I will be glad to see NCLB left behind and RTTT stopped, but I do not see how ESSA is a victory for education in the United States. Does anyone believe that low-funded poorly performing states like Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, New Mexico and West Virginia, will create meaningful accountability systems and tests that will expose the low quality public education they offer Black and Latino students?
Carly Fiorina recognizes the danger that a technology-dominated classroom -- a classroom focused on programmable skills rather than on messy and ever-changing ideas -- will become the location of job training rather than intellectual exploration. Education's great task, she said at a recent New Hampshire education summit, is not to prepare people for jobs, but to "fill children's souls," to make of them the kinds of citizens who can contribute to a participatory democracy. And that task, she insisted, requires exposure to music, literature, art and philosophy -- the very subjects that are currently falling by the wayside in the rush to elevate the STEM subjects to the be all and end all. From where I sit, this is just common sense, but it is not the common sense coming from the Obama administration (or the Bush administration before it).
In 2015 it moved from the political margins and emerged as a full-scale social movement committed to the idea that education should be about children, not testing. States have not yet abandoned Common Core and Race to the Top mandated high-stakes testing, but as the Opt-Out movement continues to grow and its pace of growth continues to accelerate, I believe they will.
It is ironic that the Women's Rights Movement which has opened up the doors of opportunity for talented women to have a greater choice of vocation has had a negative effect on recruiting the most gifted among them for careers in education. The future course of education must be to make the profession as attractive as it has become in Finland.
Congress is Republican. ISIS is on the march. Common Core and high-stakes testing are under attack. The Affordable Health Care Act may be torpedoed by the Supreme Court. Arne Duncan and Barack Obama evidently need a softer opponent to pad their legacy. The hapless Knicks were probably not available for a pick-up basketball game.