Wednesday, November 6, 2013
The BATS, Diane Ravitch, and the DeBlasio Victory
Bill DeBlasio, a candidate who decisively rejected most of Michael Bloomberg's Corporate Education Reform agenda, has just won election as Mayor of NYC with a 49 Percentage Point Margin, the largest any mayor has achieved since 1985. Although Education was not the only area where Mr DeBlasio sought to sharply distinguish himself from his predecessor, opposition to excessive testing and school closings , and support for pre- school and after school programs, were pivots of his winning formula and was one of the reasons that Diane Ravitch, and many NYC BATS, mobilized so aggressively behind his campaign.
I still remember that night in July when my wife Liz and I attended a fundraiser for Bill DeBlasio sponsored by Diane Ravitch at the home of her son Michael, a parent in my wife Liz's schools, and a former leader of the gay right group Act- Up. At that time, Mr. DeBlasio was still an underdog in the Democratic Primary, and Liz and I attended more because we mistrusted the other candidates education platforms and because we respected Diane, than because we thought DeBlasio could win
Well two things happened that even which proved to be prophetic:
First DeBlasio gave an amazing speech that evening, not only presenting his positions on housing, health care, education and law enforcement with great eloquence, but convincing everyone there that he had put together a coalition that had a real chance of winning.
And second, Diane Ravitch, pulled me aside, told me she loved the BATS, and told me she hoped we would become the "ACT-UP" of the movement against Corporate Education Reform, using confrontation, humor and innovative tactics to take it to the Deformers aggressively than more conventional groups could
Well, it's four month later guess what. Bill DeBlasio is Mayor of new York City and our very own New Jersey BAT ,Meliissa Tominson (aka Love Light) confronted Chris Christie on the campaign trail in a manner that did not derail his gubernatorial campaign, but will haunt him in the future when he tries to run for President, while giving teachers all over the country a sense of their own power.
For the last ten years, or more, teachers in the US have been a sleeping giant.
Now they are awakening, and the rise of this group has been an integral part of that awakening
Congratulations Mayor DeBlasio. Go BATS!!