Friday, May 13, 2011

Walcott Appointee David Weiner Meets With E4E's Evan Stone and Sydney Morris at Tweed


An Ed Notes Exclusive (Not a joke):

Among David Weiner's first appointments in his new position as deputy chancellor for talent, labor and innovation, was a meeting on Thursday May 12 with the leaders of Education 4 Excellence Sydney Morris and Evan Stone. Clearly, his priority is to come up with an innovative way to use E4E to undermine teacher rights. Expect an escalation in E4E's activities with direct access to principals and behind the scenes pressure to allow E4E into school buildings to meet with teachers.

The secret cameras Ed Notes operatives installed throughout Tweed, captured the meeting. Audio is too fuzzy to release but you can just imagine the conversation. An ed notes cluster and free ticket to a screening of the response to WfS goes to the best dialogue submitted by readers.

Evan and Sydney headed over to the big rally after the meeting where I ran into them and we engaged in a mini-debate as we walked. I asked them what they were doing there and they said, "we are against layoffs like everyone else is." They were alone so there was no presence from E4E that I saw as an organization and it would have been a perfect opportunity to bring out all those teachers who supposedly support them to make a show of force that they were more interested in stopping layoffs than killing LIFO.

We did agree on a certain level of whether the UFT put on an effective rally. But more on that some other time.

What I gleaned from our brief conversation was that E4E sees teachers as a hierarchy of effectiveness where I see people as either being competent or not. I asked them if they actually knew ineffective teachers at their school. They were circumspect given they still have ties to their school, which to me means that they think there are some lousy teachers there. I asked if their principal has done anything about ineffective teachers and again they were careful. So these advocates for children when it comes to their own back yard are silent. My guess is that even if LIFO were gone these teachers might still be there due to political relationships which is the driving force in most schools.

By the way, will Sydney and Evan lose their F-status jobs in the upcoming layoffs, which will cost them any claim to still being teachers?

We had a deeper conversation than what I am reporting and I do like engaging them because it illuminates my thinking and it also exposes some thinking that I think more teachers than we like to think agree with. I remember a guy I worked with in my last years who had tremendous resentment about the people he thought were getting away with stuff in his school while he worked his ass off. I too admit to some of that thinking in my early years. So instead of just calling Evan and Sydney and Ruben and other E4E people names, we should go after that way of thinking. Yes, there will always be incompetents, lazies, people who use the system, etc. The simple answer is that every single job has people like this, but the fact that we deal with children, often poor, puts a microscope on us (same with social workers, etc.) (I would point out that bad police have a much more serious impact.)

How do we deal with this? Not by using test scores. My answer has always been a degree of greater control over the schools by teachers themselves, who would be very hard on those who don't pull their weight. (I counter pose these people to those who are simply incompetent.)

Gotta go now. Maybe more thinking about this later.


  1. Thanks for putting "not a joke" at the top of this post. Too bad this is for real, though. These kids...

  2. "David Weiner Meets With E4E's Evan Stone and Sydney Morris at Tweed"... I wondered what these users of the system talked about? David Weiner worked as a kindergarten teacher in California for a couple of years and then he was the principal in a Hispanic elementary school in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for 2 years. It seems that he used the system as a stepping stone for his new job.

  3. First off, just to get it out if the way, they were there so they could say they were against the layoffs, while making sure that there was no group presence. After receiving criticism for completely ignoring layoffs when their group was first rolled out in public, their political antennae told them to make the perfunctory statements against cutbacks that they do. It's totally meaningless and empty. To have actually shown up en masse, behind a banner with their supporters might have disturbed the funders.

    The issue is not Morris and Stone's opinions, which may indeed by in sync with more classroom teachers than we'd like. After all, people, including teachers, have all sorts of confused, misinformed, vain and self-serving opinions.

    The issue is that Morris and Stone's misconceptions are so perfectly aligned with, and amplified by, powerful interests that are fundamentally antagonistic to students, teachers and public education in general. They are a vehicle for what are often nihilistic attacks on public schools as an evolving (and flawed) experiment in democracy and humane endeavor, and their replacement by a narrow, greed and power-driven mechanism of labor procurement and social control.

    They are parties to a giant fraud.

    By all means, let's go after their line of thinking, as you say. But they should also be energetically exposed and attacked.

  4. Norm, you were way, way to kind. They are nothing more charlatans.

  5. I think the point with them should be that the focus on "the bad teacher" is a misguided waste of money and time that we could be using to make schools and teachers better at educating students. But I am tired and this person says it all:

    And hi Norm! I'll be sure to post a link to this in the comments of Ruben's next post.


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