Monday, December 03, 2012

Foundations and school reform

One of the things the right wing does is keep organizing.  While we rest and recover from an election such as California Prop. 30, they are off on their next campaign.  They do this by having hundreds of advocates. So that while some recover, others launch their next campaign.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education’s annual conference was held  Nov 26-27   in Washington, D.C. The agenda hits most of the main policies former Gov. Jeb Bush has supported: How to make teachers more effective; school district accountability; charter school accountability; the parent trigger and funding; and what to expect from new Common Core assessments.
The agenda of the agenda of the right and of the Obama administration has focused on Common Core Standards.  To date there has been no evidence that common standards actually change what happens in classrooms.  This is the kind of reform that the well funded foundations like because they can go out and advocate and raise funds without having to get their hands dirty by talking with teachers, students or parents.
Major donors such as the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and others  are increasingly driving education agendas and that influence just continues to grow. These foundations  have no public accountability, but they  been successful in capturing the policy agenda from local school boards, state legislatures, in the press  and  in Congress  despite their lack of evidence of  success.

In the speakers and leaders of the Foundation for Excellence in Education ( Jeb Bush), you see an increased sophistication of the anti teacher union part of their message.  They have developed what look like PR developed talking points which are probably focus group tested. They are less  openly anti union, just pro teacher professionalism.  And, of course to them, teacher unions are not professional.   Conservative advocates use many of the same messages as the Democrats for Educational Reform group has used.  The effort seems to be to keep unions out of states and districts where they presently are absent, and then the Democrats For Education Reform  can to seek to isolate unions from  “reform minded “  teachers  where unions are strong.

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