Monday, September 27, 2010

The Other Shoes Drop

You saw this coming, didn't you? After a week long orgy of teacher bashing, including the Oprah show, Waiting for Superman, and the ridiculous Education Nation hate fest on MSNBC, the other shoes have finally dropped. Having made education a "crisis", politicians are salivating at the opportunity of turning all that ill will to their benefit.

Barack Obama announced his desire to extend the school year by a month. Then Mayor4Life Bloomberg, who doesn't believe in lifetime jobs except for himself, announced that he wants an end to seniority based layoffs and to make getting tenure tougher.

I have a few questions. First, for Obama: Extending the school year immediately adds an extra ten percent to the work year. Does you expect us to work for free, or will you take the money from food stamps like you did when funding Race to the Top?

Now for Bloomberg: You failed miserably last time when trying to change seniority rules, so what makes you think you'll succeed this time? And why all the posturing on tenure when you know damn well that untenured teachers can be fired for any reason as the system now stands?

Obama and Mayor4Life are trotting out the old shock doctrine again. They're trying to manufacture a crisis in education and then propose the "solutions" that they wanted in the first place. Bush used the shock doctrine after 9-11 to invade Iraq despite the fact that they had no WMDs. Now the president and the job-for-life mayor are using a phony educational crisis to implement the "reforms" they wanted all along.

This was predictable. They've used the shock doctrine against us before. See here, here, and here. Fortunately, it has been a failure in the case of seniority, and I think it will fail again.

But that's not enough. It's time to make politicians pay when they try to ruin careers. That includes any politician who would even consider a change to last in first out, as well as Obama himself when 2012 rolls around. We've seen what happens when the union stands on the sidelines as in the last mayoral election. The UFT should urge all teachers to stay home from the polls in 2012 if Obama doesn't change his tune pronto, and to actively oppose state legislators who support a change in either tenure or seniority.


reality-based educator said...

Obama will use Title 1 to extend the school day and year.

In the NCLB blueprint the admin wrote up, Title 1 will be doled out by how "reform-minded" districts are, not by how many students from impoverished backgrounds attends schools in the district.

Theoretically under that definition, if the district of Scarsdale decides to become "reformy" they can receive some Title 1 funds.

But of course suburban districts do not need Title 1 funds. And besides, suburban soccer moms are not going to want to have their children in school all year round or for 9 hours a day.

So instead it will be urban districts that get the "reforms." And you can be sure that the op-ed writers at the tabloids and the Times and the Kaplan Test Prep/Wash Post have all been informed to nail any unions who oppose the longer school day and longer school year as "against the kids."

I wish I was feeling positive that we will be able to fight this stuff back. Unfortunately I sense that the unions, still reeling from the p.r. blitzkrieg against teachers the past few weeks, will cave on this stuff.

We'll see.

It feels like the p.r. is starting to work. I have two friends who work outside education and both were parroting the ed deform line last week - one after she saw the Oprah jive, the other after he read the Times article about Newark. These are smart people, but they have bought the ed deform stuff hook, line and sinker.

That worries me.

That said, I relish the night when Obama goes down to defeat. I think that will happen in 2012.

What worries me is that we will be looking at President Chris Christie instead.

Chaz said...

I am waiting for the union to fight back against the ed deformers before I die

NYC Educator said...

Bloomberg, actually, has been talking the same talk for years. It's just that NBC has given him this forum right now. I'm really gobstruck that you guys have the stomach to sit through it.

I won't vote for Obama or Cuomo. No more votes for teacher bashers or corporatists in Democrat clothing. Howie Hawkins for Governor, and if he doesn't win, so be it.

Today, 36 days before the election, Andrew Cuomo discovered Harlem. NPR reported resident were less than impressed.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg makes it seem that tenure is given automatically to new teachers.
I've been in schools where incompetent teachers were denied tenure by principals who knew what they were doing.
The system works.
Question: Do policemen and/or firemen have such things as tenure and how is it granted to them?

Anonymous said...

NYC Ed, I'm with you on how my vote will be cast. No betrayers of the hopes of educators will get a vote from me; nor will anyone like little "the unions must sacrifice" Andy Cuomo. Anon 7:35, the police and fire unions are basically run by guys who have actual "balls".

cara said...

It is definitely sparking conversation. These are so many educational issues. Teachers spend time and energy doing the best they can with the money they earn. Many buy their own teaching supplies and don't think twice about it.