The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which claims to be ". . . the nation's leader in advancing educational excellence for every child through quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio," has in fact reached an all-time low in its latest Hollywood style production of Reform Idol: The Reformiest State 2011."
The YouTube production of Reform Idol can be viewed at:
The Fordham Institute is one of hundreds of self-proclaimed experts in education excellence exerting undue influence in the corporate education market that is investing heavily in its new education investment opportunity. The impressive names and grand proclamations of expertise don't belie their pernicious participation in the destruction of our nation's democratic system of public education. As a colleague of mine who likes to give the Bible modern-day relevancy says, "It may look like a duck, quack like a duck and walk like a duck, but honey, it's a wolf with tail feathers!"
This production of Reform Idol is an example of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) in action. ALEC is an organization that has recently been criticized as writing model legislation that its members introduce in their states. Its model for the privatization of public education continues to become a reality in most states. You need to watch the entire performance, but just to give you an idea of the types of reform that these Idols are touting:
Florida - They really clarified the meaning of Value-Added Assessment - Everybody's effectiveness is based on somebody else's effectiveness." That makes perfect sense doesn't it?
Next great reform, they increased their "scholarship program" (vouchers) for students with disabilities and ADDED 504 students (these are students who do not qualify for special education services but have legitimate obstacles to learning that need to be addressed). This is a flagrant method to get rid of low performing students so as to raise test scores for charters.
The Florida spokesperson said, "There are two things that drive behavior - money and measurement." They brag that ". . . parents will drive the market s they are the consumers and now they are empowered."
Ilinois gained points in the competition bragging that they "passed a bill that took away all accreditation for all principal training programs in the state and every program had to re-apply with tougher standards." Is it possible that those standards were aligned with The Broad Academy for Principals?
Indiana won the competition with points given, even by some of the other competitors, to its leader, Dr. Tony Bennett, on account of his "good looks." Will BESE interpret this as a necessary part of their criterion for a new state superintendent? I'm counting on the voters producing some new members of BESE before the next appointment and that the new board will count education expertise and experience as most important.