Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Take Heart

Everyone is talking to me about the nonsense spewing forth from Oprah, from the propaganda film, from the mayor.  Yesterday morning, driving to work, I heard Bloomberg saying teachers need to be paid like professionals.  This from the man who just unilaterally announced that teachers, unlike all other city workers, were not going to get any raise whatsoever this bargaining cycle.  Of course the mayor was talking about merit pay, which was pretty handily discredited in a very recent Tennessee study.

Then there's NBC's preposterously named Education Nation, which presents the status quo from those with money, and then offers the status quo from those with power, so as to present both sides.  Diane Ravitch?  Never heard of her.  Let's have Michael Bloomberg give another speech about how awful the teachers are.  When his test scores appeared to have risen, it was attributable to the sheer brilliance of his "reforms."  When the state put a sharp pin in his bubble, it was time once again to talk about the teachers.

What can you say about a nation that ignores the foibles of the Wall Street crowd that tossed the entire economy in the toilet, and then relies on those same incompetents to bolster its education program?  What can you say about a nation that not only allows them to do that, but also permits them to do so by vilifying its hard-working teachers, the ones that have spent decades working for substandard pay in good times to teach their children?  Well, not the children of the Wall Streeters, but rather your children and mine.

You can only know that what you do is very important.  You can know that your job is the most important one there is as far as children are concerned, with the possible exception of doctors.  You can know that for every kid with negligent parents, you are that kid's next best chance.

Know that people who mindlessly direct their venom at teachers are no better than bigots, spewing idiotic stereotypes, and that this applies no matter how much money those people have.   Know that the man who brought the world Windows 95 doesn't know beans about education, hasn't the remotest notion it entails anything more than test scores, and know that his sorely limited vision failed to persuade voters in either NYC or DC.

You can't fool all of the people all of the time.  Demagogues fall.  Take heart.

But don't go gently into that good night.  Make yourself heard.  Write a letter to the paper.  Find out who the troglodyte was who wrote that editorial and give him a call.  Submit an op-ed to one of the papers.  Even if they don't print it, they'll read it.  And for goodness sake, feel free to comment here any old time.

Your pal,

NYC Educator
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