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Blogger Sam Chaltain says that there used to be a monumental struggle between two extremes: on one side were the “New-Schoolers,” led by Michelle Rhee, who were champions of choice, TFA, charters, and so forth. On the other were the “Old-Schoolers,” led by me, representing “tenured elders, district loyalists, progressive die-hards, etc.”
Now, writes Sam, the battle is over, old hat, finished, and done, because he is part of a group that has envisioned a new paradigm for American education that is “that clearly places students at the center by making learning more personalized, relevant, and real-world-situated.”
To wit, check out the website of the Convergence Policy Center’s Education Reimagined project (full disclosure: I’m a contributor). For two years, Convergence has been gathering almost thirty of us – practitioners and policymakers, “Deformers” and “Status-Quo’ers,” Progressives and Conservatives, union leaders and union critics – to spend time together, for the purpose of seeing if they could ever get all of us to agree on anything.
And they did! They found a great Convergence!
The wars are over! Forget the Vergara trial to take away teachers’ due process rights. Forget Eli Broad’s move to take over half the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District and his plans to charterize the District of Columbia. Forget Scott Walker’s efforts to eliminate public education in Milwaukee, and eventually in other parts of Wisconsin. Forget the hedge funders who pour millions of dollars into state and local school board races and who buy politicians with strategic donations. Stop worrying so much about poverty and segregation.
All of those concerns are Old School.
Is Sam right? Are the wars over? Should we stop resisting and get out of the way of the Great Convergence?
If the battle is over, I am ready to quit; is Eli Broad? is Bill Gates? is Scott Walker? is John Kasich? is Rick Scott? is Bobby Jindal? will the hedge fund guys put away their checkbooks? If I stop, and they don’t, what will happen to the teaching profession? What will happen to public education?
What do you think? I am listening and reading.