Education Reform, Inc. vs. democracy—now playing on a screen near you

Netflix-CEO-Reed-HastingsWhen Netflix bazillionaire Reed Hastings proclaimed recently that, by their sheer relentlessness, charter school warriors will succeed in eliminating the scourge of elected school boards from the earth, the reaction from critics was swift and furious. “Like a shiny red apple that’s rotten to the core,” panned one hater. “Downright antifunny, an experience that makes you wonder if you will ever laugh again,” trashed another. 

relentlessJust watch
But did it ever occur to the haters that maybe CEO Hastings knows a thing or one billion that they don’t? Like that movies and TV shows about school boards are among Netflix’s least-streamed offerings while demand for high-quality fare like *The Road to College IV* and *The Reformers: Back in Business* are literally burning up screens. Best of all, viewers won’t have to wait 20-30 years to see *Relentless* in major release. In fact, I’m pretty sure some version of Hasting’s vision is playing right now on a screen near you…

stranger callsWhen a Stranger Calls
A high-profile, no nonsense superintendent makes headlines and enemies with her plan to at last bring excellence and high expectations to Newark NJ—whether Newark, NJ likes it or not. But things take a turn for the non-communicative when said superintendent announces that she will no longer attend School Advisory Board meetings because they are *dysfunctional* and *set a bad example for children.* Also, she stops returning the calls of board representatives making this technically a silent film.

This show is: Well-connected, Pre-determined, Losing Viewers Fast
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A gang of local misfits otherwise known as the Worcester, MA School Committee catches word that BMOC Arne Duncan will be visiting their city in order to make the case for *bigger rigor.* But excitement soon turns to dismay as the committee members wake up to the cold reality that while they technically oversee education (for now) in Massachusetts’ second largest city, they are as unfashionable, outmoded and *over* as a key punch card.

This show is: Irrelevant, Dated, Rarely Viewed
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cupcake warsCup Cake Wars
Two of America’s hottest trends collide when charter school supporters, backed up by their very own food truck, descend upon a meeting of the Nashville, TN School Board. There are *no excuses* not to watch this all-ages treat till the end, and you’ll earn *prep points,* just like the students from Nashville Prep who were bused in for the fun. But don’t expect to have all of your questions answered. Like, why are School Board members Will Pinkston and Amy Frogge, who called for a Board-led investigation into Nashville Prep in response to parent complaints, such haters? And who was behind the creepy fliers targeting said haters? And were the cupcakes really frosted with excellence?

This show is: Full of Empty Calories, Making Moms Really Mad
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A school committee is cast into limbo after the state takes control of the schools in Lawrence, MA and strips it of any authority but doesn’t actually put it out of its misery. You’ll watch amazed as members of the *ghost committee* show up month after month to *deliberate* over matters that no longer concern them. 

This show is: Coming to a City Near You, Unlikely to End Anytime Soon
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12 angryTwelve Five Angry Men
When five board members at the Mystic Valley Charter School in Malden, MA refuse to accede to the state’s demands that they stop ruling the charter school they founded for life, a tense standoff ensues. Will the school leaders triumph in their years-long battle against *flip-flopping governance* by standing tall (and in the same place) vs. state education officials, their *kangaroo court* and their irrational insistence on term limits, the expansion of the board by two additional members and open-meeting laws? 

This show is: Getting Better Every Year, Self-Perpetuating, High Performing
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dinnerGuess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner?
The entirely minority student body at a high-flying Boston charter school is stunned to learn that their school is overseen entirely by white people, including finance professionals with job descriptions like *equity research analyst,* *director of institutional equities* and *small cap biotech investor.* The students and their parents launch a campaign to make the board more representative of the city and students it serves only to learn one of life’s *hard lessons*: Very Successful People run schools these days—and that’s just the way they like it. 

This show is: Receiving Surprisingly Little Notice, Unlikely to End Well
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  1. from a City on the Hill charter Board of Trustees member bio:

    “In his spare time, you will find Josh honing his skills on the golf course, savoring fresh powder on the ski slopes…”

    You can’t make this shit up.

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