Why is it out of all the media people in Buffalo, an entire newspaper, 3 t.v. news channels and various self interested blogs, only George Sax of Artvoice has figured out the politic, cynical and self serving underbelly of the egregiously mislabeled "school reform movement?"
Back in July Sax sat in on the Chameleon Group's version of the hurry up offense when they announced a meeting less than 24 hours before any opponents could muster a defense, or so they thought. Sax spotted the fast and loose play of the Chameleons and pointed out the way Board member Ralph Hernandez admitted to being miffed that he and the Board were left out of the loop when Chameleon and Co. started trying to take over Waterfront and East High School. Instead of consulting with anyone in City Hall, they applied directly to their buddies in NYSED, charter school veteran of a whopping 3 years teaching experience Commissioner John King and his minor domo Katie Campos of zero teaching experience and zero graduate degrees but a Sam Hoyt courtesy card sticking out of her driver's side visor. Sax also picked up on the so called parent member of the group who incidentally has NO kids in either school as he told teachers they were going to get pay cuts and no benefits if they were masochistic or dumb enough to try and teach at WaterChameleonfront or EastChameleon High. Mr. Sax zeroed in on all of the stuff said and done that raised eyebrows during that meeting. He called it as he saw it and he saw it I believe pretty fairly.
Lately, George Sax commented on the movement's new Walden Media release "Won't Flush Down." I am not going to cut and paste his entire screed but suffice it to say he caught them again doing what they do, namely, proselytizing, obfuscating, union bashing and lying. This is all one needs to read of George Sax's piece on the movie : David Germain’s AP review, picked up by the News last Friday, was typical enough. “A simple-minded assault on the ills of public schools that lumbers along like a math class droning multiplication tables,” he wrote. He’s not critically far off the mark, but he and a number of other reviewers may well be missing a more important point: "Won’t Back Down may be a potent propaganda and recruiting tool for a movement that aims to substantially alter and restrict public education in this country."
Sax realizes that this "movement" (think bowels) is not about improving anything educationally for American kids no matter how many groups Michelle Rhee can cook up with the word "student" in their moniker. These groups are about altering and restricting public education as well as diverting billions of federal education dollars into the pockets of corporate privatizers who all ready have plenty. There will be no Mom and Pop privatized schools, no Uriah Heap-like 'Umble one room school houses staffed by devoted spinsters like the girls on Little House on the Prairie enjoyed. Instead there will corporatized curriculae, standardized tests and more standardized tests, merit pay for the hapless dopes who get roped into teaching in these Waspy madrassas and the poor black kids can all get ready for a healthy dose of Zero Tolerance and No Excuses. They will be punished severely and harshly for minor infractions, they can stick all of their cultural identity and stow it since the lily white do gooders hired to instruct them with 6 weeks of TFA training won't have the foggiest idea of how to interact with them except to contain and restrain them. And when that fail as it surely will, they will be "counseled out." Naturally none of these draconian measures will be used against white kids in white areas who score well on tests. Interestingly, Commissioner King's charter school, Roxbury Prep, where he honed his mastery of standardized test preparation and "counseling out" was recently found to lead the state in out of school suspensions when the Massachusetts Department of Ed. did a little audit. I wonder if these suspended kids' test scores count against Preparation R ?
Next Up : How does the Buffalo News continue to ignore the obvious nepotism and incompetence in NYSED while creating "news" stories about the mayor using ReformEd's crib sheets?