While written a couple of months ago, this is remains on point in the criticism of current edreform climate.
Woodard’s take is well sourced too, which makes a huge difference when levying this kind of criticism. Facts matter and sources matter and Woodard definitely supports her claims with some solid material. The piece by Sirota, in particular, is one that I circulated to colleagues when I saw it.
SImply following the money definitely reveals some curious patterns and relationships. Moreover, the amount of money that is being pumped into the edreform movement is staggering, and it all comes with stipulations and strings. Apart form the direct donations that advance the agenda, from a political standpoint that those kinds of philanthropic organizations can buy a whole lot of influence.
The fact that the principals and administrators who actually run the schools are invisible within this mythology is no accident, as we are routinely ignored by federal and state policymakers, unless it is to be vilified and fired for failing to implement policies that we are called on to implement without ever having a voice in their voracity or viability.
In many ways, I am pleasantly surprised by the fact that Woodard, an administrator and one with plenty of clout, being President of the American Federation of Administrators, was the author of a piece like this. Teachers voices are routinely dismissed, but teachers also do not drive agendas of education as much as many people believe, another media myth. Woodard clearly feels the same applies to administrators. Yet, as she also acknowledges, more administrators are charged with making the real decisions that impact schools and how they function on a broader level. From my view, it is at the administrative level where education has to show the most steel. Easier said than done I know.
Still, more administrators need to stand up to policymakers and officials when policies and legislation goes terribly wrong. We are all educators after all. We need to educate those that think they know but do not. Administrators in a better position to that, in some cases, than teachers. However, it is in resisting some of the most destructive policies where administrators and teachers can present a united front, and most likely will need to do so with increasing urgency.