Friday, September 16, 2011

Fool Me 200 Times

When I read articles like this one about Race to the Top, I see red. What's communicated here is the urgent need for money. After all, I'm broke, you're broke, the state is broke, education funds are cut, and we desperately need every break we can get. But New York may not get the funds, because the awful selfish unions insist on following the deal they brokered with the state. Why can't they just shut the hell up, do what they're told, and take the goshdarn money, for goodness sake?

That's what you might take away from this article and many like it. What you might not know is that the RttT funds cannot be used to, say, reduce class size. They can't be used to provide better materials for your kid. They can't be used to bump up teacher salaries and attract more candidates. In fact, they can only be used to promote more untested, unsubstantiated "reforms" like the very teacher evaluation system that's discussed in the article.

The agreement hammered out between the state and the union was that 20% will be based on statewide value-added measures, which are total crap. However, the state decided it needed 40% total crap, and if we can't have double the crap we could lose the funds, and thus preclude even more expensive crap from being introduced to our educational system. How are we going to whore ourselves out to the the Waltons and the Koch brothers if we don't adequately finance these measures?

On the bright side, municipalities are supposed to negotiate another 20% of local measurements, and if they are lucky, they can arrange for this to be as crappy as the first 20%. Of course, those evil unions might push for something reasonable, thus crushing the ambitions of the zillionaires who introduced this nonsense so as to get rid of unionized teachers. After all, the fewer job protections working people have, the more money rich people can take, and the middle class can be wiped out ever more quickly.

It's discouraging that the public is fed such nonsense about RttT, which is simply a program to impose Bill Gates' druthers on a gullible and incurious public. It's a disgrace that our President, a Democrat, is so eager to impose the will of billionaires onto the entire country. "Hope and change" indeed. This is the same nonsense we might have expected from his predecessor.

In 2012, I hope we get a real choice. Because Barack Obama and Arne Duncan clearly work for Bill Gates and the Wal-Mart family.  If this is to be a genuine democracy, we're gonna need someone to represent you and me.

Who might that be?
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