Irrationalism Central to Outlook of Charter School Promoters

The Center for Education Reform (CER) may well be the most belligerent promoter of charter schools in the United States. Its main modus operandi rests on loud irrationalism and rendering everything upside down.

Irrationalism, the close cousin of voluntarism, pragmatism, and fideism, is all about distorting reality, perpetuating anticonsciousness, and blocking the new from arising. Irrationalism effectively crucifies science, facts, logic, coherence, objectivity, and laws governing thought, nature, and society. It warps the human senses, memory, and cognition, and assumes that only an individual’s blind purposeless will and “instincts” exist. In these and other ways, irrationalism obstructs the path of progress to society.

According to the CER’s long-standing disinformation program, public school teachers are always evil and utterly incapable of doing anything positive or productive. Public school teachers are essentially greedy self-interested parasites who have never cared about a young person or education in their lives. Even worse, public school teachers sometimes dare to affirm their rights. They are always the enemy. Only charter schools can supposedly engender dedicated effective teachers and provide students with what they need. Thus, the sooner we dispose of public school teachers and their unions, the better off America’s children will be, according to the CER. This is what “innovation” means for neoliberals.

Besides, all that really matters, according to the CER, are numerical scores on expensive, time-consuming, curriculum-narrowing, philosophically unsound, methodologically flawed, high-stakes standardized tests produced by a handful of large corporations. If scores on these bankrupt top-down tests are high, then everything is supposedly hunky dory. Nothing begs to be questioned.

Putting aside such absurd assertions and the scandalous track record of charter schools, the CER continually promotes irrationalism and makes crazy statements so as to pressure people to remain anticonscious long enough to ignore the many negative consequences of charter schools and real-life experience. Bellicosely repeating irrational assertions is meant to overwhelm everyone and prevent them from engaging in a conscious act of finding out. The aim is to prevent the human factor from being unleashed and put in the service of progress.

As a large and robust body of evidence against charter schools continues to grow, the CER and their allies will likely become more hidebound and truculent. They are not going to suddenly become enlightened, embrace logic, abandon retrogression, and serve the public. The rich and their representatives are objectively incapable of seeing the world from the perspective of the people. Their position in the social and economic structure of society coerces them to embrace retrogression, regardless of what their subjective will may or may not be. In the end, irrationalism not only reflects the decay and obsolescence of the old, it also serves to preserve the old and outdated, blocking the fresh and the new from emerging.

Shawgi Tell is author of the book Charter School Report Card. He can be reached at Read other articles by Shawgi.