Why Are Billionaire-Funded Twitter Journalists Attacking Black and Latino Parents?

You’ve likely seen the powerful social media videos. A collective of pissed off parents from across the country demanding more for their students and communities.

Chanting “our children, our choice” the Powerful Parent Network raised money via GoFundMe to attend Elizabeth Warren’s “honoring the voices of Black women” event in Atlanta. What a thought, a cadre of Black and Latino parents demanding their voices be heard at an event aimed at honoring them. The novelty.

In response to Warren’s steaming pile of an education plan, the Powerful Parent Network had a message of their own: Create a new education plan that works for all of us, not just those who can afford to buy houses near schools where kids learn. (Or who can afford the tony private schools where Warren sent her kid. Something she’s been silent about, before then lying about, before then correcting the record on.)

And effective these parents were. Garnering national coverage and forcing Ayanna Pressley to mediate, the parents — along with civil rights champion and former superintendent Howard Fuller — met with Warren and her team after the event, exchanging perspectives in a collegial conversation, where she said, “If I don’t have the pieces right, I’m going to go back and read it. I’m going to make sure I got it right.”

Posted by Sunny Thomas on Thursday, 21 November 2019

Success, right? Black and Brown parents from some of the most historically segregated and under served districts and schools in the country made sure their voices were heard and asked the candidate they may end up voting for to take their perspectives into account in her education plan. That’s democracy in action, but not quite.

Because what would it mean to be a parent of color in America if the Fauxgressives of the Left and their thoughtless media hounds didn’t seize this occasion to question their intelligence and motives, accusing Black parents of being props for billionaires? This was exactly the line of thinking from The Intercept’s Ryan Grim, who’s shoddy internet sleuthing sought to undermine these parents because a similar group of parent activists accepted funds from The Walton Family Foundation. Thankfully, those who know better called out the racist BS:

Alas, this is what we’ve come to expect from the lazy keyboard crusaders and self-aggrandizing Twitteratzi whose aims are retweets and likes rather than truth and understanding. Where is Grim’s expose on the notorious discrimination and criminalization of Black and Brown students via K12 education? Where are the hot takes on the teachers’ union dollars poured into politics, from local school boards to presidential races?

And where oh where are the mea culpas from Grim and Co. declaring their own billionaire funders, Pierre Omidyar of eBay and Bloomberg?  Of course they aren’t actually against taking money from billionaires — just not the “right” ones who happen to write their paychecks.

The blatant anti-Black and parent of color bias from “woke” Twitter pundits such as Grim and Rachel Cohen is par for the course, cynically brokering Jim Crow Black Parents Don’t Know Better paradigms as progressive ideals while decrying those who point out this hypocrisy as “neo-liberal” or “far-right”.

The reality is that we parents of color, forced to navigate an education system which disdains and criminalizes our children for being themselves, have been failed for generations — and then told we are the problem. We aren’t taking it anymore and, yes, we’ll take money from wherever we can get it to do so, because we don’t have much to begin with. But that’s not the catchy clickbait your own billionaire funders want you publish, right Grim?


Former Education Reformer Schools Herself

Look, I know Diane Ravitch is no fan of school choice (anymore)—the educational cause that is my hill to die on. I suspect she disagrees with virtually every tweet I’ve put out, except maybe this one about excessive screen time in schools? 

But I was honestly concerned last week when she decided to respond to me about a report on elementary reading instruction:

First off, she rarely engages with me, so apparently she found this important enough to respond to. But, more worrisome, is she signaling that, when it comes to reading, she is not on the side of science?

While Ravitch may not be a fan of the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) or “right wingers” as she laughably refers to them and their supporters, they are hardly the only ones raising well substantiated red flags about how teachers are being trained to teach reading in America’s teacher preparation programs. 

Emily Hanford of APM Reports is hardly motivated by politics when she asserts that “for decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked.” She goes on to say that “as long as this disproven theory remains part of American education, many kids will likely struggle to learn how to read.” 

Even Diane’s BFFs at the American Federation of Teachers are calling for research aligned reading instruction based in science. Despite Ravitch’s metamorphic disdain for testing, she can’t possibly deny the fact that most students in America do not read on grade level and that there is a direct link between illiteracy and incarceration. And the latest “nation’s report card” shows those reading scores aren’t improving

Her outright dismissal of NCTQ’s report that evaluates reading instruction in teacher prep programs is a bit chilling—Ravitch wields great influence in the education space. The last thing students and parents need is for her to use her megaphone against scientifically supported methods of teaching reading.