Jeopardy Question: Where Did Teachers Take to the Streets to Protest Educational Centralization & Authoritarianism? (It’s Not in America)
Hungarian teachers are protesting centralized public education and current one size fits all educational reforms. From Twenty thousand protest Orbán’s education policies in Budapest:
“The government’s great reform brought about a system that stripped students of the joy of learning and stripped teachers of the joy of teaching. The regime is consciously throwing into poverty an entire new generation. Our patience has run dry. We are here, so as to declare together, that enough is enough. We won’t stand idly by,” declared Mrs. István Galló, chief of the PSZ union.
The protest also included speeches from students and school administrators. The principal of the Teleki Blanka High School in Budapest, István Pukli, noted that the regime is “not accustomed to people saying ‘no’” and added that the government had now entered into its most stubborn phase. Mr. Pukli demanded that the regime spend 6% of Hungary’s GDP on education, in order to address the damage that they have done over the past six years.
The most radical group involved in the protests is called the Network of the Uninvited. Activists affiliated with this group distributed thousands of flyers on Saturday declaring that there “is no longer any reason to engage in dialogue with government on any issue.” The Network calls upon Hungarians, in all fields and in all regions, to reject all dialogue with the government and its officials, and instead engage in systematic forms of civil disobedience across the country. The Network described Mr. Orbán, his ministers and leading civil servants as “barbarians.”
Many American moms and dads could consider themselves to be in a Network of the Uninvited and would agree that there is no longer any reason to engage in dialogue with government on any issue. Many parents/taxpayers believe their continuing calls to senators and representatives are for naught as bills are signed into law before they can be read and the federal government is effectively in charge of educational policy. There are common concerns in the centralization of American education articulated by Hungarian teachers. Hungary instituted a national curriculum which aligns to some of the reforms in the US Common Core State Standards Initiative. The goals in Hungary and US include competency, life-long learning, problem solving and constructive management of feelings. Hungarian teachers (like US teachers) technically have the freedom to teach the curricula of their choice, but it must align to the government instituted framework. From UNESCO and Hungary; World data on education, 2010/11; 2012:
As with the adoption of CCSSI, concepts and reforms were written by organizations, then sent to schools and teachers for their comments. In this UNESCO document, there is a distinction between the decision makers and the schools. (pg 10). Are Hungarian decision makers akin to the American choice architects who designed the Common Core standards for the schools to adopt and implement? This sentence from the third paragraph could be taken from a Chamber of Commerce, NGA, CCSSO etc talking point on why instituting standards is hard and if a centralized plan did not succeed, it was an implementation issue:
The preparation of school based programmes was a completely new phenomenon in public education: neither teacher training nor in-service training had prepared teachers for the local planning of the pedagogical work or the design of the curricula.
Does this UNESCO report align to the PR talk of the CCSS proponents? There may be protestations from the proponents that CCSS is *just standards*, but it is apparent the content and curriculum must align to the assessments which align to the standards: After the introduction (of the NCC in 1995), the first task was to make the most important target groups (i.e. the teachers and school maintainers) acquainted with this completely new system of content regulation and the core curriculum itself, and to create the conditions of its utilization.
That’s the blueprint of the CCSS choice architects as well. How are the conditions of CCSS utilization accomplished? NCLB waivers and ESSA.
Many American teachers don’t like the newest education reforms instituted by the choice architects, NGOs and politicians uninterested in reading a 1000 page bill before signing it into law. Hungarian teachers don’t like the CCSSI-like reform in their country and they are protesting in the streets. Why aren’t we seeing widespread protests in America? The Hungarian teachers’ centralized reform policy concerns echo many American teachers’ concerns. From WSJ and Hungarian Teachers Protest Government’s Grip on Education:
Teachers, parents and students gathered in 11 towns around Hungary to demonstrate against the government measures, which have included bringing schools under state control from local governments.
Since winning parliamentary elections by a landslide in 2010, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has moved to rewrite laws and remodel institutions.
Teachers have said the educational overhaul has resulted in raising the workload for students and teachers, stripping them of the right to select textbooks, adding more teacher evaluations, increasing their administrative burdens and cutting spending.
“This is an etatist bunch, they reckon they must overregulate every single segment of life,” said a father of four at the Budapest rally.
The government said it was working with teachers and the ministry of public education will continue negotiations in the coming days. It said it has decided to reduce some administrative burdens. Opposition parties, meanwhile, are demanding a decentralization of public education.
“The government doesn’t seem to understand what the teachers’ problem is. It’s the lack of trust, the continuous questioning of their professionalism. Those in power have taken the joy of teaching from us and childhood from the kids,” said Piroska Gallo, a teachers union leader in the town of Miskolc, where the largest crowd—about 5,000 people—gathered Wednesday to protest.
A school in Miskolc triggered the rallies with an open letter last month to the public. Since then, some 30,000 people and more than 600 educational institutions have signed the letter.
More on the Hungarian protests:
- http://www.nefmi.gov.hu/english/hungarian-national-core (Hungarian National Core Curriculum)