The good guys lost. The guys with the backing of the billionaires won. The public schools of Los Angeles will shrink in numbers as the charter industry takes charge of the district.

Although the charter candidates wrapped themselves in the banner of Obama and Duncan, their victory is indeed a victory for the Trump-DeVos agenda.

A teacher in Florida reacted:

I am sitting here at 6 am in So. Florida crying. I feel like I am living in a nightmare and can’t wake up. So many good teachers jumping ship and the new ones coming in are doing so with no intention of making this nearly impossible job a career. With the chaos of moving ESE behaviors into the gen ed popuation as it is “least restricitve” to “restorative justice” (time out for desk throwers and send ’em back to class), overworked and overwhelmed guidance counselors, shared psychologists with 3-4 schools and an IDIOT state legislature that loves “births”, hates “lives” and depises the poor. Does anyone else see this as the beginning of the end of a free society or am I catastrophizing? What is wrong with this country? Why can’t the public see what is happening? If they see, why don’t they care? The defeat in teacher’s eyes is palpable. It can’ t continue.

As devastating as the defeat in Los Angeles is, we cannot give up hope for the future. As the saying goes, it is always darkest just before the dawn. This darkness is deep right now, and the dawn is nowhere in sight.

But the only certainty of defeat is giving up. The loss in Los Angeles was due to money and lies, but also apathy.

The message is clear: if we don’t rally the people, the parents, the citizens who owe their education to public schools, we will lose. If we give up trying, we will lose. Those of us who believe in democratic control of public schools that take responsibility for all children, that are financially and academically accountantable, that hire only certified staff, must fight on.

We must not lose hope. Without hope, we are lost. Hard as it is to sustain hope, we must persist. To abandon the struggle is to abandon our belief in a basic democratic institution. We can’t and we won’t. The struggle is not over, nor is it lost. Consider the loss in L.A. to be a loud wake-up call to fight the free-market ideologues and entrepreneurs. Consider it a challenge to redouble our efforts to save public education and resist privatization.