Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Children First"/"It's About the Kids": Stupid, Immoral, or Both?

I really enjoyed this blog post that is at turns about layoffs, teacher attendance, and the poor philosophy behind political sloganeering. As if we didn't all know already, of course, "Children First" as Bloomberg et al. have always seem to have understood it is typically code for, among other things, Reason Last, Data First, Cost-Cutting First, and, yes, Screw Teachers First. So while the post was not surprising to me, it made a lot of sense.

I'm thinking about that post and also thinking about the TV commercial from Education Reform Now, purportedly featuring real live New York City teachers who have already given up the ghost on trying to prevent layoffs wholesale and are campaigning with Joel Klein and Friends to change seniority policy. And I wonder, as I always do, why "It's about the kids," as all of the teachers in the commercial earnestly explain, is taken so much at face value. Dishonoring agreements and cutting back on reasonable job protections and benefits hardly seem to be in the interest of children, and the statement sets up an unspoken but obvious straw man in the form of teachers who dare to question to the brave new world of education "reform."

I wish I could respect these folks for sharing their opinions so publicly, but I can't help but wonder what else they feel they have to gain. I wonder if, in some sense, they feel that they're saving their own skins by jumping over to the other side. And there's no shame in wanting to protect one's own skin, of course. But when you're cloaking that desire in "It's about the kids," well, I fail to see how that's any better than being honest about it.
blog comments powered by Disqus