On WDIV’s Flashpoint last weekend, a panel of two “school reformers”—Dan Quisenberry and Dan Varner—discussed the future of the Detroit Public Schools (“DPS”) with host Guy Gordon. Several Michigan educators took to Twitter to ask why WDIV had not invited a DPS teacher or other public-school advocate to participate in the discussion. FixTheMitten and I joined in as well.
Guy Gordon—who hosted Flashpoint in the absence of regular host Devin Scillian—responded via Twitter that “Varner is a reform supporter and was referred by the coalition.” (The “coalition” to which Gordon referred is the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren.)
Monday evening, Devin Scillian chimed in. He stated that “[i]f the opposite of reform is status quo, it’s hard to argue against reform.”
Make no mistake: The word “reform” has taken on a new, pernicious meaning in the context of education. It is a code word for experimenting with poor kids and promoting private enterprise at the expense of urban public school districts. I wish these TV reporters would keep their collective eye on the ball and report on the high-stakes social experiments being insidiously carried out by “reformers” right in their own backyard.