Tuesday, August 28, 2018

At the Moskowitz Academy, Charity Begins at Home

Eva Moskowitz has made a career of telling the world how UFT teachers suck. We devote our lives to helping the city's children and that's an unpardonable crime. Only she has the secret sauce that leads to an amazing 20% of her students graduating over at the Moskowitz Academy. You might say, but Eva, we graduate that many on a very bad year. That doesn't matter because there are no excuses over in Moskowitz World. I mean no excuses for us.

And we know that she's right. Otherwise, why would hedge funders be taking suitcases of cash and buying off easy targets like Andrew Cuomo? Why would the last Democratic president have hired Arne Duncan to push charter schools and whatever programs flowed from the ample posterior of Bill Gates? Why would we all be bribed to Race to the Top and be judged via junk science? They must be right because they have all that money. Who cares if research fails to support their ideas, or if the American Statistical Association rates them as nonsense?

Now some people might say that the incredible churn of charter teachers is an issue. How can you have institutional memory when year after year you lose most of your people? How do kids feel coming year after year and seeing the teachers they may well love gone and never coming back? Is that how you do role modeling? None of that is important. Otherwise why would all those people with all that money keep supporting Eva?

Furthermore, Moskowitz Academies have high standards. No excuses. If you screw up, be prepared to suffer. Eva Moskowitz doesn't pay herself almost a million dollars a year to put up with your nonsense. They hire only the best teachers charter pay and working conditions can provide. The fact that they can't hold on to the overwhelming majority of them is only a testament to the selfishness of teachers. They aren't focused on the test scores because they want to have lives. Some of them want to get married and even have children.

But in Moskowitz World, there are no excuses. Make the kids pass the tests. No excuses and no time for that nonsense. Except for Eva, of course, who is in fact married with children. I wasn't actually aware she had children until I read Chalkbeat, the publication that covers All Things Moskowitz All the Time. It turns out that Eva has hired her 19-year-old son to teach economics.

A lot of people shook their heads in wonder when Eva and her BFFs wanted charters to certify their own teachers. I mean, shouldn't teachers graduate from college? In Moskowitz World, that seems not to be a prerequisite. This is particularly true if you happen to be Son of Moskowitz. Here's yet another innovation from Moskowitz World:

Michaud says Culver Moskowitz makes minimum wage, as he did last year as an intern at Success Academy Harlem East, a middle school. Santiago, Venner, and a former student said he taught eighth-grade math classes there last year.

Wow. Teachers making minimum wage. Betsy DeVos is probably rolling over in her coffin this morning wondering why she didn't think of that. And then there's that other tidbit--while reformy Chalkbeat is all over Moskowitz Junior teaching economics, this isn't the first time they've set him up as a teacher. Maybe they think teaching math while being totally unqualified doesn't merit mention, but teaching economics is beyond the pale.

Personally, I'd question the wisdom of having an economics instructor who worked for minimum wage. I see that as an extremely poor role model--unless, of course, your goal is to have students working for minimum wage. I have to think that's pretty much okay with the reformies. Otherwise, why would the Walmart Family be sinking so much cash into reforminess? If they were interested in helping working people, they could always pay their employees more, as opposed to fighting union tooth and nail and imposing notoriously awful working conditions.

Here's the truth--as reformies like Moskowitz make careers out of trashing us for our supposed low standards, our standards are consistently higher than hers. We take every kid who walks into our buildings. If they have issues, we don't place them on "got to go" lists. We don't make children do test prep until they pee themselves, and any teacher who did would be up on charges.

We also have standards for teachers. We insist they are certified. We insist that they've graduated college. Also, we don't pay them minimum wage. We don't wave our magic wands and make our children into teachers. In fact, we frown on nepotism.

Eva's standards and values seem to waver with her personal convenience. That's hardly what I'd call a leader.
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