institution rather than transform it (a strategy familiar to those who follow the banking industry).

This is an interesting comparison! Is he saying that all of this money will have the same effect on schools that the TARP money had on the banking industry? One point he misses, is that Government Schooling has never been a private industry. If the banks (then GM) were taken over because they took all that money and still failed, then what happens to public schools that are already controlled by the bureaucracy? (They grouse about having to be accountable, for one thing.)

Public schools have always been  government run and taxpayer supported. (Just like HealthCare will be. Keep that in mind when you don’t get to choose your doctor. How many people are going to get nightmare doctors that remind them of their nightmare teacher in fifth grade?) Schools can’t be “taken over” any more than they already are.

American education, simply and emphatically, is on a wrong track.

My question is: “When did it jump from the right track?” Was it doing fine until an evil Republican with a vial of poison called NCLB came along?

As a vehicle for intellectual development, it began to slow down the day the young were pulled out of apprenticeships and other real-world learning experiences, put in rooms insulated from the real world, and made to sit, hands on desks, eyes front, mouths shut, being fire-hosed with facts.

This perfectly describes public education since the middle 1800’s. Actually, ever since compulsory attendance laws were enacted. None of the above symptoms of the failing nature of  state schooling have anything to do with money or funding schemes. They all have to do with PEDAGOGY and the Prussian Model of national (state controlled) education. [Watch John Gatto on Prussian Education]

The vehicle moved slower still starting in 1893, when the so-called “core curriculum” was adopted, narrowing the focus of study to math, science, language arts and social studies, and ignoring the integrated nature of knowledge.

It came to a stop and reversed when Congress mandated “No Child Left Behind.” “Race To The Top” will accelerate its backward movement.

Complaining about NCLB and now, RTTT, does nothing, and will do nothing to accomplish the real reform that needs to happen. Compulsion and lack of competition is what is killing Government Schooling.

What are the consequences we are headed for, with or without funding and attempts at fixing something that is running as its supposed to be running?

Exodus: We will begin to see an ever quickening exodus from the government schooling sector to the private and alternative education markets. Government will also continue to shove money into the public education pit (unions complaining all the way) until the people finally revolt, pointing to empty school buildings with thousands of government employees teaching to empty seats. Tea Parties of the summer of 2009 will seem weak compared to millions of property tax strapped parents storming public school buildings, pitchforks in hand.

Will our leaders still say, “They’re too big and important to fail?”