Know your enemies department... Resistance has grown enormously since the Septembers of 'Waiting for Superman' and 'Won't Back Down.' But the attacks on public education continue behind a phalanx of plutocratic billions of dollars and sanctimonious astroturf groups and some Hollywood propaganda

As the 2014 - 2015 school year begins, the spread of the Resistance to the reign of corporate school reform (of which high-stakes corporate testings and single-measure "metrics" of schools' and children's success reign) has spread across the USA, just as it is continuing to build in other nations where the neoliberal agenda has been the policy template for the ruling elites. But still there are some teachers, parents and students who are impatient, and rightly so. Every time a school district begins with absurd "metrics" such as those approved in the Chicago Board of Education's so-called "Performance Policy" (at the Board's August 27, 2014 meeting), there is room for sorrow. The melodramatic poster advertising the onset of "Waiting for Superman" in 2010 depicted a young child amid the supposed wreckage of public education. Ironically for the billionaire funded groups and Hollywood touted "reformers" who were pushing the fictional version of American educational reality in "Waiting for Superman," by September 2010, the tide had begun turning against corporate "school reform." The election of the CORE team to head the Chicago Teachers Union had just happened in June 2010 and the reorganization of the third largest K-12 teacher union in the USA was still a work in progress as the ruling class launched the charter school propaganda film against the nation's real public schools. But within a couple of years, the versions of reality promoted by Barack Obama, Arne Duncan, and the "one percent" were being challenged everywhere where reality -- as opposed to Hollywood scripts -- prevails.And then to stand up again, only stronger this year.

And so let's take a tour of the past six years, beginning roughly when Barack Obama was elected President of the United States and with the appointment of Arne Duncan and the Chicago Boys and Girls escalated the war on public education that had begun under that other neoliberal corporate hack, George W. Bush.

The big money that was organizing the "movements" against public education (and on behalf of charter schools) in 2010 is still there. A visit to the first hit at Google for "Waiting for Superman" offers two layers of corporate propaganda and dollars -- reaching into the billions. The first layer might be called the front line of corporate school reform propaganda. It consists of ten groups, mostly among the richest individuals in the USA (Gates, Broad, Walton) and astroturf groups that are funded by the top layers of the "one percent."

So a bit of a review of recent history is necessary to move forward into the 2014 - 2015 school year. In September 2010, the main propaganda for corporate "school reform" out of Hollywood was the movie "Waiting for Superman." "Waiting for Superman" trashed public schools and teacher unions and pushed charter schools as the salvation for poor urban children. Across the USA, including Chicago, corporate dollars filled buses with poor (usually African American) families to watch the movie, "free" of charge. A year later, the next Hollywood attack on public schools (and teacher unions) was launched by Viola Davis and others in the form of the movie "Won't Back Down," which promoted "parent trigger" laws. The Viola Davis movie crashed and burned more quickly than "Waiting for Superman," and apparently after 2011 Hollywood backed away from direct teacher basing and union busting propaganda until 2013 - 2014, when Rahm Emanuel became the superman of a Chicago version of the same stuff in a CNN fictional (promoted as "fact") called "Chicagoland."

But "Chicagoland" was even more widely jeered than "Won't Back Down," and in some ways the Rahm Emanuel propaganda machine hasn't recovered since. Every week, the mayor of Chicago (who has been dubbed "Emperor of Chicagoland" since the CNN hagiography) holds a desperate media event, always surrounded by black children, to try and sustain a media image that collapsed somewhere between his campaigns against the Chicago Teachers Union (the "Longer School Day" and his bellowing against the Chicago Teachers Strike of 2012) and his most corrupt attack on public schools themselves (the closing of 50 of the city's real public schools in May - June 2013 while continuing to open new charter schools across the city).

They call themselves the "Waiting for Superman Social Action Campaign." The first ten are:

The Waiting for “Superman” social action campaign is working with a coalition of foundations and nonprofits to propel the education movement forward. For years these organizations have been working tirelessly to ensure that every child in America receives a great education. These are the real super heroes.

The Broad Foundation believes adults have an obligation to help children—all children—learn and be prepared for life.

Members of the bi-partisan are leading the fight to improve educational opportunities for all children.

The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust seeks to help people get along better by fostering empathy, civility and positive school culture.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on improving education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The Get Schooled Initiative targets everyone from policy makers and corporate leaders to communities and kids.

The Fisher Fund seeks to promote innovation and leverage improvement in the U.S. public education system.

The Ford Foundation supports visionary leaders and organizations on the frontlines of social change worldwide.

Stand for Children's mission is to use the power of grassroots action to help all children get the excellent public education and strong support they need to thrive.

The United Way Campaign for the Common Good is recruiting people and organizations across the nation to improve the education, income and health of America's communities.

The Walton Family Foundation invests in empowering low-income parents to choose high-quality schools for their children.

Although the Top Ten teacher bashing union busting organizations against public education above are the best known and best funded, they are supported by a wide array of other groups, including some (like the Urban League) that provide traditional cover (such as at the Chicago Board of Education, where the Urban League's reactionary chief Andrea Zopp sits on the Board appointed by Rahm Emanuel) for the reactionary attack on public schools, teacher unions, and democracy.

"Other Organizations Making a Difference" according to the one percenters touting corporate reform:

Educators 4 Excellence


Big Brothers Big Sisters

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

California Community Foundation

Charter School Growth Fund

Citizen Schools

Colorado Children's Campaign


Education Equality Project


First Book

Greater Allen Cathedral of New York

Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation

National Fatherhood Initiative

New Leaders for New Schools

Open Society Institute

Professional Educators Network of Florida

Students for Education Reform

Success for Kids

The Business Roundtable

The Education Trust

100 Black Men of America

America's Promise Alliance

Black Alliance for Educational Options

California Charter School Association

Challenge Success

Children's Defense Fund

City Year

Communities in Schools

Education Reform


Great Schools



National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

National Urban League

Newschools Venture Fund

Parent Revolution

Reach Out and Read

Step Up Women's Network

Teach for America

The College Board

University of Pennsylvania/Africana Studies Department

While some of this group are not very well know, the one thing they have in common is that they are rarely mass based. They are what are called "Astroturf" groups -- phony grass roots.


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