Friday, July 26, 2013

Gotham Schools Exercises Its Psychic Powers to Hype Astroturfer Teacher Bashing

“So how can Anthony run for Mayor, when a teacher for the same conduct would be fired,” Weingarten said in a tweet yesterday.

She was referring to a push to tighten punishments for teachers found
guilty of inappropriate behavior that the union here has opposed.

Gotham Schools has improved its reporting by adding the element of mind-reading. Apparently it knows what AFT Prez Randi Weingarten is thinking when she tweets. According to Gotham's crystal ball, Weingarten is thinking about legal expert Campbell Brown's campaign when she muses on the double standard between Anthony Weiner and working school teachers. She couldn't possibly be referring to the fact that teachers actually get fired sometimes.

Because in the world of legal expert Campbell Brown and Gotham Schools, teachers never get fired. Never mind that Brown and her regular partner, the New York Daily News, regularly write of some group of 128 teachers and complain that only 33 got fired. 

Gotham writes of legal expert Campbell Brown's astroturf group without bothering to confirm whether anyone actually belongs to it, because that's not their job. Another thing that isn't Gotham Schools' job is basic research. Perhaps when you're uncritically pushing a story about astroturfers, some of whom fund your operation, there's not a whole lot of upside in checking the facts.

For example, Gotham Schools labels teachers as "found guilty" based on the DOE's internal investigators, rather than the arbitrators jointly selected by the DOE and UFT. This is tantamount to suggesting that everyone picked up by the NYPD is found guilty, while ignoring all that inconvenient court stuff. It's too much trouble for Gotham Schools to look up the blaringly obvious--that the arbitrators are, in fact, the people who judge these things under the agreement between the UFT and the DOE. 
In fact, to Gotham Schools, that's a "gray area." Either they aren't sure whether or not the hearings the UFT and DOE agreed upon actually exist, or they aren't sure whether or not contractual agreements have any validity. Or perhaps, having done no research whatsoever, they're utterly ignorant of such agreements. Regrettably, I cannot call upon the psychic powers that enable Gotham Schools to read the minds of labor leaders, so to me, it's a "gray area" as to why they are so astoundingly unaware of the obvious.

Legal expert Campbell Brown, who may as well have written the article, thinks Chancellor Walcott should decide whether or not to keep teachers accused of sexual misconduct. Neither Brown nor Gotham notes that Chancellor Walcott denies virtually 100% of U-rating appeals. Apparently legal expert Brown finds such a person to be a fair arbiter. Gotham Schools cannot be bothered to look further than that, or seek a differing opinion.

This is odd, because when the UFT held a rally at City Hall to protest Bloomberg's attempt to keep his policies beyond his tenure, Gotham not only failed to cover it, but rather ran a piece about how charter supporters felt about it. 
Naturally, Gotham Schools cites the couple of cases endlessly mentioned by legal expert Campbell Brown and the Daily News. I'm familiar with precisely one of the hundred other cases. It involves someone who did nothing remotely sexual, who spent years in the rubber room, and who was forced to pay a small fine. I therefore have to question whether or not even the cases cited by Gotham and legal expert Campbell Brown are valid. I don't have all the facts, and neither does Gotham Schools.

Of course,  Gotham Schools couldn't be bothered seeking an opinion counter to that of legal expert Campbell Brown. After all, Campbell Brown is married to some big shot from Students First, her legal expertise is above reproach, and that ought to be good enough for anyone.

Perhaps Gotham Schools should advocate for anyone arrested to be imprisoned based on police reports alone. Or perhaps Gotham Schools feels that sort of treatment should apply only to unionized teachers. Again, lacking the psychic powers of Gotham Schools reporters, I can't really say.

And the comparison between teachers who were either accused, or more likely acquitted, with Anthony Wiener, who actually admits to what he's accused of, is absolutely fair. After all, why should the busy employees of Gotham Schools differentiate between accused and guilty? Perhaps that's another "gray area" for them.

Or maybe they're just tired from reading the minds of union leaders. Clearly they're too exhausted to pick up the phone or write an email to get another point of view.
Why strain themselves?

Related: Opine I Will opines on legal expert Campbell Brown.
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