Scorched


Ken Doctor – Transforming the company’s DNA shared CC by Fräulein Schiller

A quick follow-up to my post from earlier this week, which among other things referenced Rupert Murdoch’s entry into the education market…

The comments in response were outstanding, and if you haven’t already I suggest you check them out. It’s one of those cases where working through half-baked ideas (as I was doing in that post, if that isn’t obvious) yields discussion that both clarifies the issues and pushes thinking into more fertile terrain. I’m especially grateful for the comments I’ve been getting recently on this blog given how inactive my posting has been the past few years.

I’ll presume you are aware of this week’s revelations on just how depraved the conduct of Murdoch’s empire has been — so vile, in fact that a 168 year old newspaper has been axed. One might argue that the conduct of a newspaper is not connected to other entities of a massive international corporate conglomerate, but I see that Murdoch has asked Joel Klein, who heads News Corp’s recently created education unit, “to provide important oversight and guidance” — ie, to head up the damage control effort.

I also see, via Klein’s Wikipedia entry, that when he resigned his position as Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education to go work for Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg appointed Cathie Black to replace him (she resigned three months later after a disastrous tenure). Black had been chairman of Hearst Magazines and president of USA Today — is bringing the noted savvy and ethics of big media to bear in reforming education a trend I’m not aware of?

One other nugget, from a column by Simon Jenkins, who suggests the phone hacking affair “has shown how far commercial pressure from the web and from within big corporations has distorted ethics.” I wonder how long it will be until educators have scandals like this of our own?

3 thoughts on “Scorched

  1. You mean edu scandals like the school district installing software on laptops and then systematically monitoring their activities on screen and grabbing photos from the webcam? Ethics in education are already pretty distorted…

  2. True dat.

    Though I’d suggest that case is driven by another set bizarre impulses — fear, control freakery, authoritarianism — than what drove those NOTW reporters and editors, which strikes me as about greed and buzz. But in ascribing motivations, I’m flailing…

  3. I’d say the Atlanta cheating scandal is a pretty good example.

    Or the DC cheating scandal, where statistically rare high erasure rates on tests coincided with statistically rare increases in test scores.

    Or how the rising test scores in New York (for which Klein claimed a lot of credit when he was NYC Chancellor) were shown to be the result of the test getting easier.

    Or the Houston cheating scandal, going back to Rod Paige and the “Houston Miracle.”

    Education has had it’s share of scandals, and will continue to have them, but the scandals that will get the broadest coverage are those that fit into the narrative of “our education system is failing our kids, so we need to privatize everything.”

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