Score two for the forces against democracy


Since I’m in the middle of a school reform first-hand, I haven’t had time to keep up with all the edu-reformy news that’s been coming out at hyper-speed the last week. Just look up school reform on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog for a list of the latest and greatest posts. My big picture impression is truth may have been the first victim in  a lot of what’s been going down, but we’re moving beyond that to the point where basic things like democracy and rule of law are getting thrown out the window as so-called reformers continue to push their agendas. I’m getting Tom’s point that it is feeling like things are hitting a critical juncture. Here are two examples, little and big, of that:

I bring you news from Providence, Rhode Island via Tom Hoffman’s  Tuttle SVC blog:

Linda Borg for the ProJo:

PROVIDENCE — Hope High School students said their fears have come true: Hope is no longer a school where students feel nurtured and teachers have the time they need to engage youth in rich instruction.

More than a dozen students, many of them familiar faces from last year’s protests, told the School Board that abolishing the so-called block schedule (four 90-minute periods) has resulted in more discipline problems, less time spent on meaningful instruction and a diminishment in the relationships between teacher and student.

No one was more eloquent than Angela Cruz, a senior who was involved in last semester’s battle to retain the school’s unique class schedule.

“Last year,” she said, “we came to all of your meetings and you did nothing. Last year, we filed a lawsuit and you did nothing. Last year, we had the moral right. This year, we have the legal right and you still do nothing. I hope you’re happy.”

So, we’re at the point of ignoring court orders, WTH? Is this Arkansas in the 1950s? Isn’t Rhode Island a little too xcold to be a banana republic? Sorry for scraping your whole post Tom, but you put it so succinctly and cogently, I didn’t have the heart to change a thing.

On to our nation’s Capitol, where the new mayor has a big decision to make, should Michelle Rhee stay or go? This occurs in the aftermath of a mayoral vote where current the mayor, Adrian Fenty lost. Fenty loss was due in part to the voters dislike of the education reforms that he, and his schools chancellor Michelle Rhee had implemented. The Obama administration’s Ed Secretary, not content to leave it to the people, has been weighing in on the choice new Mayor Gray needs to make. From Mike Klonsky’s SmallTalk Blog: Duncan’s for mayoral control only if he can control the mayor

He, along with several of the powerhouse foundations underwriting Rhee’s efforts, even threatened to withhold more than $75 million in badly-needed school dollars should Gray defeat Fenty and replace Rhee with a leader more acceptable to the community.

But those threats obviously backfired, seeming to energize D.C. voters even more against Fenty, Rhee and Duncan.

Now suddenly, mayoral control seems to have slid from atop Duncan’s priority list. Cheered on by a host of Washington’s rich and powerful attending the recent premiere screening of the anti-union propaganda film Waiting for Superman, Duncan went into full arm-twisting mode, repeatedly calling Gray to cajole, threaten, and demand that he keep Rhee and her failed, divisive policies in place. Voters be damned.

Rule of law, nyet! The will of the people, nyet! But, they promise us that we’ll have great schools at the end of this. I’m not holding my breath.

by posted under politics/policy | 2 Comments »    
2 Comments to

“Score two for the forces against democracy”

  1. October 3rd, 2010 at 5:57 pm      Reply Tom Hoffman Says:

    Technically, PPSD is appealing the decision now, although they don’t really seem to have any ground to stand on. And actually it isn’t a court order, but a ruling by the RI Department of Ed, which is legally binding.

    But I strongly suspect that eventually PPSD will just ignore the ruling or try to get around it in some half-assed way. This may go on a loooong time.

Email will not be published

Website example

Your Comment:


Links of Interest


Creative Commons License
All of Ms. Mercer's work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Skip to toolbar