We here at War Report encourage our audience to listen to the series, read this synopsis, and respond in the comments section. We will have a new blog post from Deborah each week, a live internet radio show, and a podcast. We will address questions from our audience and we urge listeners and readers to please call in, respond to the blog post, and then listen and read ahead in preparation for next weeks show on the Common Core and the Corporate Ed Reform Agenda.
by Dr. Deborah Owens
How did anti-public school corporate reformers become the dominant force in education reform? Here’s what I learned in researching and writing my book:
The campaign to end public education has been a decades long venture. There have been forces that for at least the last 80 years have been engaged in an assault on the institution of public schools, claiming that they are socialist institutions and actively seeking to label public schools as “government” schools. Vouchers are not a new idea — they were born in an era of Cold War mentality, anti- New Deal rhetoric, and Jim Crow resistance to integration. Charter schools are nothing more than an extension of this idea and we are seeing the ramifications of this misguided so-called reform effort now.
The book, The Origins of the Common Core: How the Free Market Became Public Education Policy, and the series, is one of unity around the preservation of the institution of public schools. The goal is for the public and the education community to cast aside any political or ideological beliefs that distract from an ultimate goal.
That goal is the preservation of the public school system and local control of this systemwithin each community.
How can we accomplish this goal? First of all, acknowledge that there are differing ideological views about education in the U.S. Very importantly, we must acknowledge that many are militantly against the CCSS for various reasons; most are against high-stakes testing and the data mining that has resulted from the testing movement; and others are equally opposed to charter schools. But what unites us?
Underlying all of this is the reality that corporations are dominating education policy decisions in a new environment of corporate and governmental mutualism that is out to usurp locally controlled public schools and that envisions children merely as a source of profit. We must unite to stop this corporate assault. Do you want to defeat the Common Core? Stop the profit machine associated with these national standards. Do you want to put an end to Draconian high stakes tests that are sucking the life out of education? Stop the profit machine associated with high-stakes tests. Do you want to reclaim public schools and end the incursion of the charter school movement? Stop the profit machine associated with charter schools.
If we are able to accomplish this, we will reclaim the sacred ground of public education for all children, for all families, and for all communities. Holding teachers accountable for the test scores of their children will become history. We will realize that true societal transformation begins with the communities in which children and families live and that the schools within those communities are a part of a larger societal system. Make it known to every federal, state, and locally elected official that they will lose their elected offices if they do not listen to the UNITED pro-public school forces.
Deborah Duncan Owens Elmira, New York
I am a product of public schools. My father’s career in the Coast Guard provided me with the opportunity to live in different states and communities within the U.S. Armed with the education I received in the various public schools I attended, I was able to earn a teaching degree at Mississippi State University and serve as a public school teacher for several years before earning a Ph.D. and joining the ranks of teacher educators — first at Arkansas State University and currently at Elmira College in upstate New York. Deborah Duncan Owens, Associate Professor of Literacy Education Elmira College