Don’t kid yourself that “education reform” will help kids

Aug 27, 2013 by

deanBy Dean Kalahar –

The public education industry is always offering the panacea to the academic woes plaguing schools; the latest movement being Common Core. And education leaders use the language of cutting edge programs to speak with authority and a unified voice to show their conviction “for the children.” There is just one problem, it all a ruse.

School reform movements and fads are simply a game Educrats use to keep parents, and communities off balance in regard to the real catastrophe happening in our schools. In the last several decades a plethora of programs and movements have been offered up, one after the other, each touting that excellence is just around the corner. The sad truth is the dismantling of the American public school system has continued on every corner.

Re-packaging failed attempts to reform education is simply the reaction of an institution that can’t admit their pedagogical ideology is wrong, and their self-interested banner waving does nothing for children desperate for literacy. After all, teaching Johnny how to read, write, and add is a matter of hard work, discipline, and accountability; and there is no way the progressive education philosophy that has control over our schools will ever succumb to this reality.

Instead, their playbook is to distract and mesmerize the public through flashes of style over substance so that nobody asks to look behind the curtain. Heaven forbid parents find out that OZ is just another name for a failing school.

If you need proof, here is a short list of movements and fads that have been recycled ad nauseum. All offer the same bells, whistles, and promises yet each fades into the black hole of education without so much as a burp… until the next new idea takes place.

  • Race to the top
  • Common core
  • School to work
  • Goals 2000
  • Outcomes based education (OBE)
  • No child left behind (NCLB)
  • School based management (SBM)
  • School to work
  • Education Next
  • Career technical education (CTE)
  • Next generation learning
  • 21st century learning skills
  • Collaborative planning
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Continuous improvement process
  • Individualized instruction
  • Non-graded schools
  • Career academies
  • Mastery learning
  • Merit pay
  • Prescribed/personalized instruction
  • Back to basics
  • Block scheduling
  • Schools within schools
  • Magnet schools
  • Small learning communities
  • Middle schools
  • School grading
  • Whole language
  • High stakes testing
  • Peer tutoring
  • Differentiated instruction
  • Classrooms without walls
  • Self esteem movement
  • Values education
  • Multicultural education
  • Writing across the curriculum
  • Multiple intelligences
  • Portfolio assessment
  • Authentic assessment
  • Constructivism
  • Smart boards
  • Relevance and rigor
  • Laser discs
  • Computerized instruction
  • On-line education
  • Bi-lingual instruction
  • Time on task
  • English speakers other languages (ESOL)
  • Limited English proficient (LEP)
  • Exceptional student education (ESE)
  • Gifted
  • Response to intervention (RTI)
  • Inclusion
  • Immersion
  • Service learning
  • Learning styles
  • Positive discipline
  • Voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK)
  • Cooperative learning
  • Drug abuse resistance education (DAR
  • Advanced placement (AP)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Advanced international certificate education (AICE)
  • Head Start

Coming soon!

  • MOOC’s
  • Game based learning
  • Social media learning
  • Mobile learning
  • Remote/virtual labs

Short attention spans among busy parents that react emotionally to the rhetoric of reform allow this nonsense to persist. Ask yourself: how can educators, who are supposed to be so smart, keep offering solutions? After all, if they had the solution would they have not already solved the problem? At the end of the day, all the talk associated with education reform is empty. Whether it’s Common Core, Race to the Top, or No Child Left Behind, the myth of the education movement must be exposed. It’s time for a gullible public to stop kidding themselves into believing the endless and empty promise that education reform is helping kids.

Dean Kalahar



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