I just listened for a third time to the Diane Rheme Show (NPR) from March 8 on class size. Great show, but on this third listening, I realized that the former Fairfax Co board member is a shill. She insinuated that those who focus on class size want to do away with measurement and testing. Fortunately, the author of Class Size Matters jumped on her and vociferously protested the characterization of anyone in the conversation suggesting we not measure results.
But this is what reporters/journalists do not do: they do not call conservatives on their lies. This woman is posing as a member of a school board when she is a member of an educational think tank. I am not sure if this think tank, Education Sector, is pushing for the privatization of schools so the top movers and shakers in the country can make more trillions on private schools. She did not say that was her goal but these multiwealthy people have been paving the way for years to open mass schools where students will be warehoused and test-prepped to death with the usual selection of a few for scholarships to show “how much they care”. The rest will be dumped into prisons. IOW, it’s the ghetto school districts writ large, for the whole country. I just do not believe that someone who, on air, in a civil discussion, characterizes those in favor of reducing class size as wanting to do away with testing and measurement is an honest person.
I am emboldened, particularly by Robert Lane Greene’s You Are What You Speak where he fearlessly connects conservative language attitudes to conservative politics. It’s time we connected this anti-teacher rhetoric to the conservative sources it derives from and call them on their motives – and call their shills out.
One other comment on the show: the genuine classroom teacher, Kerry Sylvia, used the word “challenging” several times to describe harmful situations. I know conservatives will grab onto that and say, “See! Liberals are milquetoasts afraid of a challenge. We need teachers who aren’t afraid of a challenge!” That word, “challenge”, is a kind of cute way of saying something really difficult has to be dealt with and perhaps something good will come out of it. What we have in our schools is “problems and obstacles”.