Where is the status quo any more?

I’m getting tired of people complaining about a shibboleth they call “the defender of the status quo.” Be forewarned: if you blithely talk in my presence about “the status quo” in K-12 schooling, I will be sorely tempted to kick you in the shins. What status quo?

  • For the past three years, real per-pupil spending in schools has declined in Florida and (I would guess) most states. During and since the Lesser Depression, declining funding and annual layoff notices comprise the status quo.
  • For the past ten years, there has been a federal mandate for annual high-stakes testing in seven out of 12 grades. High-stakes testing is the status quo.
  • For the past twenty years, there has been the creation and dramatic growth of quasi-non-governmental (or quango) schools we call charter schools. Charters are concentrated in large cities, some of which have been the focus of efforts to replace locally-governed public schools with charter schools (Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and Washington, DC). In a large number of cities, the growth of charter schools is the status quo.

I’m a little grumpy about this, so I figured I’d give some fair warning publicly before I start bruising any tibias, virtually or in real life. Reference to the imaginary “status quo” is just intellectual laziness.

Update: Larry Cuban’s blog entry September 9 made a similar point. As usual, he was gentler than I am (or at least didn’t threaten to kick shins).