Apparently We Who Oppose Corporate Educational DEforms Are Winning the Online Debates, But Losing the Policy Battles

According to several articles, the corporate oligarchs who are busy deforming and dismantling  the US public educational system are winning the war in terms of policy.

While we online bloggers are winning the online debate. But we are easily ignored. Unless we, especially teachers and parents, rise up in anger.

Here is one such article. An excerpt:

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… if critics of corporatized education are winning the online debate, it is because we are preaching to the choir. We’re talking to ourselves. I doubt that Bill Gates reads education blogs while having his morning coffee. Corporate reformers don’t need to muck about in the blog arena when they own politicians and control the media.

And the fact is, the corporate reformers are winning. Dozens of state legislators are boldly pursuing legislation that will dismantle public education. The online debate is but a gnat, mildly bothersome, but ultimately easy to swat away.

But all is not lost.

The solution to the corporate takeover of the public school system lies with teachers. It always has. By not speaking up they send the message that they approve of corporate reform. For far too long they have allowed the debate to go on without them.

Silence implies acceptance.

Teachers who are afraid to speak up must remember: they have right on their side. They know what learners need to flourish in the classroom. Test prep and drill does not foster true learning. Teachers may not have the nerve to stick up for themselves, but they are rabid defenders of students.

Letters to legislators, letters to mainstream publications, social networks, blog comments, informational pickets, grade-ins–teachers’ voices must be collective, constant, and insistent. And as a staff they must insist that building principals join them and support them in this work.

So while I am often impatient with teachers’ passivity, I have great faith in them, too. My teaching colleagues are the most amazingly talented, organized, principled people you’d ever want to meet, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when they put their minds to it, they will start a revolution.

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Another article, along with some excerpts:

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Alexander Russo chose to portray corporate reform critics such as myself as Goliaths who are trampling on the hapless reformers. But this analysis is a bit simple-minded. The corporate reformers have plenty of resources and personnel capable of responding. They are deliberately choosing to take their arguments elsewhere – to the corporate boardrooms, to the ALEC conference, to NBC’s Education Nation, and to legislative hearings, speaking through hired lobbyists, astro-turf groups, and well-prepared and vetted experts. They are getting the job done there, if you notice. Most of these groups are seeing revenues climb, and state legislatures across the country are busy adopting more “reform” laws every month.

We may have embarrassed NBC’s Education Nation into including a few voices of dissent in the mix this fall, but host Brian Williams still gushed that “The Gates Foundation (is) one of the sponsors of this event, and the largest single funder of education anywhere in the world. It’s their facts that we’re going to be referring to often to help along our conversation.”

Diane Ravitch commented this morning on Twitter: “Are critics of corporate reform “winning” debate? Isn’t that like saying Occupy Wall Street is beating the banks and equity firms? Right.” So long as Congress, state legislatures and corporate media draw their “facts” from the Gates Foundation and other corporate reform organizations, there is no reason for these groups to lower themselves to debating with critics.

As Gandhi is reported to have said, “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win.” Clearly we are still being ignored. It would be foolish to mistake this for victory.

 

Published in: on January 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. You are correct, we are loosing the policy battle. We are loosing it because the corporate media supports privatizing education. Corporations have bought and paid for both parties. Watching as a non-Washintonian the rise of Michelle Rhee was a revealing expose of the corruption of both political parties. The investment of Fox News, Mayor Bloomberg, WaPo and the corporate media foisting “reform” and using Michelle Rhee was farcical to educators who care passionately about student success and achievement. Someone who was barely on the job and had lied in her resume was labeled as a hard hitting, fearless leader. This reform movement had nothing to do with research on school culture, teacher efficacy, collaboration etc. The reform effort had nothing to do with kids first, accountability or making sure that teachers had realistic resources to accomplish their charge. The fake reform effort is a scam and it is damaging our children and any hope for their future. It is based on the free market principals that brought this country to our knees and there are no examples where it works. Which is the real reason educational leaders are against reform. Shame on Nicholas Kristof and the New York Times and Arnie Duncan and TFA. Your corrupted failed business model and your pathetic attempts to foist it on unsuspecting and naive families is criminal and morally bankrupt.

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