Beyond "lean production" – Changing teaching to "contract labor"


Will Johnson has an interesting piece in The Jacobin about what’s happening to teachers’ work. He makes the (correct) argument that what we’re seeing in school models “lean production” in the private sector.  Civil service, contractual, and legal protections (think seniority and tenure) have almost vanished.  Teaching has become de-professionalized in schools serving the students who most need quality education to get a crack at the shrinking number of well-paying jobs and escape from poverty. But here’s a “Yoohoo!” comrades.  It’s important to realize that what has been done to schools and teaching in the US is part of a global project. We need to take off the imperial blinders.  The elites and the “researchers” serving them at the World Bank, IMF, and alas, UNESCO, as you’ll see in this synthesis report want teaching to be reduced to contract labor (yes they use that term). They advocate the very results Will Johnson laments. In one report after another, economists doing these studies of educational achievement (measured by standardized test scores),  say that the results are “mixed.” That’s good enough for them to forge ahead in dismantling public education and the teaching profession. Of course, the economists doing this research make sure that THEIR kids go to schools with teachers who have lots of formal education, small classes, and well-equipped classrooms. “Mixed” results aren’t good enough for THEIR kids.Obama, Duncan, Bloomberg, ALEC are all pushing policies imposed on  the global south.  To understand what is happening in NYC schools, read about what was done to/in West Africa and Cambodia, to name just two countries mentioned in this UNESCO report.  That’s what they intend to do here.

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