Saturday, November 27, 2010

Calls to action for teachers -

There are increasing calls for to take action. The overwhelming majority of teachers have been missing in action as the assault continues with the Cathie Black appointment. What will it take? Maybe experiencing Cathie Black's upcoming assault on teacher seniority. Do you think Black and Bloom have any intention of laying off teachers based on last in? Watch the assault with Cuomo as their ally arguing that by they can get twice as many teachers by getting rid of teachers who make more money - especially ATRs. Some think the union will hold the line. Do you? What if B&B ignore all the rules and dare the UFT to do something about it? Would the UFT strike? You  know they won't. So it's off to court while thousands wait without pay checks. Outside the realm of possibility?

Think about it and Heed these calls:

Susan Ohanian speech to NCTE convention, Nov. 20, 2010

I read Susan's speech last night, soon after hearing of the sham going down with Shael and Cathie.

Susan Ohanian is one of the earliest handful of people who battled the ed deformers when they were still in diapers in the 90's. (Go to her website and subscribe to her daily posts and also buy every book she ever wrote.)

Here is her speech to the National Council of Teachers of English, an org that Susan has been critical of for cowtowing to the ed deformers.

Teachers - heed this call to action. As you see every day, the UFT/AFT is in bed with the deformers.
I know the fear out there but think of joining The Resistance within and without the UFT. Also read Arjun's poem below. There's a similar theme when he says:
But truth be told, it's all of us,
Together, who're to blame.
Excerpts from Susan's speech:
In Homegrown Democrat, Garrison Keillor warns, "When you wage war on the public schools, you're attacking the mortar that holds the community together. You're not a conservative, you're a vandal."
Teachers, You Need to Know This
Contempt for teachers
Is deliberate, cerebral, planned, purposeful--
Part of education in the Global Economy.
--Susan Ohanian, When Childhood Collides with NCLB
As Richard Allington observed in Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum, "What seems to be under way is an attempt to portray teaching as a blue-collar job: No special skills are needed. Heck, even intellectual capacity doesn't really matter! Teacher education is portrayed as unnecessary--and even damaging."
Bill Gates and Arne Duncan & Barack Obama and the Business Roundtable are systematically destroying the profession of teaching, and our professional organization must help us stand up for who we are.
Duncan and Gates are wrong: The 'best and the brightest' are not the people we need in our schools: We need the savvy, rock steady, dependable, loving, forgiving people who have an enormous capacity for wait time and the psychological equilibrium to be able to enter the classroom every day not holding a grudge for what happened the day before.

Lest you doubt the triage metaphor, consider Vicki Phillips' recent remarks to the National PTA. Phillips is the Education Director for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

So we know master's degrees have almost no value.
We know certifications don't make a difference.
We know that after three years, seniority doesn’t really matter . . . After year three, teachers usually don't get significantly better or worse.

Consider how Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's remarks echo those of the Gates Foundation officer.

Here's the entire must read speech which was  posted at:

Chris Hedge's article on Truthdig (thanks to Karen for the tip)
Power and the Tiny Acts of Rebellion
There is no hope left for achieving significant reform or restoring our democracy through established mechanisms of power. We must take to the streets, armed with the tiny acts of truth and kindness that throughout history have exposed the oppressor’s cruelty.

South Bronx School has an idea (see my comment):
How To Beat Unity And The UFT

Another great poem from Arjun Sanah and his commentary:
Even though his own board voted against granting Cathie Black the waiver (needed for her lack of any education credentials -- not to speak of teaching experience) and against Steiner's suggested face-saving compromise, NY State Education Commissioner David Steiner has caved in, from our viewpoint, and agreed, as expected, to that compromise.

Knowing Bloomberg, this will be a farcical whitewash. All the power will reside in Ms.Black's and ultimately Bloomberg's hands.

But that is what the union agreed to when it backed myoral control.

Now, if the system crashes even further, or is purposely dismembered, as has been taking place, we can blame the mayor. But where does that leave the teachers and their students? And you know that the dismemberment will be portrayed as a heroic success, by almost all the politicians and media (from Obama to John Boehner at the national level, and from the Times to the Post locally).

Why would a union (and its members) participate actively in union busting? What is the rationale? I'm sure they have one. But it's beyond simple folks like me.

Ultimately, we, the teachers, are responsible for this. We spoke with our votes at each step.

The carrot and the stick succeeded.  And it will again.

Forever on the defensive. Forever facilitating the obscene by invoking fear of even greater obscenities.

"Be thankful it wasn't Rhee. And look, we won. Bloomberg backed down. Now she knows she will have to work with us."

Let's pray that sense will ultimately prevail. But one is less and less hopeful.

So was my own country of birth conquered and colonized, by wave after wave of invaders, from the Arya to the Afghans and Turko-Mongols to the British, even as most of our great landlord-kings (the Rajahs and Maharajahs and later the Nawabs and Sultans) collaborated. 

How Many Feel the Shame?

Alas, our Steiner's true to form,
He'd rather bend than stand.
Our union will follow suit.
What's hard to understand?

When teachers and all workers see
That they must act together,
Only then, will they break free
From whip and binding tether.

But if they only fear the whip
And run towards the carrot
That's dangled just in front of them,
They too, must orders parrot.

So if they're told to teach, within
A term, what should take three,
They'll grumble, but they'll follow suit,
And expert speedsters be.

And if the kids must sit in groups
And gab, in grade eleven,
Then that is what they'll have them do,
And make believe it's heaven.

And if our Cosmo Cathie tells
Our women what to wear,
That outfits must be sexy, smart,
They'll hardly shed a tear.

And if she says to men, "You must
Wear shorts and matching tie!"
Then those resisting will be told,
"Why must you question why?"

And even if we're ordered to
Dance naked, spouting verse,
We'll do as told. Our union heads
Will hint at orders worse!

The nations that were colonized
Had hierarchies in place,
And all the newest rulers did
Was grab the highest place.

Violence and fear were used,
As they had always been.
Each rung below was used to it,
And workers toiled unseen.

Some use the whip, while others use
The carrot (color, green).
But both have equal ends in mind:
Your slavery, obscene.

The revolutions come and go,
And yet, all stays the same.
And there are those who think that's fit,
While others feel the shame.

This day is called "Black Friday"
By the merchants. That's because
The ones who're in the red can use
This day for profit's cause.

But we will call it this because,
We've got, today, Ms. Black,
Because of David Steiner, weak,
Who's made this Friday black.

So those who still may persevere,
In struggle will recall
In years to come, this day of shame,
And Steiner, "scoundrel" call.

But truth be told, it's all of us,
Together, who're to blame.
Some work so hard, for long decades,
And never douse the flame.

But few can see, that work alone
Can never do the job.
Together, we must set things right,
Or yield to waiting mob.

Arjun Janah
2010 November 26th, Friday.


Anonymous said...

Mobilize now or be led off to your own doom...

3 term Mayor/Emperor...

is our EMPEROR answerable to anyone!

REVOLT! because it is so revolting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks to this wonderful poet who has so thoroughly NAILED the situation! BRAVO!