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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:41 PM
Original message
Harold Ford DLC urges us not to try to water down Obama's education agenda.
In his op ed today in the WSJ Ford joins with Eli Broad of the Broad Foundation and Louis Gerstner, former chairman of IBM. The Broad Foundation has joined the Gates and Walton foundations in giving hundreds of millions to advance charter schools.

From Susan O'Hanian's education blog today, we get the letter and some behind the scenes stories on how we got to this point. She is correct in saying that the DLC has made charter schools its goal.

Race to the Top in Education

If you doubt that the Democratic Leadership Council had already destroyed every shred of integrity that once rested in the Democratic Party, then be sure to note what Harold Ford, Jr. is doing these days. And remember, no group was a stronger supporter of NCLB than the Democratic Leadership Council. Take a look at this page. Click on a few of the articles--if you have the stomach for it. And with Lou Gerstner joining the discussion, we come full circle from when he and Bill Clinton stumped for America 2000 for Pres. Bush the Elder. It contained many of the same elements as RTTT but lacked teeth. Pres. Clinton didn't get the national test he wanted but Obama is well on the way to achieving that goal. Without a whimper from our professional organizations. Members of the Executive Council of NCTE say they cooperated on the LEARN (sic) Act so as to keep a "seat at the table."

Now where have we heard this concern for sitting at a table laden with poison food before?

In the ugly piece below, this trio turn the three wise monkeys upside down, shouting pernicious and phony declarations about the beauty of competition. Look at the concern they express about the embarrassing achievement gaps between middle-class children and poor and minority children--at the same time failing to mention the devastating gap in money and the security of food, shelter, and family well-being that money brings, between middle-class children and poor and minority children. No mention of the gap between the $700,000+ average salary of a Goldman-Sachs worker and the 14 million US children living in families with income below the poverty level. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 41% of children live in low-income families.

The US has one of the highest poverty rates among industrialized nations, second only to Mexico.


O'Hanian mentions that she just read Saltman's book on Venture Capitalism and education.

I just read the manuscript of Ken Saltman's new book coming out early in 2010, The Gift of Education: Public Education and Venture Philanthropy, which shows how vulture venture philanthropy, pushing the neo-liberal/corporate agenda, sets current ed policy. There are chapters on Gates and Broad. And here's something you may not have thought about: Big venture philanthropies are operating largely with our money. They get enormous tax breaks and then march off with our money to destroy public education.


Yes, they are doing it all with our taxpayer money. And barely a squeak from taxpayers.

Here is the part of the WSJ piece today in which Ford urges us not try to water down the education policies being set forth now.

Now, however, President Barack Obama has launched "Race to the Top," a competition that is parceling out $4.35 billion in new education funding to states that are committed to real reform. This program offers us an opportunity to finally move the ball forward.

To that end Mr. Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan are pushing states toward meaningful change. Mr. Duncan has even stumped for reform alongside former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Yet the administration must continue to hang tough on two critical issues: performance standards and competition.

Already the administration is being pressured to dilute the program's requirement that states adopt performance pay for teachers and to weaken its support for charter schools. If the president does not remain firm on standards, the whole endeavor will be just another example of great rhetoric and poor reform. Competition among the states is also vital to reform. The administration is resisting the temptation to award funds to as many states as possible. And that's good. To be effective, Race to the Top funds cannot become a democratic handout. Competition brings out the best performance. That's true in athletics and in business, and it's true in education.

Race to the Top funds will not serve their purpose if they are awarded based on good intentions and promises. Instead, the administration is right to look at results. Has a state embraced rigorous standards? Has it welcomed charter schools? Has it turned around low-performing schools and held teachers accountable?


In case you haven't heard yet, the two main criteria for getting part of Arne's 4.3 billion are more testing, more testing, more testing databases tied to grading teachers on what students score...and allowing more charter schools. In other words, merit pay and charter schools.

Testing companies will get richer, Charter School Management Corporations will get richer...with our taxpayer money. That's a pretty good deal.

Traditional public schools are the only ones who don't benefit.

We already knew the policy shop of the Democratic party was for charter schools and merit pay. Al From wrote about it in 2000. He is getting his way now.

Al From called for charter schools in 2000.

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is now calling for reforms including school choice and merit pay for teachers.....America is a tale of two public school systems: one that works reasonably well, although it could certainly be better, and one that is by almost any standard a disaster," says From.

.."From argues that the public school system too often serves the interests of teachers and administrators at the expense of the students themselves. It is a "monopolistic" system that "offers a 'one-size-fits-hardly-anyone' model that strangles excellence and innovation" he says.

Characterizing charter schools as "oases of innovation," From writes, "The time has come to bring life to the rest of the desert-by introducing the same forces of choice and competition to every public school in America."

From also says Democrats should work to redefine the very notion of public education itself.


This administration with Arne Duncan at the head of the DOE is getting way too comfy and cozy with corporations that are not happy with public education.

AP says "ethic rules have been waived" to allow DOE folks to deal more easily with Gates Foundation

Education Secretary Arne Duncan welcomes the foundation's involvement.

"The more all of us are in the game of reform, the more all of us are pushing for dramatic improvement, the better," Duncan said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Duncan's inner circle includes two former Gates employees. His chief of staff is Margot Rogers, who was special assistant to Gates' education director. James Shelton, assistant deputy secretary, was a program director for Gates' education division. Rogers said she joined the administration because she was inspired by the its goals for helping kids graduate from high school and finish college.

The administration has waived ethics rules to allow Rogers and Shelton to deal more freely with the foundation, but Rogers said she talks infrequently with her former colleagues.


Here is the cached version of the full AP article.

We the taxpayers are funding the privatization of public education.

And scarcely a peep about it.
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LisaM Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
1. I almost got into an argument the other day at work
I was so angry I could barely speak and had to pull back.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Before I retired I was told not to criticize Jeb.
Edited on Wed Nov-25-09 02:19 PM by madfloridian
I had a discussion during lunch with other teachers in this very Republican area. They ran to tell the principal I was criticizing Jeb. The principal asked me not to do that, that it undermined morale.

:eyes:
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David Zephyr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
2. Get your "Harold Ford, Jr. Talking Doll" before the Holiday rush.
"Hi, I'm Harold Ford and I supported Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont in their state's general election."

"Hi, I'm Harold Ford and I tried to prevent Nancy Pelosi from becoming Speaker of the House because she's a San Francisco liberal."

"Hi, I'm Harold Ford and I supported the War in Iraq and defended George Bush every chance I could."

"Hi, I'm Harold Ford, and I'm single, but I always make sure people know that I like girls and football and am against gay rights."

"Hi, I'm Harold Ford, and I'll proudly lick the boots of Al From of the DLC in public if he asks."

"Hi, I'm Harold Ford and I am a Democrat who is for sale at the right price."
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. Did you see this article? That he might run against Kristin Gillibrand...
in the primary? Why in the world would he do that? He would be to her right, and that is not a good place from which to challenge her.

http://www.observer.com/2009/daily-transom/harold-ford-...

"With Kirsten Gillibrand struggling to connect with voters, and Rudy Giuliani inciting more confusion than excitement about his own candidacy, the rumor mill keeps churning out big-name potential challengers.

Today, Theodore Roosevelt IV is out, and Harold Ford, Jr. is--for the moment, at least--in."
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:39 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. "Why would he do that?" because it's Ford, Jr. and if Gillibrand
even smacks of being non-corporatist or even a little to the right of center, he's entitled to go after her in a primary. Please don't ever forget how Joe Scarbrough gushes over Harold when he's on his show and yaps about how Harold is his favorite democrat, and how they could work together, blah, blah, blah... :puke:

I realize that it's selfish of me, but I'm glad that he's another state's problem. Whew! But I will send a small donation to Gillibrand 'cause Harold will be raking in the corporate cash I would imagine.
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BolivarianHero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
33. Given the choice, I'd vote for Guiliani...
Harold Ford's loss to Bob Corker was a spectacular victory for the Democratic Party and the American people in that it hurt its corporate wing. The GOP is hopeless anyways, so we might as well back them over Democrats who will make the one party of hope turn sour.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #13
49. prediction: H.Ford would not make it on to the NYS Dem primary ballot
He has no grassroots here and in NYS the powers that be keep everyone out of politics.

Even John Kerry couldn't get on the statewide primary ballot in NYS (he did, actually, by stating he had enough signatures, although he did not in fact have enough. Howard Dean's grassroots were gonna kick him off the ballot, but by the time the Iowa scream occurred, there was no reason to do so).
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. While I'm amused by the statements that your pull-string
Ford, Jr. doll might say, I do believe that he's married now, unless they've parted ways. I think everything else is correct.

I know that it is selfish of me to say that I'm glad another state is having to deal with him.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 10:16 AM
Response to Reply #21
47. As a New Yorker
I would like to ask that the rest of you please keep your carpet baggers to yourselves.

I would much prefer a New Yorker represent New York.
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optimator Donating Member (606 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
3. I hate being correct
I predicted this was going to happen, and everyone will love it because of the (D)
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. Because of the (D) many will refuse to question as they should.
You are correct.
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RUMMYisFROSTED Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 01:59 PM
Response to Original message
5. Harold Ford Republican, Jr.
:think:
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Individualist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
6. Voted for Torture Ford can go to hell.
:puke:
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Guy Whitey Corngood Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 02:05 PM
Response to Original message
7. And be water down he means "dick over" moneyed interests? I mean being Harold Ford and all. nt
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Lerkfish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 02:36 PM
Response to Original message
8. charter schools are trojan horses for the rich
they impoverish public schools and funnel public funds to private schools
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Yes.
They are.

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FatDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. I think the DLC are republican ringers.
Seriously. Imagine you're a Karl Rove/Lee Atwater type. There is no trick too dirty. Wouldn't you think of sending in your own "democrats"? To me, it seems likelier that they'd try it than not.
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 04:32 PM
Response to Original message
12. I will fight this administration's education agenda with everything I have
Sad that I'm having to fight against so called "Democrats" on this issue.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:51 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. I wish more teachers still teaching realized what is going on.
Teachers are famous for not fighting the system, because they can get marked down so easily in evaluations.
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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #14
18. And easily fired. Tenure doesn't do much to prevent it. n/t
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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
15. Fuck Charter Schools, Fuck Harold Ford, and Fuck the DLC
Charter schools = taxpayer funded right wing indoctrination centers. :grr:
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. That is EXACTLY what is happening to post-Katrina New Orleans.
THE BANKS OWN THE FUCKING SCHOOLS NOW!!! and it's all about testing, and no more foreign language, music, or art classes. :grr:
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tnlefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Hey Swamp Rat!!
I'm terrible with names, but 3-4 yrs. ago I saw an interview on Free Speech TV with a woman who is an attorney in NOLA, who was fighting against the private take-over of the school system. I'm supposing that she was unsuccessful. x(
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #17
26. The charter school companies moved in after Katrina.
They wanted to make a bundle off the disaster.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
16. Hmm, when I first read the OP title, I saw "Waterboard Harold Ford and the DLC."
:shrug: :D

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Sebastian Doyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. We should be so lucky
:evilgrin:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. You wish.
;)
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alarimer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
23. Is this administration actually compsed of Democrats or DINOS?
I am not sure I can tell the difference anymore.

With all the talk of public school privatization and the Social Security/Medicare task force (which is aimed at bypassing Congress because touching those things means electoral death for them) I am feeling deja vu all over again from the Bush administration.

Maybe just a kinder, gentler screwing.
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. We still get screwed, they just say "sorry" now after they do it.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #27
30. Not always.
They don't often bother to say they are sorry.
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harun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #30
35. Harold Ford sure as hell never does.
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 10:39 AM
Response to Reply #23
50. Comprised of REPUBLICANS in DONKEY SUITS. The Administration AND Congress.
CHANGE!!! :silly:
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conscious evolution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 07:37 PM
Response to Original message
24. K&R
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-25-09 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
28. Is this the Op-Ed that Rahm has been passing around today?
I heard that Rahm has been handing out some article to lawmakers today.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #28
29. More likely this article...
From FDL:

Ron Brownstein is Completely Uninformed; Rahm Emanuel is a Fool for Thinking Otherwise

"Rahm Emanuel is making practically every staffer in the White House read Ronald Brownsteins completely uninformed article about the great free market economagic cost saving solutions in the Senate bill. This explains a lot about why the current health care reform proposals are so bad. This is probably the single worst piece of news I have heard during the entire health care debate. If someone as powerful as Rahm thinks there is any value in Brownsteins writing, reform is in very bad shape.

The problem is Brownstein just doesnt understand health care systems. Take for example this jewel:

And, with only a few exceptions, thats just about all the systemic reforms analysts from the center to the left have identified as the most promising strategies for changing the economic incentives in the medical system. (The public competitor to private insurance companies championed by the Left would affect who writes the checks in the medical system, but not what the checks are written to pay for.) Most of the other big ideas for controlling costs (such as medical malpractice reform) tend to draw support primarily among Republicans.

This one paragraph should show you how completely Brownstein lacks even the most basic knowledge about health care reform. The CBO concluded the Republicans big idea for controlling cost, extreme medical malpractice reform, would save/generate $54 billion for the Federal government. (I would challenge Brownstein to name another single Republican idea that would actually reduce cost, because they did not include any in their alternative bill two weeks ago, and I have heard of no others from them.) Lets compare this to the public option."

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BolivarianHero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 03:47 PM
Response to Original message
31. Almost makes me glad he lost to the racist guy...
Harold Ford is so worthless.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 03:49 PM
Response to Original message
32. And thus commences the latest 2-minute hate against charter schools.
:eyes:
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-26-09 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #32
34. Not the latest.
There's another.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #32
37. Here you go: Screw charter schools! They'll never work as well as public education and they're
Edited on Fri Nov-27-09 11:20 AM by w4rma
much more susceptible to corruption.
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mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #32
41. Well, the charter school here which is paid for by the public schools
can take a 19 year old non-graduate with 10 credits, and in 90 days, get them to 24 credits and graduated.

Magic! It's magic!

Or maybe it's just a dozen worksheets to fill out to "pass" an 18 week course which meets five times a week.

This flies under the guise of "dropout recovery." And the cost to local taxpayers? Why, merely double the average cost of the district.

And the same charter school is being investigated by the state because only 10% or so of their completers can pass the TAKS exit level tests, compared to 90% of district students.
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MattBaggins Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 10:24 AM
Response to Reply #41
48. Wow you actually get them to take the TAKS or other comparative exams?
That is amazing. Most of the so called "public" charter schools that Odin and others love so much; use their political influence to get themselves exempted from the very tests they use to justify stealing tax payer monies.
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mbperrin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. Nobody in Texas is exempt, and nearly 90% of all the charters
are failing.

But they keep getting funding.
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 11:18 AM
Response to Original message
36. Wtf? Obama IS trying to privatize the education system! Stay on top of Obama on this issue! (nt)
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #36
42. his biggest backers funded chicago's charter mandate.
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JVS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 11:23 AM
Response to Original message
38. To whom do I make out the check to stop whatever Harold Ford advocates?
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tonysam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. The problem, I believe, is there is NO real organized opposition to the movement
to privatize public education. The teachers' unions are totally in bed with the school district administrators.

Note how ineffective they have been to the heavy handed "reforms" of tyrants like Michelle Rhee in D.C. or Bloomberg/Klein in NYC. The unions in those two districts are among the "strongest" in the country, and if they are wimpy there, there isn't much hope any other unions in the country will stand up to these privatizers.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 12:46 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. Yes, the unions got in bed with Arne to get his money.
Power corrupts, but money corrupts faster and more easily.
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Generic Other Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
39. I have seen Gates money corrupt good people
and destroy every school they have tried to takeover.
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-27-09 08:02 PM
Response to Original message
44. Harold Ford can stick his suggestions in my compost pile.
All they do is make me angrier, and more determined to defeat RTTT, Duncan, and Obama's education agenda.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 01:09 AM
Response to Reply #44
45. I hear they have been getting real negative feedback...
on their demand for charter schools being the only way to "renovate' education.

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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-28-09 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #45
46. I certainly hope so.
How much negative feedback will it take to shift the focus to something that will really help?
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