Teachers never were treated with much respect in the United States, but until recently they weren't demonized or singled out as responsible for the nation's problems and weaknesses. What has changed? That public education is now viewed as a major opportunity for profitable investment if it can be privatized or reorganized to allow for continuous testing and assessment. When the housing market tanked, Wall Street and Silicon Valley started looking at Education as a new frontier for creative entrepreneurship, but to take advantage of it, teachers unions had to be neutralized or destroyed, teachers voices had to be silenced, parents had to be seduced by the prospect of enormous new opportunities for their children through advanced technology and civil rights groups had to be convinced that these reforms were a step toward greater Equity.
The program they unleashed on the public almost worked. Leaders of both political parties were persuaded to back it, and commercial media gave it their complete support. But they underestimated two things. First, that many of the nation's teachers were talented, committed professionals who were not going to give up their jobs and dignity without a fight; and second, that many parents liked their local public schools and resented having corporations and government unleash a coup d'etat that turned schools into Test Factories.
Resistance began building to the School Reform Juggernaut in the middle of Barack Obama's first term in office, but it really hit its stride in the last year when a cross section of the nation's politicians and business leaders tried to impose Common Core National Standards on the nation's schools without preparing the public for the deluge of testing this would bring in its wake. The result--a full scale Revolt of parents and teachers TOGETHER on a scale the nation had never seen.
Now, the Profiteers and Privatizers have no place to hide. The are going to have to defend their policies to an outraged public. And since none of their policies are evidence based, and many of them are manifestly corrupt, they are going to have a hard time doing so.
And even though the Reformers have leaders of both political parties in their pocket, they are now on the defensive all over the country.
Game on, Reformers. No where to run, no where to hide.