Fordham Creates New Subset in Ed Reform Wars: Now the Common Core Naysayers Include Progressive Liberal Atheist Moms
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Did you read The Atlantic article about Common Core and the suburban moms buying into the conspiracy of the ‘confusion’ of anti-Common Core rhetoric? MEW responded to the claims of Laura McKenna here. Peter Greene in Curmudgucation responded in many of the same ways as we did in our response to the mainly PR piece in The Atlantic.
Michael Petrilli of Fordham weighs in with an interesting diversion in the discussion. He believes that One Size Fits Most, Even in the Suburbs and for those who don’t fit into the standardized mold, there is a fix! It’s not to do away with the standards in schools; it’s to mollify those parents (tagged as being liberal, non Christian, probably atheist) with the ‘choice’ of charter schools. He writes:
Last week, writer Laura McKenna took to the Atlantic to try to understand why some suburban moms (many of them white) have turned against the Common Core. She settles on misinformation as a driving force, which is certainly a factor. For example, if these parents understood that their own local schools still have complete control over curriculum and textbooks, perhaps they wouldn’t be so frustrated with standards set so far away.
But this is still an unsatisfactory answer. My own sense from watching this debate play out is that most of the “white suburban moms” who oppose Common Core also share a romantic, progressive view of education that is at odds with traditional schooling in general. We will never convince them of Common Core’s value, nor should we expect to. Instead, we should allow them to opt their kids out of traditional public schools and into schools (including charters) that are proudly progressive.
So now the narrative is changing from anti-CCSSI suburban (and mostly white) moms being confused, frustrated, Tea Partying Republicans to now moms being labeled liberal atheists who can be satisfied with enrolling their children in charter schools. Here is my response to Fordham and its solution:
We will never convince them of Common Core’s value, nor should we expect to. Instead, we should allow them to opt their kids out of traditional public schools and into schools (including charters) that are proudly progressive.”
Question: who are the ‘we’ you refer to? And the ‘we’ should ‘allow them to opt their kids out’? Does the ‘we’ include The Fordham Institute? Last time I looked, Fordham is a NGO and has no legal authority in states/school districts. Education reformers seem to have a magnified and delusional role in their minds that they can run roughshod over state constitutions and schools to set their own policies.
Parents in this niche are more likely to let their children develop at their own pace and less likely to set high expectations for them. They are also more likely than the total population to encourage their children to ask questions and less likely to set firm rules for them.
These parents are more likely than the general population to be liberal; less likely to be Christian; more likely to be atheist; and
more likely to send their child to a charter school. Perhaps most importantly for Common Core politics, they are a very small minority, representing just 15 percent of all parents.
Now it sounds as if you are dividing the parents into 6 subsets and trying to pick them off one by one. For years we have heard that those opposed to Common Core are ‘misinformed’ (she didn’t use that adjective, she used ‘confused’), frustrated, Tea Party Republicans (that was McKenna’s description in The Atlantic). We’ve read PR pieces again and again with these same talking points. Now the talking point is thrown into the circle that a small segment consists of parents who are liberal, not necessarily Christian, more likely to be atheist and want to send their children to a charter school. So the answer is to create more charter schools that at least in my state, are tied to ALL the CCSSI mandates, meaning that is no choice at all. Just a different building with different admin/teachers and a different boss: a private management company. It’s the same education, though. Do you think your progressive, non-Christian parents really want the same education? Really?
This is just a PR piece for more charter schools and an attempt to divide parents based on belief and socio-economic status. This is an attempt to take unvalidated research/data (I would love to see how the survey was worded) and create a talking point to put out the fire of parent discontent with the CCSSI. Your article seems to think parents are easily satisfied with the ‘fix’ of charters.
One adjective that proponents should label parents against CCSSI should be ‘bubbleheads’ because that’s what comes through all these pro CCSSI articles. That’s how the policymakers portray us: easily mollified with whatever the elites ‘allow’ us in educational direction and development.
Fordham should open an office in Flyover Land so it can get a true pulse on what parents really want in their schools. They don’t want mandates, ties to DC and state educational agencies micromanaging every minute of a student’s/teacher’s day for the sake of data. They don’t see their child as ‘common’, human capital, and their child’s educational life mapped out by NGOs. They resent (with good reason) that they have been cut out of educational decisions that THEY fund with their tax money. They don’t want their taxes to go toward charters that have no voter accountability and school boards.
They don’t appreciate the ‘we’ telling them what they can and can’t do with their children. They don’t appreciate choice architects who receive funding from patrons such as Bill Gates to craft a message and nudging them toward an initiative that has no research/data to prove its validity.
You wonder sometimes who the real bubbleheads are in this argument.
Does this define those parents who have done their research and don’t want their children taking unvalidated tests, having unfunded mandates in their school district, don’t agree with the data collection mandated in the State Stabilization Funding agreement and prefer their states developing/directing education vs NGOs who have no public accountability? Or are the bubbleheads the proponents who slap labels on parents and provide avenues (charter schools, virtual schools) for those misguided parents who know these NGO developed ‘fixes’ still don’t ‘allow’ local control or create less Federal control in state educational matters?
They really think you are stupid.