A New “–ISM” for Education “Reformers”

According to the dictionary the suffix “-ism” means a distinctive doctrine, cause or theory; a belief or principle. One website cites over 1600 different “-isms.”


History is laden with failed and successful –ISMs. Most fall into three broad general categories:


Political (Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, Totalitarianism)


Social: (Sexism, Racism, Classism, Terrorism)


Religious: (Protestantism, Judaism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, some say Mohammedism)


I would like you to consider a new –ISM and see how it relates to education reform: DATAISM, not to be confused with DADAISM.  I am not completely sure which of the three categories DATAISM falls into.  Most likely social, but education “reform” has become a religion to some and most certainly a political belief to many.   Following is why I believe education “reform” should now be called DATAISM.


We all know education reform is all about DATA. Data is used to fire employees, data is used to rank and rate schools, data is used to close schools, data is used to open charter schools and other non-union schools, data is used to make budgetary decisions, data is used to produce chaos and churn, data is used to outsource and privatize. Data is everywhere. Education reform is all about DATA. DATA is the driving force of education “reform.” It has become the be-all and end-all of public education, the king and queen, prince and princess of public education. DATA and education “reform” are often synonymous but only when the actual DATA can be Ignored, Spun, Manipulated if it doesn’t show “reform” success (which is most of the time). DATAISM: where data is IGNORED, SPUN, or MANIPULATED to give false results to the public. DATAISM. What do you think?