Wednesday, May 18, 2016

If You Want to Close Schools, You Don't Want My Vote

I have never in my life, before Obama, seen a Democratic President who was anti-public education. Diane Ravitch wrote that he gave GW Bush a third term in education. I'd argue he went well beyond that. To me, it was a Nixon goes to China thing. A Republican could likely not have passed Race to the Top, because the Democrats would have blocked at least some of it. I mean, waving cash in front of broke states so they'd support charter schools and judge teachers by Bill Gates-inspired junk science?

But Obama did it, and every day, without exception, people on my staff tell me how it makes them feel. Honestly, I don't have any issues with my direct supervisor, but I don't know about the reports I get. Actually she gives me good advice, and I generally use it. But what the hell do I do with that piece of paper I get at the end? If it says I'm effective, what the hell do I care why? Should I read how it relates to the Danielson checklist, the one Danielson herself says is simplistic and ridiculous? Or should I stuff it in my bag and forget about it until next time?

By 2008 I was pretty tired of GW Bush. I voted for Hillary over Obama in the primary. I did this because my union leadership had endorsed her, and though I was already wary of their advice, I figured they must have some reason to have done so. Also Obama was already coming out in favor of charters. On the other hand, so was union leadership. I watched a video of Obama telling the NEA he'd do things with them, not to them. He looked a lot better than a highly compromised John McCain and an outright preposterous Sarah Palin, so he got my vote in the general.

And it's pretty simple to me. This is one thing we do right, more or less, unlike health care, unlike elder care, unlike making sure children don't live in poverty. And someone like Obama comes along, fails to stand with working people, as promised, and fails to stand for the Employee Free Choice Act, as promised. Those were the things that got me to vote for him. I give him credit for making a little progress with health care. But I will never again vote for anyone who is not an unequivocal supporter of public education, not for President, and not for dog catcher.

Some people have been getting awfully mad at me for not supporting Hillary Clinton. I've been called a Bernie Bro, a fanatic, and accused of massive ignorance. But when Hillary Clinton stands in public and says she wouldn't keep any school open that isn't above average, it speaks volumes. It says to me she has no understanding whatsoever of what school closings entail. It says she certainly can't be bothered reading Diane Ravitch. Some people blabber nonsense about how it was out of context, but frankly, there is no context under which this makes sense.

I work two miles north of what was once Jamaica High School, and I remember very clearly when it was closed under false stats. James Eterno and I were pretty specific about why that was, and to this date no one has bothered to refute us. It was excruciating to watch Bloomberg's stooges recite false stats and ignore an entire community trying to save their school.

At the time, my school had 4600 students and was bursting at the seams. We worked very hard to reduce the numbers before the building collapsed, either literally or via one of Bloomberg's various school closing squads. It's pretty terrifying thinking someone will close your school and put all of your colleagues into the purgatory that is the ATR for no reason whatsoever. And even now, with alleged hippie commie de Blasio in charge, no one's made much of an effort to put the ATR to work full time.

I've since learned a whole lot more reasons not to vote for Hillary Clinton. But that's the one that really did it for me. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the NY State primary, but honestly he's not perfect in K-12 either. When he talks school closings I'll cross him off my list too. I don't care how you vote, who you vote for, or why. I simply can't support anyone who will close public schools.
blog comments powered by Disqus