Thursday, December 03, 2015

Drunk Drivers against Mad Mothers Present NYC Educator

OK, that’s not really true. Nonetheless, I was pretty surprised to read the following heading on an email I get from Politico, nee Capital NY.

POLITICO New York Education, presented by Families for Excellent Schools: A quiet exit from Fund for Public Schools; task force likely to weigh in on teacher evals

Right up there in the subject line is an ad for Families for Excellent Schools. Here’s a thought—they’re neither composed of families nor for excellent schools. But that, evidently, is of no concern to Politico. If you have the cash, you can get top billing in their email. When Whoremongers for Personal Indulgence want to get the word out, doubtless Politico will take their cash.

And by the way, here's the very first article they presented today:

SCOOP: IN SHIFT, FAMILIES FOR EXCELLENT SCHOOLS PUTS RALLY STRATEGY ON HOLD—POLITICO New York’s Eliza Shapiro: “Marking a significant shift in its lobbying strategy, the influential charter school advocacy group Families for Excellent Schools will not hold a political rally in Albany this legislative session for the first time since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, several sources confirmed. A spokesperson for FES did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday. But sources close to the charter school advocacy sector said the group was no longer getting policy results from the costly rallies.” 


I’m trying very hard here to avoid Godwin’s Law and not even cite any overtly bigoted groups in this piece. But I’ve long felt we were stereotyped all over the media. For decades I’ve been reading about how lazy tenured unionized teachers sit around at their desks and read the newspaper while hapless kids throw paper airplanes and wander about aimlessly. Of course that’s ridiculous, but you see that image propagated in the tabloids and even the Times praises all things reformy.

FES are joined at the hip to Moskowitz, and for weeks I’ve been seeing their “Don’t Steal Possible” ad in the Politico newsletter. I understand that Politico needs cash and can’t get by on those million dollar online subscriptions alone, but having this in the headline seems beyond the pale to me, at least. It’s kind of like trumpeting, “We’re on sale to the highest bidder.”

In fairness, I emailed back with my concerns. One of the reporters wrote back saying their reporting was independent and not influenced by one side or another. Even if that’s true it’s hard to swallow. Having the FES name in the very email title is not an accident. Clearly they wanted it there and paid to get it there. It is, in fact, the first thing you see when you get this email. Its priority clearly outweighs that of any story (even disregarding the fact that today's first story is about FES).

And it’s very hard to take their reporting seriously while they’re wearing a badge like that. In fact, I don’t think I even read the email or looked at the links. It’s offensive to me that an organization that hates me and everything I stand for announces itself in my little email box. I cannot take an organization seriously when the first thing they have to say to me is that they’ve been bought off by hedgefunders who oppose union, working teachers, activist parents, and happy children.

I would not want my child, or yours, or anyone’s, in a Moskowitz Academy under any circumstance. I don’t want children subject to rigor, grit and the attendant extra clothing it requires when frightened kids pee themselves. I wouldn’t wish that on my dog, and I’d hope we all love our children at least as much as I love the dog.
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