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Corporate Education Reformers Are Running Scared

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Molly Knefel writes in Truthout about the meeting at the Democratic convention with Clinton staffers and the hedge fund managers’ Democrats for Education Reform.

I am fully prepared for any disappointment that Clinton will bring and still hoping for any sign that she will support public schools, public school teachers, and the students who attend public schools.

It is satisfying to see that DFER spokesmen are fearful that Clinton might actually support the “social justice” goals of me, the Network for Public Education, and the millions of parents and teachers who feel betrayed by the so-called “reform” movement.

On other other hand, it is shocking to see Clinton staffers defending George W. Bush’s failed No Child Left Behind legislation. We thought that one had died and been buried, and yet here they are–representatives of the Democratic nominee–praising NCLB and its emphasis on accountability. It is a tired chestnut that NCLB alerted us to achievement gaps. That is utter nonsense. Everyone knew there were achievement gaps between different groups, and NCLB did nothing about them. Nothing. Testing does not close achievement gaps.

I suport Hillary Clinton. I will vote for her. But I will be a tough critic when her staff says dumb things that refute common sense and evidence about the harm that NCLB has done, especially to the most vulnerable children.

It is time for truth: Everything promoted by the corporate reform movement–charter schools, vouchers, evaluating teachers by test scores, closing schools that have low test scores (and high numbers of needy students)–has failed.

Their numbers are small. They represent hedge fund money, but very few people.

Their critics, however, represent millions of parents and educators and people who love their community public schools.

We are many, and they are few.

And, yes, Jonathan Alter, the Network for Public Education will continue to fight for social justice for children, for improving their lives as well as their schools.

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