From coast to coast, the billionaire-backed education reform project is back-pedaling, and there are signs of desperation showing up all over. At Education Nation there was little attention paid to the fractured fairytale that corporate reform has become, but the cracks are appearing everywhere now.
At a recent conference of mayors, few would even utter the words "education reform." In Los Angeles today, there has been a hastily organized rally in support of Superintendent John Deasy, who has coyly suggested he "might" resign. This rally was organized by the Gates-funded Educators for Excellence, Teach Plus, and Los Angeles' chapter of the United Way, which distinguished itself a few months ago by hosting a school reform summit on the eve of a school board election.
This minor furor temporarily takes attention away from the much more significant questions being raised about the billion dollars in construction funds that Los Angeles Unified has invested in iPads and related curricular materials, at Deasy's urging. Deasy has remained adamant in the face of the controversy, insisting that the iPads are a "civil rights issue." Where have we heard that before?
In the state of New York, the on again off again Department of Education hearings were back on again, and Commissioner John King has apparently been instructed to actually allow the public to speak without interrupting and arguing with them, as he had done at his last outing in Poughkeepsie. He has still not found the nerve to schedule any hearings in New York city, however.
There seems to be a dawning awareness on the part of the backers of corporate reform that their project is in real trouble, and that this battle is unfolding on the ground, even if they command the corporate boardrooms.
The public is now awake to the damage the reformers are causing to students, teachers and schools.
The reformers plotted Common Core and the PARCC assessments and the teacher evaluation changes and the data collection programs in their backrooms.
They got no pushback from anybody because they surround themselves with their own reform-friendly acolytes only, so it seems to have never occurred to them that there might be a mass uprising of parents when the reform movement started implementing their radical agenda.
This battle is far from over because the reformers are wealthier than anybody ought to be and they are willing to use that money to buy politicians, buy law changes, buy the media and authoritatively impose their agenda on cities, states and the nation.
But the rising opposition to Common Core, the increasing anger of teachers over the standards and evaluation changes, the hostility toward the testing from students, parents and teachers, the skepticism over the data collection - these are all good signs that education reform isn't going to get a "reboot" the way the billionaire reformers want.
Rather it's going to get "the boot" as students, parents and teachers all across this country send this agenda where it belongs - in the garbage.
Lots of work to do and there are no assurances that the public can beat the plutocrats and their functionaries on this.
But if I had said to you last year that the Common Core reforms would be under major attack here in NY State, that John King would be a punch line, that Andrew Cuomo would look to distance himself from his own reforms and that a new mayor would be coming into office who so far has not backed down from his pledge to make charters pay rent and put a moratorium on charter openings, would you have believed me?