Thursday, August 01, 2013

Schools as Big Business

If you don't think our corporate pals are gunning for your job, take a look at this lineup from the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation. By their name, you might assume they are some branch of government. While they aren't, considering the likes of Arne Duncan and Corey Booker, they may as well be. After all, it's important that someone represent the interests of Walmart, to wit, low-wage replaceable employees.

For their annual summit, they've got legal expert Campbell Brown, who's very vocal on the point that teachers should be fired on the basis of unsubstantiated or refuted allegations. To join her, they've got Amanda Ripley, the cheerleader for corporate reform who thinks students ought to determine whether or not teachers keep their jobs. I've actually worked at a place where student ratings determined my status, and quickly learned that not insisting on things like homework or passing tests went a long way in getting me that great rating. The cherry on the top of the cake is a faux-liberal Fox News correspondent who gets nervous when he's on planes with Muslims.

With such a stellar group of speakers, you'd better believe that big business will continue giving millions to scab groups like TFA. It's also good business to run front page headlines about demagogues like Michelle Rhee, while claiming revelations about her are not newsworthy.

It's a tough year for those of us who, unlike the "experts," are actually involved in the work of teaching children. With a press corps that can't be bothered finding the truth of things, we tend to get total crap in the newspapers and a lot of Americans have no idea how counter to their interests the goals of these reformy folks are.

And, given that our unions have agreed to and enabled quite a few things reformy, particularly the junk science observations that are the crown jewel of Bill Gates' quest to degrade our profession, it's tough to know who to believe. While public schools are closed for no reason, charters have their corporate pals change their ratings and they do fine.  Fortunately, there are sometimes reporters who check the facts, and sometimes consequences for criminals.

And it's our job to keep telling the truth about this nonsense, no matter what the odds.
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