Education Reformers Take Status Quo to Task

Dear Self-Anointed Defenders of Public Education,

Pack your bags. I finally found it – the right-wing corporate takeover of public education.

It was in that bastion of conservatism, the San Francisco Bay Area. The place was crawling with right-wing nut jobs and, as usual, they were masquerading as liberals on a Blended Learning Tour put together by none other than those crazy corporate pseudo-republicans know as Democrats for Education Reform.

Yes, I know that Barack Obama won the Bay Area with 74% of the vote last month. But think about how crazed those 26% of Republicans must be to keep living there. Surely they were there for just one reason: to lure unsuspecting liberals into a social justice trap.

The first sign was seeing “Democrats” meeting with representatives from the education divisions of Apple and Google. Sure, 97% of Google employees’ presidential donations this election cycle went to Barack Obama. But at Apple that figure was just 91% – imagine how much dismantling of public education is being plotted by the other 9%!

I tried to stop being so darn suspicious, but then they just threw it in my face – a visit to one of those public charter schools that gets “results.”

This school had all the elements of a corporate takeover cell. Incessant blathering about “professional development” tipped me off that they missed the memo that all adults perform identically in professional settings. Plus all that talk about making sure every kid could learn sounded like something only a Bush would say.

Those learning-mongers did their best to disguise this clandestine Republican nerve center. All those banners from traditionally liberal colleges were a nice touch, but I was not fooled.

Just when I thought it could not get any more obvious, I met some of the teachers. Their disguises were too good – many were young, well-educated, unmarried, women. Classic demographic cover for a corporate takeover spy.

One of these education Manchurian Candidates betrayed her true intentions by mentioning the one percent. (She wanted us to think she was tutoring a young girl who was having trouble with math, but I saw right through her.)

Thankfully, you heirs to McCarthyism are sure to be on the lookout for these treacherous plotters.

I don’t have the exact address, but I will try to describe it:

To find the corporate takeover spies, look for the people interested in social justice passing up careers in the, um, corporate sector. (We all know the best training for a true corporate takeover is Teach For America.)

Then take a left. You will see a crowd of them working hard and, if you look closely, you will see they overwhelmingly believe in marriage equality, women’s rights, the social safety net, and other traditional liberal issues. You’re close now.

Then just look around. You will know their hiding spot when you see it – it’s the one with the long waiting list.


Liam Kerr

Die-hard Democrats and Director of Democrats for Education Reform Massachusetts

Liam has advised nonprofits in Massachusetts, an NGO consultancy in the Czech Republic, a charter school incubator, and a charter school network. He has worked on statewide political campaigns in Massachusetts and Vermont. Prior to DFER, Liam worked for the management consultancy The Parthenon Group and the national venture philanthropy fund New Profit Inc. Read more about Liam here.

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