Chris Christie, Filmmakers & The LA Times

Most hopeful sign of impending reform in my book is not the tea parties (though probably the phenomena are related, and I'm not dissing the TPs, just looking for action) but people of all stripes taking on the teacher's unions. Not just the NJ Fat Man, but two liberal filmmakers and the LA Times, in a hard-hitting series summarized here.
The Times has done its readers a great service by exposing Duffy, Weingarten, and Nunez as enemies of open inquiry, vigorous debate, critical thinking, and holding authority accountable—essentially the cognitive arts that students are supposed to be taught in schools. That Duffy, Weingarten, and Nunez don't bother to mount a serious defense of Los Angeles teachers indicates they have no case. Their only job—and they know it—is to protect the jobs of the members of their unions. 
So far I haven't seen any practical change or reform, but the fact that is now acceptable to criticize the teachers' unions is both a win for free speech and seemingly a sign that people have had enough. The union response to a series of articles with a searchable database analyzing test scores and teacher effectiveness? Try to boycott the paper.

On another note, here's a finding from the LA Times that seems to me to apply to all schools everywhere. Namely, that your kid is at the mercy of his teacher moreso than the school itself.
• Contrary to popular belief, the best teachers were not concentrated in schools in the most affluent neighborhoods, nor were the weakest instructors bunched in poor areas. Rather, these teachers were scattered throughout the district. The quality of instruction typically varied far more within a school than between schools.

• Although many parents fixate on picking the right school for their child, it matters far more which teacher the child gets. Teachers had three times as much influence on students' academic development as the school they attend. Yet parents have no access to objective information about individual instructors, and they often have little say in which teacher their child gets.
Oh, and I should have mentioned Mayor Adrian Fenty and  Michele Rhee in DC. Fenty may well lose re-election over his commitment to Rhee and her laudable efforts with DC schools, but the two of them and their willingness to take on teachers' unions are another sign of life that cuts across the political spectrum.