Wednesday, July 13, 2016

In Praise of Randi

I never thought I would write a blog post with such a title, except sarcastically. But this time, you have to hand it to Randi. She played a large role in modifying the Democratic platform on education, and in inserting language that makes it clear the Dems are now fully in opposition to closing schools based on test scores, and using test scores to evaluate teachers or unfairly label minority, ELL, and special ed students. It also supports the Opt-Out movement.

The platform now rejects for-profit charter schools, and forces transparency for current charters. It calls for charters to accept a population representative of their neighborhoods, as well as a proportionate number of ELL and special education students. The language also states that charters should be democratically governed--i.e., they will be accountable to the public for their finances and governance.

I've debated for a while if I wanted to discuss whether I think it's a net positive or negative to have Randi, a long time friend of Hillary Clinton, take a position of influence in her administration. Personally, I felt, and now feel strongly, that she will be an asset to the Democrats and education. This platform spits in the face of faux democrat groups like DFER, and Randi had much to do with implementing the language.

If you have any doubts about the strength of these platform ideas, you need look no further than the reaction of Shavar Jeffries of DFER, who said this language is an "unfortunate departure from President Obama's historic education legacy...", to which I can only say, thank heavens. And thank Randi.

This should put to bed the foolish notion that Hillary would close half the schools in the country, which was debunked long ago, but continues to be pushed by Hillary's foes.

Finally, it can only be a net positive to have a union leader of one of the largest and most progressive unions in the country to have the President's ear. Especially when she is using her voice to support teachers and help put an end to the testing mania, as she has done in influencing the Democratic platform.

Of course, Clinton's detractors may claim that this is only in the platform, and there's no guarantee that it will become policy. But that is true of every single item in the platform of both candidates. Platforms do, however, influence policy, and this platform represents an about-face from Obama's policies. It's an utter rejection of Duncan and King's reform ideas.

It's a new way forward. So kudos to Randi and the other education advocates who helped fashion this strong rebuke of ed reform.

6 comments:

Michael Fiorillo said...

Deeds, not words...

Mr. Talk said...

As far as I am concerned, this IS a deed. The easiest thing for Randi to have done would have been to stay on the sidelines. Instead, she got in the middle of the fight this time, and advocated for almost all the things teachers want.

Whether we get them all, of course, is another story. But I fail to see how having a union leader in such a strong position can hurt us. It can only help. Certainly Obama/Duncan/King has been a disaster. This platform signals a return to the left. You can be sure that if Hillary was opposed to these ideas, Randi, her friend, would not have pushed so hard for them.

Bernie had no education plan for K-12 and he supports charters. Jill Stein, in my view, has no solid plans for anything, nor any idea how to implement them, given that she has never held office (not to mention that she has zero chance of winning). Trump will decimate unions and eliminate the DOE.

Voting Clinton seems to be a no-brainer to me. The other options are horrendous, while she offers a path to changing the loathsome policies of the last 20 years.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Yes, I suppose it is a form of action: it's called sheepdogging.

Tell me that we must at all costs keep Donnie from nominating Supreme Court justices and federal regulators, and I will listen to you with respect.

Tell me that we must reject the racism and bigotry Donnie uses to rouse neo-fascist elements in the country, and I will listen to you with respect.

But telling me, as you do, that anything Hillary Rodham Clinton - you know, the one whose entire political career has been based on advancing herself and her husband by selling out Democratic constituencies - does. ever, signals "a return to the left," and I will say you are hopelessly deluding yourself and doomed to disappointment.

Enjoy the growth of charter schools and the advancement of privatization, a fresh round of imperialist adventures overseas (with a generous serving of cheap multiculturalism thrown in to make the medicine go down easier), along with your mythical "return to the left" in a Clinton administration, because they're all baked in.

Mr. Talk said...

If you have read this blog, then you know I have already said all the things about Trump that you are claiming that you can "respect"--I have said that he is a racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic fool. And when I have said such things, I have been accused of "fear-mongering" and choosing the "lesser of two evils" by backing Hillary.

While Bernie had ZERO k-12 education policies, education bloggers still backed him, despite his avowed support of charter schools.

Berners kept saying that Hillary had to "earn" their vote. Well, she has moved to the left on college tuition and debt, healthcare, the minimum wage, the death penalty, and now education. She will appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Citizen's United, uphold LGBT rights, and throw Friedrichs in the dump where it belongs. What else does she have to do to "earn" the support of disappointed Berners?

Frankly, what I do not respect is self-professed "progressives" who would rather vote for Stein in protest, Johnson in ignorance, or Trump as some kind of bizzaro retribution for the butt hurt of losing the nomination. I hope you are not one of those.

Speaking of enjoying things, if Trump gets elected, enjoy watching your union get destroyed, vouchers being implemented, and your rights stripped away, while a slew of tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations get rubber stamped.

That's not fear-mongering. That is reality.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Treating Trump like a Bogeyman is something that's very easy to do, and we're being encouraged by our betters to do so, but you're the one making the credulous statements about Hillary "turning Left" - a transparent misdirection/delusion if there ever was one, as it goes against the grain of her entire career - and making the false inference that, since I'm critical of Hillary, I'm automatically voting directly or indirectly for Donnie... Still more misdirection...

Mr. Talk said...

I made no inferences about you one way or the other. I have no idea whom you intend to vote for. That is for you and your conscience to decide.

Today, Clinton came out stating that she would introduce a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United within her first 30 days as president. Lest anyone accuse her of pandering, she did this well after getting Bernie's endorsement. She also said more than a year ago (before Bernie's rise) that she would make overturning Citizens United a litmus test for Supreme Court nominees.

So she wants to overturn CU, gut education reform, support equal pay and LGBT rights, make preschool available to all, expand healthcare, reduce student loans, make public colleges free for the vast majority of people, reform immigration, guarantee paid family and medical leave, and increase the minimum wage to a living wage. Which of these is not a position of the left?

Also, Clinton has more to gain by tacking right than left. America is basically a center-right country. If she's just pandering, she's doing it wrong.

For the record, I did not make Trump a bogeyman. He did that himself, with his racism, misogyny, and policies.