Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Those were words spoken in the film The Fly, in which Jeff Goldblum transforms into a monster before our eyes. Of course, no one had ever seen anything like that before, not even in the movies.

It was pretty good advice. You don't want to face a human-sized fly. They aren't very sociable and haven't got the best of manners. They tend to destroy all creatures in their path without much regard for their welfare.

Thus, when Bill Gates bobbles up his head and talks about spending money, it seems like good advice. After all, who can forget Gates' initiative to create small schools, which he determined would be a panacea for education everywhere. Bloomberg and Klein embraced the initiative, and closed high schools all over the city. They replaced them with little academies, often staffed with newbies, and frequently lacking any union presence whatsoever. Thus a whole lot of "empowered" principals were able to do Any Damn Thing, contracts and welfare of students be damned.

Of course, Bill gave up on that, but Bloomberg didn't, and we were left with the consequences of just one of his baseless notions. Of course it wasn't only us, and after effects were felt everywhere he'd seeded a few bucks and traipsed out. That's what Bill does.

Who can forget going to the Delegate Assembly and hearing how wonderful it was that Bill was bringing Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) to the city and that we were lucky enough to participate? They came to my school, set up their cameras, and were unable to really tell us just what they were using them for. Soon thereafter, we saw Race to the Top, and a huge push to use junk science to rate and fire teachers. While Mulgrew and leadership sing the praises of this system, I get nothing but complaints about it. Of course, when you're sitting around an office all day, you don't necessarily see what's going on. Which brings us to this:

This really leaves me wondering just how stupid we are. I use the word we with certain reservations. After all, I'm a UFT high school teacher. There are more of us than there are teachers in Philadelphia. Yet we have no democratically elected representation in AFT. That's a shame, because I know many, many high school teachers who'd have serious issues with trusting Gates. In fact, I'd wager that well-informed teachers at every level would have issues with him.

Here is how many teachers I know clamoring for professional development to meet the standards--zero. Here is how many teachers I know who want Gates to have a voice in such things--less than zero. That is, of course, until you start to count the patronage employees and loyalty oath signers in my union.  They believe whatever they're told to believe, whether or not it advances the interests of those they ostensibly represent, so long as they get to keep their $30 an hour gigs dispensing flawed advice at pension consultations. Or whatever.

Getting in bed with Bill Gates again? I don't know. After all the blithering nonsense he spouted, AFT foolishly allowed him to keynote their convention. They ridiculed the teachers who booed him. He thanked us a week later by going out and attacking teacher pensions. What the hell are they thinking over at AFT?

I can't answer that question. The only thing I know for sure is they aren't consulting working teachers before broadcasting such absolute balderdash.
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