Saturday, January 4, 2014

We're All Out of Cheeks to Turn So It Must Be Time to Kick Some Ass

In Case You Hadn't Noticed by Now -- It's On Bitches

As we begin a new year in the War On Public Education -- if I may use that phrase without paying Bill O'Reilly a royalty -- I encourage any and all within earshot to let that phrase sink in just a bit. Let it roll around in your brain and tingle your nerve endings. Let it fester until you feel that little flicker of adrenaline you recognize as the start of getting pissed off. Good. Because this has been a war and it has been waged as one by people with many many expensive weapons. They have attacked teachers, called teachers lazy, using buzzwords like "lacking rigor" to describe pre-ed reform pedagogy. They hide behind fake data and science fiction dressed up as scientific evaluation. They use their money to buy up politicians and to spread their lies through mainstream media where the fact check and the follow up question have become vestigial items from a bygone, chain smoking, journaliste' noir era. Now it's as Swift described "Falsehoods fly and the truth comes limping after." But in this era the falsehoods get all the press during prime time and the limping truth gets the stank eye and the slot just after the infomercials go off at 2:45 a.m. As if that wasn't scurrilous enough they have recently turned to attacking American kids as well. Our kids are dumb and soft and they need rigor, say the ed reformers pointing to skewed PISA scores of kids from Shanghai. Yes Shanghai where they essentially create an honors bloc of kids and test prep them til their innards fall out. Then compare their scores to those of kids from places as diverse as Amherst and Camden and say look how dumb these bloody yanks are. A 100+ story building in Shanghai fucking fell over a month ago, just for the record. But man can they take tests. 

Teachers by nature like things to be fair and orderly. Teachers tend to believe in democratic principles even if they are forced at times to run certain rambunctious classes without them. In a perfect world most teachers would like everyone to get along and learn. Which makes teachers an easy target for  the very kind of shiftless bastards we see leading the crusade of "ed reform" as we know it. Teachers don't know enough to stand up for themselves until it's practically too late. They tend to choose the high road which  makes them even more likely to fall prey to the lowbrow lying antics of  their for profit usurpers. Often times you will see teachers either unable to respond, unwilling to respond or unaware that they need to respond when they are attacked by the hydra headed forces of "ed reform." Send me a dollar for every time some high minded pedagogue has told you they'd combat the dire wolf at the door by "closing my door and teaching" and I'll send you a nice post card when I land at Grand Cayman. 

The lobbyists who crank out anti-union anti-teacher screeds for local papers -- people who never even set foot in the places they send their little hit pieces to, people paid by their overlords to keep the upside down world narrative of the overpaid, underworked, uncaring, greedy teacher in the conversation. I see these things all the time in the Buffalo News and sure enough every time I see the author's name connected to some "institute" or other a quick search reveals they are paid lobbyists. Paid lobbyists are one of the weapons used daily by people who seek to end public education and replace it with for profit, corporate owned, Common Core scripted McMofoCation. Their desire is to train the next wave of goggle eyed service industry drones who follow orders and don't mind using what might have been their free time in a by gone era to try making up the gaps in their income between it and a living wage. Get off work at McShitBurgers and go shovel snow or cut lawns for the next 4 to 8 hours in an effort to pay your bills feed your family and get your kid a pair of Payless sneakers. Now that's where all the Common Core "rigor" pays off. You know don't you that they are even planning to make the GED exam more "rigorous" which will prove nothing and benefit nobody except those involved in test manufacture. Think about it, is a dropout be he/she 19 or 49, going to benefit from that extra "rigor" sitting in a crash course class in a tough hood for how many hours a month? Hours that could just as easily be spent working somewhere? Really ? It's bullshit my friends. 

My message in 2014 is to remember we are under attack. We have been for about a decade now and it's just now getting so some of us are able to mount even the faintest of counter attacks. They have made attacking us and our unions an every day occurrence. They seek to use phony data to fire us, put us out of work and take food off our tables and clothes from our kids' backs. Think of what you'd do if they got their way and tossed you out on your ass. No paycheck. No benefits. No nothing. And please don't kid yourself and say this is not what they are doing. It's exactly what they are trying to do and they don't care how many fake tests and phony unreliable invalid VAM measures and Danielson rubrics they need to write up to do it. They want us out of work so they can replace us with cheaper, compliant, interchangeable parts. 

  • Why is it statistical experts will debunk every single one of their data measures not to mention the very premise of judging teacher effectiveness by high stakes test scores yet the forces of ed reform blunder ahead heedless of this advice in their pigheaded insistence to use these discredited measures no matter what? 
  • Why is it child development experts have pointed out countless instances of the CCSS being developmentally inappropriate and damaging to children's basic relationship to the educational process as well as school in general yet these same forces insist that everyone needs more "rigor" to be "college and career ready?" 
  • How is it the only thing we know for certain about "merit pay" that is supported by any data anywhere is that it doesn't work, yet it remains on the to do list of every ed reformer who can get away with it? 
  • Finally, oh the list is endless but for my purposes this is all I can bear to dredge up, when the data fetishists of ed reform step out of the shadows with their non teacher crafted, Bill Gates funded Common Core State Standards and the rest of the sentient world  -- those of us who weren't privvy to David Coleman and friends unqualified curricular twerkings -- step back and ask Can we see your data that supports this? We get a cough and an ass scratch and an "Oh God will you look at the time..." as they bolt out the door without looking back. The high priests of using data against everyone else don't have dick when it comes to showing us their data. A supposedly educationally sound -- scientifical almost if you listen to them talk -- set of standards that are going to drive the educational engine of the wealthiest country in the developed world BUT they don't have squat to show that ANY of it is worth a shit. You tell me how this happens.

Better yet tell them you are done taking their shit. If it means showing up in front of their house, so be it. If they have to be mic checked and heckled any and every time they step to a  public mic then that's what it may very well take. We do have options friends and the small showing in front of Old Bob Bennett's house a few days ago is but the tip of the iceberg of what we need to show these people, the media and our state lawmakers.  In Dallas, teachers tired of their Superintendent's Superman schtick picketed his house on the day of his kid's 12th birthday party. Shortly afterwards Mrs and the kids left the state because they didn't care for the media attention they said. Know what I say ? Tough Shit. These people have come at us hard and had few bumps and bruises for their efforts all things considered. They have had a lot of free shots at people unaccustomed to fighting back. If 2014 is, according to the Chinese, the Year of the Horse, I suggest we start making sure we put our hooves up some ed reform ass. Make it your New Year's Resolution to let them know the freebies are over. Show them if they want to wage war on teachers they too are going to suffer some discomfort. This thing has been too one sided for far too long, I suggest Ed Reformers consider their actions have consequences, something they don't seem to have experienced until now. Dare to Imagine. 


  1. Great message. It is time to hit the streets. It is not enough to throw some sand in the gears. The direction needs to be changed

  2. Totally agree. They pick us off a thousand different ways and walk around like they're untouchable. If Tisch thought she might have had to dodge a brick at Teacher's College last spring sh enever would have showed up to collect that bogus award from her friend the Prez who's also on Pearson's payroll. I refer any and all to Ward Churchill's excellent piece Check it out

  3. The teachers are fortunate to have you risking your job by standing up for them as they choose to " close my door and teach" while their own positions are being undermined by politicians and "re-formers".
    I hope you never give up! And thanks from the teachers in my family.