Tuesday, December 03, 2013

NY Times Uncritically Hypes Corporate Agenda

The next time I read or hear that education is the civil rights issue of our time, I'm going to projectile vomit. So you'd best get out of my way quickly. Reformy John is no Dr. King, no matter what the paper of record may believe.

Tonight John and Silent Merryl have yet another meeting with New Yorkers. They will sit, nod their heads, pretend they care what people say, and then go on their golly gosh-darn way doing whatever the hell they please. They'll say we need to stay the course, and perhaps they will make some adjustments, and blah, blah, blah.

Then the self-righteous corporate columnists from the NY Times will continue to claim, with no evidence whatsoever, that we need to move ahead with this untested and unproven Common Core mandate, because no one can possibly learn anything unless the hundreds of millions Bill Gates invested drive American public education. That's odd, because Gates himself has no idea whether the ideas he's forced on our children will work. He says it will take ten years to find out, and has no compunctions about using our children as guinea pigs.

Meanwhile, the great minds at the NY Times are keenly focused on helping education. The only way to do so, in their view, is to use not only reformy curricula that's never been tested, but also to use things that have never worked anywhere, like merit pay. Though it's been around for over a hundred years and has failed everywhere it's been tried, the NY Times editorial board can't be bothered doing any research whatsoever. After all, many of them wear bow ties, and if that isn't credibility, what is?

The Times has also had it with all this seniority nonsense. After all, it's better to use criteria like value-added, which has also never been proven effective anywhere. Perhaps the Times wishes us to use multiple measures, like who washed the principal's car most recently, or who spent last Tuesday at a Comfort Inn with the odd AP.

The Times also has issues with salary increasing as teachers spend more years in the system, because who the hell wishes to foster long-term commitment in a job like that? Better to declare TFA 6-week wonders highly-qualified, sweep them out after two or three years, then open up an entire new can of teachers to experiment on public school children.

Let's fire all the ATR teachers, most displaced for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. That's a much better idea than actually putting them to work. Why should we use working teachers to help children or reduce class sizes when we can simply fire them? Won't that be more beneficial to our most important educational goal--reducing the tax bill of Michael Bloomberg and his cronies?

And hey, let's make public schools more like charter schools. We've learned it's OK to drop entire cohorts, like Geoffrey Canada did, and to resist accepting representative populations, or public scrutiny, like Eva Moskowitz does. We've learned it's OK to pay obscene sums to charter leaders, and to share the wealth with Mike Bloomberg's other BFFs. Why not exclude high-needs kids from not only charters, but public schools as well? That will certainly raise those test scores, which are clearly the only measure of student achievement.

And let's give up on how many hours teachers work. Let's give them cell phones so they can answer questions 24-7, because teachers don't need private lives. They don't deserve social lives or families and neither do any working Americans. Such frivolities should be the exclusive province of writers who can't be bothered doing the most cursory research before issuing pontifications on how the rest of the world should live.

Because that's the sort of crap you get from the New York Times. And if they're this abysmal on education reporting, who knows what sort of crap you get if you rely on them for national and international news? They've blundered in the past, and their lame reporting may have been largely responsible for the wasteful debacle that is the Iraq war.

What will they surprise us with next?
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