Before everyone was dragged off topic by Terry O'Neil the Board of Ed's million dollar stooge negotiator dropping his drawers for the public, it struck me we were close to having a serious conversation about the merits of Kevin Eberle as the next Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools. The hagiographic approbation by Carl Paladino naturally causes most of us to shiver, take a step back from Eberle and ask a few questions.
1. If he's cool with Carl how can he be good for kids and teachers?
2. What part of "Carl thinks Kevin Eberle is the greatest thing for education since the 3 ring binder" aren't we seeing? Were clandestine deals or alliances or nefarious partnerships already struck that will surely come back to bite us all in the arse?
3. Is Eberle as sold on Carl as Carl is on Eberle?
4. Did Eberle actually make the statement that he supports Carl and Company's Vision Statement for Buffalo Schools or did Carl just say that for reasons only Carl ever really seems to fathom?
If Eberle is on record anywhere as stating his solidarity with this wretched hallucinatory "vision" I can't see how any teacher can stand with him. Among the outrageous notions in this document are the following:
Merit pay: A system of merit pay should be implemented to reward good
teaching and encourage our best teachers to work in our toughest schools.
The District should negotiate an evaluation system with the BTF that
considers student test scores, principal evaluation, peer evaluation and
student and parent surveys. These will not only reward current teachers
but attract the best teaching candidates to the District.
This kind of harebrained nonsense could only have come from someone completely removed from the nuts and bolts world of education. Over the past three decades there have been dozens of studies on the merits of merit pay for teachers and they all come to the same unsurprising conclusion: It doesn't work. In April a handful of Atlanta teachers were given jail time for erasing exams and "fixing" the kids' answers because their jobs were tied to test scores and merit pay was at stake. Of the 5 suggestions this Vision offers for new teachers, Merit Pay is number two.
Among the other toxic proposals contained in the hallucination are the expansion of charter schools. Only in Buffalo can one Board member, Paladino, be leasing property to multiple charters while another, Sampson, serves as a trustee at West Buffalo Charter. Yet nobody sees the inherent conflict of interest involved in promoting more charters? The "Vision" goes on to demand health care cuts, layoffs -- if you haven't seen management use the term "right sizing" it's always a euphemism for mass firings. If these items aren't enough to give you pause, consider the suggestion that the DPCC should be awarded a seat on the board. Initially, it would be a non voting seat but how long do you think it would be before someone decided Sam Radford and friends should be awarded a vote as well?
From the comments I read on social media it appears Kevin Eberle has his supporters among rank and file teachers. The comments were not only positive but tended to lean towards Paladino's in tone. I think a lot of us who aren't familiar with him would be willing to listen. But someone, be it Eberle or someone in his corner is going to have to explain Paladino's remark about Eberle and The Vision Statement. You can't be Omar Bradley and George McClellan at the same time.