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Going Beyond the Buzzwords of Education

Going Beyond the Buzzwords of Education

As prospective candidates begin to gear up for the impending 2016 presidential candidate and policymakers debate re-writing No Child Left Behind, the same education "buzzwords" get repeated when explaining what's going on. According to Molly Knefel of, buzzwords do a disservice to those involved and interested in learning more because they only cover a portion of the issues at hand.

"Buzzwords and phrases like 'accountability,' 'Common Core' and 'school choice' abound in media coverage of candidates’ education policy, with little explanation provided to actually unpack what it means that a candidate is pro or con these things," she said.

She discusses the constant chatter about where candidates stand on the Common Core standards, yet laments that there's little said about specifics. Despite all the constant chatter, she says, there is rarely much discussed beyond whether the candidate in question is for or against.

"This type of coverage reduces an issue to a candidates’ stance on it, regardless of what evidence (or lack thereof) informs that stance. [Jeb] Bush believes that Common Core raises expectations; [Bobby] Jindal used to believe that but changed his mind. Whether those stances are based on actual, knowable information about how the standards affect teaching and learning is beside the point," she said.

Knefel argues that the debate has become boiled down to a vague conversation that creates a limiting dichotomy:

"Is Common Core bad because of government overreach, or is it good because it “raises expectations”? What those 'raised expectations' are, whether they are developmentally and culturally inclusive, and how they’re impacting students with disabilities, English Language Learners and kindergartners, does not follow."

She also holds issue with buzzwords such as "raised expectations," "overhaul education" and "accountability," which she says similarly downgrade the issues to a stance rather than a complex debate supplemented by evidence.

"When reporting on the often shallow, hypocritical or self-interested talking points put forward by the candidates, it’s media’s responsibility to correct the inaccuracies, explain the buzzwords, and illuminate the impact of the policies being pushed on children, families and teachers," she concludes.

Read her full post here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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