Monday, July 11, 2011

Fool Me Twice

Jonah Edelman, taped giving a candid assessment of his dealings with unions, has apologized, in his fashion, to readers of Fred Klonsky's blog. I'm one of them, and I found it elegant that it was presented without comment. Perhaps it's more accurate to call it prescient, since dozens of comments made it unnecessary for Klonsky to say a thing. Here's a little taste of Edelman's mea culpa:

It left children mostly out of the equation when helping children succeed is my mission in life...

This is very telling. Does anyone really forget their "mission in life," even for a moment? Do I forget that I need to stand up for the middle class, so my daughter can be part of it one day? Never ever.

It could cause viewers to wrongly conclude that I’m against unions...

Which, of course, he is not. He simply wants to extract every ounce of power they have, and render them powerless and irrelevant, as evidenced in his joyous conclusion that he's deprived them of the ability to strike.

Senate Bill 7 will make performance rather than seniority the basis for granting tenure...

And we are to trust Edelman and his ilk to make such determinations, I suppose. No more teachers like me, who speak up, will be tolerated in Chicago. Doing so would likely render them "ineffective." Having fewer teachers speak out against the nonsense Edelman and his buddies advocate, incidentally, would certainly not help the kids he claims to care so much for. (You know, the ones who are his "mission in life," that he somehow forgot to mention.)

Before the dismissal process can proceed, based on advocacy by teachers’ unions, with which I again wholeheartedly agreed, a second evaluator must corroborate that dismissal is warranted. 

I'm thinking Edelman's girlfriend, mother, or possibly Bill Gates.

I was wrong to state that the teachers’ unions “gave” on teacher effectiveness provisions when the reality is that, indeed, there were long, productive negotiations that led to a better outcome than would have occurred without them.

Here, Edelman admits to making statements that have no basis in objective reality. Was he doing so then, is he doing so now, or is that simply what he does all the time?

Third, I was wrong to make assumptions or comments about the unions’ political strategy. In future presentations, whether on video or not, I will refrain from supposing why a particular party made a particular decision.

Having put my foot in my mouth once, I will try very hard not to do so again.

I deeply regret what I perceived in watching myself as an arrogance in my tone.

The truth hurts.

I was raised to be humble and respectful and reared on stories of my grandfather and grandmother’s service within the African-American community in their small South Carolina town, 

I honestly can't say what motivated Edelman to throw that in, or what he was trying to sell to whom. But here's the thing. We got to view a "reformer" raw and unedited. The denial only serves to one conclusion, which Klonsky provides in a nutshell:

It is not unusual for an immature young man, brought up in a world of privilege and means, to behave this way. It happens.

After all, once you strip away all the self-important nonsense in his Aspen presentation, everything Edelman says in the tape is repeated in the apology. It was all true.

Those of us who've been watching closely know precisely what "reformers" have to offer. There is now hard evidence of this, in the form of Edelman's widely available video. Let's keep up our vigilance.

 And for goodness sake, let's tell our leaders to do the same, and stop putting things "on the table" for demagogues like Edelman to joyously rip to shreds.
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