Skip to main content

Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog: A Ray of Hope

 “The very premise of ‘market-driven education reform’ rests on the fallacy that the public school system is in crisis, and that the only solution is to let the market pick winners and losers.” -- Donna Brazile

Wow! What an amazing couple of weeks.

It started with the NEA, the nation's largest union, condemning current testing lunacy and calling for Arne Duncan to resign. The AFT delegates (when allowed to speak) essentially followed suit, except for leaders Randi Weingarten and Michael Mulgrew's desperate efforts to hang onto a failed Common Core and to pull Duncan's chestnuts out of the fire (with delegates' wimpy call for his remediation rather than firing). UFT President Mulgrew even threatened to punch in the face anyone who tried to "take away my Common Core.”

Alex Caputo-Pearl

But the very fact that a real debate broke out at an AFT convention and that rank-and-file voices were heard (especially from Chicago) offers a ray of hope that union democracy will somehow triumph. I was especially impressed with the speech by new L.A. teachers union head Alex Caputo-Pearl, who aligned himself and his union with CTU President Karen Lewis in calling for “social movement unionism,” which he said is “explicit about fighting for racial and social justice." L.A. could well become the scene of the next great teachers' strike.

All this culminated in the formation of new opposition group within the Democratic Party, led by Democratic National Committee Vice Chair Donna Brazile, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland called Democrats for Public Education. This new formation is aimed at countering the influence of corporate reform, anti-union and pro-privatization groups like DFER, within the Democratic Party. It's about time. The announcement prompted DFER leader Joe Williamsugly response to Donna Brazile: "Welcome to the jungle, baby.”  

Who's laughing now? Not Rahm. 

MORE GOOD NEWS... And of course, then there's this.

Karen Lewis’ potential bid for Chicago Mayor has moved beyond just a thought — it’s an “organic,” growing movement, the fiery Chicago Teachers Union president said. Lewis revealed on Monday she already has an unofficial exploratory committee in the works, a chairperson has been named and her camp is working to have a representative in each of the city’s 77 neighborhoods. 

This blog post has been shared by permission from the author.
Readers wishing to comment on the content are encouraged to do so via the link to the original post.
Find the original post here:

The views expressed by the blogger are not necessarily those of NEPC.

Mike Klonsky

Mike Klonsky is an educator, writer, school reform activist, and director of the Small Schools Workshop ( ...