The following comment from a senior American school administrator is describing exactly what has been happening in New Brunswick. Do not trust your newspapers. They say what they are told to say. Usually, that should be no big deal. Newspapers have always lied and/or censored the news. But these are our children they are interfering with. Parents should have the courage to speak publicly about what is going on, and what they think of it.
New Brunswickers are not used to standing up and speaking their minds. For the sake of their children, they had better learn how to.
Although I’m a career educator, I’m
also a skeptical, questioning independent,
not a mindless defender of
public schools. I believe our nation’s
public education system must be
changed (dramatically so at the secondary
level) for the U.S. to retain
its economic competitiveness and
I worry that many of the changes proposed for
schools could be motivated by aims other than economic
or democratic ideals. Simply, a growing number
of the changes to the public education system may
be motivated by entrepreneurial greed with little or
no consideration for the consequences of the changes.
Hypothetically speaking, if I wanted to end public
support for schools and privatize the system, Americans
would have to believe privatization was necessary.
To justify privatization, the public schools would
have to be discredited.
If I wanted to discredit the public education system,
1. Reluctantly and minimally fund the system and
restrict spending flexibility within the system.
2. Mandate punitive accountability standards that
force school districts to stress the basics at the
disadvantage of elective courses.
3. Legislate burdensome compliance standards that
require more administrative personnel to
4. Discredit those who defend the system and
those who work to make schools successful.
5. Divide the ranks of school employees by
creating suspicion about compensation
decisions made by administrators and boards of
6. Hype the instances of public school violence,
mismanagement, incompetence, and the results
7. Shift blame for violence and poor student
behavior to educators.
8. Absorb any discretionary school district funds by
creating unfunded or minimally funded
9. Blame teacher turnover on the lack of administrative
support for effective classroom discipline
instead of on low salaries and the vexing societal
maladies that spill over into classrooms.
10. Minimize the benefits of the teacher retirement
systems and increase the cost of school district
and individual contributions to those systems.
11. “De-professionalize” the art of teaching by
promoting a recipe-driven method of
instruction that minimizes the importance of
pedagogy and great expectations for all children.
12. Devalue teaching certifications by allowing “just
about anyone to teach,” but simultaneously
require all school districts to have highly
13. Develop legislative incentives that encourage
competition among public schools and
minimize the compliance and accountability
standards for the competition.
14. Implement a comprehensive strategy, accompanied
by unlimited private funds, to continually
tout the advantages of home schooling, private
schools, charter schools, and virtual schools.
15. Call attention to political differences between
wealthy and poor school districts and encourage
feuding over limited resources.
16. Deny that market forces are driving up
administrative salaries or be proactive and
blame increasing administrative salaries on
incompetent school boards.
17. Disguise the aforementioned actions as school
These strategies aren’t all inclusive. I’m certain that
other public school supporters can add ideas from
their own experiences.
I hope my intention here is clear: I want citizens to
be savvy about distinguishing between changes that
could bolster our democratic and economic ideals and
support public schools and changes that would harm
public education for enigmatic, avaricious reasons.