Sunday, September 04, 2011

It’s not about good guys versus bad guys

Here's Randi's response to Brill's article, "The School Reform Deniers" (, which I included in a recent email) (never let it be said that I don't include other points of view):

It's not clear to me how Steven Brill, in his book Class Warfare, gets to his own particular Nixon-to-China moment—that teachers and their unions must be full partners if our nation is going to achieve meaningful, sustainable, systemic education reform—but it's good he did.

Brill is correct: There are serious issues confronting America's education system. Where we part ways is not so much in identifying these problems (although Brill completely ignores the devastating effects of the 2008 recession and its continuing aftershocks on schools and families). Rather, the difference between us is that the AFT seeks to follow the evidence of what works in our schools and in nations with higher-performing schools, while Brill chooses to see education as a story about good guys and bad guys.

In this scenario, the new good guys in education are card-carrying members of the Democrats for Education Reform (DFERs). They are funded largely by millionaire and billionaire hedge fund managers who will donate to anyone, anywhere, who will buy their prescription. The DFERs and their funders believe with a true missionary zeal that they know what it takes to turn around schools.

Brill's bad guys are those of us who have spent our working lives actually helping kids. Brill attributes to us all the historic failures of public education and none of the gains. Any reforms my fellow career educators and I have tried are either ignored or, worse, marginalized as too little, too late. Brill's approach doesn't recognize the evidence of these reforms' successes or even acknowledge our willingness to engage in reforms.


It's not about good guys versus bad guys

Aug 24, 2011 16:27 EDT

By Randi Weingarten
The opinions expressed are her own.

Reuters invited leading educators to reply to Steven Brill's op-ed on the school reform deniers. Below is Weingarten's reply. Here are responses from Diane Ravitch, Joel Klein and Deborah Meier among many others.

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