I didn’t make it down to north Michigan Avenue for the second day of the Network for Public Education’s 2015 conference.
I missed Diane Ravitch’s conversation with NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT President Randi Weingarten.
I’m waiting for them to post the entire session.
NPE has already posted a few of the big-room presentations. They say that 18 panel presentations were live-streamed.
The panel I was on with our new alderman-elect Carlos Rosa, Bronzeville community organizer Jay Travis and Milwaukee board of education member Larry Miller and moderated by my brother Michael Klonsky was not one of the chosen to be live-streamed.
Too bad. It was really good.
The tweets coming from Lily and Randi’s talk focused on two pieces of news.
Both of the union leaders said that our teacher unions would no longer take Gates money.
Their answers to questions about testing and opting out were muddled at best.
Randi said, “Every parent should have the right to opt out or not to opt out.”
Someone needs to explain to me what the “right not to opt out” means.
Lily’s response was also confusing.
“The opt out movement will not end toxic testing. The solution is changing the world.”
But this week there is a bill in the Illinois legislature that spells out exactly what parental rights are. Parents who support neighborhood public schools, who support public school teachers, support this opt out bill.
Is Lily telling these parents that the movement they are building is a waste of time?
Change the world instead?
The NEA’s Illinois affiliate will not support this bill.
But I’m pretty sure their reason is not that we need to change the world instead.
Lily is wrong, by the way.
Grassroots movements like the opt out movement do change things.
Sometimes they even help change the world.