Laura H. Chapman: When Economic Language Corrupts Educational Practice

by VanessaVaile

Diane Ravitch's blog

Many years ago, I first heard the term “semantic infiltration.” It was used to refer to the way that words, when used often enough, can become reality, even when we don’t agree with the “reality.” LauraChapman describes the way that technocratic language has corrupted education by inserting its language into the ways we think about children and learning.

She writes:

An economic concept of growth as a “measurable gain” has migrated into federal policies for education. The policy impulse is to simplify the multifaceted character of education and treat the enterprise of teaching and learning as a business in need of proper management to get results. The desired results are defined by forms of learning that can be measured and with a calculation of the rate of learning within a year and year-to-year, comparable to knowing whether profits are increasing—on a trajectory of growth or not.

This economic concept of…

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