Saturday, October 2, 2010

Has the Reform Movement Jumped the Shark?

You might think it's just wishful thinking, but I believe the "reform" movement may have shot its bolt. There have been not one, but two, Oprah shows in one week lauding the deform movement. The long awaited (or dreaded) propaganda flick "Waiting for Superman" finally arrived in theaters, accompanied by countless sound bytes about how sad it all was on the nightly news. The Education Nation programming pimping the deform movement ran for a week on MSNBC, with follow-up shows on the Sunday news programs.

You'd think that with all the bad press teachers have gotten lately, we'd be sprinting down the streets a step ahead of angry mobs of parents with dripping knives. But for the most part, nothing has changed. Most people are still happy with their local schools. Voters in DC ousted Mayor Fenty, which virtually guarantees that Michelle Rhee will soon be picked up by the slack of her pants and sent skidding down the pavement by Vincent Gray. Charters have underperformed public schools both in NYC and nationally, and they even got lower scores on their progress reports despite the fact that Joel Klein, deformer extraordinaire, put his stamp of approval on those evaluations.

So, have the deformers jumped the shark? If Oprah, movies, unprecedented press coverage, and tens of millions of dollars haven't swayed public opinion, what will? The deformers have created a lot of sound and fury. Let's see whether it signifies anything.

1 comment:

james boutin said...

I hope you're right, but I'm afraid you're not.

I'm also not as confident as everyone else that Rhee will be gone soon. Throughout the campaign, Gray made a huge point to be very vague about keeping Rhee or getting rid of her. I think the decision will be Rhee's to make. If she's willing to allow the community into the process a little more, Gray might be willing to keep her. But if she prefers her rogue, my-way-or-the-highway approach (which I think she's very proud of), she'll probably chose some other position that allows her more media. It is, after all, about being a rockstar for her.