Here's one for you:
Rosa Parks : Civil Rights Movement ::? _________ : Current Education Reform Movement
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It's a trick question (er, analogy). We don't have one. We don't have a sweet little old lady, smartly chosen by the movement to be our rallying point. We don't have an ever-perfect individual, or even one who can be deified as such.
Instead, the reform movement is spearheaded and kept running by myriad ?real? people, all with their own strengths?and their own imperfections. Take Michelle Rhee?who, for better or worse?has come to personify the reform movement; she's a spitfire. She's passionate and intelligent and has proven herself to be (through Students First) a fantastic mobilizer. But, she can also be abrasive and has been known to trample collaboration in her race to improved teacher quality.
Yet, I wonder: Is that really a bad thing? Do we need a Rosa Parks for this generation's civil-rights movement? I don't think we do. I think our real people, who make real mistakes, are exactly what the doctor prescribed.
Yet, as the fallout from Paul Tough's recent New York Times Magazine article painfully shows, reformers are reticent to accept this Rx. For those who haven't yet read the article, Tough raised some tough questions about the ?no excuses? culture of the reform movement. Notably: How can reformers claim to embrace a ?no excuses? (no excuses for...