Sunday, May 13, 2007

Sol Stern looks for radicals under his bed



Sol Stern's "take" on the radical math conference was published in the right-wing NY Post on May 12. Rush over to Norm's Notes if you want to read it.

Sol's hunt for leftist radicals in the NYC school is pretty comical as he joins his friends in the UFT's Unity Caucus in Red-baiting. I have been pretty much in touch with the leftist scene in the UFT for over 35 years and the number of teachers on the left is minuscule. There are many more people proselytizing their religious beliefs than leftist views. (One of the teachers in my school had a cross on his classroom door and gave spelling tests with quotes from the bible.)

And what a pitiful attempt at muckraking. Like trying to brand Bloomberg and Klein as supporters of leftist causes. Only in the NY Post. And from the pen of Sol Stern.

Sol attended the math conference (see my post of May 11 on this blog). He attended Erica Litke's workshop which lasted an hour and a half. He asked questions. Where is evidence in his Post op-ed of his attendance? Apparently Erica didn't give him the smoking gun he was looking for. Ah, there is fair and balanced for you. Sol and the Post think that just using the word "radical" will get a buzz going.

I briefly attended a symposium at the conference where a high school teacher from Oakland humorously went into some detail that the word "radical" in the math world has more connotations than the way it is commonly used and is especially relevant to math teachers. Sol was in the audience but must have missed it. Soon Sol will be writing that the expression "free radicals" used in nutrition is a leftist plot to get political prisoners out of detention.

All Sol could report on after a full day of attendance was what he could glean from the conference brochure. And a few words from college professor Marilyn Frankenstein that food should be as free as air. Like free food would be a bad thing. Under Sol's and Rupert Murdoch's supposed free market economy (where anyone with money can buy the government) the air wouldn't be free either.

3 comments:

  1. The saddest thing Stern is doing is discouraging teachers from using material that would energize some students. Like Sol, some students thrive on controversy and conflict. If a mathematics teacher can set up a project that has social consequences that are meaning to the students, and requires real mathematics to solve, then I say "ignore the red-baiting and go for it."

    I bet Sol's afraid that once NYC kids understand the filmsy statisitical analysis that he and his Manhattan Institute buddies use, they'll all be exposed.

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  2. Anon has a good point about the nature of the Manhattan Institute. When the mayor privatized the Randall's Island playing fields, he didn't auction off the permits like a real free-market conservative would. Instead he let the Parks Department handpick a bunch of private schools who would be allowed in on the deal. Every politician, advocacy group, editorial board and think tank in town had an opinion on this deal except the Manhattan Institute. Funny how the champions of free market solutions suddenly get quiet when it's their buddies who are carving up some public asset.

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  3. Good points Patrick. I will be going to the Manhattan Inst luncheon for Margaret Spellings this Tues. Sol suggested that if I make fun of the food I ought to pay. I will order seconds as a demonstration of my loyalty to Man. Inst culinary tastes if not to their politics. For a think tank they lack food for thought.

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