Thursday, June 12, 2008

Calling a Spade a Spade

Nothing in the above clip has anything to do directly with urban education. If you don't want to watch it, I'll give you the gist: have you heard that phrase "staycation" recently on nearly every media outlet? Jon Stewart contends that it's just the media's way of once again trying to make the unpalatable palatable and, in so doing, deprive us from a real discussion about what may be the depressing facts of the current situation.

I've posted this video in this blog because I think Stewart's larger point has ramifications in education. On another class blog, I, Teacher, Mark talks about NCLB and a response to it that is gaining some ground ( The broader, bolder approach to educational reform seeks to tackle the real issues of why the majority of kids who fail at school fail. When I say 'real issues,' I mean structural issues, things like economics. As Mark notes, NCLB comes across as an emotional response to an educational problem; it's as though we've tried to put a band-aid on a gaping wound. Or, to relate it to the video above, it's as though we've tried to oversimplify our educational deficiencies by relegating them to test scores, and then we've branded a program to improve test scores with a catchy, awe-inspiring name like No Child Left Behind. But, just like a staycation doesn't really address the looming economical problems our country faces, NCLB doesn't really address the fundamental inequalities of our social--and therefore, educational--state.

What's needed is a true conversation about what's wrong that isn't afraid of exposing America as a country where inequality exists at a multitude of levels and in a variety of ways. We can't begin to solve problems until we acknowledge the reasons why those problems exist.

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