The recent elections contained powerful messages to supporters of public schools and real education:
Do not give up hope.
When the public is informed, it supports its public schools.
It does not want to outsource its public schools to entrepreneurs.
Money cannot buy the voters when they are informed about what is at stake.
Parents and teachers can win any election, no matter how much money is thrown into it by the privatizers if the public is informed.
*Tony Bennett, the superstar of the corporate privatization movement, was beaten even though he outspent Glenda Ritz by 10-1.
Glenda Ritz got more votes than the Republican who won the governorship in Indiana.
*The punitive Luna Laws in Idaho, the reddest of red states, were repealed overwhelmingly. They were anti-teacher, anti-union, anti-child, pro-testing, pro-merit pay, and pro-privatization.
And they lost.
*The emergency manager law in Michigan was defeated.
*California voters passed a proposition to raise taxes to support education, while defeating a proposition to curb the political influence of unions.
*Voters in Bridgeport, Connecticut, rejected a proposal to abandon their right to elect their school board and turn control of the schools over to the mayor.
There were other victories and some losses as well.
But the main lesson is that parents, teachers, and citizens can defeat the monied interests.
They can do it if they organize a strong grassroots effort, if they communicate effectively in person and by social media and with whatever tools they have.
The 1% have millions of dollars to deploy to state and local races, and they will try to overwhelm the race with their money, but this election proved an important point:
They are not invincible. They can be beaten.
They wield power with their money by giving to politicians and hiring lobbyists.
But they can’t buy elections unless we let them.
Do not be afraid.
Do not agonize. Organize.
Be ready next time.