Monday, April 26, 2010

Ignorance by Design

It's kind of incredible to see the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States ask what the difference is between email and pagers.  I mean, these are the people who are supposedly making the most important decisions in the country, and their chief is utterly out of touch with the way a large number of us communicate.  I wonder whether or not he knows telegrams are extinct.

On a local level, NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has this to say about the legislation to eliminate last-in, first-out for NYC teachers:

“Nobody I’ve talked to thinks seniority is a rational way to go,”
I take the Chancellor at his word.  But it's pretty clear he doesn't get out much.  He's in a bubble, just like Chief Justice Roberts.  But Klein is not simply resistant to newfangled trends like computers--he's the head of a school system, and holds such disdain for working teachers that he doesn't bother even talking to them.  It's certainly true there are some teachers who don't like the current system, as the article attests.  I've been in their position and I don't blame them.

Clearly Klein talks to whom he wishes, and ignores absolutely everyone else.  As a model, he trots out DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who fired hundreds of teachers due to budget cuts, and then--Oops!--found 34 million, lost it, and found 29 million.   Perhaps he finds that sort of creative mathematics inspirational.  On the other hand, to an objective observer, it appears more delusional.  And having our jobs at the mercy of someone as disingenuous as Rhee, or blatantly and deliberately out of touch as Klein is simply unacceptable.

Such attitudes are hardly what I'd demand from a role model or teacher, let alone a schools chancellor.
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