Thursday, April 14, 2011

Teacher Bashing Is Bloomberg's Smokescreen

As teachers across New York City prepare to take a needed vacation, I wish you well.  Each and every one of you deserves to take a break from the most stressful part of your job:  serving as a Bloomberg Scapegoat. 

Have you ever had one of those kids who loves to play tricks and then points to someone else when you look at  him, hoping that he will divert your gaze and the blame onto an innocent bystander?  That's what Bloomberg is doing every time he starts talking about the Baaaaaad Teachers.  Other mayors have learned his trick, and it's become a tactic used across the nation. 

Perhaps we should chip in and buy this tee shirt for him so his finger doesn't get tired.  On second thought he doesn't need it.  He has bought hundreds people to do the pointing for him.

One of them is Sydney Morris who bills herself as Co-founder of Educators 4 Excellence.

Sydney has done Bloomberg the big fat favor of being the little finger that points at which teachers should be laid off first in the event of a budget crisis.  Take note that her job is to point away from the person responsible for the budget crisis and every other crisis in the DOE--He Who Controls It All--Voldebloom.  On Tuesday of this week I went to a Panel Discussion on LIFO hosted by Teach for America.  She was one of the people on the panel.  I won't go into detail because Norm Scot has done a much better job over at Education Notes On Line.

According to Sydney, "a team of 11 New York City teachers" have taken responsiblility to write  "the first research-based proposal for conducting layoffs based on merit rather than seniority".  She calls it the Educators 4 Excellence Layoff Policy Team White Paper.

These are the little Bloomberg fingers who signed this policy paper.

Christine Casher teaches 9th and 10th grade literature in Manhattan.
Esther Chu teaches middle school science in Brooklyn.
Michelle Costa teaches high school mathematics in Brooklyn.
Margie Crousillat teaches kindergarten in the Bronx.
Elizabeth Doctor teaches 3rd grade in Harlem.
Jamie Ferrel teaches 6th and 7th grade special education English in the Bronx.
Laura Frazier teaches high school mathematics in the Bronx.
Jarell Lee teaches 3rd grade in Brooklyn.
Evan Piekara teaches middle school ELA and Social Studies in the Bronx.
Jane Viau teaches AP Statistics and Economics in Harlem.
Val Lorie Wilson teaches middle school special education in the Bronx.

I'm not going to go into an analysis of which teachers would be first on the chopping block according to the "White Paper".  That would be looking in the direction that the little fingers are pointing, and therefore validating their purpose. 

No, I would like to list all the things that we are NOT supposed to look at while we get all riled up about their "research-based proposal".

The "Policy White Paper" came out in the middle of February:

We weren't supposed to look at:
  • the PEP meetings that were voting on school closings and charter colocations.
  • the horrible job Cathie Black was doing.
  • Cairo
  • Wisconsin
Now what are we NOT supposed to be looking at?
  • the fact that What's-His-Name, Cathie Black's replacement, has a total of only one and one-half years of teaching experience, in kindergarten, and also had to be granted a waiver.
  • the fact that Bloomberg has wasted billions of dollars in DOE money in dozens of failed enterprises.
  • the fact that the Rubber Rooms still exist.
  • the fact that the ATR pool is growing exponentially due to continued school closings.
  • the fact that charter schools are invading public schools all over the city.
  • the fact that we have opened a Third Front in the never-ending, and extremely expensive, War on Terror.
 As any teacher--or parent for that matter--knows, when the guilty kid tries to blame the innocent kid by pointing away from himself, it's important not to look in the direction of the pointing finger, but to focus directly at the perpetrator, giving him a look that says "I know all, it is impossible to fool me". Once he gets caught, he usually stops the misbehavior, at least for a while.

Have a good vacation.  Relax. Enjoy.  You deserve it.   But when you come back, I suggest you get together and find a way of focusing the eye of truth on the real guilty party in the New York City Department of Education.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All roads lead to City Hall, doesn't it?

I've worked for the DOE/NYC for eight years now, and only under the Bloomberg regime.

It was obvious to me since the beginning what Mayor Mike's intentions were with the public schools and why it seemed so many teachers were persecuted by a particularly horrendous Leadership Academy principal at a now closed high school that I worked at in Brooklyn.

During all this time, the UFT did nothing to defend us, simply let it happen. Many newer teachers were "discontinued", older and tenured teachers were placed in rubber rooms. The school eventually became an educational "complex".Now, the neighboring high school has also been slated for closure, as are a number of other high schools in Brooklyn.

Why did we let this happen? Are we so enamored of so called business success in this country that we attribute mythical qualities to those that have amassed fortunes to make decisions for us?

Well, we can see what electing Michael Bloomberg to his third term to office has done for NYC. Sadly, this seems to be the beginning of the end to public education for all in the USA.