Original post date: May 20, 2012


We’ve all heard these corporate style words and phrases coming out of the mouths of ed reformers. If nothing else, these folks do remain true to their script. I have heard these terms from leadership within the Washington State PTA,  the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan,  the Broadies and many other corporate privateers. Unfortunately, these words and phrases have reverberated throughout the corporate sponsored media as well.

On the Dump Duncan Facebook page, someone started a thread that has continued throughout the week and I thought that it would be fun to provide you with words and phrases to use in a game of bingo that can be used whenever one of these privatizers decides to open their mouths and attempt to say something profound.

To follow are some of the words and phrases that I and others have shared along with some additional remarks made by Facebook  page members.

Have fun coming up with more!





merit pay

new energetic teachers


students first

multiple measures

public charter schools (one of my personal faves that our WSPTA Government Relations person likes to use)

And who hasn’t heard:

tools, toolkits, union thug, right to work (for less),  innovation, common core standards?

Also completely ruined/meaningless: data-driven, “evidence” based

stakeholders, tool in the toolbox, toolkit and best practices

parent empowerment (AKA parent trigger)

data-driven instruction, 21st century skills and improved student outcomes. I now hate the word ACCOUNTABILITY most of all!

rigorous, college ready, Academy, excellence, alignment, data driven, value-added, alignment.

Speaking for myself only, I have STEM fatigue. Seriously….I’m tired of hearing about the supposed STEM crisis and how these are the most “important” subjects.

Common Core

In these difficult economic times…

Assessment, highly qualified

“Reform” and “Reform” and “Reform”

benchmark testing, College and Career Ready

Class size doesn’t matter (Gates and anyone from the Broad borg)

Poverty doesn’t matter (the League of Education Voters and Michelle Rhee like to say this a lot)

We’re starting a conversation (after everything was decided behind closed doors).

This just in:

We have a new phrase for our list! “Personalized learning environments.” The second I saw it, I knew it meant learning by computer use (because we all know how personal that is).

There is also “blended learning” which means 40 to 50 students in front of a computer with one “instructor”. So much for education.

New contributions:

College and career ready

Listening session, listening tour . Ha! Arne Duncan went on one of these “tours” in his first year of becoming Secretary of Education, see I met Arne Duncan Yesterday. Our Broad superintendent also called it that when she first began her stint as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. She went ahead and closed schools and laid off teachers only to reopen several more schools and bring back most of the teachers the next semester at a very high price financially and psychically for our students.

Evidence based, Proficient,  Student Data, vouchers, charters, school performance goals, Student Growth Goals (SGG).

Workforce ready, workforce ready, oh, did I say workforce ready? Higher student expectations, raising standards, critical thinking skills, teacher leaders, career ladders, research shows, school improvement grants, big data, clouding, kindergarten ready, on track for college, differentiated teaching, cc pathways, grading schools, ranking, adaptive assessments, public private partnerships, formative assessments, summative, student grit, perseverance, project based, portfolio schools, LIFO, job for life, union thug, union bosses, government monopoly schools, opportunity gap, test prep, remediation, longer school day, closing the gap, failing schools, civil rights issue, alternative teaching routes, summer learning loss.

Dora Taylor

bingo buzzhole

To follow are comments that were made when this post was initially published:


“No excuses!”


In referring to home visits, UW corporate reform facilitators term the gathering of information from the home visit as gathering “funds of knowledge.” In addition there was no defined lines not to cross. In other words, in order to allegedly help the student succeed you were to gather as much information about the family as possible, regardless of whether it was damaging to the family or not. Many of my parents were concerned about privacy issues. The UW reformers then put this information into a data base for further analysis.

Another overused corporate reform word is “academic rigor.” I first heard the word Rigor used by a facilitator of the Bill Gates Small schools seminar. The word actually is defined quite negatively. The following is from the American Heritage Dictionary: Rigor, a noun.
Strictness or severity, as in temperament, action, or judgment.
A harsh or trying circumstance; hardship. See Synonyms at difficulty.
A harsh or cruel act.
Medicine Shivering or trembling, as caused by a chill.
Physiology A state of rigidity in living tissues or organs that prevents response to stimuli.
Obsolete Stiffness or rigidity.

The correct term for reform should be, a curriculum that is “robust.” Robust is defined as an adjective:
Full of health and strength; vigorous.
Powerfully built; sturdy. See Synonyms at healthy.
Requiring or suited to physical strength or endurance: robust labor.
Rough or crude; boisterous: a robust tale.
Marked by richness and fullness; full-bodied: a robust wine.

The corporate reformers are narrowing the curriculum when it should be rich and full of art and music, as well as math and science.



Great description of the term rigor, as in rigor mortis would set in if I was drilled on facts and figures based on Common Core Standards everyday as a child.

Please tell me more about these home visits that were made and this database.

The preoccupation of collecting information on our children is growing within this corporate reform movement. In New York there is now big money to be made on developing an in-depth database information on students.

It’s not a good thing.


Dora, the home visits were conducted at Seattle’s Cleveland High school from 2008 – 09 and 2009 – 10 school years and connected to grant money from the National Education Association Foundation, a non-profit branch of the NEA teachers union that houses all the corporate education business leaders, Gates/Microsoft current and past executives, and corporate lobbyists and PR firms. Its one of the organizations that has infiltrated the NEA (its paid for with our union dues and contributions). The UW coordinated the training and data collecting. Several of our young teachers in the UW ED Masters program led our staff.

With respect to “rigor,” if we pay attention they tell us exactly what they intend to do to public ed and that’s kill it, hence “rigor mortis” sets in. Its an Orwellian world in which “war is peace, hate is love, slavery is freedom and rigor is robust.”



Thanks David.

I notice that a lot of the edu-speak is that way with the privatizers. “Choice” is not choice at all when it comes to charter schools. An example of that is “The Myth of “Choice” in New Orleans: How the Recovery School District, Through the Charter School Movement Has Cheated Nearly 5000 New Orleans Students Out of Access to Real “Choice”, http://edutalknola.com/2011/03/25/the-myth-of-%E2%80%9Cchoice%E2%80%9D-in-new-orleans-how-the-recovery-school-district-through-the-charter-school-movement-has-cheated-nearly-5000-new-orleans-students-out-of-access-to-real-%E2%80%9C/.