Education Opinion

Selling Out School for a Storm Cloud

By LeaderTalk Contributor — February 20, 2010 2 min read
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For as long as I can remember educators have tried to figure out how to infuse more technology into our daily school lives. There has been great strides forward, promising practices, extraordinary new systems that have profoundly improved teaching and learning.

There has also been stubborn resistance for a million reasons.

But that’s public education for you. We are, after all, an extension of both democracy and the community of oft-conflicting values within which we exist. Issues come and go: desegregation, equal access, A Nation at Risk, back to basics, “accountability”, economic downturns. We ride a wild pendulum. Megatrends. Sometimes the pendulum swings from the force of legislative fiat, sometimes a judge’s decision, sometimes a global event, and sometimes... just because.

So why hasn’t this Supreme Court decision gotten your attention?

If Promethean really wants their products on the walls of every classroom in America-- as cool as that would be-- there is now a frighteningly clear path on how they could make that happen. Or maybe Apple wants their IPads in the hands of every student in your school district.

Or maybe some group just wants the library thinned out a little-- like specific books off the shelves. Or maybe they want you to go in a different direction with your science curriculum, a specific textbook adoption that espouses creationism... intelligent design. Or maybe they want us to return to separate and un-equal. Or maybe the stone age.

Not to be paranoid, but the Supreme Court has just cleared the path for elections to be bankrolled by the highest bidder. Any corporation, any agency, any national or international alliance can now infuse unlimited amounts of cash to see that their advocates are placed in the public offices that are most advantageous to their cause. Presidential initiatives- like health care reform-- can now be thoroughly swift-boated by insurance companies. Senators and congressmen can now be openly sponsored by corporations and foreign powers alike.

And since your school district is governed by an “elected” Board of Directors, they can be bought too. Democracy, public education, our children’s future and the future of our nation is now, quite literally, for sale.

Bill Moyers wrote:

“No wonder people have lost faith in politicians, parties and in our leadership. The power of money drives cynicism deep into the heart of every level of government. Everything, and everyone, comes with a price tag attached: from a seat at the table in the White House to a seat in Congress, to the fate of health care reform, our environment, and efforts to restrain Wall Street’s greed and prevent another financial catastrophe.”

I’m glad he said that and it’s not just me.

Sometimes school leadership is looking out over the horizon and seeing the storm clouds forming before a lightening bolt levels the building.

Are you watching?

Kevin W. Riley
El Milagro Weblog

The opinions expressed in LeaderTalk are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.