Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Price of Education?

Today the Walton Foundation (Wal-Mart) announced plans to donate $25.5 million more dollars to the KIPP Charter Network of schools, and tomorrow the Dallas-area Uplift Education is expected to announce its plans for expansion. (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/District_Dossier/2011/11/kipp_charter_network_receives.html?cmp=ENL-EU-NEWS2).

In her blog with Deborah Meier “Bridging Differences” (http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/) Diane Ravitch posted today that “never before were there so many people, with such vast resources, intent on dismantling public education. What does this mean for the future of public education? What does it mean for our democracy?

Are the foundations of economic power the future educational accountability bodies defining pedagogy, philosophy, and ideology? I have to question, then, the future definitions of student and teacher as curricula fall victim to the “bastions of unaccountable power” (Ravitch, 2010, p. 201). What becomes of teacher and student accountability when the very definition is based on a  price tag of success?

When students become commodities and teachers become producers of economic success, then that which defines pedagogy is driven by predetermined objectives. Democracy is no longer a possibility as learning becomes a product of capitalistic values. Teaching is no longer an art and students no longer experience possibilities built on imagination, creativity, and inquiry. Education will become a business, nothing more and nothing less.

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