–from the first textbook published in the Americas, The New England Primer; motto of the Reformish movement in K-12 Education, also known as GERM–the Global Educational Reform Movement (Pasi Sahlberg’s term). Education Reform means to take us Back to the Future–I mean way, way back.
Work on the Reformish (or Rheeformish) Lexicon is proceeding apace thanks to the intrepid labors of a great many researchers into this member of the Goblish family of languages, spoken by Education Deformers.
This Lexicon would have been impossible, of course, without the Reformish Corpus assembled by the fearless members of the Counter Rheeformation who have braved Education Deform venues across the country, including data chats and depersonalized education software investor conferences (coven meetings) to compile it.
Many thanks, as well, to our scholars of the Reformish scriptures: The Nation at Risk Report, The Bell Curve, and the Common Core State Standards. Special thanks to philologist Don Duane Swacker, Hidalgo, for his discovery of the hidden meaning of P.A.R.C.C., which is spelled backward, like the names of saints and archangels in the Goblish grimoires of antiquity. Thanks, as well, to Ken Watanabe, who first identified the cognates in Old Goblish and Reformish and established, definitively, that Reformish is, indeed, a goblin language.
Note that there is no word for “poverty” in the Reformish tongue. The concept does not seem to be recognized by the Reformish. The closest word seems to be Reformish shiftlessness. Because of this odd vacuity, this lack, it is impossible to say in Reformish that differences in student attainment are primarily due to poverty, to their relative socioeconomic status.
1984. Reformish public policy manual.
21st-century Workforce Skills. Absolute, utter, unqualified servility; grit (tenacity, or perseverance) in pursuit of the same. Required for the low-paid gig economy and service Prole jobs of the future. “Will you be taking that latte on the verandah, Mr. Gates?”
bee eater. Unqualified but dependably Reformish sociopath in position of authority, after Michelle Rhee, famous for eating a bee, firing teachers, shameless self-promotion, and making unsubstantiated and false claims about progress during her tenure.
Bell Curve, The. By Herrnstein and Murray. The Reformish Bible.
CAP and DFER. Deformer wolves in Democratic sheep’s clothing.
C^4MiniTru. Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth; aggregate name for the public/private partnership collective of organizations, including foundations, think tanks, government agencies, and testing consortia, carrying out the Education Deforms. Funded by Gates, Walton, and Co. “All your base are belong to us.”
C.C.C.C.R.A.P. Common Core College and Career Readiness Assessment Program; aggregate name for the Partnership for Assessment for Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), and whatever Lord Coleman is going to call his new SAT (SCCAT?).
charter school. Mechanism for diverting funds and the best students from public education and enriching the grifter cousins, siblings, and golfing buddies of well-placed politicians and bureaucrats.
Coleman, David. Lord Coleman, appointed by Master Gates, by divine right, absolute monarch of English language arts and mathematics instruction in the United States.
Coleman, the. (weights and measures) Measure of co-incidence of arrogance and ignorance.
Common Core. Common name for Son of NCLB, aka NCLB Fright Night II: The Nightmare Is Nationalized.
Common. Base, low, vulgar; appropriate to the education of the children of Proles.
complex text. Random, out-of-context snippets of text intentionally too difficult for the defective children of Proles to understand; used on standardized tests, test prep worksheets, and in Reformish curricula generally to sort acceptable future workers from rejected ones.
computer-adaptive curricula. Worksheets on a screen keyed to responses in an Orwellian national database and to the bullet list of “standards” from the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth; replacement for teachers; aka depersonalized learning.
Core. Indigestible; from the core, or pit.
creative disruption. Any untested but novel mechanism (the wilder the better) for turning tax dollars into profits for an itinerant peddler of a product ancillary to DEFORMY MAGIC. Usage: Said mechanism must involve larger class sizes. See Appendix A, “Reformish Mottos and Heraldry,” Section 3, “Class size doesn’t matter.”
data chat. Local-level meeting to enforce the will of the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth (C^4MiniTru). See waterboarding.
data-driven decision making. Rheformish numerology.
data wall. Public shaming device and demotivational tool; the equivalent, in schools, of the targets and production figures for pig iron, etc., continually broadcast by every Fascist regime.
depersonalized learning. Replacing interaction with teachers with interaction with programmed learning software with a graphical user interface (we now have personalized avatars!), ideal for the training in obedience of Prole children (and for selling computers and software)–the reason for the creation of the Common [sic] Core [sic] State [sic] Standards [sic]. See personalized learning.
DEFORMY MAGIC. Patented mystical process employing enforced, top-down, invariant standards and summative testing to effect alchemistic transformation of failed schools into test prep factories and profit centers and the children of Proles into obedient drones of the 21st-century workforce (“Will you be taking that latte on the verandah, Mr. Gates?”); cure-all, potion, snake oil, or philosopher’s stone. See failure.
disruption. See creative disruption.
education^TM. THE 21st-century investment opportunity. Future usage: Same as in English, without the trademark, what children of oligarchs will receive in their schools after the Rheeformation. See other people’s children.
education reform. Periodic, as yet unsuccessful attempt to secure proper (absolute) controls over the abject obeisance training of the children of the Proles. Syn.: the Rheeformation. See those people.
failure. What U.S. public schools did before they were replaced by virtual charters run by the grifter brothers, cousins, and golfing buddies of Party members.
grit. Ability to persevere in an odious task despite alienation from the task, from the fruits of one’s labors, and from one’s fellow students or laborers who are, after all, the competition; a key 21st-century work skill to be measured via galvanic skin response bracelets and retinal scanners and recorded in the Orwellian cradle-to-grave national database. See Total Information Awareness.
higher. adjective. Must be used, in Reformish propaganda tracts, before the word standards whenever that word refers to the regressive, puerile bullet list paid for by Bill Gates and put together by the utterly incompetent Lord Coleman, appointed by Gates the decider for everyone else in US K-12 education. In the case of mathematics, Coleman simply repeated the pre-existing NCTM standards, but with absurd added requirements for “understanding” of abstract concepts at early grade levels at which most children are still quite concrete thinkers (which is kind of like asking fish to climb trees). In the case of ELA, Coleman simply cobbled together a list of vague, abstract “skills” from the Educratic groupthink of previously existing state standards and added some non-tested suggestions that educators use “complex” texts at higher readability levels. Given the low quality of these “standards,” it is possible that the word higher, in higher standards, refers to the altered states of consciousness that Coleman was in when he put these together.
Hucksterbee. verb. To give something a name with a meaning opposite to what it actually is, derived from the name of the Reverend Mike Huckabee, who convinced Deformers to rename the Common [sic] Core [sic] State [sic] Standards [sic] using state-specific names after the Common Core name became toxic. So, Medicare for All was Hucksterbeed by referring to it as “death panels,” legislation to eliminate unions was called “right-to-work laws,” computer software that eliminates personal student/teacher interactions is called “personalized learning,” and organizations representing the interests of a few oligarchs are given names like “Students First” and “Parent Revolution.”
human capital. Young people viewed as disposable future implements for increasing the wealth of the few. Formerly, students.
innovation. What you get when you enforce dull, uninspired, regressive, servile uniformity
learning. Mastery of the bullet list.
LMS. Learning Management System. Forerunner to the SkyNet Social Credit and Total Information Awareness System whereby Proles are to be tracked, evaluated, and stack ranked cradle to grave. Eventually to include grades, disciplinary actions, attendance records, health records, demographic data, standardized test scores, religious and political affiliations, social media records, time-on-task records, location tracking, credit ratings, personality profiles, Armed Services records, police records, banking and credit card records, tax records, employer evaluations, undesirable associations, and social credit ratings. The SkyNet Social Credit and Total Information Awareness System will, of course, greatly facilitate the work of the Thought Police.
love. An arrangement entered into for pay.
other people’s children. The children of Proles, subjects of the standards-and-testing Rheeformation, as opposed to children of the Overlords, Eloi, or Party members, who always have attended and always will attend, by divine right, autonomous schools with balanced curricula in the arts, music, literature, history, the sciences, and foreign languages. See those people.
PARCC. CCRAP spelled backward. Pronunciation note: There is scholarly debate as to whether the lengthened initial consonant, indicated by the digraph CC, is a genuine phonetic feature of Reformish or simply reflects the typical hatefulness with which the Reformish speak. See Appendix B, “Prosody of Financial Statements and Other Reformish Poetry.”
personalized learning. Learning in which interactions with persons (teachers) has been replaced by interactions with machines in order to generate data with which to stack rank Prole children. SYN: depersonalized learning.
plutocrat. One who has “no seat whatsoever at the policy table.” –Arne Duncan (“Pay no attention to the checkbook of that little man behind the curtain.”)
power. The ultimate aphrodisiac. What members of the billionaire boys club have and common people, or Proles, don’t. Let’s keep it that way.
Powerpointing of U.S. education. The Plan. See standards.
public-private partnership. Backroom deal; more generally, any mechanism for subverting or circumventing democratic processes.
public school. Dumping ground for defective Prole children who might bring down the average test scores or graduate rates of a charter school; temporary housing for defective Prole children prior to their transfer to a for-profit prison. Archaic usage: Failed experiment with the ludicrous goal of providing “equal” educational opportunity to inferior Prole children, only now being undone due to persistence of “ideals” promulgated by that great-grandfather of Marxism, John Adams, who wrote of diffusing “Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue,” via “public schools and grammar schools in the towns.”
Prole. Member of the demos, the rabble, those not invited to The Party. Originally from 1984, the US oligarchical public policy manual. Those whose role in life is to obey their betters (e.g., Masters Walton and Gates, Lord Coleman).
Race to the Top. Thuggish mechanism for coerced compliance with the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth just within the legal limits (perhaps) of federal law prohibiting involvement of the Department of Education in mandating curricula.
radical. One who supports the imposition of top-down authority by oligarchs via the state. See bee eater.
readability. A numerological determination of the complexity of a text based on word frequency and sentence length (e.g., Dylan Thomas’s “Time held me green and dying” is at the 1st-grade reading level).
relinquisher. Superintendent, principal, school board member, or other “responsible” public school authority who voluntarily agrees to have his or her school or district replaced by a for-profit charter that will cherry pick students, vastly increase class sizes, practice data-driven numerology, buy lots and lots of technology, replace experienced teachers with online worksheets and/or pimply adolescents with five-weeks’ training, implement a punitive extrinsic punishment and reward system, replace curricula with test prep, eliminate art and music programs (which are suitable only for the children of oligarchs), and provide lucrative administrative jobs to the grifter cousins, siblings, girlfriends, and golfing buddies of plutocrats, of politicians and, quid pro quo, to said relinquisher; public school education deform quisling.
remote learning. There is a remote possibility that any learning is taking place, but this stuff does generate big $$$$$ to keep the oligarchy in heliports at their mountain hunting lodges.
rigor. General-purpose descriptive to lend an air of value, necessity, and inevitability to any product of the Reformish propaganda mills and curriculum mines, derived from logic and mathematics, where, in stark contrast, the term denotes determinability via algorithmic truth-checking.
rubric. Any device for relieving teachers and those scoring standardized tests of having actually to attend to and think carefully about student work, the equivalent in evaluation of “It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, so I’ll give it an 8”; in writing instruction, a device for ensuring predictable, formulaic writing, as of the five-paragraph theme (the equivalent in writing composition of painting by numbers).
Secretary of Education. Expensive, high-end wind-up toy and bobblehead doll for plutocrats, qualified to oversee creative disruption of education by virtue of having no education experience whatsoever, for any such experience would ipso facto predispose him or her or it to oppose education deform, making him or her or it an enemy combatant member of the Resistance, or Counter Deformation; our Reformish collaborator-in-chief, the public education leader charged with dismantling U.S. public education.
Socialism. Any program that might via steeper progressive taxation take money from billionaires to finance the common good; any government program that doesn’t have corporate welfare and perks for the 1 percent as its primary goal. So, for example, employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPS, are Socialist. So are public schools because, unlike charters, they don’t exist primarily to enrich the wealthy even more. Combating evil Socialism (boo!) by ending public schools and teachers’ unions is the primary goal of Deform.
standards. Specifications for invariant, rigidly controlled outcomes; the bullet list to which education for Prole children is to be reduced; Gates/Coleman’s default, trivialized, dumbed-down stealth curriculum to which all published educational materials in ELA and mathematics in the United States now adhere. A bullet list for keying depersonalzied education software to. Usage note: In Rheeformish, the plural noun standards must be preceded by the adjective higher (ROFLMAO). See Powerpointing of U.S. education.
standardized test. Mechanism for supplying the unreliable and invalid”data” used in Deformish Numerology to justify a) exerting command and control over teachers, administrators, and the children of Proles and b) replacing public schools with charter schools run by the grifter brothers, cousins, and golfing buddies of Party members. NB: In a previous Deform Era–that of the US Eugenics Movement–I.Q. tests were used for the same purposes. The then-new tests were given IN ENGLISH to newly arrived, non-English-speaking immigrants to provide scores showing native white supremacy. Today, with the same level of legitimacy, standardized tests are given to public school students to show that their schools have “failed” and need to be privatized to make more money for oligarchs.
State. Of the Leviathan, the distant, centralized, top-down, totalitarian authority that serves as the enforcement arm of The Party to Which Citizens Are Not Invited (as in, “Great Party at Berlusconi’s, hey Vlad?”)
teacher. 1. Pimply adolescent from a wealthy private school given five weeks of TFA training prior to spending two years doing Great Grates with dark-skinned children before going on to his or her real job in investment banking. 2. Low-wage worker hired to proctor a thousand students doing online instruction to make sure that they are obediently gritful and that their tablets are in working order. 3. Computer running computer-adaptive depersonalized learning software (worksheets on a screen that reduce teaching to the bullet list). Reformish Motto: “Teaching, there’s an app for that.” See Powerpointing of U.S. education. Archaic usage: Whiny union member with ersatz degree from an education “school,” responsible for failure. See failure.
teacher’s union. In recent years, thanks to funding from the B&M Gates Foundation (Motto: “All your base belong to us”), a propaganda ministry of the Common Core Curriculum Commissariat and Ministry of Truth (C^4MiniTru). Archaic usage: Organization representing the rights and interests of teachers; teachers’ labor union. See union.
teaching. Punishment and reward via summative testing and, of course, feedback delivered to students via computer-adaptive worksheets on a screen.
technocratic Philistinism. Replacement for quaint values of humane scholarship and research, teaching and learning; another name for the Rheeformish faith.
tenure. In public schools, an unacceptable, though admittedly quite weak, due process procedure that interferes with the god-given absolute authority of the Reformish over the lives of others (See droit du seigneur).
those people. Proles and their barely trainable children.
union. Universal scapegoat. See, however, teacher’s union.
VAM. Value-Added Measurement, or Vacuity-of-curriculum-and-pedagogy Acceleration Mechanism; means for enforcing the reduction of the complex, unquantifiable, humane enterprise of teaching and learning to a number intended to measure the extent to which a teacher has
a) effectively narrowed his or her curricula to the bullet list of “standards”;
b) based his or her pedagogy on extrinsic punishment and reward;
c) robotically parroted his or her canned scripts;
d) modeled for his or her students proper obsequiousness to superiors; and
e) identically milled his or her differing students to specification, via test preparation, thereby inuring them to the performance of meaningless tasks and preparing them for the low-wage service jobs of the future.
See data-driven decision making and technocratic Philistinism.
virtual school. School in which costly, difficult-to-control teachers have been replaced by computer-adaptive curricula (“Teaching, there’s an app for that”); device for transforming taxes into private profits. Usage note: school is here used quite loosely, as completion rates for virtual “school” courses are very, very low, though expenditures on these “schools” by state departments of education remain very, very high, which is the point. It’s all about the green.
Supplement: Some Resistance Acronyms
- BROAD: Billionaire Reformy Oligarch Advancing Deform (after one of the leaders of “Reform,” Eli Broad)
- COLEMAN: Cynical Opportunist Leveraging Execrable Measurement and Assessment Nonsense
- GERM: Global Educational “Reform” Movement (term coined by the great Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg)
- MAGA: Moscow’s Asset Governing America
- PUSTULE: “Philanthropic” Underwriting of Standardized Testing, Undermining Learning Everywhere
- STDs: Standardized Testing Delusion Syndrome
Copyright, 2014, Robert D. Shepherd. All rights reserved. This piece may be freely copied and distributed as long as this copyright notice is retained.
For more pieces by Bob Shepherd on the topic of Education “Reform,” go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/ed-reform/
For more pieces on the teaching of literature and writing, go here: https://bobshepherdonline.wordpress.com/category/teaching-literature-and-writing/