Saturday, August 28, 2010

Let's Take a Meeting

I can't tell you how many people tell me they have tried to contact Michael Moore to ask him to make a film about education, with the hope he would expose the ed deformers. My answer has always been, with so many so-called liberals jumping on the ed deform platform, how can we be sure he is not sympathetic to the ed deformers himself? Well, anyway, no one seems to have had a response from Moore.

Yesterday, a group of NYC teachers gave up a beautiful sunny afternoon and took a meeting. A meeting to discuss ideas for a film to respond to the ed deformers.

That old movieland expression – take a meeting–  expressed with irony about the world of Hollywood, with more than a hint of "what a waste of time these meetings are" was belied by the quality of this meeting.

The teachers are from a new generation of teacher activists – 30 somethings with an average of a decade in the system – they have spent most of their careers under the rule of the BloomKlein ed deform system and have been activated by the very deforms. To them, BloomKlein represent the new status quo. Dedicated and highly professional educators, popular with colleagues and parents - and yes, their supervisors  – the very people the ed deformers claim they seek as saviors.

But they are fierce defenders of the public school system, unalterably opposed to charter schools because of the damage they do, the high stakes testing regime, and critical of the collaborationist policies of the UFT and Randi Weingarten – activists who are intent on organizing masses of teachers and parents and community to make a stand.

They are the ed deformers' worst nightmare.

Speaking of Moores, let me include a piece from Paul Moore (no relation to Michael), from an older generation of teachers who teaches in inner city Miami.
The Achievement Gap

Addressed to Bill Turque, Education Writer for The Washington Post:

Hey Bill, back before the US Civil War, standardized tests would have no doubt measured an "achievement gap" between white children and children of color. But no rational person would ever have allowed it to be given such an absurd label. The abolitionists, the Quakers, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe and the rest would have put the blame for the testing disparity where it belonged, on slavery! That vicious system made it a crime for a child of color to even pick up a book and attempt to learn to read.

Oh, the slaveholders certainly would have welcomed a debate over the "achievement gap" while the existence of the institution was ignored. While chattel slavery is a historical relic now, its racist economic underpinnings are very much alive in this nation. Racism still provides greater corporate profits in workplaces across the country every day. Racism generated huge profits for the banks until their sub-prime mortgage schemes went bust. It's doing the same thing today for Kaplan's "sub-prime" Universities and the Washington Post Company.

The new corporate masters of US public education oversee an apartheid-like system where schools are strictly segregated, where teachers of color are steadily driven from the classroom to make room for white "Teach For America" missionaries and where a second-class education for children of color has been institutionalized. Little wonder the modern overseers are so comfortable making their stand on the "achievement gap" while the economy's ingrained racism and the profound and disproportionate effects of severe poverty on children of color are ignored.

Here's a partial list of the new masters and their housekeepers who shed "crocodile tears" over the achievement gap in public exclusively for personal or political gain. It's quite the diverse group but put them all together and their true concern for the children of this country wouldn't fill up a thimble. Hypocrites all!

George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Rod Paige
Margaret Spellings
Ruby K. Payne
Eli Broad
Joel Klein
Arne Duncan
Michelle Rhee
Bill Gates
Paul Vallas
Jeb Bush
Wendy Kopp
Newt Gingrich
Rush Limbaugh
Michael Bloomberg
Armstrong Williams
Al Sharpton


Anonymous said...

"...concern for the children of this country wouldn't fill a thimble".

So true!!!

Tom said...

And yet every time they get an audience, they declaim at length about how important this is to them.

It must be working, or they wouldn't keep doing it.

caroline said...

When I talk about these education issues to goodhearted friends who aren't familiar with them, I often get that response -- "you should contact Michael Moore, because I'm sure he'd do his next movie on this!" And yes, just as you say -- who's to say where Michael Moore would come down on education reform? I've read praise of charter schools from Al Franken (whose kids attended some fancy-pants NYC private school), who overall is someone I admire probably more than Moore.

The number of strong liberal-progressive leaders who cloister their kids in elite private schools, away from the unwashed (not to say dark-skinned) masses gives some idea of the degree of (lack of) commitment to public education. It's really sad.