Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On Seniority

When The Indypendent's John Tarleton asked me to do an article in defense of seniority, I starteded tossing in all the things I wanted to say, starting with a complete history of Joel Klein's use of the issue, from his early years to claim the "best" - senior teachers - were not in the schools most in need because of the UFT transfer policies - to the fair funding formula that made senior teachers an economic liability to the schools. The bullshit the ed deformers throw around would fertilize a small nation. Shill, baby, shill!

I had been leaving comments on various blogs with bits and pieces of ideas and also had been reading some of the comments Michael Fiorillo and many others made at the Diane Senechal piece on seniority at Gotham. When I stopped writing I had 2200 words, well over double the space John had given me.

John was the editor on the piece and we had a few very long conversations that revealed the complexities of the seniority issue. I found it a very rigorous exercise to go through a process like that with someone who was very astute but not tuned into all the details that boil up when you start drilling. John took my scattered thinking (see yesterday's front page article in the Times on the distractions of the internet to see why) and focused things in a way that makes sense, to such an extent that I hesitate to take total credit for the article.

The article is at http://www.indypendent.org/2010/06/03/teaching-under-assault/
and is called:

FIRST PERSON: Teaching Under Assault: Two visions of education clash as Bloomberg prepares to lay off 6,400 teachers

I had to leave out a bunch of stuff I wanted to say. If you have anything to add leave a comment at the Indypendent and here so I can track them and add them to a more comprehensive piece. We have to do this ourselves since the UFT/AFT is unwilling and unable - because they are in tune in so many ways with the ed deformers.
No time to add links. Heading up to Manchester, NH for my yearly trip with a carload of teachers, engineers and other parties working on robotics here in NYC. There will be reps from all over the nation and the world. The amount of time and effort put into making these tournaments run is almost astounding, especially since it is just about all volunteer driven. We even get to go to dinner at the home of the founder of the robotics program (the helicopter hanger is turned into a dining room for a hundred) - his house is one of the most spectacular I've ever been in, built around a giant Sterling engine. I will try to get pics.


  1. Excellent piece. I linked it here.

  2. Your Indypendent piece was great. Well-organized, hard-hitting.

    The people demand more.

  3. You know full well I'm incapable of writing in an organized manner. But if John Tarleton is available to orgaanize my rants I am always willing.


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