It’s the end of a decade! Or so the radio endlessly proclaimed as your Grumpy Old Teacher (GOT) heard as he traveled over the holidays.
The artificial boundaries we draw across the time of our lives usually brings a retrospective. The airways are full of them, so why not join in?
Here are the top 19–most impactful, not necessarily beneficial–education events of the past ten years.
ONE! States adopt the Common Core standards.
TWO! States abandon the Common Core standards.
THREE! That’s a lie. States rebrand the Common Core standards, but the wording and impact remain the same.
FOUR! Betsy Devos becomes Ed Sec for the entire country and (drum roll) … la plus que ca change, la plus que la meme chose–except she doesn’t feel the need to hide it.
FIVE! Arne Duncan disses soccer moms. Later, after he leaves the USDOE, he is well paid for it.
SIX! PISA scores, NAEP scores, TIMSS scores, everybody’s scores … all have failed to rise over the past 20 years of educational reform.
SEVEN! Beyond many passionate defenders of public education, no one questions the use of these test scores as the sole means of judging the quality of public education in America.
EIGHT! The New Orleans all-charter experiment is a failure. As a result, other cities wonder how to adopt the model.
NINE! Tennessee’s grand experiment with an Achievement School District that will raise the bottom 5% of schools into the top tier fails. Turns out it’s harder to raise achievement in struggling neighborhoods than it looks. At least, thanks to generous legislators, it pays well.
TEN! Ohio’s epic experiment with online education fails. Massive fraud is uncovered.
ELEVEN! That pesky first amendment Establishment Clause that prevents using public taxes as payments to religious schools finally gets an end run around it. (Spoiler alert: court challenges to come.) (Extra spoiler alert: “I like beer.”)
TWELVE! NPE (Network for Public Education) releases a report that details how the federal government has wasted billions of dollars in grants to charter schools that never opened.
THIRTEEN! Teacher strikes in states known for their conservatism and ‘red’ status: West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona. California, a ‘blue’ state,’ strikes also.
FOURTEEN! Bill Gates pulls out of his grant to Hillsborough County a year early, which leaves the taxpayers struggling to fulfill his promises to teachers without the means to pay for them. There is no more telling example of the callousness toward actual human beings from those who piously cry that they are for ‘the children.’
FIFTEEN! Betsy Devos tosses away that troublesome book known as her Bible because it advocates compassion for the poor and powerless as she advocates that loan forgiveness for young adults defrauded by for-profit colleges is unfair to the few who found a way to pay them back and the lenders who participated in the scheme.
SIXTEEN! Charter schools are resegregating America. Many approve.
SEVENTEEN! Pre-K is the new 5th grade or so it seems as schools abandon the importance of play in the early grades. On a related note, anxiety levels of older children and teenagers is noticeably higher.
EIGHTEEN! School shootings continue and society continues to argue about reducing access to guns as part of the solution.
NINETEEN! Democrats began to shift away from the agenda of corporate reform, especially as seen in the campaigns of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Has the tide begun to turn?
GOT is sure you have your own list and it seems that 19 is limiting. Add what you think is missing in the comments.