Strawman Argument Is All They Have

In the comments of Diane Ravitch’s recent EdWeek Bridging Differences, “Why I Am Marching on July 30,” one comment captures the bankrupt support for the new reformer movement coming from Secretary Duncan, Bill Gates, and Michelle Rhee. paulhoss@hotmail.com takes this swipe at those such as Ravitch challenging the new reformers: “What to say about SOS? […]

How Do Teachers Matter? Not as Cause Agents But as Learning Opportunities

Lost in the exaggerated claims of “bad” teachers being at the core of all that ails education and the concurrent calls for greater teacher accountability, often linked to student test scores, is a careful consideration of why we have universal public education in a free society and what the role of the teacher is within […]

Maher's "Real Time" Education Debate Failure Redux: Legend of the Fall, pt. VII

A new slogan has appeared from the ranks of educators who know the new education reform movement to be misguided, uninformed, and powerful: “Those who can, teach. Those who cannot pass laws about teaching.” This is a parody of the demeaning, “Those who can, do. Those who cannot, teach.” It is this saying that is […]

Standardized Students, Silenced Teachers: The Un-American Education Agenda

Writing about standards-driven education reform in her Releasing the Imagination, Maxine Greene explains: “The wilderness has many aspects, of course; the demons have many faces. What is happening makes me wish, more and more desperately, for authentic dialogue among educators. It is time our own voices are heard with greater clarity, the voices of those […]

Meritocracy Myth v. the Advantages of Privilege (A Tale of Hubris)

In January 2010, I emailed Diane Ravitch after viewing a video of one of her talks preceding the release of her now often mentioned book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, that signaled some significant changes in her views on education and education reform. […]

Test Scores Fail Students, Teachers, But Remain a Political Prop

The news out of Washington DC offers evidence that calls for test-based teacher evaluations persist, ironically against the weight of evidence: “Sen. Joseph Lieberman is drafting a school reform bill that would tie a portion of federal education dollars to a requirement that states implement robust teacher evaluations, with student test scores being a major […]

My Challenge to the False Prophets of Education Reform

At some point during my sophomore year of junior college, I came to recognize myself as a teacher while working as a tutor for Dean Carter’s British Literature survey course. I had discovered my calling to be a writer about a year before that. During my journey to major in education and certify to teach […]

Celebrity "Common Sense" Reform for Education-Legend of the Fall pt. VI

What’s wrong with universal public education in the U.S.? If we are to believe the new reformers and the growing list of celebrity commentators and education hobbyists, the failures include the corrosive influence of teachers unions, “bad” teachers, and an entrenched status quo that those unions and teachers cling to for personal gain. And where […]

The Great Accountability and "World-Class Workforce" Scam

“Hello. We’re the ones who control your lives. We make the decisions that affect all of you. Isn’t it interesting to know that those who run our lives would have the nerve to tell you about it in this manner? Suffer, you fools. We know everything you do, and we know where you go. What […]

Lessons in Education from South Carolina?

My home state of South Carolina has achieved a regrettable pop-culture status as the focus of recurring jokes on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. But as I discussed in a scholarly piece in the late 1990s, criticism of SC is not uncommon; in fact, part of my discussion over a decade ago centered on candidates […]