Wednesday, July 13, 2016

DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM ON EDUCATION SHOWING RANDI INFLUENCE

Party platforms in the United States don't mean that much but they do represent statements of goals.

The Democratic Platform being written now for 2016 apparently is being influenced by Hillary Clinton's friend AFT President Randi Weingarten in that it isn't that bad when it comes to education. Details are emerging on the Diane Ravitch blog.

Diane reports:
Two dedicated pro-public education advocates, Chuck Pascal and Troy LaRaviere, wrote important amendments that were adopted and incorporated into the Democratic platform.

Because of them, with important support by Randi Weingarten, the platform now takes a stand against the high-stakes testing regime, opposes school closing shift based on test scores, opposes evaluating teachers by test scores, and emphasizes the importance of democratically-controlled public schools. The platform continues to support "high quality charter schools," without defining what that means: high test scores? Or something else?

I'm not with them on charter schools but overall this is a step in the right direction for sure.

Politico is reporting that the enemies of public schools are fuming. You have to read down a bit to get to the No Candidate Left Behind part but here is what it says:

But Shavar Jeffries, the president of Democrats for Education Reform, called the amendments an "unfortunate departure from President Obama's historic education legacy" and said that these changes came about because the platform drafting committee "inexplicably" allowed the process to be "hijacked."

There was a lengthy argument between two of us at the last ICE meeting over whether or not if given the power, Randi Weingarten would do right by public school educators. I argued that she would while the opposing position is that she is fundamentally a neo-liberal who favors competition even in education. I guess the platform gives us both something to use in our next discussion.

18 comments:

Michael Fiorillo said...

Randi gets the platform language - a good, if limited, thing - while Broad, via Podesta, et. al. get education policy.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Randi gets the platform language - a good, if limited, thing - while Broad, via Podesta, et. al. get education policy.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Sorry, that should be "... gets education policy.

NYC Educator said...

They're nice words, at least some of them, but we get a lot of nice words. Let's see what they do.

Bronx ATR said...

It's an attempt to get teachers to vote for Hillary while having the extra appeal of quelling the criticism of Randi. Hillary must have realized that Randi's support wasn't enough to get teachers to vote for her.

Anonymous said...

Yawn- The only thing Randi is really for is....Randi. She has made a career out of talking the talk but when the rubber hits the road, she lays down and gets run over. Just like Meathead Mike, she plays the game just for the prestige and the opportunity to rub elbows with the 1%

Anonymous said...

You got that right, 8:08. She's the worst, worse than Meathead. It's all about her, all the time.

James Eterno said...

I respect your view 8:08 but in my experience Randi at least returns emails and does what she can to help on issues. I can still email Randi and usually get a fairly rapid reply. Good luck hearing from Michael Mulgrew.

Anonymous said...

very very very good friends Hillary and Randi are.

Anonymous said...

And how again does that hurt us?

Bronx ATR said...
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Mr. Talk said...

I am a cynic by nature. But the level of cynicism passing as political discourse these days is mind-blowing. If this language had not been put in the platform, Hillary and Randi would be called sellouts and supporters of Obama's disastrous education policy. Now that the language that we all wanted to hear is actually in the platform, it must be a ploy to garner votes. It's a no win situation for both of them.

The cynic in me isn't worried about Hillary and Randi's sincerity in getting this language in the platform in the face of opposition from Republicans and many alleged Democrats. The cynic in me is worried that many self-professed "progressive" teachers will delight if the platform can not be implemented due to congressional stonewalling. Then these same teachers will be able to gleefully declare how right they were as they stand on the unemployment line. But hey, at least they voted their "principles".

Full disclosure: I support Hillary and I am a retired teacher. Even though I don't need to fear the rise of charters and the inevitable win on Friedrichs that will ensue should Trump be elected, I still fear for the future of the profession and the children who will be damaged when public education is no more.

Bronx ATR said...
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Bronx ATR said...

Dear Mr. Talk,
Cynicism is a logical conclusion when reflecting on anything involving Weingarten. She opened the door to school closings, charters, veteran teachers turned into subs and totalitarian mayoral control with her presentation of the 2005 teacher's contract. She then became AFT president. She obvisously wants a position in the Clinton White House. If that means the rise of charters and the end of Friedrichs as part and parcel of her ambitiously desired position, you can rest assure she will facilitate that. I'm personally not a cynic, I'm a realist and an ATR. I have no problem with Hillary, but if you're running for president and want to naturally garner votes, what else would you call this? A miraculous ephiany, for no other reason than the welling up of altruism for the downtrodden children and teachers of this country?

Mr. Talk said...

First of all, Hillary will definitely appoint liberal justices, which is why they are stonewalling Merrick Garland. If Trump wins, they'll vote him down and appoint a conservative judge. If Hillary wins, the Republicans will confirm Garland, fearing an even more liberal judge. So if Trump is elected, Friedrichs succeeds; if Hillary wins, it fails forever.

Secondly, I can not see this as an attempt to garner votes. Hillary already has the endorsement of the AFT and the NEA. Charters and testing are popular among Dems and Repubs alike, so going against them isn't likely to help her with either group. And since hedge funds and billionaires are fans of ed reform, these planks in the platform aren't likely to endear her to them and may hurt her fund raising. It may also not sit very well with Obama, whose support she needs going forward. So how, exactly, does this language help Clinton?

Finally, I don't see this as an epiphany (although such things are possible--see Diane Ravitch's 180 turn on ed reform) so much as a realization that the current policies are not working. Randi and Hillary are friends, and there is no way this language got put in without Clinton's knowledge and consent. This wording is a clear repudiation of the odious policies of Trump/Pence, who would allow charters to flourish with no oversight (see Trump University), expand vouchers, and destroy public education and unionism as we know it.

Bronx ATR said...

The AFT endorsement without input from teachers is empty. Teachers have to be persuaded - this is partly what this is. Many teachers were backing Bernie, that is another part of this. Do you really think Randi is going to thwart charters? Do you recall the UFT creating their own charter school? Some may bring up Lowell, Mass.. Weingarten put unionism back a hundred years when she was in NY as the head of the UFT. Hillary has my vote as long as Weingarten isn't her running mate. Cheers.

Mr. Talk said...

I am no fanboy of Randi. I voted against her in every election, and did likewise with Mulgrew. She's done some things that I find abhorrent (such as opening charters, the 2005 contract, etc.).

But just as I had no problem speaking out against her when she was in the wrong, I have no problem speaking out for her when she is right. This time, she is right. These ideas need to be in the Democratic platform. Salut.

Anonymous said...

Is there currently any oversight over charters?

Abigail Shure