Is there a Translator in the Room?
Educational Jargon Leaves Many Parents in the Dark
For many parents talking to their child's school administrators is a dreaded and intimidating process. Why? Because many parents feel talked down to, uninformed, or incompetent when the proliferation of acronyms and abbreviations are spouted off by administrators. The Ed-Speak phenomenon now finds itself getting some unwanted attention as more and more publications and researchers are uncovering the tendency of some administrators to use these terms to deliberately confuse parents. It's time for parents to turn the lights on. Educate yourself and learn the terminology. This page is dedicated to providing parents with links and other resources to help you learn how to "Talk the Talk".
Hiding Behind Education Jargon
School Wise Press.com (excerpt)
When principals talk about their work to parents, they utter buzzwords and acronyms that leave their public in the dark. This "ed-speak" phenomenon is so prevalent, it should be considered an occupational hazard.
Martin Mozloff, a sociologist from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, has studied the creep of ed-speak in teacher training programs. He calls it "unmatched twaddle ... unbelievable bilge ... absolutely staggering nonsense."
An article in the August 16 issue of the Los Angeles Times took aim at the perpetrators of what the reporter called "a blizzard of buzzwords." Professor Mozloff argued that ed-speak serves a deliberate purpose: "It allows teachers and administrators to insulate themselves from scrutiny and maintain a grip on power." More
What are We Thinking? What Are We Saying?
by John Holdren, Director of Research and Communications, Core Knowledge Foundation
from Common Knowledge, Volume 8, No. 4, Fall 1995
Many parents say that they sometimes find the jargon of education mystifying and intimidating. When I stop and think about it, I have to agree with them.
Unlike scientific and legal jargon, educational jargon often has no concrete referent: that is, many of the words refer to no concrete thing or specific action. Some terms — such as "holistic" or "process-based" or "mastery learning" — have little more apparent substance than the dust that blows from erasers clapped together at the end of a school day. (More)