Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thank You Sir. May I Have Another?

Over and over, we lie down with dogs, and marvel at the ensuing fleas. We invite Bill Gates to investigate what makes teachers "effective." He comes in and tests cameras in classrooms, because everyone knows those foul teachers cannot be trusted unless you monitor them every second. We invite him to speak at our convention, and the following week he attacks the wastefulness of those bloated teacher pensions, wondering aloud why we can't eat cat food like other elderly folk who aren't Bill Gates.

We endorse mayoral control, because who knows how bad it can be, and besides this Bloomberg fellow goes to baseball games with Randi Weingarten. He must be OK. Then after it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster, we make a list of improvements we'd like before we'll accept its renewal. When we don't get them, we support its renewal anyway.

We allow them to get rid of seniority transfers, and give power to principals to have absolute veto over incoming teachers. We design an open market that allows anyone to transfer anywhere, as long as principals think it's OK. Who woulda thunk that principals preferred malleable new teachers at half salary to grizzled old opinionated veterans? After all, just because those are the only people that get hired in the suburbs, why should it apply to us? And when thousands of teachers end up rotting in the Absent Teacher Reserve, demoralized and demonized, we are shocked, and state because more teachers transferred in the new program than the old, it is an unmitigated success.

We make a deal to reduce class size. The deal is so full of holes a tank could drive through it, but we declare victory anyway. When class sizes go up anyway, despite our deal and almost a billion dollars in CFE funds, we wonder how it could've happened.

Finally, we make a deal to allow value-added be part of teacher evaluations. Sure, it has no validity, but everybody's doing it, so where's the problem? We cleverly allow it to be only 20% of our evaluation, while other states are making it 50, and declare victory yet again. When the state passes a law allowing it to be double, we say, gee, how the heck did that happen? And Governor Cuomo, our good bud, is gonna do a Race to the Top and withhold money if we choose to exercise our option to negotiate, and turn down whatever abysmal offer Tweed comes up with.

Gee, how could this be happening? I thought we'd had it all taken care of.
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