Thursday, November 6, 2014

Why Some of Us Need to Be "Crazy" In Fighting for Public Education

As I spend another sleepless night contemplating the results of the recent election, where with rare exceptions enemies of teachers and public education in both parties were swept into office all over the nation, I think of what Diane Ravitch told me at a party last July when BATS was just beginning its meteoric growth. " Mark, I think BATS should be the "Act Up" of the Education Activist movement.( referring to a super militant wing of the Gay Rights movement). And that means, Mark you have to be crazy." " I can do that", I told Diane with a smile, as my wife Liz grimaced in dismay!
More than a year has passed since that conversation and a lot has changed. The group has nearly 53,000 members and a large number of talented leaders, some of whom are now far more important in steering the group's direction than I am
But one thing has not changed. The enemies of public education are still arrogant, ruthless, and cannot be stopped by conventional tactics alone. And if someone has to be crazy enough to confront them call them what they are, get in their face and disrupt their activities without fear,or hesitation, it might as well be me.
So don't worry Diane. I am still on the case. Still crazy. Maybe crazier than ever. And not alone.


Anonymous said...

You are for sure not alone!

Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene said...

"[C]onventional tactics alone"—amen to that. Too many put too much credence in electoral politics. While somewhat important, those politics are part of a system that has built in limits as to how much can be done in opposition to those ruling society. Struggle, on the other hand, creates opportunities that the existing structures were designed to prevent. I applaud your looking for tactics outside the very narrow, and ineffectual confines of those we are told constitute a means for change.

Genevieve said...

As a parent and former teacher, I am ready to fight for public education. The teachers that I know are demoralized by "reform" policies that are driving away our best and brightest, and I am convinced that the quality of instruction is suffering. But the more I learn about the enormous machine behind the trends, the more I don't know what difference I can make. Parents don't know just how bad things are, and teachers seem to feel powerless. There is a sense of inevitability behind the data-driven accountability measures, as if we're talking about forces of nature, rather than policies that can be reversed. I've been looking on the internet for local groups to join (I live in Prince George's County Maryland), and I can't find anything. How do I fight the good fight?

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