Friday, February 18, 2011

An Asshat By Any Other Name

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.



NYC Educator said...

I gotta say, your new title really captures something. Pithy, direct, and apt.

Chaz said...

My ex chapter leader had a good name for these stooges. Educators 4 excrement

Bronx Teacher said...

Oh this is brilliant. Too fucking funny.

BronxEnglish said...

Apropos as hell. ME4ME is precisely what they should be called. They are such narcissistic, whiny A$$holes. . . it actually raises my blood pressure to read their articles. It's embarrassing to think of these people as being teachers. They don't deserve that title. As much as our profession has been denigrated, we teachers. . . true teachers. . . know what we really do for our students. . . and the true role we play. And to have these people use the same moniker is actually offensive and mortifying.

Anonymous said...

This week E4E said, "...a teacher's learning curve grows steeply during the first four years, then plateaus." Well, if this is so, then Ruben, a 4 year teacher, who readily admitted that his scores sucked, should leave for the sake of the children. According to E4E, I don't think we'll see any improvement from him. The kids deserve better.

NYC Educator said...

Wow. They really said that? I thought only Bill Gates was that ignorant. Well, he pays them, I suppose, to believe whatever he does. 160K is chump change for him.

Mr. Talk said...

Yes, they really said that. Here's the exact quote from their "white paper": Seniority-based layoffs hurt schools and students for multiple reasons. First, without considering
performance in layoffs, many highly effective teachers will be lost, while less effective teachers
remain in the classroom. We can tell whether teachers are likely to be great within four years of
their entering the classroom: a teacher's learning curve grows steeply during the first four years of teaching, then plateaus.

You can view it for yourself on page 4 of

Jeff Kaufman said...

You're still with the "f" rated school. I agree that the e4e (me4me) crowd are self-absorbed anti-union types but the name calling and divisiveness must end. What turns a me4me into a all4all are experiences where they must call upon their colleagues, Chapter Leaders or Union for help. Our "f" rated school was not based on was based on graduation rates in a second chance high school. Costa will learn that the DOE in concocting this measure did nothing but assure that our school will close despite our teaching. The struggle must be against all misdirected and irrelevant measures included me4me's "taking ability into account for layoff purposes."

Mr. Talk said...

Jeff, trust me. I am not the enemy here. I fully agree that school report cards are meaningless, as are TDR reports. They tell you little to nothing about teacher performance because school populations vary wildly and can not be neatly controlled for by some obscure mathematical algorithm.

Unfortunately, Michelle Costa and her ilk would use those measures to throw you and me out of our jobs. I don't believe this is a simple task of waiting for the truth to dawn on these people. They have already made up their minds that the UFT is the enemy. When they come at me with a machine gun, I have no desire to meet them with a bouquet of roses.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Talk,
I have a slightly different take on Ruben's pity party. Notice his mention in the comments section of practicing what he preaches. My theory is that the post you are referring to is part of the set up. At the end of the year, Ruben is going to leave teaching for a higher paying job with either ME4ME or RHEE4RHEE, and, he's going to cite his poor ratings as a teacher for the reason. He will say he is leaving the profession, not for a better paying job or because his ambitious always were for something more, deal lord no, but, because he wasn't effective so he removed himself from the classroom. Now, he will support policy to forcefully remove other ineffective teachers from the classroom and claim he did it, so, he is justified in pushing that policy.

With the number of ME4ME folks showing up in a number of media sources, I'd have trouble believing they are actively planning many of these forays into the media. You'll notice that the majority of the articles are presented as if they're just a regular teacher who aren't pushing an agenda, but, are merely expresses an opinion off the top of their head. Much like the tea party was created as a right wing front pretending to be grass roots, ME4ME seems to be taking a page from their book and serving their corporate masters effectively.

Anonymous said...

erm... type, "I'd have trouble believing they **aren't**"