Vicki Cobb, author of many nonfiction books for children, attended the Skinny Awards last night. The dinner is an annual fundraiser for Class Size Matters, Néw York’s most dynamic advocacy group for children, parents, teachers, and public schools. It operates on a shoestring but has had national impact through the efforts of its leader, Leonie Haimson, to support class size reduction, to fight high-stakes testing, and to defend student privacy from corporate data mining.

The Skinny Awards are a direct contrast to billionaire Eli Broad’s “Broad Award,” given to the urban district or charter chain that has most vigorously implemented corporate reform. The Skinny Awards go to those who fight for high-quality public education for all and who oppose the corporate assault on public schools.

Vicki decided, as she watched and listened, that she was observing the birth of a movement for civil disobedience. Not called into being by billionaires or the powerful, but led by grassroots parents, teachers, and principals.

She writes:

“The havoc wrought by corporate group-think on education can well cost us a generation of thinkers and doers and risk takers. Our children can’t be written off as the cost of doing business.

“This has awakened a sleeping giant in the population. Opt-out is political. It is democratic. The people are rising up against oppression. It is the only way to make politicians and the billionaires funding this disruption to take notice. If they don’t, watch; there will be further unrest.

“I am honored and energized to add my voice to the opt-out movement fighting for the minds of our children and the future of America.”