Monday, April 30, 2012

Go Knit a Scarf

That's what I want to tell Governor 1% Cuomo's brother in law, Kenneth Cole, after reading about his teacher-bashing bulletin board the other day. A friend of mine set up a petition to protest this nonsense, while another says we ought not to give him the attention the billboard seems to demand.

It could indeed be that Cuomo's brother in law simply wants attention for his product, and that he hopes this blows up into some controversy. But I wonder how this would look if he pitted one racial or religious group against another, rather than simply pushing the tired motif of teachers vs. students. This is pretty much the standard playbook of "reformers," who trot it out as children first, students first, and Governor 1% calling himself a student lobbyist.

One thing all these demagogues don't tell you is that teaching conditions and learning conditions are often identical. Hence, the folks who put "Children first, always," dump my students and me into a trailer. Bloomberg, in 2007, said he'd get rid of trailers by 2012. He later clarified and said he would not. In fact, there are just as many trailers today as when he said he'd get rid of them.

Another thing they forget is that our fondest wish for children in our care is that they grow up. If they trash and degrade the jobs facing them when that happens, they're hardly doing anyone any favors. Perhaps Mr. Cole would like today's children to work under the same conditions as those in his Bangladesh factories. Maybe he'd like to see our unions treated like theirs.

Now I can't read Cole's mind. But short of a public apology, I won't ever spend a dime on anything with his name on it, and I had no problem signing the petition.
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