First is the E4E website itself. It's certainly nicely done, as it should be--it's powered by Media Mezcla Campaign Engine, which provides tools for politicians to run campaigns. I wonder how two low-salaried teachers managed to put up a website using expensive software that politicians use in their campaigns? A suspicious person might infer that these two fine newbie teachers somehow managed to hook up with powerful, moneyed pols, but we all know that couldn't be, could it? In any case, one of their goals is to join the "debate" on how to improve schools, apparently by eviscerating them. Toward this end, they have a blog that does not accept comments. So much for debate.
A bigger bone to pick with E4E is that they brainlessly list two contradictory goals on their "Declaration" page, to wit:
- Reestablishing tenure as a significant professional milestone through the use of a comprehensive teacher evaluation system and
- Eliminating the practice of "Last In, First Out" for layoffs
Perhaps these two don't understand that tenure is already a significant professional milestone. A teacher must produce results for three years, and can be fired for any reason whatsoever before that time frame elapses. How E4E plans to make tenure more rigorous remains unclear; it seems to me that getting fired for any reason is already pretty rigorous. Perhaps E4E would like those who fail to attain tenure to be drawn and quartered or slammed in the iron maiden.
What the E4E crew fails to get is that eliminating seniority for layoffs effectively renders tenure meaningless. What good is tenure when you can be fired any time the mayor declares a fiscal crisis? Fiscal crises happen in NYC with greater regularity than ethnic street fairs. Let's see how far tenure gets you when your principal hands you a pink slip and sends you skidding down the street on your hindquarters.
Of course, none of this probably matters much to the E4E crew. I doubt their ultimate ambition is to be great teachers. More likely, they want to be the Grand Wizards of education--superintendents or better. If layoffs were based on the ability to brown nose and kiss Joel Klein's wrinkled ass, these two would have jobs for life.So the E4E crew get awarded a pair of matching dunce caps. Which, when you think about it, look kind of Klannish, which seems to fit.