Mary has been extremely critical of Diane Ravitch and Deb Meier, especially over their recent support for the new federal ed law, ESSA and over giving cover to Randi, AFT, Lilly, NEA for their general cooperation with ed deform. Jim Horn, Schools Matter, and Emily Talmage have also been charging the Ravitch inspired NPE and Fairtest as verging on sellouts.
For that is going too far and I tend to give the Ravitch crew, which includes the always amazing Leonie Haimson, the benefit of the doubt.
Diane published today a piece called:
My Views about ESSA: The Good, the Bad, and the UglyAnd Debbie Meier has always been for small schools for decades but soured on the Gates led crap.
I do have some interesting parent views from our change the stakes group on this internal conflict in the anti-ed deform movement but will get to that another time. I am by the way registered for this April's NPE conference, the past 2 which I did not attend. It is hard to accuse NPE which emerged out of a national anti-ed deform bloggers network where I was one of the initial members and did a lot of recruiting for. Just read core-member Mercedes Schneider, deutsch29, on Randi (An Open Exchange With AFT President Randi Weingarten).
The Roots of an Undemocratic UFT - Lois Weiner Oldie But Goodie: ALBERT SHANKER'S LEGACY - Mary Porter
This is my own commentary on Norm Scott's commentary on Lois Weiner's commentary on Al Shanker. It should be a blog, and I would be glad of an opportunity to expand it into one, with links. I'll tell the story we older teachers have just lived through, to explain how Bill Gates got entangled in our teacher union elections.
Some younger activists might not know this "ancient" history, so many are confused by and surprised by a rift in the movement to stop corporate education reform. The Shanker Institute, the Teacher Union Reform Network, Deborah Meier's Coalition of Essential Schools, and Randi Weingarten's Progressive and Unity Caucuses of the AFT loosely constitute one side of today's struggle for the teachers unions.
These groups cooperated with the Gates Foundation's original project of public education reform. Gates observed the success of Deborah Meier's Central Park East High School, and thought he could capture a set of best practices from it, "bring it to scale" under his corporate control, and produce his own network.
At the same time he also undertook a drive to capture the public school marketplace by legislating accountability to testable outcomes, and forcing underperforming schools (by his measurement) to be brought under his control.
Breaking up public schools into smaller schools under his authoritarian, hierarchical model produced something different from Meier's progressive, student centered, democratically governed open classrooms, though. He funded them lavishly, but they produced poor testing outcomes. This was possibly a surprise to Gates. He continued to support the "performance based assessment" movement, and used their work to claim his digital assessment products are student centered. Linda Darling Hammond, of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium sits on their boards of the Essential schools and the Shanker institute. They provide the source documents for the Orwellian vocabulary of his digital data driven personalized scripted learning.
Gates shifted his attention to forcing states to give control of underperforming public schools over to his privatized turnaround partners and Education Management Organizations. They tested poorly also.
As teachers became aware of Gates' role in the destruction of their schools, Randi Weingarten has used the antidemocratic union practices described in this paper to crush opposition within the AFT affiliates, especially the UFT in New York City. Members have formed opposition caucuses without loyalty oaths, using member driven governance to challenge Randi in many cities and some states. The Chicago Teachers Union is their most prominent representative. Many challenges are underway this winter in other cities.