In the education reform wars, words are a powerful weapon. Words often cut deep and leave lasting wounds that divide us. We hear, see, and openly acknowledge this effect by slapping a label on those we perceive as our opponents. But there is a more insidious use and abuse of words in this warring power struggle over public school reform.
Intentional “messaging” stirs our emotions by touching our very soul — our deeply sacred values and beliefs. And once emotions surface, an association with other words can be made – meanings often distorted – but a follower created all the same. “Buzzwords” suck us in like a piper’s sweet melody.
For 30 years, this country has been slowly seduced and become intoxicated by one reform strategy with an ever-changing name — outcome-based education reform. In all too many classrooms, our focus on the “outcome” has come at the expense of the process of educating children. Outcomes equated to test scores, and, education became test preparation.
To undo what we have done, we have to understand each other and the messages we have been receiving. If we don’t, we will never know when we are being manipulated — used as pawns in a hidden political agenda. It’s time to take back control of the “reform” conversation…word-by-word.