Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is your child "damaged goods already marked for failure"?

In 1992 Mark Tucker, known as the Music Man of Education Reform, wrote his famous 18 page letter to Hillary Clinton to congratulate her on winning the presidential election. Not much has changed since he penned the letter and education in this country has gone from bad to worse under Bush-1, the Clintons (yes, they thought of themselves as a team), Bush-2 and now Obama. It seems the only reform education gets in this country is the catchy little name put on the programs that are implemented by each administration: Goals 2000, Outcome Based Education, School-To-Work, No Child Left Behind, etc.

For those of you who remember this letter, it caused quite a stir. Once this idea took hold of the public schools in the form of OBE, homeschooling took off like a greyhound out of the starting gate. Tucker's cradle to grave idea is still around and much has been written about it. OBE was regretfully legislated into many states but here in Vermont it was allowed into our schools through the back door, thanks to a few old codgers looking to get their names engraved on some state owned buildings.

The most offensive part of Tucker's ideas that the politicians were thrilled to go along with, was his idea that children were simply considered as human resources. You know, sort of like chattel to be herded about and whipped into conformity. Everything was planned out for your child from birth because the government wanted to make sure (and still does) your child is prepared for the work force. If you didn't comply and your child wasn't properly primed using state standards, or if your child had learning disabilities, then your child could be considered "damaged goods already marked for failure". What happens to damaged goods? Take a look around. Just who, exactly, is creating the damaged goods? How much longer can America survive when its public schools continue to follow this path of non-education?

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