Monday, November 21, 2011

Quick Response on #Occupy and School Reform

We're launching SchoolTool 2.0 tomorrow, so I don't have time for the long post, but it would also help to clear my mind on the issue before the "workday" starts. So, briefly...

Both Dana and Alexander spend some time subdividing the 1%, pointing out than many are in fields other than banking (e.g., tech) and/or are Democrats. This is entirely beside the point. The slogan is "We are the 99%," not "We are the Democrats" or "We are not bankers." Democrats are not valuable friends of public education anymore.

Contemporary school reform is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the 1%. If the 30 richest people in the country and their money were raptured tomorrow, it would have a devastating effect on the school reform enterprise.

Everyone working in school reform is not in the 1%, but they are probably funded by the 1%, or working for public money that is being actively leveraged (a word reformers like to use in this context) by the 1%. Everyone who works at Bank of America isn't rich, but it doesn't mean you can't criticize Bank of America. Same for KIPP.

Alexander writes:

...reform opponents need to make sure not to discredit themselves by trying to turn Democratic-funded philanthropies and well-intended nonprofit CMOs into Wall Street or heartless corporations...

I think the inverse is even more true: reformers have to make sure to not discredit themselves through tacit or explicit opposition to the Occupy movement, because we may indeed be in the beginning of a profound crisis of legitimacy in American institutions, and education is very much a part of that process (e.g., UC Davis last weekend).

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