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.