Books: Brill's Guide To Familiar Reform Figures
Let's see if we can use the promotional copy for Steve Brill's forthcoming school reform book, Class Warfare (via Andywonk), to figure out what Brill is going to say. The book's length will provide lots of room for details that wouldn't make it into a magazine or newspaper but will Brill introduce people we don't know or things we haven't already read about? It's not entirely clear. There are lots of super-familiar elements, including an allusion to Race To The Top ("an unprecedented plan that will infuriate the teachers’ unions because it offers billions to states that win an education reform “contest"), the creation of DFER (" a Fifth Avenue apartment where billionaires plan a secret fund to promote school reform"), Joel Klein ("an antitrust lawyer who...now forms a partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates to overhaul New York’s schools"), Wendy Kopp ("a naïve Princeton student who launches an army of school reformers with her senior thesis"), Mike Johnston ("a rookie Colorado legislator who writes the most sweeping education reform law ever"), Antonio Villaraigosa ("a California teachers’ union lobbyist, who becomes the Mayor of Los Angeles") and Randi Weingarten ("an anguished national union leader who walks a tightrope between compromising enough to save her union and giving in so much that her members will throw her out," and Brill's own NYT Magazine story about charter school co-location. That being said, there are three references that aren't immediately obvious (to me at least): "a young woman who... becomes so talented and driven that fighting burnout becomes her biggest challenge"... "a visionary Florida special education teacher who persuades her union to make peace with the reformers"... "a stubborn young teacher, who, as a child growing up on Park Avenue, had been assumed to be learning disabled and who ends up co-founding the nation’s most successful charter schools."