by Rob Levine
Apr 4, 2014, 2:32 PM

Bullshit and bellow: Deformers aim to destroy traditional schools of education

It’s pretty clear from a recent broadside published over at the website MinnPost that, like teachers’ unions, the education deformers also want to destroy Minnesota schools of education. Written in classic conservative movement* bullshit and bellow form, the MinnPost story breathlessly reports the pass/fail rate in professional tests for graduated education students for schools across the state.

Echoing the No Child Left Behind tactic, deformers portray traditional schools of education as incompetent using de-contextualized numbers, building a false portrayal of their graduates. Others can point out the numerous fallacies in such reports – it gets quite tiresome enumerating the bias, ignorance, censorship and willful dishonesty of MinnPost’s education writing; the point is that deformers are trying to de-legitimize the schools, which can then either be outright destroyed or taken over by deformers. We can see that here in Minnesota already in the way that Teach For America (TFA) has wormed its way into the U’s education school. It’s not by accident that oh-by-the-way TFA ranked highly in the discovered metrics cited at MinnPost.

Deformers want to kill these schools because they cannot control them, along with the real national school standards organizations. This is a familiar strategy for the conservative movement: They first try to gain control of existing institutions; if they can’t do that they create parallel institutions and attempt to destroy the existing ones. Failing that, they try to create schism within the existing institutions, which essentially de-fangs them. It’s a brilliant strategy that has worked repeatedly in other political contexts.

The Orwellian named “National Council on Teacher Quality” (NCTQ) is a vanguard institution in the conservative movement’s political battles within the educational context. It is no secret that NCTQ is a dishonest organization, willing to literally break the law to attain its goals. To accept the NCTQ as a legitimate reporting source without fully qualifying its genesis, funding and purpose not only reflects bias, it’s stupid, given that it rates Louisiana’s education system above our own. Yet you see that over and over again in both the Star Tribune and MinnPost. NCTQ’s real purpose is to create schism in traditional educational institutions, and to force them to accept its own metrics as measures of the institution’s success or failure.

Just like the profession of teaching, the traditional schools of education are under existential threat. In fact the deformers have already created a few of their own schools of education, which are already gaining accreditation from the states. In both cases deformers have created and deployed metrics, dreamed up by controlled organizations, to rank the targets intended for destruction. These metrics are then introduced into a paid echo chamber that is so large and diverse that, in the words of an investigative reporter, it’s hard to find anyone involved in education policy who is not connected to them. The fact that these metrics are spun in a dishonest way using in many cases statistically invalid data does not dim their power because of this huge cadre of paid grifter intermediaries.

And like the attacks on teachers’ unions the siege of traditional teaching schools has already borne fruit for the deformers. This might be a good time to consider whether we really want those schools destroyed, because time is running out.

* Just because I say “conservative movement” doesn’t mean liberals or Democrats are not involved – they are. But historically these are the conservative movement’s tactics and the movement in fact created and dreampt up this attack.

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