Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the name Asshats4Education when discussing the scabs at E4E. I think Reality-Based Educator should be inducted into the Ed Bloggers Hall of Fame for coining it, and it has been my privilege to run with the name. It thrills me to no end to see them referred to as A$E all over the blogosphere. Still, there's something dissatisfying about the name.
It doesn't capture their essence. They are asshats, to be sure; I don't think anyone can deny that. But the phrase misses why they are so adroit at wearing their buttocks as head gear. Sure, they are greedy, pretentious bastards who want to take down the union, but it's more than that. I couldn't figure it out until I went back and reread some things from our old pals Ruben Brosbe and Michelle Costa, both proud wearers of fanny fedoras. That's when it hit me.
Read Ruben's post again (at your own risk; those with nervous issues and stomach problems should seek medical advice before reading). What struck me about it is that he spent much of the time whining about himself and his issues. It was all about him. "I suck! My data sucks! I'm being picked on! Me me ME!" Sure, he threw the obligatory "I must improve for the children!" gag at the end, but that was a personal pity party just like the one he shared with the New York Post when his TDR numbers bit the big one.
You might say that you can't blame ol' Rube for feeling a bit self-absorbed after discovering that he isn't the only one who thinks his teaching stinks on ice. Maybe. But what was really telling were the comments. Teachers--real teachers who do this job for decades and not as a farce or a resume filler--actually rallied to Ruben's aid. They offered him advice, consolations, and words of encouragement. That is what teachers--real teachers--do. That is NOT what Ruben is doing. Rather than support his fellow teachers he is happily throwing them under the bus. For Ruben, it's all about "ME".
Pivot over to Michelle Costa, a young lady who also sports a buttocks beret. Not only did she pen a rather facile article denouncing her fellow teachers, she helped craft the now infamous A$E layoff recommendations (I use the word craft advisedly, as in, "I have to go craft a dump"). Read her drivel, if you can stomach it. She also likes the word "I" a lot. She tells us that she didn't become a teacher for the money, or the vacations--she did it for the kids (as opposed to the rest of us hammock swinging, check collecting vermin). She then goes on to tell us how senior teachers should be laid off in favor of wonderful, idealistic souls like her. She says these things despite that fact that she comes from an F rated school, and there is zero evidence that she can teach.
And again, despite her self-infatuation, she was defended in the comments by a real teacher--a colleague who would most likely lose his own job due to his union activism should her plans ever be realized. For him, it's about US--the union. For Michelle, it's all about her.
That, in the final analysis, is what good teaching is about. We do it for the kids, not for ourselves. Sydney and Evan ran away from teaching as soon as a Gates funded opportunity to stab their colleagues in the back came along. How long will it be before Ruben and Michelle do the same?
These E4E people are all about themselves. They aren't in it for anything noble, such as public education, or equal opportunity, or anything else. They are in it for "ME".
Therefore, I proposed that we start calling them ME4ME. That would be a more accurate description of what these asshats are all about.