DSM: patience & the campaign


Robert Swanson (robertswanson@icehouse.net)
Tue, 14 Nov 2000 16:58:59 -0800


But we're reminded of the late Rep. Bella Abzug, who once noted that,
in order for women to get the vote, it took 56 state referenda, 480
legislative campaigns, 47 constitutional convention campaigns, 19
attempts to get a plank in party platforms, and 19 attempts in 19
successive Congresses before an amendment passed -- which then
required a ratification campaign and approval by 2/3rds of the states.

At what point should they have given up?

[And what of children's rights to develop the capacities of being human
unhindered by intellectualization or deliberate lack of choice? We are
coming in through the back door. This will work if we just keep moving.
robert END]

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From: "Center for Education Reform Newswire" <EdReform-owner@listbot.com>
Date: 14 Nov 2000 20:26:04 -0000
To: List Member <robertswanson@icehouse.net>
Subject: Special Election Update

Center for Education Reform Newswire - http://www.edreform.com

The latest news in education from The Center for Education Reform,
http://www.edreform.com.

SPECIAL ELECTION UPDATE
No. 3
November 14, 2000
 ____________________________________________________________________

More Election Reflections:

* UNIONS: The union factors heavily in the election of Hillary Rodham
Clinton to U.S. Senate. United Federation of Teachers president Randi
Weingarten boasted of her union's involvement in this all eyes-one
race last week, noting, "The union was very engaged in this race –
more than most." The UFT made 120,000 pro-Clinton phone calls to
members, sent out 300,000 pieces of literature and dispatched 3,000
volunteers on election night.

The UFT is the largest AFT affiliate, and is where both the late AFT
president Al Shanker and current AFT president Sandy Feldman cut their
teeth.

* TESTING: Speaking of unions: the Massachusetts Teachers Union is on
an all out assault against the state's accountability package, using
$600,000 in dues money to fund a TV campaign against the state's
testing program, MCAS. Governor Paul Celucci derided the union for
"giving up" on the state's children. State Board of Education
Chairman James Peyser blasted the ads, noting, "If they (the teachers
union) were investing this $600,000 on developing effective remedial
programs for high school students or middle school students in math,
they'd be making a much greater contribution to education."

Nevertheless, last week, the state's local school board members voted
to ask the state to suspend the requirement, despite a recently
released Mass Insight poll showing strong support for using MCAS as a
graduation requirement. The motion was not without significant
opposition, however. And the best argument to support the test came
from the nine-year-old daughter of Middleborough school board member
John McDonald, who was told a lot of people don't want the test and
responded "Why, didn't they study?"

* CHARTERS: The jury is still out on Washington state, where 400,000
absentee ballots on the state's charter school initiative have yet to
be counted. Our analysis of the vote so far shows much greater
support in the more densely populated areas of the state; less support
in the rural areas.

In other cities and other states, public sentiment on charters is very
clear. A new poll in Vista, California, found 79% of voters surveyed
supported using charter schools to solve the district's severe
overcrowding problem.

The "Five Year Charter School Study" by the Center for Market Based
Education of the Goldwater Institute looks at "mature" charter schools
– those up and running for 5 years. Examining eight areas (including
curriculum, student achievement and finance/reporting), the study
finds that Arizona's mature charters offer parents choices, innovation
and the ability to quickly respond to student needs – yet another
repudiation of the recent NSBA report vilifying charter schools. The
Goldwater Institute report can be found at http://www.cmbe.org. CER's
analysis of more than 50 charter studies (the vast majority of which
show the positive results of charters) can be found at
http://www.edreform.com/pubs/charters.htm

* THE LONG HAUL: Some editorial writers are declaring the movement for
school choice dead based on two ballot defeats in Michigan and
California. As reported last week, those efforts failed to win even
close to a majority, but as Bill Ballenger, of Inside Michigan
Politics newsletter noted, "Every time there's a ballot proposal and
there’s a lot of confusion, people are going to vote no." Which is
why, in the end, education reform will best be advanced in legislative
battles.

The results from the elections – on choice and charters – have
emboldened advocates of the status quo to say "Give up." We hear that
at a National Press Club speech, NEA president Bob Chase muttered that
he wished the reformers would "just go away."

But we're reminded of the late Rep. Bella Abzug, who once noted that,
in order for women to get the vote, it took 56 state referenda, 480
legislative campaigns, 47 constitutional convention campaigns, 19
attempts to get a plank in party platforms, and 19 attempts in 19
successive Congresses before an amendment passed -- which then
required a ratification campaign and approval by 2/3rds of the states.

At what point should they have given up?
  
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