Monday, December 15, 2014

The King Is Dead. Long Live the King.

In one way, the list to the left rings true, but  in another, King has personally accomplished quite a few things. I've always been fascinated, for example, by the TV show The Sopranos. There you will find grown men sitting in lawn chairs at construction sites, and getting a pretty good salary for doing so. Beats working, you might say. And John King, while he didn't sit in a lawn chair, managed to spend his entire tenure not representing our children. Rather, he represented the moneyed interests that got him his job in the first place. While he didn't actually do his job at all, he did accomplish a few things.

For one, after facing the public for the first time, he labeled parents and teachers "special interests," canceled all future meetings in a snit, and managed to keep his job. Can you imagine what would happen to you if you decided your students didn't have valid concerns, canceled all your classes, and walked out? Do you think you'd get that commendation letter you've hoped for all these years?

For King, it was no biggie. So he made a mistake, He didn't face 3020a removal hearings as you would if you were outright derelict in your duties. That's for the little people. Forced to reconsider and actually face the public, he failed to say a word when a real special interest group monopolized one of the so-called public hearings:

In short, no one at the forum engaged in critical thinking about the new educational standards that are, purportedly, all about critical thinking.

He also got away with an outright lie, contending the Montessori schools his kids attend actually utilize the nonsense he advocates for ours. Clearly they do not. The "Do as I say, not as I do" mantra is a common one among the reformies, from King, to Bloomberg, to Klein, to Rhee, right up to and including our own President Barack Obama, he of the hopey changiness that has completely eluded American schools during his tenure.

John King taught a whopping one year in a public school, and went on to teach two years in a charter. How that qualifies him to head education in NY State I have not the slightest idea. Of course, people with money value reforminess far more than actual experience. That he managed to corral his NY State gig with such paltry experience and hold onto it despite his remarkably thin skin and outrageous hypocrisy is an achievement in itself.

Finally, despite his inability and unwillingness to sustain an argument against a thoughtful opponent, resorting to name calling rather than the critical thinking he claimed to be modeling, despite his woefully meager tenure as an actual teacher, despite his utter lack of helping our kids, he managed to wrangle a promotion. His credentials as relentless fanatical ideologue were sufficient for equally unqualified Arne Duncan to offer him a prestigious federal gig. One might assume he actually had achieved something beyond advocating for those who want to test our kids to death and destroy my chosen profession.

One would be laboring under a misconception, of course.
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