Archives for the month of: March, 2016

It has become conventional wisdom that “education is in crisis.” I have been asked about this question by many interviewers. They say something like: “Do you think American education is in crisis? What is the cause of the crisis?” And I answer, “Yes, there is a crisis, but it is not the one you have read about. The crisis in education today is an existential threat to the survival of public education. The threat comes from those who unfairly blame the school for social conditions, and then create a false narrative of failure. The real threat is privatization and the loss of a fundamental democratic institution.”


I thank Laura Chapman for pointing me to an excellent online resource sponsored by Education International, which advocates for teachers and free public education around the world. The online site gathers together news from around the world about the crisis I described, the corporate assault on public education, both in developed countries like our own and in nations where the public education system is rudimentary and severely underfunded.


As we have seen again and again, the corporate education industry is eager to break into the U.S. public education and turn it into a free marketplace, where they can monetize the schools and be assured of government subsidization. On the whole, these privatized institutions do not produce higher test scores than regular public schools, except for those that cherrypick their students and exclude the neediest and lowest performing students. The promotion of privatization by philanthropies, by the U.S. Department of Education, by rightwing governors (and a few Democratic governors like Cuomo of New York and Malloy of Connecticut), by the hedge fund industry, and by a burgeoning education equity industry poses a danger to our democracy. In some communities, public schools verge on bankruptcy as charters drain their resources and their best students. Nationwide, charter schools have paved the way for vouchers by making “school choice” non-controversial.


Yes, education is in crisis. The profession of teaching is threatened by the financial powerhouse Teach for America, which sells the bizarre idea that amateurs are more successful than experienced teachers. TFA–and the belief in amateurism–has also facilitated the passage of legislation to strip teachers of basic rights to due process and of salaries tied to experience and credentials.


Education is in crisis because of the explosion of testing and the embrace by government of test scores as both the means and the end of education. The scores are treated as a measure of teacher effectiveness and school effectiveness, when they are in fact a measure of the family income of the students enrolled in the school. The worst consequence of the romance with standardized testing is that children are ranked, sorted, and assigned a value based on scores that are not necessarily scientific or objective. Children thus become instruments, tools, objects, rather than unique human beings, each with his or her own potential.


Education is in crisis because of the calculated effort to turn it into a business with a bottom line. Schools are closed and opened as though they were chain stores, not community institutions. Teachers are fired based on flawed measures. Disruption is considered a strategy rather than misguided and inhumane policy. Children and educators alike are simply data points, to be manipulated by economists, statisticians, entrepreneurs, and dabblers in policy.


Education has lost its way, lost its purpose, lost its definition. Where once it was about enlightening and empowering young minds with knowledge, exploring new worlds, learning about science and history, and unleashing the imagination of each child, it has become a scripted process of producing test scores that can supply data.


Education is in crisis. And we must organize to resist, to push back, to fight the mechanization of learning, and the standardization of children.



Paul Thomas describes how he learned to read. His parents read to him, encouraged him to read, and played games that involved thinking and literacy. When he entered school, he could read fluently.


From Green Eggs and Ham to Hop on Pop, from canasta to spades, from Chinese checkers to Scrabble—games with my mother and often my father were my schooling until I entered first grade. And none of that ever seemed to be a chore, and none of that involved worksheets, reading levels, or tests.


Formal schooling was always easy for me because of those roots, but formal schooling was also often tedious and so much that had to be tolerated to do the things I truly enjoyed—such as collecting, reading, and drawing from thousands of comic books throughout my middle and late teens. I was also voraciously reading science fiction and never once highlighting the literary techniques or identifying the themes or tone.


My own children learned the same way. I read to them when I put them to bed, and we often read together.


Thomas writes:


As I have addressed often, reading legislation across the U.S. is trapped in a simplistic crisis mode connected to research identifying the strong correlation between so-called third-grade reading proficiency and later academic success.


Let’s unpack that by addressing the embedded claims that rarely see the light of day.


The first claim is that labeling a text as a grade level is as valid as assigning a number appears. While it is quite easy to identify a text by grade level (most simply calculate measurables such as syllables per word and words per sentence), those calculations entirely gloss over the relationship between counting word/ sentence elements and how a human draws meaning from text—key issues such as prior knowledge and literal versus figurative language.


A key question, then, is asking in whose interest is this cult of measuring reading levels—and the answer is definitely not the student.


This technocratic approach to literacy can facilitate a certain level of efficiency and veneer of objectivity for the work of a teacher; it is certainly less messy.


But the real reason the cult of measuring reading levels exists is the needs of textbook companies who both create and perpetuate the need for measuring students’ reading levels and matching that to the products they sell.


Reading levels are a market metric that are harmful to both students and teaching/learning. And they aren’t even very good metrics in terms of how well the levels match any semblance of reading or learning to read.


The fact is that all humans are at some level of literacy and can benefit from structured purposeful instruction to develop that level of literacy. In that respect, everyone is remedial and no one is proficient.


Those facts, however, do not match well the teaching and learning industry that is the textbook scam that drains our formal schools of funding better used elsewhere—almost anywhere else.


Remaining shackled to measuring and labeling text and students murders literacy among our students; it is inexcusable, and is a root cause of the punitive reading policies grounded in high-stakes testing and grade retention.


Thomas points out that anyone who asks about the “theme” of a story is misleading students. Authors don’t write with “themes” in mind. He offers a wonderful quote from Flannery O’Connor, who says that looking for the “theme” is a very bad idea. Any story with a “theme” is not a very good story.


Flunking kids because they are not at third-grade “reading level” is another failed idea based on a technocratic approach to literacy.


Thomas says:


To continue the hokum that is “reading level” and to continue mining text for techniques—these are murderous practices that leave literacy moribund and students uninspired and verbally bankrupt.


The very best and most effective literacy instruction requires no textbooks, no programs, and no punitive reading policies.


Literacy is an ever-evolving human facility; it grows from reading, being read to, and writing—all by choice, with passion, and in the presence of others more dexterous than you are.


Access to authentic text, a community or readers and writers, and a literacy mentor—these are where our time and funds should be spent instead of the cult of efficiency being sold by textbook and testing companies.



A few days ago, John Thompson wrote a post about the Broadie superintendents, referring both to the one in Oklahoma City and to a story in the New York Times about the new gun in town in Oakland, California.


Now comes this story from Oakland about the turmoil in the district as the Broadie superintendent goes into disruption mode, threatening to close schools, fire principals, and lay off teachers. Why? Those low test scores.


Seventeen principals have received warning letters that they may be removed or reassigned. A number of schools have learned that they may have to move for charter schools to “co-locate” onto their campuses and a large number of new teachers have just learned they will be fired at the end of June.


Staff at Place@Prescott in West Oakland are fearful about what will happen to their elementary school if they lose their principal, Enomwoyi Booker, who is one of the principals who received a March 15 warning letter, according to a teacher at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The teacher said the principal, who has been at Prescott for over a decade, “is building rapport with the community. She is popular with the staff and the community. We have spent years building a (community) core that comes together and helps out.”


“We’re fragile,” a poor school in a poor community, the teacher said. “We are partial to our leadership from the years of being deprived of materials. We (finally) get some money and some inkling of materials, and then they take the leadership away.”


“The district administration says one thing, but the next thing you know, they shut you down or throw schools together. We don’t know what’s really going on.”


The teacher said she did not want Prescott to have to share its campus with a charter school.


“If we have to share it with another school, that will kill it,” she said. “With all the gentrification that is going on (in West Oakland), we feel kind of threatened.”



Sixty teachers have been warned that they are on the list to be released without right of appeal.


Oakland has been under Broadie control for about 13 years. When does the transformation happen? How many children’s lives and adult careers will be ruined by Broad-trained disciples before this “reign of error” ends? When will common sense return in California? Must be wait for Eli Broad to move on to his next hobby or to another dimension?

Last night I posted a story about new allegations of sexual molestation of minors by Kevin Johnson, mayor of Sacramento, husband of Michelle Rhee, and former basketball superstar.


This story by an investigative reporter for an alternative weekly in Sacramento may be even more shocking, because the sexual allegations are not new. Why does this appear in a small alternative newspaper? The Sacramento Bee has been a reliable cheerleader for Mayor Johnson.


Cosmo Garvin of The Baffler describes in elaborate detail the way Johnson governed, with patronage, cronyism, a private email system that kept most governmental decisions secluded from public scrutiny, and money–lots of money–for those on the Johnson team.


Garvin writes:


He and his wife, Michelle Rhee—once the brightest star in the corporate-backed “education reform” movement—showed up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. An adviser told Johnson’s hometown newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, that the couple was a “modern-day version of Bill and Hillary Clinton.” There was talk about a run for California governor or U.S. Senate.


At his peak, KJ was a figure to behold, an urban policy entrepreneur and brander-in-chief selling #Sacramento 3.0, a “world-class” city where kids would take Uber vehicles instead of buses to their charter schools, “never check out a library book,” and have “more smart devices than toothbrushes.”


In July 2014, Johnson rented the Sacramento Convention Center and threw himself a big party—a twenty-fifth-anniversary fundraising gala for St. Hope Academy. He raised $1.2 million at the event, largely from real estate developers and others with business before City Hall.


St. Hope is Mayor KJ’s charter school and development company. More than that, it’s his brand—the foundation of his own career in educational reform and politics. The keynote speaker at St. Hope’s silver jubilee was the NBA’s biggest-ever star, Michael Jordan, whom Johnson interviewed on stage, fittingly enough, about “developing your brand….”


By the fall of 2015, Johnson’s political career was effectively over. He was under scrutiny, again, for allegedly molesting a sixteen-year-old girl two decades before. And he was facing a new allegation of sexual misconduct; a city employee had filed a sexual harassment complaint. The City of Sacramento’s legal advisers warned Johnson not to hug or touch anyone at city events. So Johnson, deciding two terms in office were enough, announced that he will not seek reelection this November. His exit will coincide with the opening of the new arena, easily his most significant mayoral achievement.


Meanwhile, debt service on the bond-financed arena will reach about $18 million a year, draining money from the city treasury. Sacramento’s city finance department is warning that the city’s spending is already “unsustainable” and budget deficits are imminent. For now, however, Johnson is being credited with a dramatic makeover of the new arena district—where a decaying shopping mall had been before.


Aside from the arena, Johnson’s other legacy is something I call KJ Inc. It’s a particular way of doing public business, and it’s also a political machine: a blended network of nonprofit auxiliary organizations, political cronies, and paid city staff, powered by unlimited donations from downtown developers and corporate benefactors.


Last year, Johnson sued me for filing public records requests for city emails, part of an ongoing project to better understand KJ’s mingling of public resources with his private nonprofits. The suit appears intended to economically damage the small alternative weekly I write for—the only media outlet in town to write critically about Johnson’s arena deal, or his educational reform campaign, or his use of city resources for his private agenda. We’re still in court.


The lawsuit, the arena, KJ’s talent for diverting public resources for private gain, even the sex-creep stuff: to me, these facts seem to hang together under a common theme. The guy has boundary issues.


The mayor’s charitable vehicle is St. Hope, which runs charter schools. Johnson took over Sacramento High School and turned it into a charter. What had once been a comprehensive high school for 2,000 students became a school of 900, which required students to apply. Of course, test scores went up when the school was no longer open enrollment.


Garvin writes:


The flagship nonprofit of KJ Inc. is, of course, St. Hope. As mayor, Johnson has been able to leverage, from real estate and other local interests, about $3 million in donations to support the family business. The biggest donors include Sacramento’s biggest sprawl developer, Angelo Tsakopoulos; arena developer Mark Friedman and his family; and Kevin Nagle, part owner of the Sacramento Kings and majority owner of the Sacramento Republic soccer team. Nagle is also on the St. Hope board of directors. All these men have been big donors to Johnson’s election campaigns and to his strong-mayor ballot measure. But while they are limited by strict political campaign contribution limits, they can give unlimited amounts to Johnson’s nonprofits.


They, along with other business interests, also give heavily to Johnson’s Sacramento Public Policy Foundation (SPPF), which is more closely associated with Johnson’s job as mayor. SPPF collects donations from interested parties who want to curry favor with the mayor, and then distributes the cash to various policy initiatives under Johnson’s direction. For a time, these initiatives included an environmental brand called Greenwise Sacramento and an arts program called For Arts’ Sake. Neither of these groups ever did much, and both are now dead links on Johnson’s website.


The real project of SPPF is Johnson’s “Think Big” initiative, which the mayor advertises as a way to “promote transformative projects that catalyze job creation and economic development.” But Think Big would be more accurately described as a public relations shop for stadium subsidies, coordinated out of City Hall, with the labor of city employees.


The entanglement of public and private interests are by no means limited to Johnson. Other mayors have done the same, though so few adroitly.


This promiscuous mingling of public and private interests is now business as usual in Sacramento. Only rarely does it get Johnson in any trouble. In 2012 the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission fined Johnson $37,500 after learning that $3.5 million in behests to Johnson’s nonprofits from the Sacramento Kings and other donors had not been properly reported. Johnson called the nondisclosure a clerical error.


More typically, the operations of KJ Inc. go on with no public scrutiny at all. That’s especially true of Johnson’s use of City Hall to advance his brand of education reform, which seeks to roll back teacher protections and turn many more public schools into charters.


Johnson served on the board of the California Charter Schools Association. As president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Johnson pushed through pro-charter resolutions to speed the school privatization agenda on a national scale.


As it happens, the charter hustle is a Johnson family business. His (then future) wife and former St. Hope board member, Michelle Rhee, was hired by D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty as the first Chancellor of D.C. public schools in 2007. That year, the city passed reforms that took power away from D.C.’s elected school board and put control of the schools in the mayor’s office. This “mayoralization” of schools is a favorite KJ policy reform.


Mayor Johnson’s education reform organization is called Stand Up for Sacramento Schools, located in the same building as Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst offices.


Garvin says that “Stand Up for Sacramento Schools” does “next to nothing” for the public schools. It is funded by the Waltons and Eli Broad, to promote the corporate education reform agenda. It has showcased Teach for America, City Year, and multiple showings of “Waiting for ‘Superman.'” Last summer, it received $400,000 from the Walton Family Foundation.


It is mostly a political organization, leveraging the mayor’s office to promote Johnson’s ideological brand of educational reform, and to promote Johnson himself.


This prime directive is spelled out in a 2011 email from Johnson to a potential Stand Up recruit—cc’d to Johnson’s executive assistant, a city employee. KJ says a large part of Stand Up’s function is to support his efforts to “advocate for much-needed legislation around policies such as Race to the Top, ESEA [No Child Left Behind], and LIFO (‘last in, first out’).” LIFO is the practice of laying off teachers with less seniority, a policy much in vogue among educational reformers. Johnson also mentions Stand Up’s support for “parent trigger” laws in California, which enable parents to vote to turn neighborhood schools into charters.


Garvin goes on to describe how Johnson and his buddies managed to take over the troubled National Conference of Black Mayors, bankrupt it, and create a new organization led by–who else?–Kevin Johnson.


Mayor Johnson made a fine art of pay-to-play, as this paragraph shows:


In June 2014, Uber gave a $50,000 check to the AAMA. In August, Mayor Johnson penned an editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle praising Uber as an exciting part of “Cities 3.0” and arguing against new regulations for such ride-share companies. In September, at the USCM fall meeting in Sacramento, Johnson held an entire session on the “sharing economy,” featuring Uber CEO Travis Kalanick as a speaker. Days before, the Sacramento Kings had announced that Uber was the official ride-sharing service of the Sacramento Kings.


There is more, much more.


One wonders, on reading this long and alarming story, where was law enforcement? Does California have ethics laws for public officials? Does no one care about the use of taxpayer dollars? Why was the Sacramento Bee quiescent? Were there no civic watchdogs?


In 2012, the University of Hawaii invited Michelle Rhee and Kevin Johnson to lecture on the subject of “Ethics in Education.” The video is posted here, if you are a glutton for more. 


Ironic that what finally ended Kevin Johnson’s ascent was not his public-private deals, not his financial transgressions, not his political machinations, but allegations of sexual abuse of children.







Thousands of people signed a petition to permit guns at the GOP convention in Cleveland, but the US Secret Service stepped in and said “no way.” They have to protect the nominee, and they invoked the law to squash the 2nd Amendment rights of the delegates, who will now be “sitting ducks,” unarmed.


No “Blazing Saddles,” no “Shootout at the OK Corral.”

More women have come forward to accuse Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson of sexually molesting them when they were teenagers. Two were students in Johnson’s charter school, St. Hope. Johnson is the husband of Michelle Rhee, former chancellor of the DC school system.
Johnson once seemed likely to run for higher office, either governor or senator. After the accusations began, Johnson announced he would not run for a third term as mayor of Dacramento.

Governor Nathan Deal responded to corporate threats to pull out of Georgia by vetoing a far-reaching bill that would have made discrimination against gays legal.


The bill would have given legal protection to anyone who refused service to a gay couple, and government officials who refused to issue marriage licenses would have been protected. The theory of the bill was that it was intended to protect the religious liberty of people who do not approve of gay marriage or of gays in general. Public services could be withheld, based on religious convictions.


Companies such as Disney, Salesforce, and athletic organizations had threatened to withdraw their businesses from Georgia to protect their gay employees. If Apple had any business in Georgia, it would surely have left too, since its CEO Tim Cook is gay. There were even concerns that the Super Bowl might be shifted away from Atlanta. Corporations don’t join these protests because they have gay executives, but because they want to be able to hire the talent they need.


There is the additional problem that if states can pass laws saying that people can refuse to serve customers or clients based on their religious principles, then some might choose to discriminate against Catholics, against Jews, against Muslims, or against any group that offends them. Such laws cannot stand and are best not passed, or if passed, quickly vetoed. They will not be upheld by federal courts in any event.





The following comment was posted on the blog on Saturday. I won’t add the teacher’s name but you can find it if you search the comments.



She writes:


“As a public school teacher working and fighting for the #SchoolsOurStudentsDeserve, I can understand the conflict about coming to NC. As much as I’d like for NC to not gain one cent from NPE, I also know how much the educators and public school supporters here need support. Not just through emails, blog posts, and social media, but they need to see people, real people, showing up to stand against the regressive, dangerous rhetoric and laws being used in our General Assembly and Governor’s office. I would rather NPE come and everyone in attendance participate in a mass action on our state house or in the streets of Raleigh to show that we ALL stand together against any injustice, to show that we see how ALL of our lives are interconnected, and that if just one student, teacher, parent, or citizen is discriminated against, then we will ALL fight back for those people. Public schools can be a great equalizer, if we also find ways to make our community equitable for students and families when they leave the school door. Come to North Carolina, NPE, and bring your strong spirits, your inspiring words, and maybe even your marching shoes. And if you are worried about supporting this unjust legislature, I’m sure we can gather a list of businesses that have come out with statements against the hateful HB2 so that you know who deserves your presence and your patronization.”


The Chicago Sun-Times reported the results of its battle to gain access to the financial records of the UNO charter chain. UNO fought to keep its records secret, claiming they were a “private” organization. What the newspaper discovered when it won was a spending spree on the taxpayers’ dime–er, make that hundreds of millions.

The CEO of UNO, Juan Rangel, was politically powerful: he served as co-chair of Rahm Emanuel’s first mayoral campaign. Rangel got a grant of $98 million from the state to build more charter schools. He was compelled to resign when news broke that millions in contracts from the state grant were awarded to allies of Rangel.

But the new revelations show a pattern of profligate spending by the organization. It also shows how charters used taxpayer money to buy political favors.

Dan Mihalapoulos writes:

“Even as they ran a network of charter schools for thousands of students in low-income neighborhoods across Chicago, United Neighborhood Organization leader Juan Rangel and other UNO officials were piling up big bills at fancy restaurants and for travel on the taxpayers’ dime, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.

“In the year before a contracting scandal led to Rangel’s forced resignation, the clout-heavy Hispanic community organization and charter-school operator spent more than $60,000 for restaurants on his American Express “business platinum” card, according to the records, which UNO fought for nearly three years to keep secret.

“The spending spree included $1,000-or-higher tabs at Gene & Georgetti, Carmichaels, Vivo Chicago, Rosebud Prime, the East Bank Club, Carnivale, a downtown hotel’s rooftop bar and Soldier Field’s concessions during a soccer game featuring Mexico’s men’s national team.

“And UNO spent more than $60,000 a year on travel in 2010 and 2011, the internal records show. Rangel alone flew out of town 31 times in four years.

“In 2010, Rangel traveled at the organization’s expense to Managua, Nicaragua, the records show. Rangel and two aides, Miguel d’Escoto and Francisco “Pancho” d’Escoto, met during that trip with the d’Escotos’ uncle, a former diplomat advising them on possible expansion.

“Rangel’s and UNO’s fortunes took a downturn after the Sun-Times reported in February 2013 that the organization paid millions of dollars from a $98 million state school-construction grant to companies owned by two brothers of Miguel d’Escoto, who was Rangel’s top deputy, and to other contractors with close ties to the group.

“As federal and state authorities began investigating, the newly obtained records show, UNO officials spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to contain the scandal, which cost the organization millions of dollars in state funding and resulted in a federal consent decree requiring outside oversight of the group’s contracting practices.

“UNO has paid more than $962,000 since the start of 2013 to the firm of Mary Patricia Burns, who became the group’s primary lawyer shortly after the scandal broke.

“Her law firm, Burke Burns & Pinelli Ltd., has been a major campaign contributor to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. The state Democratic Party boss from the Southwest Side sponsored UNO’s state grant — which was the biggest government subsidy given to charter schools in the country. Burns didn’t return calls seeking comment.

“The organization also paid more than $307,000 to retired federal judge Wayne Andersen and others who aided him in an investigation of UNO’s contracting practices.

“The spending took place as UNO was operating a government-funded charter schools serving about 8,000 predominantly Hispanic students, largely from low-income families. About 96 percent of students at UNO’s 16 campuses qualify for free or reduced lunches, records show.

“Despite being almost entirely government-funded, UNO leaders fought to keep the spending records secret, arguing that they didn’t have to comply with the state’s Freedom of Information Act because UNO is a private organization. But they ultimately released the records in a recent legal settlement with the Sun-Times.

“Since UNO founded the charter-school chain in 1998, the Chicago Public Schools system has given the privately run schools hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, in addition to the state funding the organization got for school construction. Until less than a year ago, the UNO Charter School Network — which is separately incorporated — passed along much of the CPS funding to UNO, which managed the schools.”

The Minister of Education Nicky Morgan has proposed turning all British schools into “academies,” akin to our charter schools. She has decided that removing all schools from local control will improve them.


The British National Union of Teachers has threatened a one-day strike to protest this step towards mass privatization. Morgan, however, says she won’t change course.



“The Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has told teachers she has no intention of backing down, warning another teachers’ union, the NASUWT, that there is no “reverse gear” on the proposed reforms.

“Mrs Morgan was heckled and faced shouts of “rubbish” from delegates during her speech arguing that the compulsory academy policy would raise standards.

“The National Union of Teachers is no stranger to challenging government education policies – and a call for strike action might also have been as predictable as bad weather over a bank holiday weekend.

“But on the issue of the government forcing all schools to become academies, regardless of the views of parents, the NUT clearly feels it is tapping into a much wider sense of unease.
The union’s leadership thinks the government has wrong-footed itself over this, antagonising grassroots Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, as well as its more traditional left-wing supporters.

“Town hall Tories are a much trickier target for the government than what they would see as conference hall Trots [Trotskyites]. And there are murmurings of concern about what academy chains would mean for village schools and faith schools.

“The element of compulsion could aggravate parents and there might be difficult questions about the merits of successful local schools being handed over to an unfamiliar academy chain….

“The NUT annual conference in Brighton has supported calls for a sustained campaign against compelling schools to be academies, including a ballot for a one-day strike.

“The union’s treasurer Ian Murch said it would see schools being “stolen” from local communities by “arrogant ministers”.

“He challenged the handing over of schools to academy chains, saying that it would be a step towards privatisation.


“Mr Murch said schools should be seen as a “public service and not a business opportunity”

“Hazel Danson from the union’s executive said the policy of making all schools academies would cause “absolute chaos” at a time when there were more pressing priorities such as teacher shortages.

“She said the plans would “remove parental voice as well as parental choice”.

“The NUT wants to build a wider coalition of opposition to the academy policy.

“A number of Conservative party representatives in local government have spoken out against the plans which would remove the role of local councils.”


Indeed, the plan faces opposition from more than the teachers’ union.

A group of officials from all three national parties–Conservative, Labor, and Liberal–spoke out against the plan in a letter to The a Observer.


“The Observer letter, signed by Conservative councillors as well as those from opposition parties, says:


“There is no evidence that academies perform better than council maintained schools.


“Where a school is failing, there is no question that action must be taken – but converting every school, regardless of performance, to an academy will not tackle those issues.”


It goes on: “Schools value the option to become academies – and the support they receive from their local councils to do so – where they believe this is in the best interests of their students and communities.


“Forcing the change upon every school goes against, in many cases, what parents and teachers want, and there will be a large financial implication for local authorities at a time when communities are already suffering the impact of significant budget cuts.”