Morna McDermott


For True Democracy, We Need More Than Education by the Numbers

Freedom, dignity, and democracy can't be weighed and measured like a test score or Wall Street stock.

Numbers have always had a central place in American public education. We count the numbers of children in classrooms. We count the numbers of students by racial and socioeconomic sub-categories. We use numbers to dissect and divide children by school, by classroom, and by learning ability. We use numbers to allocate (or deny) funding. We use numbers in the forms of test scores to hold teachers "accountable" and to "prove" what children have learned.

Corporate education reformers are very familiar with numbers too: The numbers of schools they close. The number of charter schools they open. The number of teachers they fire for low test scores. The numbers associated with the rise and fall of the stock market. The numbers of textbooks and Common Core State Standards-related materials they sell… and the numbers of children they sell out. The number of legislators they have in their back pockets.

Keep ReadingShow less