Change.org Drops Stand for Children & StudentsFirst
Score one for grassroots activists and public education. Change.org, the site for progressive petition-based activism, has decided to drop two pro-corporate education clients, Stand for Children and StudentsFirst. The site will no longer take money from the groups to promote their online petitions.
A while back, we posted an open letter from former members of Stand for Children's Massachusetts chapter who accused the organization of abandoning their community activism roots in favor of pushing an agenda backed by new corporate donors. StudentsFirst has also been accused of promoting corporate interests after supporting ALEC-modeled legislation in several states. Both groups see teachers unions as obstacles to education reform and have pushed to institute test score-based merit pay for teachers.
Never mind the fact that studies haven't found a connection between merit pay and teacher performance and never mind that test scores are a highly inaccurate measure of teaching ability, these two groups are contributing to a culture that demeans and attacks teachers as the primary source of our nation's education-related woes. The more time we spend attacking teachers and the unions that represent them the less time we spend talking about how we can ensure every child has access to a fair and substantive opportunity to learn.
Kids need good teachers. They also need high-quality early childhood education, a college preparatory curriculum and equitable funding for their schools. Any discussion regarding teachers should be about how to recruit and retain well-prepared and highly-effective teachers and particularly how we get those teachers in front of our neediest students. A good first step in that direction is to stop attacking teachers and to call out the organizations that do just that.