Home > Uncategorized > The Uphill Battle to Push Back Against the “Failing Public Schools” Meme

The Uphill Battle to Push Back Against the “Failing Public Schools” Meme

June 13, 2016

Yesterday Diane Ravitch quoted from a blog post written by Arthur Camins, Director, Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, who was lamenting the success to date of the “reform” narrative:

“There are real persistent problems in education. Today, failure narratives are the strategy-of-choice for groups who want to privatize education, undermine unions, disempower workers, and open profitable markets for educational technology, testing materials and publically funded, but privately managed charter schools that are unencumbered by government regulation. However, what is said is a smoke screen for what it intended…

As with the hyped Soviet and Iraqi threats, critics of the phony education crisis have also countered, with, “It’s not as bad as they say.” That line of argument always comes up short for two reasons. First, it permits those in power to frame the debate and put critics on defense. Second, there is a believable element in the narrative. Education in the US has, in fact persistently failed poor students…

…a win for equity and democracy.. requires a third step: Promote a new and different proactive agenda for education that resonates with the public more effectively than the current, “We are losing” narrative.

Camins offers such a narrative… but the implementation of the new narrative is going to require more than a new story: it’s going to require the money needed to spread the story, money that will be hard to raise given the billions the billionaires have at their disposal…. and as the ngram link illustrates, it will be an uphill battle to undo the impact of the “failing schools” meme.





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