It's touching to see that NY Times columnist David Brooks is so concerned about education. He asks whether presumptive Democratic nominee Obama Barack is concerned with "reform" or "status quo." It's interesting that for Mr. Brooks, it's either one or the other. There are no gray areas.
It makes no difference, of course, that uber-reformer Joel Klein has been sitting around Tweed for 6 years and has blundered his way through three reorganizations that failed to substantively improve anything whatsoever. It makes no difference that he couldn't register improvements on test scores he couldn't manipulate. The 80-million dollar Aris computer debacle, leaving young children stranded outside on the coldest day of the year, the huge investments in ineffectual touchy-feely math and reading programs, labeling persistently dangerous schools as excellent, closing rather than fixing neighborhood schools, failing to provide services for kids in need...
These things are not important at all. The thing worth mentioning, as Tweedies have repeatedly told me, is, "At least we're doing something." Those of us who Mr. Brooks has relegated to the "status quo" category want to know this---Why the hell don't you try doing something that works?
However, whether or not things work is of no consequence whatsoever to Mr. Brooks. For years now, Mr. Brooks has been offering us his wisdom on Iraq. According to Mr. Brooks, everything in Iraq is fine, and everything there has always been fine. Like John McCain just said, it doesn't matter how long we stay there. The important thing, apparently, is that companies like Blackwater and Haliburton continue to reap huge profits at taxpayer expense.
Never mind we're borrowing 3 billion dollars a week from China to finance this endless affair, and don't worry if our children are tens of thousands of dollars in debt before they're even born.
The important thing, again, is to keep privatizing regardless of consequences. In education, that means turning public schools into playgrounds for billionaires. While my kids sit with me in a filthy trailer or an unventilated closet, billionaire Courtney Ross gets the state-of-the-are facilities at Tweed for her grand experiment, runs through five principals in two years, can't hold onto teachers, and is now accused of doctoring test scores.
Make no mistake about it--"reforms" don't mean getting decent facilities for children. They mean undermining and eventually destroying union protections for working people. They mean our kids will grow up and work as many hours as KIPP now makes them go to school.
I've heard many "reformers" say, "Gee, I'd love to pay teachers more, but those darn union contracts make it impossible." Well, I'm a lowly New York City teacher, and I make more money than the overwhelming majority of private non-union school teachers, including those in KIPP.
If you believe columnists like David Brooks give a damn about your children and mine, please email me at your earliest convenience. I can get you an excellent deal on the structure pictured above.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.