Monday, June 16, 2014

Teacher Season Begins Nationwide

In the wake of Vergara, corporate reformers are smelling blood in the water, and see this as the time to pounce. How else would you explain the sudden return of education expert Campbell Brown to the tabloids, and the banner article on the cover of yesterday's Post? (I'm not linking to it.)

The recipe is quite simple. Take a few cases, sensationalize them, and apply them to every member of a group. This sort of argument resonates with the public. I hate that group of people. They get too many privileges. Who the hell do they think they are wanting to sit in front of the bus?

And no, I do not see the distinction between using this line of argument against teachers or against racial or ethnic groups. I'm honestly not certain the Post, or the DOE even knows what a bad teacher is. Thus, they grab whatever they can find, blow it up to define the teacher they pick, and then display that image as representative of all teachers. That's simply ridiculous.

When demagogues like Bloomberg pack children like sardines into trailers, hallways, bathrooms and worse, these self-appointed protectors of our children are completely silent. When money-grubbing parasites establish virtual charters in which kids don't even turn on their computers, you hear crickets. When the saviors of the universe, the charter school owners, fail to take in kids with extensive special needs, when they make parents jump through hoops, when they indulge in practices that exclude those who need the most help, that's fine as long as Eva Moskowitz can be compensated at a higher rate than, say, the President of the United States.

This is only the beginning. And unfortunately, PR is one area in which the UFT is even worse than other areas. I've repeatedly asked UFT to step up and work with the press, but they tell me they're afraid it will backfire. In fact, it's tough to imagine worse PR than what we get nowadays. I can find an outrageous misrepresentation, give it to the UFT, watch them do nothing, and write about it myself. Mind you, they actually pay people to deal with the press.

When my school was in danger, I courted the press. We were covered in every major paper and even made the nightly news. Bloomberg and Klein even acknowledged us on TV. Sure, they lied and twisted the truth, but that's what demagogues do. These things can be done.

The only thing is they can't be done by timid people whose concept of doing the right thing revolves around loyalty oaths and gala luncheons. It's rather pathetic that none of the brain trust at 52 Broadway can conceive of anything better than what is, for all intents and purposes, nothing.
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