Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hey Ed Reformers, Can You Spare a Dime?

Retired journalist turned ed reform shill Jim Heaney tells us he's impressed with Kriner Cash. He's also been pretty well impressed with DPCC figurehead Sam Radford. This interview mentions Sam's time as a student leader at ECC but casually omits any mention of Sam's arrest for inciting a riot and being arrested in the middle of same. No mention is made of the financial improprieties associated with Sam's tenure as SGA President at ECC either. Seems you'd want to include these details if only to show how far Sam has evolved from the trouble making, fund shuffling young man to the elder statesman Heaney paints him to be in this interview. I guess sometimes it's just easier not to be too investigative in all of your posts though.

Shockingly, Jim Heaney's also a huge admirer of Larry Quinn. (I dare you to get through this hagiography without hurling on your screen) I met Jim Heaney once at a local blogger gathering and when he found out I was a Buffalo teacher it took him all of about a minute to work in a disparaging crack on Phil Rumore. Not knowing or asking my feelings about Phil it struck me as odd or maybe just ballsy that Heaney was so comfortable slamming the head of my union to me. I've since concluded that he likely didn't give a shit what I thought since after all I'm just another Buffalo teacher. I guess now Jim Heaney thinks telling us how impressed he is with Kriner Cash must come as some kind of eye popping statement to most of us. Not really. It pretty much goes with the rest of his platform which, sadly, includes begging donations to cover operational expenses. More on that in a minute.

It's always amazing to me when I see people like Heaney and his likewise retired Buffalo News cohort Donn Esmonde, guys who enjoyed the benefits and protection of their own union for their entire journalistic careers, blithely attacking other people's union leadership and members in their golden years. Esmonde went so far as making a video with tinkling piano music in the background to plead his case for a raise from billionaire Buffalo News owner Warren Buffett. I admit I've seen Phil Rumore interviewed in IP, if only for the sake of pointing to it and saying Look, it's Phil Rumore, we're fair! At the bottom of the Rumore piece readers are directed to go to the Sam Radford Interview for another perspective. Oddly, there's no reciprocal encouragement to go read Phil's interview at the bottom of Radford's Profile in Courage. Surely it's just an oversight.

The most irksome twist of Jim Heaney's Investigative Post in my estimation and believe me, I realize this isn't going to bother a lot of people with no skin in the public education game, is that he relies on donations to keep his show going. In and of itself this wouldn't be anything to get one's boxers, briefs or boycuts in a wad about. The sticky part of writing against teacher's unions and public education while leaning towards the ed reform class's point of view in your editorial slant lies in the bold reality that billionaires and millionaires are the main force pushing the corporate ed reform agenda Heaney embraces. It's as if he's singing for his supper when he takes up their case in a news outlet that relies on cash from friendly strangers. 

The hard question is similar to the one put to people like Rush Limbaugh, namely: If taking the opposing side of every argument paid better would you change sides or stick to your guns and choose a life of noble, conscientious poverty? The reality that the entire IP operation hinges on courting moneyed people who agree with your editorial leanings doesn't allow much room for someone in the odd position of public school teachers who've been targeted and fixed in the crosshairs of an extremely well funded movement whose main aim is to put an end to teachers' livelihoods. Oh, sure, we could all go teach in charter schools for a third of the pay with no benefits and zero protection from the arbitrary whims of an Eva Moskowitz or a Joy Pepper. But that's not what we do and very few of us would be able to stomach it. 

I honestly have to wonder if Investigative Post might be just a little less inclined to embrace corporate ed reform's anti union pro- privatization agenda if there weren't so many billions and millions behind it. 


  1. Kriner Cash?

    Fill me in, but. I assume he's the B-Lo ed deform version of Keyser Souza, or something?