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Just What Our Schools Need — A Second Appalling Manifesto

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Fresh on the heels of the appalling “manifesto” written by a group of superintendents and published in The Washington Post earlier this month (see The Best Posts About The Appalling Teacher-Bashing Column Superintendents Wrote In The Washington Post), former Washington, D.C. Chancellor Michelle Rhee and soon-to-be-former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty have written another one titled The Education Manifesto that has just been published by The Wall Street Journal.

Here’s an excerpt:

We believe that the people in D.C. who want change were, and still are, the majority. But they face special interests—unions, administrators and opportunistic politicians—who are vocal and committed. These organized interests have a significant advantage over the public officials who are willing to do what is unpopular but right for the students. We see this not only in the District, of course, but nationwide. We need reform groups of our own, as powerful as these others but representing only the interests of schoolchildren and ready to take political action.

This kind of self-righteous zeal — anyone who opposes them does not want “to do what is right for the students” — is not a good or effective way to make change. Neither is it a particularly good behavioral role model for our students. It’s a perfect example, on the other hand, of what I was talking about in my recent Huffington Post piece “Let’s Do Less ‘Fire, Ready, Aim’” and my future guest post in The Washington Post.

I suspect the level of discourse about the future of our schools here in Sacramento is not going to be elevated by Rhee’s upcoming move here…

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

2 Comments

  1. Excellent post Larry. – Dave Zirkle, Perth Amboy, NJ

  2. I think it’s possible to make valid “do what’s best for kids, not adults” arguments, but this latest manifest’s subtext is “if only you’d given us more unilateral power and appreciated what we did for you…”

    I would argue that we already have plenty of politically active, yet ignorant, people and groups attempting to improve education on behalf of kids. They are indeed very powerful – what they need is a clue about how improvement in education actually happens, not more clout.

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