Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The politics of education reform: map the institute to its ideology

Institute X, Mission Statement:

The X Institute is a non-profit think tank dedicated to advancing educational excellence. We promote policies that strengthen accountability and expand education options. Our reports examine issues such as the No Child Left Behind Act and school choice.

The X Institute believes that all children deserve a high quality K-12 education at the school of their choice. Nationally and in our home state of ---, we strive to close America's vexing achievement gaps by raising standards, strengthening accountability, and expanding education options for parents and families.

Our work is grounded in these convictions:

• all parents should have the opportunity to select among a variety of high-quality schools for their children;
• the path to increased student learning is to set ambitious standards, employ rigorous assessments, and hold students, teachers and schools accountable for performance;
• every school should deliver a content-rich curriculum taught by knowledgeable teachers; and
• schools exist to meet the educational needs of children, not the interests of institutions or adults.

We advance the reform of American education by:

• engaging in solid research and provocative analysis;
• disseminating information and ideas that shape the debate;
• supporting quality schools and organizations in Dayton, in Ohio, and across the nation;
• sponsoring charter schools in Ohio and building their academic excellence; and
• informing policy makers at every level about promising solutions to pressing education problems.

Institute Y, Mission Statement:

We are tired of a state that focuses on divisive side issues while our schools [and other things] suffer. [Our state] is great when we have [various other things and] quality schools.

[Institute Y] delivers accurate policy research with a focus on smart, effective progressive messaging through a multi-media platform. We are framing [our state's] public policy debate. Through our communications strategy, we've compelled legislative and executive branch policy change. We link academic and traditional foundation research to achieve tangible, demonstrable solutions.

Question: Guess which institute (X or Y) accuses which institute (X or Y) of "masquerading as 'thoughtful think tank discourse'" while actually "espousing right-wing educational policy"?

Follow-up: Check your answers by googling each site using extracts from the above mission statements. Then see if you can determine one good reason why one institute should draw conclusions about the political characteristics of the other institute's educational ideology.


Maria said...

I didn't have to Google the first one (X). I'm a long-time reader.

And I am guessing that Y made the accusation against X, although what counts as "right-wing educational policy" these days is not what you'd think it would be in the topsy-turvy, left-is-right, bizzaro twilight zone world of ed policy.

Maria said...


...a million times over for blogging. I'm thinking of entering a teacher cert program, and reading about issues for the past year or so has prepared me for what to expect (i.e., the worst). Of course, I could always be presently surprised.

Anonymous said...

Hold your breath. Districts are laying off teachers. Our district with 4500 teachers managed not to lose a single teacher.

Demographically, we've got a huge number of ESL students who have far below test scores, but we also have layers of interventions that we can do with our students. They don't leave school, so its really hard for them to fail. Everyone is used to the idea that a GED is okay.

In a district where I know more than I should know or want to know - 20% of the teachers were riffed mostly due to students exiting the district.

This is not the time for any district to have classrooms embark on a math reform odyssey. Unless you are prepared for failure, you shouldn't do it.