Folks have been fawning over Randi Weingarten’s seeming embrace of education reform since her National Press Club speech in November, and Dana Goldstein has a must-read profile of the AFT/UFT president in the latest American Prospect.
Weingarten’s media makeover has served her well, leading many to do as Goldstein has and give her credit for talking the talk.
But that’s not the whole story.
For reformers, the real definition of reform – which we helped give life to in 1993 – is much more cut and dry than what is expounded here. Quite simply:
– The status quo embraces the existing system, and while members of the status quo will often advocate for policy or program changes, none of what they endorse will fundamentally change the balance of power between producer and consumer.
– Conversely, real reformers seek to fundamentally replace what is known as the school system with a system of schools that is accountable to those in power at each school, as well as to the parents, in whose hands the ultimate fate of their children depends.
By this definition, Randi Weingarten doesn’t even approach the notion of a reformer. On the continuum between status quo and reform, she has barely passed go.