Will the heaviest hitter of all lend His support to the civil rights i$$ue of our time?
Reader: there are already plenty of marquee names involved in the crusade to *crush* the achievement gap. But thus far the biggest name of all has yet to weigh in upon the civil rights i$$ue of our time. I am talking, of course, about the Big Guy, the Man Upstairs, Sky Daddy, Him… Thankfully, thanks to the efforts of a former Teacher for America, that may be about to change. Let’s learn more, shall we?
Meet the Expectations Project, an effort to enlist faith-motivated individuals, leaders, congregations and organizations in developing local and national campaigns that help enact transformational change for low-income public schools. Now this sounds great. And for once I am being completely sincere. Getting churches and their members involved in helping public schools in their communities, from volunteering to training to become teachers, really does sound like a great idea. But wait, there’s more. The Expectations Project also seeks to train a generation of “like-minded faith-motivated advocates for education reform.” Which is where my own expectations of what this project is really about start to plummet…
Like minded and like funded
By the time we get to the recommended resources section of the Expectations Project website, this particular sermon is sounding awfully familiar. There are the must-watch documentaries: “Waiting for Superman,” “Teached” and the “Lottery.” And like-minded faith-motivated advocates for education reform are presented with an array of like-minded, Walton-funded advocacy education reform groups with whom to partner.
There is Stand for Children with its gra$$roots movement to end the scourge of LIFO-liferism. Or how about StudentsFirst with its gra$$roots movement to also end the scourge of LIFO-liferism and empower parents to hand over their public schools to private management companies? For a little something different, there is Parent Revolution, which also empowers parents to hand over their public schools to private management companies. For a more youthful vibe, there is Students for Education Reform, a gra$$roots movement of students who “turn out students in support of ambitious, pro-student legislation.” And don’t forget 50CAN, from which like-minded faith leaders can learn that class size doesn’t matter and that pensions incentivize “low performers” to hang around, taking up the space that rightfully belongs to fresh, non-vested teachers with enhanced excellence.
The EX is for EXtreme
Are you smelling the same thing I am reader? Why does every road our like-minded faith leaders are invited to walk down seem to lead to the intersection of “freshness” and “choice”? In addition to being funded by the EXact same funders, the reform groups at the heart of the Expectations Project share another common trait: their EXtreme positions that turn out to be EXacerbating the very divisions of class and race they refer to so EXhaustively. As for the growing number of faith leaders who have begun to question the impact of education reform on their communities, I have faith that they will soon be leading a real grassroots movement.
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