obama’s pick for education post

If you have been reading this blog for very long you know that I am very interested in issues around this country’s public education system. I have been following chancellor Michelle Rhee in D.C. and others as they reform their school districts. Thus far, I have not taken a political stance on the matter and have been open to any idea that might result in better educated children. I recently came across Alfie Kohn, an articulate advocate quite opposed to Michelle Rhee et al and who questions the very meaning of the word “reform.” Here is a quote from his interview on FAIR’s radio program Counter Spin this week:

…it’s called by the almost Orwellian term “school reform.” What that means, in effect, is a corporate style approach to management of school systems in which the goal is not to help children learn but to prepare them to be employees who will help corporations become competitive in a global economy.

This upends the entire question of education. It means that we should be asking what the goal of childhood education is in the first place. Like many things, the question can be looked at from a micro or macro perspective. As a lawmaker, Obama will need to have his macro goggles on. That’s his role. But as a parent and student, it disgusts me to view education as merely job training for the benefit of U.S. global hegemony. That is why Kohn’s ideas are so attractive for me. You should read his article in the Nation from earlier this month.



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