Diane Ravitch blogged yesterday about some reasons to be hopeful for the future of public education, public schools and teaching.
You can read that post here.
I'd like to focus on those positives Ms. Ravitch wrote about as I enjoy my time off this summer.
I'd also like to remember that Bloomberg and his threats of layoffs, school closures and privatization can be beaten back, especially now that people are mobilizing in force - from to parents to students to teachers to the politicians who do not support the corporate privatization agenda.
Going forward, next year will be the last year Bloomberg gets to pull his layoff threat/budget crisis out of a hat before there is a new election for mayor.
You can bet the fight against seniority rights and work protections for teachers has not gone away even though Bloomberg lost the battle this year.
If anything, that fight will get tougher next year since Bloomberg and the corporate ed establishment know it's their last chance to smash seniority before the 2013 election season starts in earnest.
In addition, there will be many more fights over standardized testing, NCLB reauthorization, teacher evaluations, budget cuts, replacing teachers with online computer programs that line the pockets of the corporate deformers (including Joel Klein), outside consultants, merit pay, charter school co-locations, and all the other market-based outrages the corporate education reform movement has brought to public education in order to destroy it (and profit from that very destruction.)
The Jonathan Alters will be out in full force defaming anybody who fights the corporate deform movement.
The Michelle Rhees and the Joe Kleins will continue to enrich themselves even as they shirk responsibility and accountability for their records as "reform" chancellors.
The corporate media will continue to give them a platform to spew their lies and half-truths.
President Obama and Secretary of Education Privatization Arne Duncan will continue their anti-teacher/anti-traditional public schools agenda.
But as Diane Ravitch noted in her post yesterday:
Growing evidence and growing resistance by teachers and parents, by administrators and school boards, will eventually make it possible to break through the media shield that protects corporate reform. In time, the general public will understand the full dimensions of this corporate effort to reduce public space and to hand more of the nation's children over to the private sector. When the curtains are pulled away, we will learn that many idealistic and well-meaning people were cynically used by people with an ideological axe to grind, with a will to power, or with dreams of financial gain.
There is a lot of work ahead for those of us who oppose the corporatization of public education.
But there is hope too that we can and will resist the corporatization and that resistance can stop some of the worst excesses of the corporate reform movement.
Dare I say, there is even some hope that we can bring back some humanity to school systems over run by testing and data.
Here at Perdido Street school we are closing up shop for the summer, taking the papers and decorations down from the wall, putting the chairs up on the tables and putting things away for a few months.
There is a lot going on in life that I need to attend to and so I want to sign off for the summer and wish everybody a happy, restful, enjoyable, healthy summer.
But first, a few words.
Go for a jog.
Have a picnic in the park.
Take a vacation to somewhere you have never been.
Spend a few hours a day every day hanging out with your children and really be present for them (no blackberry or iPad!)
Listen to music every day.
Better yet, see live music as much as you can.
Enjoy something fresh and good from your favorite bakery.
Eat something fresh and good from the farmer's market every day.
Eat a peach.
Listen to Eat a Peach.
Make something with your hands.
Have dinner with family and friends.
Go out for ice cream.
Learn something you have always wanted to learn but thought you never had the time for.
Live the life the universe would have you live, not the life the corporate overlords want to impose upon you.
As Anna Quindlen once wrote, "Nobody ever said on their death beds, 'I wish I had spent more time at the office.'"
Life is for living, for being with others, for growing emotionally and spiritually, for being present for yourself and for your loved ones.
With that, I will leave you with one last song for summer.
It's one of my favorites.
Have a great summer everybody!