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Reform: Advocacy's Latest Ups And Downs

Let's be clear. Advocacy work is not easy -- there's no secret magic to it -- and its outcomes aren't guaranteed no matter how much of a funding or media advantage you might appear to possess (pretending for the moment that labor is helpless and unable to fight back against reforms it thinks unwise or simply disadvantageous). 

image from blogs.laweekly.com
Read below to find out the latest ups and downs in reform-land and how this nice smiling man fits in.

On Monday afternoon, Politico reported that StudentsFirst's 990s for 2010-2011 came to just under $8M -- an impressive figure but still a far cry from the $200M Rhee said she planned to raise each year over the next five years.  (HuffED's Joy Resmovits SCRIBd the 990s so we all could see them.)  The organization projects that it will take in $225M over the first two years, but that's just a prediction (and only covers one of the two main channels through which it receives funding).

Then Monday evening, Reuters' Stephanie Simon wrote up some of the results of the 990s, including several tidbits such as the fact that Change.org didn't actually sever ties with StudentsFirst or pull its petitions down immediately as it might have seemed last week.  So that wasn't such a clear cut win for labor as it seemed from the HuffPost story last week.  

Last but not least, it seems that heavily backed CA state assembly candidate Brian Johnson (pictured) came in third in the primary -- not good enough to make it to the fall election, which he initially seemed to have done.  The other candidate reformers backed, the untested Calderon scion, will be in the general election.  This is referenced in the Reuters article but not specified in terms of candidate names.  LA Weekly posted this on Friday. 

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The LA Weekly article gets it right -- the CTA and its Democratic allies have become the conservatives in education politics, at a time when it is increasingly untenable to defend conserving the status quo. Teachers' unions should unite with all other partners in solving our education problems, rather than circle the wagons and try to hold onto a reality that is slipping away. Reform-minded Democrats like Brian Johnson and Gloria Romero deserve support insofar as they help to lead the way towards solutions that will give our children a future we can be proud of. While not all of the education reform proposals in circulation should be supported, at least these leaders feel the necessary sense of urgency to do something, and are, I believe, open-minded enough to engage in the needed dialogue so that we can reach agreements about how to move forward.

I must agree with Bruce. And it’s especially funny to watch, given how much politics is all about party lines these day, CTA-backing democrats side brazenly with the right wing... and try to explain how it’s liberal of them to do so.

Thanks for the post. I think we are in need of education reform. There are too many that drop out of school and get mixed up in things they shouldn't. Overcrowded classrooms don't help because teachers cannot connect with students on an individual level. Imagine if teachers were paid better, how many more jobs that could create.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.