The readings for this week focused on the discourse of accountability and the commitment of our education system to the privatization of schools. Kohn highlights the issues with our current education system, and discusses how increased pressure for privatization has led to these issues. With the implementation of No Child Left Behind, standards were raised for schools. Testing and test scores became significantly more important, and holding schools accountable for those test scores became the most important part of education. The No Child Left Behind act also caused an increase in the number of schools that were labeled as failing. The new focus on testing has caused teachers to shift their focus towards teaching students how to test well. Kohn also discusses the fact that privatization of schools has not corrected any of the issues in our education
Winfield’s chapter also discusses the discourse of accountability, and the new agenda to “devalue” people through the education system (143). Despite laws passed to desegregate schools, the majority of the schools that are being affected by new “reforms” to the education system are filled with poor, minority students. We have begun to punish schools that are failing and reward schools with good test scores. Yet the schools that are being punished are the schools that need the most help. No Child Left behind and other reforms that have been put in place have completely devalued public education and caused a shift towards the privatization of schools. Privatization protects those that are “worthy” of being protected, such as the wealthy, white population (147). Through privatizations, the education system has become a perpetuation of eugenics.
According to Leistyna, the focus on accountability and testing in schools has led to the appearance that more schools are failing, thus contributing to the increase in privatization. The government has found a way to perpetuate inequality in our society through education policy and the large corporate powers are the only ones that are benefitting from it. Our education system is highly class based, protecting those in privatized schools (the wealthy) by not requiring them to participate in high stakes testing. Those that do have to pay for high stakes testing are usually the ones that cannot afford it, perpetuating this cycle of oppression and inequality (154). There is clearly something wrong with the system that we have in place, where the wealthy continue to be protected and the poor minorities continue to be oppressed through education policy.
As Tara said, it is pretty obvious that privatization of schools is not the answer to issues in our education system. While certain education policies, such as No Child Left behind, were put in place to positively effect education, it seems that they have done just the opposite of that. Education has begun to benefit businesses and wealthy corporations rather than the students and teachers that it is supposed to. We need to find a way to turn the system around and take the focus off of testing and privatization. Education should be about the students and teachers rather than large wealthy corporations.