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Parents vs. The Blob

by Jeanne Allen
Highland Community News
September 10, 2012

A parent revolution is underway, and most Americans don’t have a clue it’s happening. That’s because most of us – concerned as we are about the environment, jobs and our own family’s sustainability – think education is someone else’s responsibility. And the self-perceived “owners” of the traditional education system – The Blob – stand in the way of virtually all meaningful education reform and work hard to give you the sense that everything is under control.

But reality has a way of intruding. Parents are waking up to the disturbing reality that they have no influence over where and how their children are educated. With eyes increasingly opened, they seek out others who have similar epiphanies and band together to change things. And then, like something out of a bad movie (cue creepy music) The Blob kicks into gear. The moment these parents gain any traction for real change, they find information that confirms they are not alone and they are off. And then, they are immediately maligned by phony Blob front groups portraying themselves as parent-friendly.

Case in point: As I was sitting at home on a recent Friday night, bracing myself for the week ahead when I’d be dropping my two youngest at college, I decided to tweet my pleasure over Teachers Rock, a solid hour on prime time TV whose star studded cast paid tribute to rank and file teachers. Such teachers move mountains for children and defy the status quo, often at great personal cost. This is illustrated by the upcoming feature film Won’t Back Down, which chronicles the efforts of a parent and teacher to transform their failing school. As it was advertised during the show, parent groups began praising what they saw, only to be attacked, as

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"Save Our Schools"? More Like Save Our Status Quo

Last month’s march on Washington D.C. by the group erroneously titled “Save our Schools” is something out of a bad back-to-the-future movie. Ignoring all the evidence and progress made by upsetting the status quo, the usual suspects – teacher unions and their allies – are gathering with the goal of putting “public school stakeholders back at the center of all education policy conversations, and to refocus national, state, and local efforts on providing the resources and support schools need in order to provide a high-quality education for each and every student.” Really? Because we’ve actually put parents and rank-and-file teachers back at the center of the discussion, a place the status quo has never tolerated for them. Reform to this group of alleged public school advocates means only more money, no high-stakes tests, and no accountability.

Save the Status Quo, March Against Freedom

By now, you’ve likely heard that the anti-reform establishment will be marching the streets of D.C. this weekend in an effort to “Save Our Schools.” The participating groups want to restore parent and student influence in education.

There’s only one problem with that – they don’t.

The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers – two unions that have done everything in their power from distorting the truth and lying to intimidation and lawsuits to stop any reform that takes their control and gives it to parents – are driving this rally.

These groups fight charter school openings across the country. For example they are currently stumping against a Mandarin immersion charter in Milburn, New Jersey.

They’ve sued multiple times to stop or delay school choice bills from taking effect. The teachers association now has a lawsuit in Indiana to stop low-income students in failing schools from using a voucher to attend a different school of their parent’s choice.

They are even fighting the “Parent Trigger” law that was passed in California and allows parents to initiate changes to a school, like converting it to a charter, if a majority of parents agree and sign a petition.

It’s the same coalition of the past 35 years that just wants the status quo. Reform to them is about money, control and no high-stakes tests or accountability.

In each case above, and the dozens of ones not mentioned, these groups are eliminating the influence parents and students have, not moving it forward.

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