Standardized Corruption

Here’s the right-wing plan for our schools: First,  cut off as much money as possible so that schools have to fight for every penny of funding. Second, destroy the teachers unions to destroy tenure and seniority.  Teachers will then have to fight to keep their jobs from the first day they are hired until their last day of work. Third, judge the resulting competition almost solely on a single measure: the standardized test.  Fourth,  wherever possible, dismantle public schools when you can and sell them off to private interests.

Last, exaggerate  and publicize the failures of the public schools while obscuring the failures and exaggerating the successes of the charter schools. This is not a conspiracy. This is simply the practical results of a “market-based” approach to public education rooted in a system of so-called “accountability.”  It’s hyper-competition. Markets are a-moral; ethics matter only if ethics can be used to increase profits. Markets are also never free; they are shaped by the participants in that market to maximize profitability. Right and wrong is secondary.

If the participants in a market are allowed to fully maximize their potentials for profit, that is, to fully deregulate the market, corruption is inevitable. The financial markets were radically deregulated– on the behest of Wall Street– and it led to the rescission and to ongoing fiscal crises all over the world. That’s what is happening more and more in the increasingly “market driven” public education system (see here and here).  If the corruption of financial capital caused catastrophic problems, imagine the results of this corruption of human capital.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol]

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