Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: Reformster Calls for Attack on Unions

CURMUDGUCATION: Reformster Calls for Attack on Unions:

Reformster Calls for Attack on Unions

You may not have heard of Peter Cook, but reformsters like him are a dime a dozen these days. Well, not a dime. They're considerably more expensive than that.

Cook likes to bill himself as a former teacher. Can you guess what his teaching experience is? Yes, in 2002, right after he graduated from Washington and Lee University with a BA in European History, he put in two years with Teach for America. A few years later he put in a year teaching math at a KIPP charter. The rest of his career has ben as a consultanty expert with groups like The New Teacher Project. Most recently he has worked as the "Engagement Manager" with Mass Insight Education, and he's been particularly active in New Orleans where he serves on the DFER Lousianna board. So yes-- he's an other one of the instant experts in education working hard to get those public tax dollars into private pockets.

Cook, like most of the DFER (Democrats Faux Education Reform) crowd, is concerned about Hillary Clinton's possible apostasy. First, some of Bernie Sander's delegates to the platform committeemanaged to add some language that dramatically broadened the definition of a bad charter school-- broad enough that the definition is now "most of them." Then, while addressing the gathering of the AFT, Clinton spoke as if maybe she had actually read the final platform and was going along with it.

DFER and like-minded folks went into panic mode. And Cook is now here to say that they are right to do so. Like many, he has been saying all along that Clinton could be trusted to make some placatory noises, but under it all she would remain loyal to the True Charter Faith. Now he believes he was wrong about her.

First she said that charters don't take hard-to-teach children. Next she said that poor students are hurt the most by testing. She even promised teachers a seat at the table.

Cook's hand-wringing is a study in how different things look from different vantage points. The hard-to-teach kids thing? Not really news. (See also, Success Academy's Got To Go list.) The link between poverty and test results is so well-documented that I didn't think anyone denied it any more. And Clinton's offer of a seat at the table has prompted widespread teacher observations on the order of, "It's our damn table, thanks."

But Cook is also one of those reformsters who believes all opposition to charter schools and other reforms can be traced to just one source:

I’m not as worried about Clinton’s education policy statements as I am about the weakened position of reformers vis-à-vis the teachers unions, both within the Democratic Party and Clinton’s inner circle.

I've heard many times the tale of how poor benighted billionaires like Eli Broad need to create their networks of political operatives and high-priced websites because they are so outgunned by anti-reform forces, by which they usually mean the unions. Cook goes far in his explanation of how this union conspiracy is laid (and is busy stealing the Democratic Party from refomsters). It is a 
CURMUDGUCATION: Reformster Calls for Attack on Unions:


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