Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Top Ten Blots on Education for 2009

As we look back in horror at the education landscape of 2009, a few individuals stood out. Originally, I wanted to crown them "douchebags" because it's such a nasty sounding word. I looked it up in the urban dictionary and a douchebag is defined as "...a pretentious, sugar coated prick, but with emphasis on pretentious and sugar coated. It's not an adjective for an asshole, because assholes call other people douchebags, and assholes are more often than not proud of being assholes." Another definition says that a douchebag "can also be described as an overzealous, pompous, or vexatious asshole that most people wish were killed with a Mortal Kombat fatality." So there are definitely some people on the following list who, in my opinion, would have qualified, but a few didn't quite reach that storied low. And since it's a season for charitable feelings let's just say they're "blots".

Keep in mind that the following list is merely my opinion. These honorees most likely have mothers who love them, and perhaps even some friends. Still, as far as I am concerned, these individuals made being a teacher even more difficult than it already was in 2009. If you have any additional people to add, please write about them in the comments section.

10. Ariel Sacks--As a 4th year teacher, Ariel stepped up to the plate to deliver a diatribe against ATRs, many of whom have more than five times her experience, and pronounced them all unhireable. To her credit, it seems that Ariel learned something from the vitriolic outburst that hit her right between the eyes, and revised some of her comments. Nevertheless, as a UFT member, her comments were enough of a betrayal to earn her the 10th spot on our list.

9. David Patterson--As governor of New York, Patterson has decided to save money by eliminating metrocards for high school students who have to travel to get to school. This affects all students who need transportation, but disproportionately affects poor and minority students who can't afford to get to school or who must leave their neighborhood to get a decent education.

8. Eva Moskowitz--While actual students will be unable to afford transportation, former City Council member Eva Moskowitz managed to wrangle $371,000 in salary from the city by running some charter schools. As far as I can tell, her only qualification to run schools appears to be her extraordinary teacher bashing skills. Eva also tried to grab space for one of her charters by taking it from PS 123 without the approval of the DOE.

7. Your Principal--I don't know your principal. But I'm still willing to take a chance that you think he/she would qualify, even though mine would not.

6. Stephen Brill--Author of a completely biased article on rubber rooms, Mr. Brill managed to snag the 6 spot with a bit of journalism that even the New York Post would have been proud of.

5. Matt Polazzo--Even though Matt's call to rip up the UFT contract that protects his privileged ass did less harm than Brill's piece, Polazzo beats him out because like Ariel Sacks, he is a UFT member and should know better. Ignorance is no excuse. Apparently, Polazzo feels he is safe from the DOE because he can garner the support of a few hundred equally privileged students from Stuyvesant who protect him by posting on Facebook. I say, let's send him to Jamaica High School where he can become an ATR himself, and let's see how far his posse gets him.

4. Randi Weingarten--The former UFT president would have ranked higher on the list but she did us the tremendous favor of getting the hell out to become AFT president. She also put Mike Mulgrew in her place, who, so far, has not done anything idiotic. Randi was rumored to have formed some sort of alliance with Mike Bloomberg to sign a contract in exchange for the UFT staying neutral in the election, but apparently Randi couldn't even get that right.

3. Arne Duncan--Obama's Secretary of Education who brought the policies that failed in his Chicago schools, blended them with the failed policies of NYC schools, and is now in charge of 4 billion in RttT funds which he is using as a club to get states to union bust. As a teacher from 1990 to 1992, he has less experience than Ariel Sacks.

2. Joel Klein--No list of education deformers would be complete without the current chancellor of NYC schools. After eight years at the helm, schools are only doing marginally better on the NAEP than when he started, despite a longer school day and endless test prep. While he bears an uncanny resemblance to Professor Moriarty, he possesses none of the reasoning skills of that archvillain. Teachers hate him, admins hate him, and parents hate him. None of this matters, however, as he is liked by the one person who matters...our number one blot on the education landscape...

1. Michael Bloomberg--As the newly emboldened Mayor4Life, Bloomberg has called for an end to tenure and seniority. He has closed 20 more schools this year, thus adding to the ATR crisis which he blames on the teachers themselves. He wants to lay off senior teachers as a money saving strategy while he flies helicopters around Copenhagen pretending to care for the masses and the environment. He'd like to fire all ATRs and those in the rubber rooms, and it appears he wants to deny teachers the measly 4% he gave other unions despite humping the concept of pattern bargaining in his first two (legal) terms. Class sizes have increased under his watch despite an influx of money from the CFE lawsuit. His personal wealth has quadrupled this decade while teachers have to beg for the paltry $150 in Teacher's Choice funds we need to buy chalk.

That's it for this year. Enjoy the next few days off, because you can bet that some of the people on this list will be working hard to make a repeat performance in 2010.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Sachs is truly pukearific. Mr. Solazzo makes runner up for his profound ignorance about what the contract actually does.

Miss Eyre said...

My principal drives me crazy sometimes, but I'm pretty sure s/he has good intentions. I wouldn't put him/her on the list.

Anonymous said...

On target with Bloomberg and Kline.
Let's not forget that the bureacracy of the DOE increased in the past 8 years but nothing more is accomplished.

Cynthia said...

What exactly makes Stuyvesant students so privileged? They work their asses off and come from some pretty humble beginnings, so what is it about them that invalidates their support for Mr. Polazzo?

Mr. Talk said...

Cynthia--you're privileged by the very fact that you get to attend a top notch high school like Stuyvesant that is in no danger of being closed. I am sure you work hard, but so do many students at other high schools and their dreams of graduating from those schools are being shattered.

Polazzo should consider himself quite privileged to work in a school with highly motivated students and almost no discipline problems. When you work with top kids, I guess it's easy to call for teachers who work in tough schools to be fired. Something tells me that if we dropped Polazzo in a rough high school, he'd understand what many other teachers go through. Either that, or he'd quit within a month.

Ariel Sacks said...

Correction: Ariel Sacks is a 6th year teacher not 4th. As for the rest, you are entitled to your opinion and as you noted there were some errors in my original post. I would like to say that we will likely be in this together for a long time so real dialogue, without douchebag -calling might make for a better 2010. Peace