Bruno: Not Everybody Is An Education Expert
Critics of test-based education reform were pretty excited last week when a group of literary legends released an open letter - organized by FairTest - encouraging the Obama administration to scale back current standardized testing regimes.
It's natural enough to enjoy celebrity endorsements of one's favorite causes, but it's always a little surprising to see educators implicitly diminish the value of actual educational expertise by celebrating the input of non-experts.
Maya Angelou and Judy Blume write terrific books, but what, exactly, makes them authorities on matters of education or education policy?
In other contexts, reform critics will happily admonish reformers for their lack of relevant education knowledge or experience. Most reformers, however, are demonstrably more expert on educational issues than the signatories of this letter.
It may very well be that using Obama supporter Angelou to set up a "gotcha" for the President will give reformers a short-term public relations win. The subtler signal being sent - that educational expertise is neither rare or difficult to acquire - nevertheless undermines the long-term viability of any education movement that aspires to authority.
There are plenty of reputable individuals and groups that possess actual expertise in the relevant areas who are capable of making persuasive critiques of various education reforms. There's no need to dilute the value of that expertise with celebrity razzle-dazzle. - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)