Sunday, November 4, 2012

Another Billionaire, CEO Education Privatizer Who Just Doesn't Get It

Looks like New york City's Privatizer in chief got a little taste of public contempt when he was forced to stand down with his asinine idea to proceed with the NYC marathon as the city is still on its knees from Hurricane Sandy. I hate to say it's a pattern but it's a pattern. Once upon a time we all thought old soldiers would make great Presidents. Washington didn't do too badly, or Ike either for that matter but in between we endured some serious Grants and a Harrison or two. The post modern version of this misconstrued logic is the election of CEO's under the same misguided logic we used to use in electing Generals. The idea that a strong performance on the battlefield translates into great leadership within a system of checks and balances has been disproved and we've moved on. The maddog of Fallujah,  heavily decorated Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient David Bellavia can't even get himself elected to catch dogs. (WBEN radio has found a place for him though as he leans hard right.)  

Sadly for the democratic realities of the republic though our CEO class tend to make really shitty elected officials mainly because they've spent their entire professional lives surrounded by humans with all the moral character and backbone of Michael Jackson's entourage. They are accustomed to issuing directives and imperatives, not reaching consensus and building bridges. They fire volleys across the aisle they don't reach their hands across it. The cluelessness of Bloomberg and the narcissistic fatuousness of declaring that the race must go on is a textbook case of a CEO in elected office trying to perform like a CEO not an elected official. And you just know, you KNOW damned well when the first few raspberry tweets, bronx cheers and WTFs appeared on Facebook, the Blooming idiot sniffed and scoffed and tried to brush them aside. After all he's the mayor of NYC, people are going to do what he says. Just ask anyone who thinks they're going to drink a Big Gulp on his watch.  Why just look at the fine work he's done with the NYC Public Schools that over half the city's residents say are not better off than when he took power. And look at how he's created gotcha teams that race around working hard to fire teachers for offenses like whistleblowing on crooked administrators. Bloomie has also created school report cards which have turned out to be a complete flop. He has co-habitated charter schools with public schools jamming charters into existing buildings and trying to starve out the public schools.
Diane Ravitch makes a great point on her blog the other day. She points out how the privatizers sequel to Waiting for Superman has virtually disappeared from theatres and according to figures was grossing something like 200 bucks per house by last weekend. How did this happen you ask. Simple. Parents got out in front of it. Who got out in front of it ? The teacher's unions ? No, you heard that correctly. The Parents got out in front of it and called it what it was : a misleading propaganda piece and a hit job on teacher's unions. Parents Across America, a REAL parent group, not some bunch of bought and paid for shills who shake their pom poms on cue when Michelle Rhee, Murdoch and Eva Destruction give the order, were quick to put out their own assessment of this cinematic stool sample. PAA cranked out a simple FACT SHEET that essentially told anyone with a working brain all they needed to know about this disingenuous propaganda piece spewed out by an anti-gay right wing Christian billionaire who also has his fingers in the highly profitable edubiz world. If there's a connection to be made here friends  -- and I believe there is or I wouldn't be sitting here on a Sunday with about 17 things I should be doing trying to write about it -- the connection is that people like Bloomberg in positions of power are not good for education, for society or for our kids. The lie that a CEO can jump into politics and "run it like a business" is the same lie they are trying to spread about education. The privatizers all want to see education run like a business. Thus their commissioned pay schemes like the one they are trying to impose on teachers in Newark. The idea that paying a person more for better standardized test results so far has led to a significant number of cheating scandals but has yielded ZERO research proving merit pay is good for kids. So we were a little slow out of the gate figuring out that battlefield heroics don't mean squat in the arm twisting and butt kissing milieu of elected officials. It appears we are even slower yet to conclude sensibly the same thing about the CEO class. I just heard on the radio CEO union hater Chris Collins and Kathy Hochul are locked in a virtual death roll the difference between them falling within the poll's margin for error. Likewise on the national stage with yet another petulant CEO and union hater slithering within a point or two of the sitting President who sadly for us has some serious loyalty issues with the organized labor base who helped put him on Pennsylvania Avenue.

So what's the upshot? For my money, little that I have of it, contrary to what Sam Radford and his anti teachers buddies Pridgen and Hare would have you believe, I have to believe that we need to keep spreading our story wherever we can. The manager of 7-11 by my house asked me the other night about something he heard from Tom Bauerle. I was only too happy to set up my soap box and unload. And I know it isn't always the case that someone will actually listen to or actually grasp what we're saying but  I think we need to take the time as educators and educate people. Fact is my friend at 7-11 all ready knew we were expected to be evaluated on scores of kids who refuse to attend school. How can they do that? he asked incredulously. They do it because they are looking for ways to create the perfect evaluation system for them, not for the good of kids or the professional development of teachers. What they want is a system that can be tweaked to get rid of any teacher good bad or indifferent. The fact that teacher's unions make it hard for them to pick us off arbitrarily is probably the biggest boulder in the path of the privatizers ultimate goal of eliminating public schools and replacing them with for profit testing madrassas that will crank out subservient, spineless, dumbasses who can take tests and say things like Yes Massuh, right away suh. They will need to keep a token number of public schools open as dumpsters for the kids they toss out due to learning problems, emotional issues, handicapping conditions that require OT, PT and Speech therapy. The product they spit out will be substandard and as shoddy as any other lousy item mass produced by corporate machinations more concerned about cutting costs than creating excellence. 

But at the end of the day the privatizers will walk away jingling with a bunch of that federal ed money that was going to waste on kids before they showed up. If you believe we can do better than caving in and throwing up our hands in despair, allowing privileged shitheads like the Chameleon Group to waltz in and start stealing our schools from us then you need to re-commit and engage in the battle that's on our doorstep whether you feel up to it or not. We have guys like me trying to squeeze out a few blogposts a week for a handful of folks who need no conversion nor any preaching from me. They have full time lobbyists, strategists, billions from foundations like Gates and the Waltons and Broads. But they are dead ass fucking WRONG and we are RIGHT. Board of Ed meeting this wednesday at City Hall. I will bet you the privatizers have their fakeass grass roots thang on and they will be there in their tinfoil hats bleating and braying about THE CHILDREN. If you can't make it tell someone you know what can make it. We need to stop making it so damned easy for these weasels to raid our chicken coop. 


  1. A major effort of Deform groups is to lobby for mayoral control of school boards. You will note that recently, Mary Pasciak was doing the work of her pals at BuffaloReformEd by using her journalistic talents to plant the seeds of mayoral control. Just float that idea out there, Mary. Anyway, New York (Bloomturd) and Chicago (Rahmbo), have mayoral control of the school boards. Who do you think sits on those Boards? Wealthy, white conservatives, mayoral pals, who have never attended a public school, nor would they send their children to one (just like the mayors themselves). These Plutocrats are making the decisions without any interference from parents, teachers or the general public.

    The same scenario exists for the Board of Regents. You know who they are and what they stand for. They don't want to hear from you, especially if you are a teacher. You are considered ignorant and unimportant, the "great unwashed" so to speak.

    On Wednesday night, the darlings of the Board of Regents will arrogantly tell our (elected!) Board of Education that they are taking two of our schools and converting them into charters. It will not matter what you, the Board, or anyone else thinks of this plan. It is a done deal. Just ask Bob Bennett, our local Regent charter idolator.

    Here is a suggestion. Make some noise at the Board meeting on Wednesday. Even though we know that resistance is futile, it would feel good to lob a few facts in the arrogant faces of the Chameleons. Their obscene grab for real estate should be publicly scrutinized. And they should hear the word "shame" repeatedly. Are we really that afraid of a few local lawyers and their wives? The rest of the Chameleon team are just a bunch of dunderheads who will be dumped as soon as the ink is dry on the charter agreement. Can you hear me, Emilio, Valeria and Deborah? You will all STILL be unemployed after the deal is struck, or at least you should be if there is any justice in the world.
    Shame, shame, shame.

  2. Anon, after Pasciak softened up the ground the News Ed Board followed up with an editorial that looked like it had been cut and pasted from the BuffaloPrivatizeEd website. And in keeping with the comic rule of 3 a few days after they even turned little Denise Jewel Gee loose on the topic I guess cause she couldn't find a jumprope tournament in Williamsville she could write life lessons about that day, And lo and behold the Angry Misguided Black Man's columnist piles on a week or so later with his own version of the same shite sputtered all read by the usual suspects. One good thing about Rod Watson though if you're not in agreement with him he will never hurt you as he is such a slacker and sticks like glue to doing the minimum his contract demands you'll never have to endure an extra attack from him. For all of his bitching about unions the guy is so fucking lazy he writes one column every 7 days, not a syllable more. If I had all week to crank out the miserable racist shit he calls his body of work I'd be ashamed to post the results he dredges up. You can just tell he sits high on one cheek due to the mini contract in his back pocket that keeps him from doing one iota beyond what is expected of him. Job security is cool though huh Rod, no way you can get fired. I agree the teachers need to show up and make these privileged few uncomfortable. This entire process has been made terribly easy for greedy privatizers because teachers are anything but union thugs. I recommend the videos of StandUp Chicago if any of my more refined colleagues need a primer on how to act with these arrogant shit heads.

  3. 3rd grade in the burbsNovember 5, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Where is the meeting being held Wednesday night?

  4. 3rd grade:
    It is a Board of Ed meeting at City Hall. The Board is required to have this "hearing" with the Chameleons. You have to be pretty vile if even the Buffalo Board of Ed thinks that you are repulsive! Anyway, I have heard varying start times. One at 4pm for the Chameleons and another at 5 or 5:30 for the Board meeting. Will try to get more specific. I think it is on the Chameleon website, but going there is just distasteful :). Also, since the Chameleons are not in total control of this meeting, there will be public comment. As we know, Chameleons do not appreciate "public" comment. It upsets them to think that they are in no way wanted by the "community" that they profess to love so much! They love the community so much that they are afraid to even let the community have a voice. I guess they believe in a more controlling, restraining, obedient, repressive kind of love. There are words for folks like them! Remember, they will only allow one parent on their charter "board".
    "Community", my butt!

  5. 3rd grade in the burbsNovember 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM


    Thanks. According to the Live Blog from the October 24th school board meeting, Kane suggested the meeting be held from 5:30-7:00 pm on November 7th. I did not see any info on the Chameleon website but maybe I had the wrong address (Chameleon Community Schools Project, The only info that came up was a flyer citing their areas of expertise. Please post any additional information about the meeting. If it is at City Hall, where is the best place to park?

  6. 3rd Grade:
    The Chameleon blog address is:

    Look under "public hearing". It is the media release from the Buffalo Board of Ed. That release says 5:30 pm.

    PS. Chameleon blog is lazily and infrequently updated by Amy Friedman. If she is as lazy in her current Board job at Tapestry (and her future positions at East and Waterfront), the students of Buffalo are in trouble. But, I suppose she will be able to order one her low paid teachers to keep the blog up to date. Just threaten to fire the little peon charter teachers (with their funny "haircuts") if they don't do as you say.

    Oh, and speaking of "haircuts", Emilio Fuentes was kept on a VERY short leash at the last Chameleon meeting. He meekly and subserviently read a boring powerpoint word for word. He did not deviate from his script, not even once, nor did he look at his audience, nor was he allowed to open his mouth to answer questions.

    Note to Emilio:
    Reading a powerpoint (that was surely written by someone else)in a sad monotone does not make for a dynamic meeting. What did they do to you, man? Where is the fiery weeper that we saw last summer at the first meeting? I vividly remember your haircut speech, along with your delight in telling the audience that the Chameleons would be happy to see the current Waterfront teachers leave their jobs and that there were many, many young teachers just waiting to take their places.

    Looks like Steve and Amy shut your act down pretty good.
    Sorry for you, man.

  7. That meeting was such a boring, uninformative hour of drivel that anyone with working nerve cells would realize that the Chameleon group will be abject failures in their attempts to educate the poor children assigned to their minimally educated and inexperienced teachers.
    Sort of like flying with the newest pilots with the least experience. They can take off, and fly around...but haven't tried to land yet.
    i can't make the driving wings are clipped...retina repairs ... drat!

  8. Sadly for the Barber of No Illusions Fuentes he went and blew his wad with all of the angry brown man act they hired him for. Unfortunately he told the exact truth which is more than his handlers obviously wanted him to reveal. Fact is anyone teaching in one of these places will take a haircut salary wise and they won't get any benefits either. I think he was only supposed to allude to that not spell it out as an overt threat. Funny I suggested to Don Vivant Esmonde (the intrepid News Columnist who's riding out the back nine of his career being dazzled by school privatizers when once upon a time he waded into hood barbershops to ask the fellaz about street matters) that he should have his wife the Buffalo teacher as we are forever reminded apply to the Chameleons for a teaching position with reduced salary and no benefits. Hey Don after all if it's good for us and good for the city it really should be good enough for you and your family. Better yet, why wait, they are all ready running two charters at Elmwood Village and Tapestry, you know the ones where kids need private transportation and have the lowest numbers of kids in poverty of any other schools? I think Don's beloved should be applying as we speak just as a show of good faith, After all he wants the rest of us subjected to angry teacher hating lunatics like Emilio Fuentes cutting our salary so why not get in on the fun in an up close and personal way? Crickets.