When Bill de Blasio ran for Mayor the first time, he sought my help. We met and spoke candidly. He told me he would strongly support traditional public schools. He said he would oppose the expansion of private charters into public school space. He promised to stop closing schools because of their test scores. His own children went to public schools. He would protect them and end the destructive tactics of Joel Klein, who coldly and cruelly closed schools over the tearful objections of students, parents, and teachers.
Very discouraging. Even when conscientious folks like Ravitch succeed in a major electoral campaign, the golden boy once again turns out to have feet of clay. Leftists have to be despairing of electoral politics, even on the local level, where activism is supposed to have more impact.
Destruction of public schools is a key agenda item for the 1%, but far from the whole picture. When de Blasio effectively pays fealty to the privatizers, it answers the question “Which side are you on?”
So much for de Blasio. It’s all downhill from here. But what lesson does this sad episode bear for activism? I don’t think you can say “so much for electoral politics” just yet, but bad results like electing de Blasio certainly validate the call for “diversity of tactics” - in case another angle might work better.
“The golden boy” and the real estate lobby are trying to force the li’l Jimmys to relocate to Jersey.
The li’l Jimmys only wanted some individual attention.
I’m at a loss here. Who is “Eva” referred to in the third paragraph as having billionaire backers?
Eva Moskowitz. Here’s her Wikipedia entry. I’m on the opposite coast here, but I believe there are lots of articles about her school privatization efforts. I’m not familiar with NY politics, but scrolling the Wikipedia page i noticed she is a Democrat.
I’m going to respectfully disagree. Ms. Ravitch’s strength is history and policy, and the most important contribution she can make is helping stop the corporatization and privatization of public education. Speaking as an educational researcher and teacher educator, her greatest strength is not the nitty gritty of how public schools should be improved, but seeing through the agenda the billionaires and CEOs have for schools. If schools continue to be operated in the corporate image, there will be zero emphasis on developing thinking critical skills, and a whole lot of emphasis on mindless obedience. You have to stop the whole juggernaut, not just do isolated staff development, for if policy doesn’t steer public education in a fundamentally different direction, then public education becomes (remains) merely the handmaiden of large corporations and the 1%. But if Ravitch and others help stop these destructive policies, then there are others who are better about the nitty gritty of helping schools and teachers educate for citizenship, deep understanding, etc. But first this giant ship must be turned around, and until that happens, we’re just banging our heads on the wall telling future and prospective teachers to do the right thing, and they reply that they can’t given the political climate.
When you evaluate teachers on test scores you destroy education. No two school districts are exactly alike, rendering test score comparisons moot. But politically, the useful pawn idiots think teachers have it easy and should be evaluated using students’ test scores. The end of public education in America is coming thanks to these brain dead cretins.