Monday, July 26, 2010

Civil Rights Leaders Take On Obama/Duncan on Ed Deform?

I'm reposting from this morning with a load of updates:

July 26, 12pm - (See below for original story - not the most organized way to do this but it is beautiful outside.)
"This is really tough talk, and it is about time that America’s civil rights leaders are speaking up. The only question is whether anybody in the Obama administration is actually listening."

-----Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet WAPO blog

Valerie is fast becoming our new heroine. But more on her later.

Word is that Obama is speaking on Thursday to the Urban League to defend his ed policy and sources say that was a major part of today's cancellation. I have links to two major stories on Norms Notes:

Download here:

Sam Anderson responded to the email I sent out this morning:
The National Black Education Agenda (NBEA) is still operating and plan to have a national public response to the National Standards miseducation policy. Foir those who don't know about the NBEA, go to:

We plan to insist on a meeting with the President and the Ed Dept director. The "WE" are prominent Black educators as well as in-the-ed-trenches educators, parents and community members from across Black America.

The NAACP at their last week's convention came out with a resolution OPPOSING charter schools. This was a grassroots effort that had to fight some of the national leadership who give uncritical support to the Obama administration. I think this is a very good victory for the progressive Black educators specifically and progressive educators in general. and we should spread that resolution far and wide once it becomes public.

In Struggle,

Sam Anderson

Here is the Ed Week story with an excerpt:

Civil Rights Groups Call for New Federal Education Agenda

Michele McNeil| No Comments | No TrackBacks Seven leading civil rights groups, including the NAACP and the National Urban League, called on U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today to dismantle core pieces of his education agenda, arguing that his emphases on expanding charter schools, closing low-performing schools, and using competitive rather than formula funding are detrimental to low-income and minority children.

The groups, which today released their own education policy framework and created the National Opportunity to Learn campaign, want Duncan to make big changes to his draft proposal for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 

What's even more interesting is that a big event planned to release the framework this morning in conjunction with the National Urban League's annual conference was mysteriously cancelled (or postponed, depending on whom you ask) after a lot of press releases went out last week trying to drum up interest.

 And here is some interesting analysis by Valerie Strauss, who is turning out to be MAJOR for the side of the good guys. Note her use of the word "skewer" which you have to love.

Valerie Strauss in WAPO: Civil rights groups skewer Obama education policy

It is most politely written, but a 17-page framework for education reform being released Monday by a coalition of civil rights groups amounts to a thrashing of President Obama’s education policies and it offers a prescription for how to set things right.

You won’t see these sentences in the piece: “Dear President Obama, you say you believe in an equal education for all students, but you are embarking on education policies that will never achieve that goal and that can do harm to America’s school children, especially its neediest. Stop before it is too late.”

But that, in other nicer words, is exactly what it says. The courteous gloss on this framework can’t cover up its angry, challenging substance.

But it gets better, as Valerie non only uses the word "ouch" but goes so far as a "double ouch." This may be a record for "ouches" though we can hope one day to see a dreaded triple.

“The Race to the Top Fund and similar strategies for awarding federal education funding will ultimately leave states competing with states, parents competing with parents, and students competing with other students..... By emphasizing competitive incentives in this economic climate, the majority of low-income and minority students will be left behind and, as a result, the United States will be left behind as a global leader.”

About an expansion of public charter schools, which the administration has advanced:
“There is no evidence that charter operators are systematically more effective in creating higher student outcomes nationwide....Thus, while some charter schools can and do work for some students, they are not a universal solution for systemic change for all students, especially those with the highest needs.” 

And there’s this carefully worded reproach to the administration:
“To the extent that the federal government continues to encourage states to expand the number of charters and reconstitute existing schools as charters, it is even more critical to ensure that every state has a rigorous accountability system to ensure that all charters are operating at a high level.” 

Double ouch.
But there’s more.

Jeez, she almost hit the triple. I'm getting orgasmic; better not to go there. 
But you go there and read it all.

I also read this morning that Al Sharpton was originally signed on to the report, but later on wasn't. Probably not any money in it for him.

Original post

July 26, 8am
Are Civil Rights Leaders Going to Take an Anti-Obama/Duncan Position on Education?
Or were they and now are backing off?

Today a major event was scheduled that would skewer race to the top and other Ed Deform plans. The very idea of major civil rights leaders taking down the ed deform bull that people like Joel Klein and Eva Moskowitz and Michael Bloomberg are leading a civil rights battle would make a powerful statement.

Now suddenly we get this email a few minutes ago:

The briefing to release the Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. at the Grand Hyatt has been postponed.

A copy of the framework can be downloaded at after 10 a.m. on Monday morning, July 26, 2010.

Those interested in scheduling interviews about the framework, please call Kari Hudnell or Stephanie Dukes at 202-955-9450.

I won't be home until later this morning but I suggest people call to schedule an interiew and ask why they cancelled the press event. Were pressures brought to bear by the Obama administration? Bloomberg? Billionaires like Gates and Broad threatening loss of funding? Who knows?

After burn:
Framework is here:


  1. If minority groups only knew how the proliferation of charters mostly hurts children in those groups, we would have people taking to the streets in protest.

    My question is where's Al Sharpton in all of this? Has he been bought as well?
    This is a scandal worthy of a Michael Moore documentary.

  2. Al Sharpton was bought by Democrats for Education Reform

  3. Al Sharpton was bought a long time ago.

    For example, he endorsed Al Damato over Mark Green for US Senate in 1986. He attacked Mario Cuomo at a crucial moment in 1994, leading to Pataki's victory. in 2001, he again screwed Green, paving the way for Bloomberg's election. He is also reported to have had business/political relationships with uber Republican sleazebag Roger Stone. His kids also never attended public school, going to Poly Prep, an elite private school in Brooklyn.

    A man of the people he's not.


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