As my students discussed Orwell's 1984, my mind drifted away from their intriguing recap of plot to what Orwell's themes would look like in a public school system.
The first thing to go would be freedom of speech. Teachers, administrators, or curriculum facilitators would no longer be allowed to speak freely about what the Central Office (Big Brother) dictates. The Central Office would never be wrong. Thinking for oneself, thoughtcrime, could get you "vaporized" by transfer or non-renewal.
Next, the Central Office would want to take away the freedom of press. No longer would student newspapers have the freedom to edit and manage their own work. All press related work would require screening by the Ministry of Truth: principals who do not think for themselves. Teachers who spoke out against the Ministry of Truth would be quickly put on "administrative leave" and subsequently disappear.
Once all avenues for dissent had been vaporized, the Central Office would then start the Ministry of Truth's Curriculum department to create lesson plans for the Outer Party teachers. These teachers would accept the lesson plans, verbatim, and teach them to the students. Once again, any teachers who think against the party would end up vaporized.
Behind all of this work would be the deterioration of language. The Ministry of Truth would want to limit the teacher's vocabulary to words like:
standards, rubrics, best practices, alignment, cross-curricular, assessment, data driven, or scaffold.
Hmmm.....thought police, vaporizing, newspeak? Do YOU think that YOU might be in the education version of 1984?