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Students and Parents Teaming Up to Fight The Corporatistas of Education Reform

April 5, 2012

Great piece here from Laura Clawson (who is excellent by the way in her writings on Labor) examining the growing push-back movement against the deep-pocketed education reform interests.

First view this video: Save Newtown High School – this was a good video and it really involves the viewer in the lives and feelings of the staff of this school.  If you have never been a teacher, or a staff member at a public school, you might not know that teachers are really, really dedicated to what we do.  We work hard, we help our kids, we advocate for our students and when we are continually put down by the “reformer” set it is very demoralizing.  You can see this demoralization in the lives of these teachers.

This is the article that accompanies the video on the DailyKos web-site:

Michelle Rhee calls her organization StudentsFirst, a common affectation among corporate-style education reformers, who often like to claim that the tens of millions of dollars they pour into remaking education policy are spent on behalf of students and parents. But in fact, the policies they push—promoting testing, making it easier to fire teachers, opening charter schools, and bringing profit motives into education in a dozen more ways—are not only empirically flawed and anti-teacher, but are often opposed by actual students and parents, who are increasingly pushing back.

This is all true.  I have written many, many times before about how Mrs. Rhee is no friend to teachers.  Actually, this woman has been a tempest to those in the teaching profession.  People: teachers, students, and parents are beginning to push back against those who are out to harm public education, it cannot come too soon.

In Florida, a so-called “parent trigger” bill failed last month. Though it was sold as parent empowerment, “Not a single major Florida parent organization supported the bill, including the PTA,” with many opposing it, believing that it “would lead to the takeover of public schools by for-profit charter management companies and other corporate interests.”

In Seattle, a growing group of parents have opted their kids out of standardized tests:

“We’re not against testing,” Purcell said. “But in the context of all the budget-cutting, we’re saying: Can we at least spend the money on a more useful test?”

And in New York, students at several schools slated for “turnaround” have protested in a variety of ways.

Kids and parents don’t have the money to put into their protests that the corporate reformers have to put into the agenda being protested. But at least they’re speaking in their own voices, not trying to claim to speak for someone else to cover up a profit motive.

Hopefully, we have the beginnings of a movement here, a movement that teachers and parents can get behind.

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