Why the Term “School Reform” Has Lost Its Luster

The term “School Reformer” was once honorable or hopeful. No more. Now, the associations with those two words are so profoundly negative that most people, other than ambitious politicians, can no longer use them without choking. To me “School Reform” now is fatally undermined by policies that lead to child and teacher abuse on the one hand, and profiteering and corruption on the other. So when an arm of government sets up a “School Reform Commission” I am geared up to expect a chain of disasters- school closings, test based teacher evaluations, the proliferation of unregulated charter schools, and the forced imposition of the Common Core Standards. Anyone who uses the term in my presence is going to find themselves in an argument and will not be very happy at the result.