RNC Convention Day 1 - Ugly

Tuesday, August 29 was the first day of the RNC convention. As part of their proceedings, they released their education platform, which takes a sideswipe at educators

Parents are responsible for the education of their children. We do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level. Maintaining American preeminence requires a world-class system of education, with high standards, in which all students can reach their potential. Today’s education reform movement calls for accountability at every stage of schooling. It affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations. It recognizes the wisdom of State and local control of our schools, and it wisely sees consumer rights in education – choice – as the most important driving force for renewing our schools.

Education is much more than schooling. It is the whole range of activities by which families and communities transmit to a younger generation, not just knowledge and skills, but ethical and behavioral norms and traditions. It is the handing over of a personal and cultural identity. That is why education choice has expanded so vigorously. It is also why American education has, for the last several decades, been the focus of constant controversy, as centralizing forces outside the family and community have sought to remake education in order to remake America. They have not succeeded, but they have done immense damage.

Privatization and "choice" also take prominent position in the platform, as Ed Week notes

•Doesn't see more money as the solution for improving education. That tracks with the budget proposed by the presumptive veep nominee, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, which calls for big cuts in domestic discretionary spending, the category that includes education.

•Pushes what does works in the GOP view instead of more funding: accountability on the part of administrators, parents and teachers; higher academic standards; programs that support the development of character and financial literacy; and periodic testing in math, science, reading, history, and geography.

•Calls for rigorous academic standards, but doesn't actually mention the words "Common Core State Standards Initiative." Instead, it "affirms higher expectations for all students and rejects the crippling bigotry of low expectations."

The biggest news from day 1 of the RNC Convention had little to do with education at all. According to widespread media reports, an attendee at the Republican National Convention threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals”.

This shocking and ugly event followed on from an earlier event that was similarly ugly

Zoraida Fonalledas, the chairwoman of the Committee on Permanent Organization—took her turn at the main-stage lectern. As she began speaking in her accented English, some in the crowd started shouting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”
RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism

The video of the event is here.

Later in the evening Ann Romney spoke, and so did Governor Christie - both appearing to speak at cross purposes.

Ann Romney at the Republican National Convention tonight:

Tonight I want to talk to you about love. I want to talk to you about the deep and abiding love I have for a man I met at a dance many years ago. And the profound love I have, and I know we share, for this country. I want to talk to you about that love so deep only a mother can fathom it — the love we have for our children and our children's children.

Chris Christie, 20 minutes later:

But I have learned over time that it applies just as much to leadership. In fact, I think that advice applies to America today more than ever. I believe we have become paralyzed by our desire to be loved.

While Ohio Governor John Kasich didn't speak of love, he did espousethe economic recovery in Ohio. He failed to mention however, the repeal of SB5 and his own budget that has caused a school funding crisis and local tax hikes.

So that was an eventful day 1. Probably a day the GOP would like to have back.

Waiting for a Governor who gets it

Tonight's a big night for the Governor. He's having a movie night with Michele Rhee, the controversial former chancellor of D.C. schools and Margaret Spellings, the Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush for yet another showing of “Waiting for Superman”.

You would think this corporate reformers night out would be about education policy, but it's not as the Dispatch reports

John Kasich's next Waiting for "Superman" showing could have a campaign feel to it.

Kasich invited his supporters through a campaign email to host viewing parties Thursday at the time of his showing of the pro-school-choice documentary in Cleveland.

"Last year, many of you hosted house parties during the campaign and invited your friends and family to attend," the email reads. "We encourage you to consider hosting a party for this exciting event."

You do get the sense that politics always comes before education with this gang.

They are even recruiting state employees to act as movie night ushers, but as OEA reports, teachers not invited.

The Kasich plan is to hold the live event in Cleveland, plus regional screenings and events in six other Ohio cities, webcasting the panel discussion to those locations and on the internet. They’ve done this before, and they will take questions via Facebook and Twitter. Needless to say, the Ohio Education Association was not asked to join the webcast panel of speakers, but we would like our members and supporters to ask questions and make comments.

When these three – Spellings, Rhee and Kasich – get together, you can expect lots of cheerleading for charter schools, private school vouchers, performance pay based on test scores and strict limits on the unions that represent public school employees.

Since you're not invited, please take a few moments to instead ask the Governor questions on his Facebook or Twitter Pages.

We also urge you to use the Educator Connector (dial toll-free 1-888-907-7309) to contact Ohio state senators and ask them to:

  • Dump the anti-union provisions they copied from Senate Bill 5 out of the Ohio budget bill (HB 153)
  • Start figuring out how to restore the $3.1 billion in resources lost to Ohio school districts due to this budget.

Don't be silent!