Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Stop the war on teachers and students and unions.

Matt Damon standing up for teachers and unions.

We live under the dictatorship of the activist billionaire. As I understand it  Bill Gates, who never taught a roomful of public school kids got a bug up his ass one fine day and Michael Bloomberg caught the bug. They are public figures who are heard and listened to because they are rich. And they've been thinking about public schools, that they are businesses. This idea runs head on into what once was common knowledge and what once seemed fair and reasonable: That in general a person becomes better at his job with experience, and so her pay should also improve. 

That was then, this is now. School principals are not lead educators. In much vaunted charter schools a principal may never have been a teacher at all. He's in charge of the school's budget. Senior teachers cost more than newbies. They got raises. They're more likely to use medical benefits. Besides, what the hell is a good teacher anyhow? She only needs to follow a script to get her pupils ready for multiple choice tests that demonstrate her proficiency. She needn't grade assignments. Marking a student paper with corrections attacks pupil self esteem! Use the assignments to uncover and address pupil shortcomings? The kid can benefit more from learning multiple test taking strategies!

But Eugene, budgets are important, and what about deadwood teachers? Remember when unions and Civil Service kept them on the job?

Often bad teachers stayed in place because it was difficult to remove them. This also was often an excuse for inaction. Due process protects workers from arbitrary and capricious action. Where it's needed amendments could be accomplished by good faith negotiations. What we have now is a devaluation of the profession of teaching. They are diminished by cost cutters, not by educators. Michael Bloomberg, notorious locker room bully as an executive never sat in a public school classroom except for a photo opp. A billionaire boy in a bubble, he trashed public schools. 

In a world where one percent of the people have most of the wealth we need teachers strong in math and science as well as being skilled leaders. They cost money. They have a right to demand decent compensation and leeway in doing their jobs. 

Much better to have children who are fed well, whose fathers have jobs and live at home. Teachers cannot be scapegoat for ills of society and the mass in incarceration of minority men. To learn how to pass a multiple choice test is not to be educated. That is training, not education.


  1. Don't know why last comment seemed not to go through -- but to say in a nutshell --
    the educational policies that are driving good teachers out of the system and mandating
    excessive testing and test prep are coming from Washington, D.C. and are continuing
    post Bloomberg in NYC. Most appeals of U-ratings are sham procedures and almost
    impossible to overturn. The attack on tenured teachers is now in the arena of our
    judicial system. California won a case to eliminate tenure for teachers on a bogus
    civil rights claim that our children are being deprived of an education. Arnie Duncan,
    spokesperson for the Obama administration on educational policy -- applauded the
    California case and stated -- the elimination of tenure for teachers must be a national mandate. Bloomberg is out -- but the same injustices continue under De Blasio because mayors are carrying out what is being mandated nationally and state-wide as

    1. No debate here. I was musing on the powers that derive from being filthy rich. I believe that Gates was the intellectual author of the current educational fad and Bloomberg an early apostle. No mainstream politicians are going to go against this trend. In fact I had a passenger from Canada, I don't remember if he was from.Manitoba or Saskatchewan, he was telling me that the same sit was happening to him, a veteran teacher with awards on his wall. I'd guess the same kind of stuff is happening in many places.