"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 29, 2010

Who benefits from National Standards?

This article by Paul Sonne appeared in the Wall Street Journal of March 2, 2010. Who really benefits from the push for National Standards? Does it help the students? Does it close any "Achievement Gap?" It's plain that the benefit of National Standards is for the business community. That's why they're pushing so hard for it.

It's businesses like Pearson, through the Obama administration, who are defining Education "reform." Competition is the rule...close the "businesses" which are failing...judge the workers by their "product"...fire the failing employees...

When you scratch the surface of the current attacks on public education you'll find big corporations (e.g. Pearson, McGraw-Hill) and wealthy businessmen (e.g. Bill Gates, Eli Broad). There's money to be made in the new education industry - charters and private schools, vouchers programs, and the re-segregating of the American public school system.

Poverty is still the main issue that WE as teachers have to deal with nationwide.
Education and publishing company Pearson PLC reported a 46% jump in 2009 net profit to £425 million ($648 million) Monday, boosted by an education business that CEO Marjorie Scardino says could be helped further by U.S. President Barack Obama's push for common state standards in math and reading...

The education division's growth could be boosted in the U.S. in the coming year as 48 states develop common core education standards for math and language arts as part of a voluntary state-led effort encouraged by the White House, Ms. Scardino said...

The implementation of core standards would reduce the burden Pearson faces in adapting materials to individual state requirements. It could also open up an opportunity for Pearson to win a new contract measuring the progress of that common-standards initiative. The degree to which Pearson will reap benefits depends on how many states ultimately opt into the common standards and how specific they are...

Ms. Scardino said Pearson could also benefit from $4.35 billion in "Race to the Top" grants the Obama administration will begin distributing to states this year for education innovation and reform. Data systems that measure student success, one of Pearson's key product areas, are an emphasis of the grant plan. 
For another view of the National Standards Movement see, Debunking the Case for National Standards by Alfie Kohn.

3 comments:

The Reflective Educator said...

I'm still up in the air about national standards. I need to do some real research on the idea before I form an opinion I feel comfortable sharing with other people. But I wonder if this is a possible place where business interests and the interests of our kids intersect.

Stu said...

Some things are a given...like learning to read, multiply and write. However one size does not fit all.

I live in a rural community with lots of Amish students. Their needs are not the same as urban kids.

Check out Debunking the Case for National Standards

The Reflective Educator said...

I will. Thanks for the link. I have to admit though - I've never been a big Alfie fan. I'll do my best to keep an open mind.