Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Public education is already framed

Unfortunately, we've come to the point that the public dialogue about NCLB has accepted the frame developed by the corporate/conservative think tanks.

As Lakoff talked about the 'tax relief' frame, talk about education policy now centers largely around 'accountability, proficiency, standards, and achievement'. Just as with 'tax relief', when you use their frame, if you oppose their stuff, you're shit out of luck because you look bad.

So what has happened is that if you want to change NCLB, then you want 'to weaken it'.

If you want to change 'high standards' and 'accountability', then you are set up to be the bad guy. Tut, tut, you're a bigot because you want lower standards for the kids.

And mark my words, if NCLB is discussed tonight, we'll hear about funding. But know that the whole funding thing pisses me off.

First off, there's been a huge debate about funding levels, largely based on this biased piece of reporting by another of those corporate think tanks. This is what Dubya and others use in speeches when they say there is adequate funding for education. Count on Dubya to mention this factoid if NCLB does come up.

Secondly, the whole thing about full-funding is baloney, only because it doesn't make sense to fully fund a bill that's rigged to destroy public ed. I would support full funding of a completely revised bill.

Finally, when you talk about funding, you accept their frame of reference. Funding is not the issue; the flawed legislation is the problem.

Unfortunately, the famed conservative/corporate think tank, the Manhattan Institute, agrees with me on this point.
?I don?t see big differences between the candidates,? said Jay P. Greene, a researcher at the conservative-leaning Manhattan Institute, a think tank based in New York City. ?I think they?re both supportive of testing and accountability. ? Kerry has been a little bit less interested in reliance on a single measure. And Kerry has also supported even higher increases in funding. But these seem to me to be differences of degree, not kind.?...
When Sen. John Kerry turned his focus to education at the Democratic National Convention in July, his first remark could just as easily have been uttered by President Bush.

?Our education plan for a strong America sets high standards and demands accountability from parents, teachers, and schools,? the Massachusetts Democrat said in accepting his party?s nomination for president.
When it comes to the debate tonight regarding education, I'm not going to be excited by either of them.

As a solution, I think a new frame is required to discuss education. Here is where I say: we desperately need real progressive education policy developed by real progressive think tanks not the faux one.

If any of you out there have any ideas about how to reframe education, go ahead. Please write about it and let me know.