Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cry Me A River

In an article that appeared for a while as the main piece on the home page of the New York Times, Javier C. Hernandez writes about the poor teachers in training who had their hearts set on dedicating their lives to the children of NYC public schools, only to have those hopes dashed by Bloomberg's hiring freeze. Of course, none of these individuals are teachers yet; they are career changers who lost jobs in the economic downturn, or TFA or TF hopefuls.

Excuse me, but just who promised these people that they'd get the exact job they wanted whenever they asked for it? One hopeful said: “Suddenly, overnight, I am rethinking my entire career,” said Ms. Patel, 30, a student at St. John’s University who left a job in the digital imaging industry to work as a substitute teacher and pursue an education degree. “It’s a very bleak point in time. It’s forced me to sort of look in a new direction.” The article is very sympathetic to Ms. Patel, and those like her. But if she's going to give up her new 'career' before she's even started, how long would she have lasted in a real classroom environment, where things rarely go as you'd wish?

Even more disturbing is that the article reads as if the ATRs, who will finally get justice and their jobs restored, are the ones to blame. Hernandez doesn't come out and say that, of course, but the sympathy with which he discusses aspiring teachers and the disdain he shows for ATRs is evident. He goes so far as to say that many of the ATRs were rated unsatisfactory. Really? How many, Mr. Hernandez? Do you know or is this all coming out your ass?

Why doesn't Mr. Hernandez have any sympathy for they teachers who have ALREADY earned their degrees, their certification, their positions, and their battle scars? Clearly, they should have been placed first from the get-go, and only the bumbling negotiating skills of Weingarten prevented that from happening.

I'm tired of so-called reporters like Hernandez dressing up op-ed pieces as news. This isn't a news article; it is another in a series of tirades against senior teachers. Why does Mr. Hernandez feel more pity for aspiring teachers than he does for teachers who have spent decades of their lives working for kids only to lose their positions through no fault of their own?

Ironically, both Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd wrote real Op-Ed pieces today on the inevitable collapse of the newspaper industry. Mr. Hernandez is rather like the ATRs he villifies--he has a job now, but may not for much longer, through no fault of his own. I wonder who he will pity then. Maybe he'll end up on the unemployment line with a few teachers. What goes around....

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