Betsy DeVos, Charter Schools, Cory Booker — December 20, 2019 at 2:57 pm

ProTips, Holiday Edition: Avoiding the “Corporate-Reform-Agenda-Propaganda” (i.e., CRAP)


In the aftermath of the recent Public Education Forum in Pittsburgh last week, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of education reform related posts on social media. Unfortunately, just as with our more strictly political dialogue these days, it can be difficult to distinguish between facts and “Corporate-Reform-Agenda-Propaganda” (i.e., CRAP), or #alternativefacts.

In the spirit of giving, I offer this handy list of tips to help savvy readers become better consumers of education policy information, and avoid stepping in too much CRAP over the holidays.

You know that the person you’re talking–or tweeting–with has probably never studied education, taught in a school, or cares even a little bit about public education–and just might be an “education reform troll” if they…

  • talk about measuring educational achievement in “days or months of learning”
  • cite Raj Chetty’s “research” on the economic value of kindergarten teachers
  • mention, breathlessly, the CREDO study
  • talk about “high-quality charter schools
  • complain about “failing schools
  • ask if you’ve heard about “education freedom savings accounts” (i.e., private school vouchers)
  • think “that nice Cory Booker seems like he’s got some good ideas!”
  • think “that nice Beto O’Rourke seems like he’s got some good ideas!”
  • refer to the “tyranny of children’s ZIP codes in determining their schooling”
  • speak favorably about the education policies of Betsy DeVos
  • got their doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas’ “Department of Education Reform” (i.e., sponsored and funded by the Walton Foundation)
  • make a distinction between “public charter schools” and “private charter schools”
  • make a distinction between “for-profit charter schools” and “not-for-profit charter schools”
  • insist that education is “all about the kids!“, and if teachers are worried about policy they aren’t “in it for the right reasons!”
  • “publish” their writing exclusively with the Fordham Institute, Education Post, or The74
  • think that school funding should “follow the child”
  • use terms like “Education Freedom”, “Higher Standards”, “Backpack Funding”, “Enhanced Accountability”, and “Tax-Credit Scholarships”
  • say “the problem is that education schools aren’t preparing good teachers these days!”
  • tell you that “throwing money at schools isn’t going to help!”
  • are fans of “Teach Like a Champion”
  • think that “Teach for America” is the “Peace Corps” for education
  • attended or work at “Relay Graduate School of Education” or “Broad Superintendent Academy”
  • point to KIPP, Success Academy Network, National Heritage Academies as examples of “good charter schools”
  • seem excited about “harvesting student data
  • are using “metrics” to determine curricular and pedagogical practices
  • are big supporters of “school choice
  • have degrees and/or background in “economics” but are making policy in education

That’s all for now! Please feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!

And if you do support public education, thank your kid’s teachers…or send a note to that favorite teacher of your’s from back in the day, thanking her or him for how they helped you. I’m sure it would make their winter break the best one ever.

*Trigger Warning: Happy Holidays!