"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, November 30, 2015

Say NO to ECAA (Escalating Charter Assistance Act)

Now that NPE, Fairtest, NEA, and AFT have bought the ESEA bag of radioactive rocks with the liar's promise of gold inside, it is best for them to pretend this deadly gift is going to make us all well. 

Don't be fooled.  Billions are guaranteed for segregated charter privatization to expand exponentially (see pp. 518-575), with charter authorization taken out of the hands of LEAs.

Call Congress and remind them that this bill will unleash an era of resistance and civil disobedience they have never seen.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

ESEA Will Mean 50 Fronts in the War Against Corporate Education Reform

Under consideration for passage in DC this coming week is the new states rights version of NCLB, which, if passed, will spawn education policies more racist even than the ones developed under Bush II and the same ones promulgated by Obama.  And with federal regulation and oversight by ED smashed by the new bill, the Feds will be unable act to stop any of it, even if they had the will to do so.

This sets the nation up for the proliferation of a federally-funded corporate welfare reform school system that adheres to the "broken windows" no excuses chain gang schooling model for the poor, the black, the brown.  

Who will have the advantage in the war to keep public education and the idea of democratic schooling alive?  The states, of course, where ALEC has a portfolio of corporate model legislation to pass out among the states, which are ever more hungry to attract the Gates, Broad, and Walton education dollars that come as payoffs for passage of ALEC's model bills.

In opposition will be a tiny underfunded testing and corporate education abolition movement that will be required to organize in each state to fight 50 guerrilla wars against the billionaire Borg.  Required will be new levels of civil disobedience and an unwavering willingness to risk arrest and jail.  

Parents, students, and teachers must mobilize to fight and to act and to defy, rather than to be coopted, subverted, and subdued by endless talk from pretenders and stooges.

Call Washington tomorrow morning and let them know what's coming if this corporate charter funding bill passes.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

NPE Turns "Opposition" to ESEA into Fund-Raising Opp

For months now, Diane Ravitch has pretended that the new corporate ESEA is the "a far better bill" than she or anyone else might have hoped for.  In April she said,
One may quibble with details, but the bottom line is that this bill defangs the U.S. Department of Education; it no longer will exert control over every school with mandates. This bill strips the status quo of federal power to ruin schools and the lives of children and educators. . . .This is a far better bill than I had hoped or feared.
Now that the passage is all but assured, Ravitch and NPE have turned their phony opposition to the bill into a fund-raising opportunity.

Paris Climate Conference DOA As Capital Proves More Important than Life

Multi-national capitalists have banned together to protect their obscene wealth and to doom the planet at the same time.  This comes even before the vaunted Paris Conference gets underway.

Given the choice of a dead world or the neutralization of a few hundred oligarchs, we must wonder now which options humanity will choose.  I know--it's a tough choice.

From the NYTimes:
They [negotiators] have pointedly declined to take up a recommendation from scientists, made several years ago, that they set a cap on total greenhouse gases as a way to achieve that goal, and then figure out how to allocate the emissions fairly. The pledges countries are making are voluntary, and were established in most nations as a compromise between the desire to be ambitious and the perceived cost and political difficulty of emissions cutbacks.

In effect, the countries are vowing to make changes that collectively still fall far short of the necessary goal, much like a patient who, upon hearing from his doctor that he must lose 50 pounds to avoid life-threatening health risks, takes pride in cutting out fries but not cake and ice cream.
The scientists argue that there is only so much carbon — in the form of exhaust from coal-burning power plants, automobile tailpipes, forest fires and the like — that the atmosphere can absorb before the planet suffers profound damage, with swaths of it potentially becoming uninhabitable.

Friday, November 27, 2015

A better investment

Sent to the Los Angeles Times, November 27, 2015

No Child Left Behind gets undeserved credit for making schools pay attention to students living in poverty ("Education's sweet spot,” November 27). Experienced educators have always been aware of the effects of poverty and know which schools and students are the most impacted.  Also, educational research has confirmed the negative effects of poverty on learning for decades. 

Recommending more precise measurements to identify needy schools is like recommending that fire departments invest in expensive and highly accurate thermometers so that firefighters get the exact temperature of dangerous and rapidly spreading fires before trying to put them out.

Instead of spending billions on unnecessary testing, let's invest in protecting children from the impact of poverty, i.e. expanded and improved food programs, improved health care, and improved school and public libraries in high-poverty areas. The best teaching in the world has little effect when children are hungry, undernourished, ill, and have little access to reading material.

Stephen Krashen

Original article: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-adv-school-reform-20151127-story.html

TN State Board of Education Now Running "No Excuses" Charters

Yep, you heard that right.  After Nashville Metro said NO to more ed reform chain gangs, and after the State Board disagreed upon appeal, and after Metro School Board effectively said NO once more, now the State Board is stuck with its own KIPP schools.

Wonder if the State Board will also assume the legal responsibility for the children who are regularly mistreated in these penal schools?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spellings Defends Toxic NCLB Policies

Even though national test performance gains were higher before NCLB than after, and even though the achievement gaps between black and white/rich and poor remain gaping, and even though ACT scores are flat and SAT scores are at a ten year low, and even though child poverty has risen steadily over the past 15 years, and even though millions of our best teachers have been run out of teaching by unethical testing and pressure cooker accountability practices, and even though tens of thousands of communities across the country have lost their schools to corporate welfare charter reform schools, and even though  90+ percent of the nation's schools were failing by 2014 (based on Spellings' impossible definition of "adequate"), and even though a half-million parents last year opted their children out of the racist and classist tests that Margaret Spellings' policies inspired, even with all this, the bloviating cow, Margaret Spellings, yesterday defended the most damaging and irresponsible education policy in American history:
Spellings, a key architect of No Child Left Behind, made no apologies for an accountability system that is now vehemently derided by schools and parents. Many have that luxury, Spellings said, because it's not their children who are failed by public schools. School districts and board members are always ready with an excuse as to why some children, especially those in poverty, can't learn.

"It made people uncomfortable and it still makes people uncomfortable, this idea that adults need to do a better job serving our students," Spellings said. "How can we hold onto that outrage in our heads when only half of our minority students are getting out of high school? How can we hold that idea in our head with the notion that all our teachers are effective and pretty much all the schools are good, but half the kids aren't performing and our workforce is at risk?"
Outrage, indeed!  Under Spellings' watch, resegregation of schools escalated, labeling and sorting of children became standard school practice, child health deteriorated, school funding became more unfair, teaching became scripted, curriculum was canned, child stress soared as learning waned and play was banned in many schools, school privatization proliferated, and child poverty rose to an all time high. So yes, Margaret, I'm holding the rage.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Guest post: What could be wrong with a "community school" model?

By Alison McDowell
November 23, 2015

Alison McDowell

Alison McDowell is a Philadelphia public school parent and a member of the Alliance for Philadelphia Public Schools. This article is an expansion of her testimony to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission on November 19, 2015. While it speaks to developments in Philadelphia, it has national implications.

If you read my SRC testimony it paints a troubling picture. Given that my testimony was limited to three minutes, I wanted to add some additional thoughts to the conversation. It’s particularly important to get these ideas out there, because Philadelphia’s mayor elect Jim Kenney and his new Chief Education Officer, Otis Hackney, just took a trip to Cincinnati with the express purpose of learning more about the community school model and how it could work in our city. While Oyler, the school they visited, is lauded for its program, the long term success of the model remains uncertain.

As I see it, two groups are working concurrently on community school initiatives. They hold opposing views about what community schools are. Reformers talk about eliminating the concept of "seat time,” instead they want to promote the idea that you can learn anywhere at any pace.  I see that line of thinking as potentially very dangerous if you’re someone like me who values real bricks and mortar schools as a cornerstone of civil society. At the same time there are an increasing number of people who are involved with community school initiatives on the local level. They see community schools as neighborhood anchors. The problem is that they have absolutely no knowledge that there is another powerful group, the corporate education reformers, including Tom Vander Ark, working to undermine all they are doing.

Click here to read the entire article.

For background on the election of Jim Kenney as mayor, see:

Common Sense in Philadelphia | Defend Public Education

Also see:
City leaders picture full-service schools
Philadelphia Inquirer – November 23, 2015



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Peg with Pen: Harassment Lawsuit Anyone?

Peg with Pen: Harassment Lawsuit Anyone?: When your school is being destroyed by the dictatorial advice of fake teacher programs (Relay) aided and abetted by the Colorado Department...

Why is Diane Ravitch Celebrating?

No one outside the cabal of corporate education reformsters and their stooges in the U. S. Congress knows the dirty details in the secretive Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and no one will know until a few hours (if we are lucky) before the Congress votes on this ESEA sequel to No Child Left Behind.  

Apparently, the dissemblers at Fairtest and NPE are willing to accept Ed Week's corporate spin on the new bill, rather than examine it for themselves.  After all, the holidays are almost here.  

What we do know about the newest corporate version of ESEA is that--
  • annual mandated testing will continue uninterrupted,
  • states must take action to fix or privatize the lowest-scoring 5 percent (the poorest) schools each year,
  • charter schools are guaranteed billions of dollars more than they are presently receiving,
  • the U. S. Secretary of Education is barred from intervening in state-sanctioned segregation or other exclusionary "education solutions" that states may impose on the citizenry.
Now these are just a few of the corporate goodies inside this NCLB 2.0  And yet, Diane Ravitch pretends that some significant change has occurred in education policy and that there is reason to celebrate.  For those who cherish public education and who oppose high stakes standardized testing and charter privatization, there is nothing to celebrate.  

We are about get screwed again, and Ravitch is taking a victory lap:
But for the moment, let’s celebrate the demise of a terrible law that saw punishment as the federal strategy for school reform. Let’s celebrate that no future Secretary of Education will have the power to impose his or her flawed ideas on every public school and teacher in the nation. Let’s thank Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Patty Murray for finally ending a failed and punitive law.

KIPP Administrator "choked and dragged" 16 Year Old Female Student in NOLA

A week after a St. Louis KIPP administrator was placed on leave, pending an investigation of abusing a kindergarten student whose head and neck showed clear signs of a physical assault, a New Orleans KIPP dean of students has been placed on leave, pending an inquiry into an incident involving a 16 year old female student on November 16.  

The story below from the Times-Picayune details how KIPP officials offered a very different story of a violent "disciplining" incident than the one told by video images from students at the scene.  

A 16 year old female KIPP student, who was lifted off the ground by the dean of students in a choke hold, was apparently dragged down the sidewalk in the same position.  She was later treated for what doctors described as "cervical strain."

Notice in the first photo below that the child's feet are off the ground as she is choked by KIPP Dean of Students, Wilfred Wright.

A New Orleans mother says her daughter's dean choked and dragged her down the street at KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy Monday (Nov. 16).

In a photo of the incident, a staff member's arm is wrapped around the girl's neck. Her sweater vest has ridden up; her mouth is open and her feet appear to be slightly off the ground as she grabs at his arm with both hands.

KIPP spokesman Jonathan Bertsch said the staff member "was intervening in a fight between two students," and had been placed on leave pending an investigation.

Rebecca Solomon initially believed the school's account of the incident, she said Friday. She acknowledged that her seventh-grade daughter, 13, got into a social media spat with another girl over the weekend, and that they were on the verge of fighting physically when she got off the bus at 2300 St. Claude Ave. She asked to withhold her daughter's name for privacy.

Solomon identified the man in the photo as dean of students Wilfred Wright. She said Wright told her the girl became furiously aggressive, and demonstrated how he had gently and appropriately restrained her. By Solomon's account, Principal Herneshia Dukes said it took several teachers to hold the girl down.

A KIPP incident form Solomon sent NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune said "both girls swung at each other ... while shouting and screaming disrespectful things."

Solomon said it didn't add up. "She's not aggressive," she said. The school didn't call her. The girls were given a minor punishment, a one-day, in-school suspension, according to records Solomon provided to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune.

Furthermore, her daughter called Monday morning sobbing, saying Wright choked her, and that when she struggled to get out of the chokehold so that she could breathe, he applied more pressure on her neck.

Still, Solomon believed the school, because "I'm not a parent who tries to go against any school officials," she said. "I feel like (they) have the best interests of my child at hand." Indeed, she drives a school bus.

But the next day, at a conference, the mother of the other girl showed her a video and photos other students took at the time. "Knots in my stomach started to come. My heart dropped," Solomon said.

It didn't look anything like what Wright demonstrated, she said. As she described it: "The video shows that he had my daughter in a chokehold, he had one hand around her neck and she was screaming something" as he was "dragging her down the sidewalk" from the bus stop around the corner to the side entrance.

Solomon did not have a copy of the video. A screenshot with a video bar shows the pair down the sidewalk from the bus. She said she took the girl to New Orleans East Hospital Tuesday, where doctors diagnosed a cervical strain.

Bertsch would not identify the staffer. He said, "Student safety remains our highest priority, and we act swiftly to address any allegations of inappropriate conduct."

Employees are trained "to safely intervene with students when their behavior is dangerous to themselves or others," Bertsch said. That can include removing the student from the situation.

Solomon said she couldn't believe it. "I love KIPP. KIPP has done a whole lot academically for my children," she said. In fact, "my daughter likes Mr. Wright. ... She never thought that Mr. Wright would handle any student like that."

Solomon said she had filed a complaint with the state Education Department.
My book about life in KIPP Model schools will be published by Rowman & Littlefield in February 2016.  Pre-publication orders may be made here.

Friday, November 20, 2015

WA Supreme Court Says Charters Are STILL Unconstitutional

from the News Tribune:
The Washington State Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will not reconsider its September decision declaring the state’s voter-approved law establishing charter schools was unconstitutional.

The high court had been asked to reconsider its decision by several parties, including the state charter school association, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a bipartisan group of 10 legislators and four former state attorneys general.

A slim majority — five of the nine justices — said the court should deny the request for reconsideration. Three justices dissented, saying they would have revisited the decision in full.

Additionally, Justice Mary Yu said she would have been willing to reconsider the portion of the decision invalidating charter school funding.

The court ruled Sept. 4 that the state’s voter-approved charter school law is unconstitutional, mainly because the schools are overseen by boards that are appointed rather than elected.

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/education/article45547353.html#storylink=cpy

Call Congress to Say NO to New Corporate ESEA

This is a good, principled bill; it’s a notable conservative victory, and it’s the best deal to be had. It deserves conservative support.Frederick M. Hess is director of education policy at the American Enterprise Institute. Max Eden is program manager for education policy at AEI.

One may quibble with details, but the bottom line is that this bill defangs the U.S. Department of Education; it no longer will exert control over every school with mandates. . . .This is a far better bill than I had hoped or feared. --Diane Ravitch, conservative historian and leader of NPE, the #1 testing resistance containment organization.

With both sides of the aisle of the corporate Congress supporting ESEA's corporate welfare program to hand out billions in Federal grants to charter operators, testing companies, connected technocrats, and corporate union enablers, it is time for parents, teachers, and students to call your government and let your reps know that you do not support another generation of failed corporate education reform.  

Call and tell your Senators and Representatives to say NO to the new ESEA.  Numbers available here:

Awakening at Purdue

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Doug Martin and Hoosier School Heist at Purdue University

by Doug Martin

Doug Martin speaks on his book Hoosier School Heist at the Purdue Social Justice Coalition's November 12, 2015 event entitled “Exposé: The Profit Motive Behind Public Education Reform in Indiana.”   Introduction by Dr. Bill Mullen, a Purdue professor and writer for the Socialist Worker.  Plus, the Purdue Social Justice Coalition's Tiffany Montoya gives an update on the many protests going on at Purdue.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

From Mark Naison re NPE/Fairtest Collusion

Tuesday, November 17, 2015


Comment on “Despite efforts to increase them,  university graduation rates fall.” Hechinger Report, 11/17 (John Marcus)
Published at:

The decline in college graduates has two obvious sources: The huge expense of college in a time of economic difficulty for everyone but the super-wealthy, and the growing understanding that college might not be the best route for everybody, despite the administration's push for increased college graduation rates.

Former US Secretary of Heath, Education and Welfare John Gardner warned us of the consequences of not paying attention to other forms of post-secondary education: "The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water."

posted at:http://skrashen.blogspot.com/2015/11/why-are-college-graduation-rates.html


Spellings' Preparation for UNC Job

Spellings as President of UNC resulted from the North Carolina Tea Party Taliban's (TPT) political purging within the UNC system.  Art Pope, who functions as the chief stooge of those billionaire John Birchers, the Brothers Koch, led the effort to unseat the former UNC president, who was Democratic, experienced, and competent--three strikes against anyone running a public institution in line for corporate takeover. 

Below is a clip from a piece in The Nation, which points out two of Spellings' most recent exploits after leaving the White House that made her resume even more attractive to the TPT:
Spellings went on to work in the troubled for-profit industry after leaving the White House—an experience, she told UNC’s board of governors, that taught her “a lot about how we can serve our students and think of them as customers in providing a product in convenient ways for them.” Beginning in 2012 she served on the board of the Apollo Group, the parent company of for-profit chain University of Phoenix. That “diploma factory” is now under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, in part for its aggressive recruiting of military veterans. Its online program has a graduation rate of just 7.3 percent, and the student loan default rate is up 5 percent from the national average.

Spellings also chaired the board of the Ceannate Corporation, a student loan–collection agency. It’s not surprising that she had connections there: During Spellings’s tenure the education department was accused of acting “as a wholly owned subsidiary” of the student-loan industry. Preying on student borrowers is lucrative business: profit margins for loan collectors average 30 percent. “Despite widespread calls to reform the student loan industry, Spellings and the Ceannate Corporation have simply profited off of it,” two UNC professors wrote in a recent op-ed. “Spellings’ defense of for-profit colleges [following her appointment] is perhaps just as disturbing as the predatory practices these institutions use to fleece students.”

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weingarten Continues to Lie about Albert Shanker and Charter Schools

Rhonda (aka Randi) Weingarten has a piece in Huffington Post that seeks to offer charter lovers some context for understanding Hillary's recent remarks about charter schools.

A central element in Weingarten's ongoing dissembling about charters is to try to explain away her own support for segregated corporate charter schools by pointing to Albert Shanker's one-time support for charters:
Charter schools are publicly funded schools with flexibility in program design and operations. The late AFT President Albert Shanker was one of the first proponents, believing public school teachers could incubate innovative ideas, sharing successes and learning from setbacks. That was our goal in creating University Prep, a charter school in the South Bronx that the United Federation of Teachers co-founded with Green Dot Public Schools when I was UFT president.
What Weingarten leaves out about Albert Shanker is that his support for charters, which began in 1988, had died by 1993.  Even Weingarten's chief enabler, Diane Ravitch, has acknowledged that Shanker came to realize that charters had, in fact, been hijacked by corporations that wanted to use charter laws to create vast new business revenue streams from public money.

Below are a few clips from Shanker's "Where We Stand" paid column, which ran for years in the New York Times:

From July 3, 1994 

From March 19, 1995

 From Nov. 7, 1993

A Long History of Robotic Learning

In Tinkering toward Utopia . . ., Tyack and Cuban offer this reminder (117-118) that extrinsic reward induced competency-based schools is nothing new.  If you read on to the following pages, you find that the education companies of the late 1960s were found to be cooking the books in terms of what students learned on the new computerized systems.  Seems like nothing has changed except the frequency and size of the contracts going to the corrupt education industry.  Oh, one thing has changed: today we have no oversight:

Backroom Deals Before and After Spellings Appointment

Corruption seems to accompany Margaret Spellings wherever she shows up.   Within days of her appointment as President of the UNC System, a secret meeting was held to hand out 20 percent raises to 12 of the system's chancellors.  Were these the chancellors who supported her absurd appointment for a whopping $750,000 per year ($150,000 higher than her qualified predecessor)?
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Governors of North Carolina's public university system gave in Friday to legislative demands for details of a closed-door meeting that resulted in big pay raises for a dozen top campus executives, but not before debating whether their job was to insulate the institution from politicians. 
The University of North Carolina's Board of Governors voted to release details of the private meeting two weeks ago that approved pay raises of up to 20 percent for chancellors at 12 of the state's 17 campuses. The board acted after consultants told them the chancellors were underpaid. The raises were retroactive to July 1. 
The decision to turn over details of the private meeting, which some board members called contentious, was opposed by Raleigh lawyer Joe Knott. He said he and fellow board members should insulate the universities from politicians who might want to install supporters and donors in decision-making roles. Putting people in those positions that are not qualified could hurt the universities' excellent reputations. 
"I view this request as a continuation of unusual interruption in our business by the political arm of our state government," Knott said. 
Knott said a powerful politician demanded that their candidate become the next president of the 17-campus system. "A person with power" in the Legislature directed former university board chairman John Fennebresque to select that lawmaker's choice as the next university system president, Knott said. He refused to offer details to back up his allegation 
Former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings got the job last month. Fennebresque resigned days later. 
A spokeswoman for Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, declined comment. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, didn't respond to a request for comment. 
"We shouldn't deal in rumor-mongering," board member Marty Kotis said, urging Knott to produce some evidence of the arm-twisting. "The issue is that we are appointed by the Legislature. We are a body that exists because they have appointed us. They are elected by the people of the state. The people of this state own this university" and deserve to know more about what's going on. 
The big pay raises approved in secret comes during a rocky year for university governors that started with their sudden decision to force out current president Tom Ross, followed by a presidential search largely done in private to keep the candidates confidential, and legislative criticism of that closed-door process. 
The board waited until three days after the Oct. 30 meeting, after the big pay raises took effect, to disclose their decisions. On Friday, the board refused to release to the public the same records shared with lawmakers. Governing board vice chairman Louis Bissette said that's because the records contain confidential personnel details. Salaries of public employees must be disclosed under state law. A summary will be released next week, Bissette said. 
The legislative demand comes ahead of a meeting Wednesday where lawmakers will review the board's recent actions.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Corporate Coup D'Etat

Corporate Dixiecrat Version of ESEA Moves Closer to Passage

The latest version of the Elementary and Secondary Act to replace NCLB moved ever closer in the past couple of days, as a deal was struck on a final version that will be tinkered with over the next two or three weeks before a final vote that will come after Thanksgiving.

The new deal keeps enough of the federal requirements to make the testing industry breathe a sigh of relief, as annual testing will be remain in place.  Also, and importantly for the charter industry, the Feds will continue to require states to continue interventions for the bottom 5 percent of schools. 

So the charter profiteers will have plenty of room for growth (there will always be a bottom 5 percent), and even more importantly, Orrin Hatch and Michael Bennett made sure that billions will be available to fund the well-connected no excuses segregated chain gangs that have a record of high test scores:
“Too often, we fund unproven programs with little to show in the way of results. More of our federal dollars should work to encourage innovative programs and practices that can demonstrate significant education outcomes. Our Education and Innovation Research Program establishes a dedicated funding stream to support the development and expansion of evidence-based programs and practices designed and implemented by educators and local communities.”
Additionally, the new "dedicated revenue stream" will allow federal grants to other corporate welfare artists besides charter operators:
  • The Education Innovation and Research amendment would create a dedicated funding stream to support the development and scale up of evidence-based practices that encourage innovations in policy and practice.
  • This grant would provide flexible funding for a broad range of locally-driven projects and allow schools, districts, non-profits, and small businesses to develop proposals based on the specific needs of students and the community.
  • Grants would be awarded based on past success, with funding levels tied to the strength of the evidence the applicant is able to present of their program’s effectiveness.
Importantly, too, for the new states rights version of ESEA, the Secretary of Education and her federal department cannot provided oversight or corrective intervention in any way with states' decisions on how the billions of federal grants are spent. 

If the current version passes, federal education policy will be largely decentralized, which will require fifty battles, instead of one, to be waged by the small army that makes up the corporate education resistance movement.

We can thank the Ravitch's NPE, the NEA, AFT, and Fairtest for their eager support of this corporate welfare version of ESEA.   Once the passage becomes inevitable, we can count on all that former support to begin the transformation to opposition.