Thursday, September 10, 2009

The UFT and the Gates Project to Evaluate Teachers

The UFT attempt to portray Bill Gates as some benevolent force just looking to find an innocent way to evaluate teachers is one of the great misleads in a sea of UFT/AFT/Unity Caucus obfuscations.

Mulgrew's response to a complaint from a teacher is priceless:

As you have so rightly stated public education is under attack but more importantly to me our profession is under attack.

He then goes on to say:

As for the Gates foundation they are funding the project but please don't confuse them with chancellor. When Gates finished the small school project they determined that it was not a success and that curriculum and school supports were more important than a school structure which was very ethical considering that the small school movement originated with them.

You mean the same Bill Gates who is one of the leading forces in undermining public education? Some think the union leadership is just stupid. Not so. They know exactly what they are doing. They soften the membership up and weaken their defenses to allow the virus into the ranks.

By the way, guess who also embraced the small school movement despite repeated attempts by Ed Notes, ICE and TJC to discuss the important aspect of undermining and closing the large comprehensive high schools? Your corporate friendly UFT. No mea culpas from the UFT on this one. Or any other of the ocean of disasters they have supported, including one of the mothers of all – allowing the use of high stakes test data to judge teacher performance.

There have been some interesting comments on our post "Teacher Evaluations: Bill Gates and the Unity/UFT,...".

Witness Melody, who seems to agree with Ed Notes on most issues:

"I think the UFT is right on this one. The teacher measurement & accountability issue is a train coming down the track, and I don't think laying our bodies down in front of it is a realistic option, because we WILL get run over."

The big problem with the neoliberal agenda when it comes to education is that it wants accountability on the cheap...

Melody doesn't really understand the full measure of the neoliberalism free market/government is bad philosophy, led by Bill Gates and his money. Gates, by the way, complains about the pubic school monopoly and calls for choice in schools while making his money by running the Microsoft monopoly and doing everything he could to deny choice in operating systems, browsers, data bases, spreadsheets, etc. And by the way, there's a great fortune to be made for Microsoft in the large urban school systems the Gates foundation supports. Check how many Gates supported schools have Apple computers (not based on any real knowledge like most conjectures here, but on my own paranoiac instincts.)

Anon responded to Melody (read all responses at the original post):

Re: the train analogy... In general, ICE and other opposition groups advocate fighting, which I would argue is the opposite of laying bodies down in front of an oncoming train.

It should be obvious to EVERYONE that there are massive problems with our union participating in a study funded by the Gates Foundation. The UFT’s position should be that, for a myriad of obvious reasons, we should not be using ANY student data to measure teachers. And once again, not only has the leadership capitulated to the idea of these measurements, but they are actively supporting the Gates Foundation's CONTROL of the measurement system!

It is extremely na├»ve to think that teachers will be allowed in ANY way to influence the results of a study sponsored by a private company with a vested interest in the privatization of education. If you read Mulgrew's letter carefully, the "participation" he asks from teachers amounts to nothing more than allowing them to be the subjects of the study. Nowhere does he mention any kind of input from the participating teachers. Instead, "Gates-funded researchers" will be "collect[ing] information about their teaching from a broad variety of sources." It seems, from this letter, that the teachers and the UFT leadership will have zero control over how students will be tested, let alone how the results are used – and the UFT leadership is perfectly fine with that.

Clearly, the main purpose of this study is to deal with the revealing fact that the majority of students in charter schools are performing equal to or worse than other New York City public school students on standardized tests. This must be humiliating for the privatization effort, because they are part of the same agenda that touts these tests as accurate measures of student achievement. If not for this fact, if kids in charters were doing as well or better than kids in other schools, you can bet that the Gates Foundation would be holding up the results of the ridiculous standardized tests we have now as "proof" that their schools (and their teachers) work better, and they would have no reason to even consider alternative methods of measuring teacher ability. Instead of exposing the charter school scam and supporting its own teachers, the UFT leadership embraces it.

I am not the tiniest bit surprised that the Unity caucus came on here and implied that their opposition is just a small group of petty teachers. Their goal is to make those who demand that they actually [gasp!] defend the membership feel that they are small in number and isolated. Ignore this particular tactic of theirs. It’s old, tired, and smacks of desperation… they know they’re fooling fewer and fewer people every day.

1 comment:

  1. It's time to walk away from the farce that passes for the political process in the US now. It's time for resistance. It's time for disruption. It's time to tear it down.

    The corporate state described by Benito Mussolini may not yet be fully consolidated but the US will soon arrive there. It is a development that explains why the oligarchs and the neoliberal schemers that serve them have handed-off their movement to gut public education to Obama and his blabbering henchman Arne Duncan. Just as well, it explains the use of taxpayer's money instead of or in concert with the fortunes of Gates, Broad, and the Waltons to see their designs realized.

    The day of the monkey wrenches is here.


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