Rep. Reuven Carlyle has come out on his blog with a post that firmly aligns him in the ed reform camp. This is his choice to make but it is not what I have heard from him in the past. He also says some very unfair things and uses straight-out-of-the-book ed reform jargon. (Seems he's starting getting the daily faxes from Stand on talking points.)
I predict this divide is going to really be sharply felt next legislative session. I think it is going to make for some really hard feelings (and hard choices) for many Democrats, both voters and elected officials. But frankly, so be it. I just wish that the ed reform side had the courage and courtesy to make some real acknowledgments about the other side - the "there are plenty of other things we can do" side.
But I just want to go through Carlyle's piece and point out a few things:
He completely echoes Nick Haneur on many points and I suspect these are the new talking points that are being passed around. The "old" Democrat guard is out of touch and hunkered down and has no vision. Sounds just aged and tired, no? But wait, here is the fresh-faced "new" Dems with all the answers (although they like to demure on those answers.)
Today, I must acknowledge that I fear that when it comes to the issue of
public education the Democratic Party has lost our ability to hear the
silence as well as the noise. We have lost our intellectual interest in
challenging the institutional grip of the status quo relative to
experimenting with new ideas, new approaches, new policies, new
For the last time - there is NO one that wants the status quo. That is a ridiculous point to keep saying over and over but yes, valuable in making it look like the other side is just being stubborn.
Perhaps, instead, the yellow canaries in the coal mines of public
education are calling out for help to modernize and update our 200-year
old approach to education?
Sorry Reuven, that's another piece of nonsense. We no longer have the one-room schoolhouse. There is nothing remotely like what we were doing 200 years ago but again, keep up that "old and tired" theme.
Even the old idea that a high school degree is somehow a tool of
educational empowerment is stale and disconnected from today’s reality.
Some sort of post secondary education is essential to economic
survival, and yet we see young people saddled with unimaginable debt and
few options for careers.
A high school degree, especially with new CTE offerings, does not have to be stale and disconnected, not if we don't want it to be. And, few options for careers? I have no idea what he is talking about.
One of his main premises is that Washington State is standing idly by, doing nothing. That is not true but he wants everyone to think so. Does he think so little of the work by other legislators who wrote and passed the Innovation Schools laws? The Lighthouse School law? The Creative Approach initiative in SPS? The teachers' contract in SPS?
We lose credibility when we pretend that an Educational Industrial
Complex does not exist that often prioritizes adult financial interests
over childens’ educational interests.
Yes, it DOES exist and if you need it all laid out for you, just give me a call. Do NOT pretend like there aren't armies of people trying to co-opt education for their own purposes (some for good reasons but many who are out to make a buck and gain power over how our children are taught and by whom).
Seattle’s inability to attract and retain great leaders is not an
accident, it is a reflection of our unwillingness to own the hard work
together of improving our schools and openly dealing with seemingly
intractable academic challenges.
BS. In Seattle, our problem is the inability for us to have a well-managed and well-run district. We don't have a whole lot of time that gets devoted to thoughts on how to have better academics.
Then he rails over how people don't want TFA and how people get angrier over that than the graduation rate? Maybe that should tell how badly TFA comes off to people. Saying it over and over or louder is not going to make them look better. As for the graduation rate, look to Everett and Tukwila, Representative, they're getting it done. But see, if you say that out loud it undercuts the "we need ed reform", right?
He also gets upset over the lack of support for the charter bill. That really disappoints me because when he came out in a photo standing shoulder-to-shoulder with sponsor Eric Pettigrew, I called him. Reuven told me he did it as a friend and colleague and NOT because he supported them. I guess now he does.
When Washington State applied for a Race to the Top grant and came in 32
out of 36 states, there was deafening silence in our lack of
willingness to make it a teachable moment.
Or, it might mean that people don't care about money that comes with many strings and hoops to jump through. If he were keeping up, he'd know this is an issue for states that DID get the money.
The learning from thousands of hours of research, task forces, studies,
consultant hours, parental meetings, teacher discussions and more were
all lost to our fear of an open public discussion about why we scored
near the very bottom in the nation.
Bottom in what? Washington State is not at the bottom of anything except funding and RTTT money.
Talking about Stand:
The organization is politically aggressive in the context of education
reform and the establishment prefers to respond to their proposals with
what some might consider patronizing contempt rather than engagement on
I'm not patronizing them; I'm saying they are not grassroots and are going after legislators by giving or denying them money.
Stand for Children, a leading advocacy group for children founded with
the hands-on support of progressive icon and Children’s Defense Fund
Wright Edelman, endorses the top Republican in the state in an open
gubernatorial race and the only response is cryptic denial of it’s
importance? It is easy to rationalize, justify and excuse the decision
as somehow innocuous or irrational or politically driven, but Jay Inslee is unlikely to be the
next governor if he personally and the Democratic establishment
structurally does not hear the silence of this quiet move.
He says Marian Wright Edelman founded Stand and she didn't; her
son, Jonah did. Odd that Reuven leaves that out except that she's the
more famous one. Who is saying that it doesn't matter that Stand endorsed McKenna? It matters because Stand has money to throw at races and well, money matters. Next paragraph.
Leading Seattle entrepreneur Nick Hanauer has
argued that the Democratic Party has lost
its way on the issue of education. The response to his clarion
call to the Democratic Party is less about the moral outrage of an
undereducated society in a global economy–and the substance of the
issues themselves such as how to bring innovation to public education–
and more about an anti-education reform litmus test.
It's not a litmus test - it's a test of being a Democrat. If you want to leave your party or not support them over one single issue, that's your choice. Do not make it the litmus test for others.
The only path forward is a sense of conviction to work together:
Teacher’s unions and education reformers, Democrats and Republicans,
urban and rural, parents, teachers, students, business leaders and more.
More money for public education is vital and essential but it is not
the sole answer; the money must be wisely invested into meaningful
results. New money cannot be seen simply as a ‘backfill’ for previous
cuts, it must be seen by the public as an investment in something new
and energetic and invigorating in our schools that gets to the heart of
addressing a 73% on time graduation rate.
Great. Stop saying that people who disagree with you want the status quo. How about listening to their solutions? Or even admitting they have other solutions to offer?
But charting a course forward requires us to hear the silence of the
children as well as the noise of the grownups. It’s not anti-union to
question the inability of a principal to select a teacher for her
building. It’s not anti-education reform to ask that teacher
evaluations be conducted with dignity and fairness.
What does "silence of the children" mean? Baffling. And we are rapidly moving towards principal selection (and, in fact, principals have a great deal of power about who they hire for their buildings at least in SPS). And again, I don't know any one who says teachers should not be fairly assessed but the devil is in the details.
I do not understand his unhappiness with anyone who disagrees with him and yet he says, "let's all talk." You don't get people to listen by saying they aren't listening.