Monday, September 12, 2011

Joe Biden Seeks Teacher Voices

This week, UFT chapter leaders and delegates received an extraordinary invite:

Vice President Joe Biden invites you and your colleagues in education to join him for a conference call on Monday, Sept. 12 to discuss the administration’s commitment to preventing teacher layoffs.

Wow. A chance to discuss what this administration has done to prevent teacher layoffs. A chance to ask why they would praise a school for firing the entire staff. A chance to ask why on earth they would pick an Education Secretary with  failed local program and replicate it for the entire country. A chance to ask why they would bypass Linda Darling-Hammond for for Arne Duncan simply because an anti-labor, anti-teacher group asked them to.

But then there's this:

This will be a listen-in-only call for UFT members.

You know, it's kind of frustrating when we see a spectacle like NBC's Education Nation largely exclude the likes of Diane Ravitch from what's purported to be a discussion. It's even more frustrating to be invited to a discussion in which you cannot participate. Frankly, if VP Biden wishes to "discuss the administration’s commitment to preventing teacher layoffs" with union members, why the hell won't he entertain their questions?

This administration has sold out to DFER and the "reformers." Admirable though it may be that they're trying to save teacher jobs now that election time is rolling around, their motives are nothing if not transparent (and cynical). While I certainly won't be voting for Michelle Bachman or Rick Perry, Barack Obama fooled me once and, absent some spectacular sea change,  I won't be voting for him again either.

Time for more than desperate last-minute gestures and one-way discussions, Mr. Biden. The very least you can do if you want our support is listen to us.
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