Two important victories have recently been reported for teachers and education in the US, both centring on New York, its financial capital.

Firstly, teachers in New York, working for the global education corporation, Kaplan, have won union rights and proper contracts after a long struggle. Despite the fact that the company was making multi-million dollar profits, teachers were kept on part-time contracts with no holiday pay and a salary only slightly above the minimum wage.

The teachers were organised by the Newspaper Guild of New York. It is not clear to this writer why this was the case rather than the more obvious United Federation of Teachers, which represents public school staff in the city. However after a long and determined struggle, the teachers have won recognition. They fought in a very creative way, for example making a video which used the corporations own advertising technique to further the cause of the teachers. They also reached out to communities and to other groups of workers for solidarity. This is only the second time that teachers in the for-profit education sector in the US have succeeded in organising, so it is a very significant victory.

Meanwhile, in a major blow to companies like Amplify and Pearson, which are already making mega profits from data driven education and are looking to make more, the Gates funded project inBloom has folded. The project would have seen student data on everything from social security numbers, absence reports, behaviour and grades, collected and kept and used ostensibly to create learning materials. A huge campaign was mounted against it, both from those opposed to the collection of data and the invasion of privacy, and those who were concerned as well about the marketisation of education and the disruption of the relationship between teacher and child.

The decision of the New York legislature not to commission inBloom was the final nail in the coffin for the project. No-one should imagine that the data driven 'reformers' have gone away however. The CEO of inBloom, Iwan Streichenberger, said in statement:

We have realized that this concept is still new, and building public acceptance for the solution will require more time and resources than anyone could have anticipated.

No doubt the rhetoric and propaganda machine of the Gates foundation and others will now go into overdrive as they seek to convince parents that such systems are best for their children. However this victory and the one by the brave New York Teachers at Kaplan are both important in the fight against the neo-liberal education 'reform' project.