Opposition To Education Reform

In a New Republic article about education reform, which discusses how Democratic primary candidate Cynthia Nixon is using opposition to education reform as a successful issue against New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, the opposition to education reform among Democrats is described as a shift to the left (of course, education is called “centrist”–how Sensible!).

Sure, many of the left don’t like education reform, though a few years ago, many on the left didn’t give a shit about this issue (but I did!). But what did in education reform wasn’t “the left”, it was upper-middle class and gentry class people who had education reform inflicted on their children. It was fine for ‘urban’ kids to spend their time in test prep, to have the non-tested subjects downgraded, or even removed.

But Cuomo made a huge mistake when he expanded these policies to the suburbs, especially Long Island, which was where some of the most effective anti-education reform organizations arose. If we define liberal as ‘white person who isn’t a fundamentalist’, then I suppose Long Island is ‘liberal’, but the real opposition were parents, who sent their kids to successful schools where most graduates went to college, many of them selective institutions, and were having educational changes crammed down their throats. Importantly, they thought these changes would hurt their kids’ chances to get into the college they wanted to attend.

In America, it’s always easy to degrade stuff lower-middle class and poor people use, but it’s a political live wire changing things upper-middle and gentry class people use, especially for New Democrats like Cuomo who see upper-middle and gentry class people as their base. As much as I would like to chalk this one up to the left, and it did play a role, it was the hubris of education reformers who thought they could inflict education reform on those with the political power to resist.

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