Education Reformers Have Lost the Upper-Middle and Gentry Classes

For the record, I don’t oppose a national curriculum or annual testing: as I’ve written repeatedly, I do think we should be using Massachusetts’ curriculum and tests (including the importance–not so important–that used* to be granted to them). But the implementation of the Common Core-based tests and the high-stakes attached to them are something I don’t support, along with shoddiness of the Common Core standards.

So I’m both saddened and heartened by this figure showing the opt-out frequencies on Long Island, New York:

optoutbacklash

Keep in mind, Long Island is very affluent, so the opposition is among the upper-middle class and the gentry class. While the Long Island versions of these classes are more liberal (especially on ‘social’ issues), they do have class imperatives. Put another way, education reform is fine when it’s inflicted on poor minority inner-city kids. But when it’s their kids, suddenly the effects, such as crowding out and deemphasizing of other non-tested subjects, hit close to home.

The stupidest mistake the reformers ever made was expanding their reach to communities that could and would fight back–and that had something (high-performing schools) to lose. A class that has actual electoral power, and that is not utterly desperate.

On the other hand, despite neo-liberals’ and conservatives’ best efforts, there are still only so many devastated minority urban communities, so that was never going to be a sustainable business model.

*The tests are increasingly important in teacher evaluations. Why stick with a system that works when you can blow it up?

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