Thursday, January 3, 2013

Center For Education Reform; "Important Partners" With NJDOE Office Of Charter Schools

Looks like to ring in the New Year the NJDOE Charter School Office website got a facelift.  I needed to access information on the site to prepare for a bunch of blog posts which I hope to finish up and share in the next few weeks.

I became COMPLETELY sidetracked 
however by some of the changes to the site. 

For instance, there is a new section titled Resources and Information, which includes a list of Important Partners. No big surprise to find the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, National Association of Charter School Authorizers and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. 

But WOW!  Also listed is the Center for Education Reform (CER), run by Jeanne Allen!!

It simply does not get more reformy than CER and Jeanne Allen. Allen refers to the traditional public school system as "The Blob."  The Blob is shorthand for Big Learning Organization Bureaucracies.  

The term “Blob” cropped up years ago when reformers began trying to work with the education establishment and ran smack into the more than 200 groups, associations, federations, alliances, departments, offices, administrations, councils, boards, commissions, panels, organizations, herds, flocks and coveys, which collectively make up the education industrial complex. 
Taken individually they were frustrating enough, with their own agendas, bureaucracies, and power over education. But taken as a whole they were (and are) maddening in their resistance to change. Not really a wall — they always talk about change — but rather more like quicksand, or a tar pit where ideas slowly sink out of sight leaving everything just as it had been.

Her current agenda seems to be to engage parents in a "revolution" against The Blob.  This is what she considers "Parent Power."

Before the film premiered, Allen revealed that she was an advisor to the filmakers responsible for the fictional glorification of ALEC backed parent trigger laws called Won't Back Down.

And surprise, surprise, whether or not a state has a parent trigger law is just one of many criteria CER uses to give every state in the union a "Parent Power Index" score and ranking.  I will link to New Jersey's ranking so you can see how inane this index is, but I won't dignify it by repeating our supposed score or ranking.

CER ranks Indiana as #1, no doubt because of much of the reformy goodness Tony Bennet brought to that state, but one has to wonder how their ranking will fair now that Bennett has been booted.  My guess is #2 ranked Florida, which inherited Bennett, may soon take over the #1 spot.

Of course, what CER doesn't want you to pay attention to is that on the NAEP, which is widely regarded as the "largest nationally representative and continuing assessment of what America's students know and can do in various subject areas," NJ outscores and ranks higher than either Florida or Indiana.   

Because CER, and specifically Jeanne Allen, has an agenda, and that agenda is choice not achievement.  And like Macke Raymond from CREDO, Allen sees the reform agenda as a war. If you can bear to watch it, please sit through this YouTube video of Allen talking about the "State of the Ed Reform Movement."  It is a very painful, but very illuminating 8 or so minutes.

The energy and the drive has been, and needs to continue to be, despite all the obstacles, the loses along the way -- look, we might lose battles; we're gonna win a war.   
Eventually, we will win the war.
That the NJDOE considers CER and Jeanne Allen an "Important Partner" should scare the bejeezus out of all of us and be a real wake up call. The CER reform agenda, with "choice" as the indiscriminate Holy Grail, will be the undoing of the successful public education system in this state.  


  1. I found it interesting that if you read any of their blogs (such as Smarick's flypaper do not discuss the attributes of "deformed" education but how to win the "war"! To me, they are like little lieutenants sent out to battle for reform. All in the non-profit "army" with the purpose of win at all costs (and to keep themselves employed)without regard to what they are fighting for! As you have seen, they regard Education simply as a multibillion dollar monopoly and they want a piece, if not all, of that money (for themselves and their billionaire backers) at any costs!

  2. Don't you just love the wordspeak word, "Reformer." The defination in my unabridged dictionary is "The improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt or unsatisfactory. What does their use of that word have to do with what they are doing with the use of that word as defined in the english language. Once again 'Orwellian Double Speak." It is the same with the names of these organizations just like the drug commercials on T.V. This is the most wonderful, great drug ever made and you can die 50 different ways.

  3. Would you consider renaming "Parent Power" to "Community Power?" Parents are not the only people who advocate for good schools and oppose gimmicks like charter schools. It benefits whole communities as well as the state and country to have good schools and a strong education system, as a functioning democracy depends on these things. Too many people assume those of us who choose not to have kids don't care about education when this could not be further from the truth!