Let’s start evaluating the qualifications and accomplishments of the self-appointed education reformers. On my list of those to be Tested, Bill Gates and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton’s and the Walton Foundation, Eli Broad and the Broad Foundation, Michelle Rhee and the Students First organization, also Bloomberg, Parents First, etc., … you can add other reformers – deformers – to this list because you know the impact they have had on you, students, communities, and the future of an educated nation. Make your own TEST of their ability to evolve American education..
To start this process, below is a matrix for evaluating a person who is using great wealth to change American public schools.
*NOTE: These conclusions about competence to bring about educational change are more correct than those derived from tests to determine teacher effectiveness.
Dear _____________,(fill in the blank)
Below are the results of what our subjective testing tells us about your background and the qualifications you have to be an education change agent. Conclusions are based on assumptions about your history, records, test results, educational programs, and a subjective perusal of your qualifications by Pearson-type evaluators:
- Your parents were a major influence on keeping you in school and getting you into a prestigious university, although you may have dropped out or taken easy courses because you did not understand the need for a comprehensive education. You most likely did not attend public schools.
- You are not an avid reader and prefer not to burden your mind with others observations and opinions. You have never read the great thinkers and leaders in American education.
- You have not studied education at each grade level and in schools with different populations (i.e., poverty areas vs. affluent communities). You have never taught, or if you taught, you were unable to grasp the complexities and the educational approaches and knowledge required to help children. You assume that anyone can teach because you don’t know what teaching requires. (It is generally agreed that it takes about 5 years for an educator to become an effective teacher.)
- You have not studied, read, dealt with, and are not familiar with learning styles, brain development, male-female appropriate age development, remedial or advanced course design and delivery, curricula, physical and emotional development, or any of the issues teachers deal with as they meet the needs of students.
- You think of schools as factories, where students pass through and parts are attached, tests are given to evaluate if the part was attached correctly, and defective students and teachers are removed.
- You have no understanding of comprehensive education provided to empower every child in America, even children with whom you would never allow your child to associate.
- You have deep-seated racial bias and prejudice and believe that your race and success make you superior. You are pushing for racial segregation to support those of your race and status who want the taxpayers to pay for separate schools for the elite and for specific religious groups.
- You do not have a strong interest or background in the humanities.
- You are not socially comfortable, and do not relate effectively with others. You would be a very ineffective teacher. You cannot lead except through top-down coercion.
- You did not do well in schools because of social ineptness and a lack of interest in disciplines that make little sense to you. If you did well in school you assumed you were singled-out by God or at the least, good breeding. You discount all the people and advantages you had that let you succeed.
- If you inherited wealth and power, you soon came to believe that you are special and have special insights.
- You used your insights to develop a product or company. However, you were totally dependent on others and the people they assembled to take your idea and create a company based on it.
- You fail to credit those who actually made you wealthy, and now assume that because you have wealth you have insights into education and how to change schools. Insights you have gained without doing the hard work necessary to learn what good schools and teachers do, and to make effective changes.
- With the power over others that comes with wealth, you have assumed that your view of the world is the right one. You surround yourself with people who bow to your power and carry out their own versions of change – in your name and with your money.
- You are too ignorant of reality to understand where you are leading. Many of those who hide under your coattails are hurting kids, families, and communities, for profit. You think profit is good, so you ignore the fact that they put profit and access to taxpayer dollars ahead of children.
The list of failed programs you have supported is long. In the wake of the ideas you have forced on educators without doing the research or identifying the root problems, you have earned a failing grade. You did not pass the test. To deal with this record of failure you blame teachers and intend to destroy the people who do not support your ego ignorance.
Based on this subjective evaluation you are fired. In a just society, your wealth would be forfeit to repair the damage you have done. What is the latest count of kids and teachers you have hurt? 100,000? More?