Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Randi Weingarten Holds Book Party for Steve Brill at Her DC Home

Who's the Trojan Horse? Randi or Brill?
Last Update: Tues, Oct. 4, 6:50 AM

I've been criticized even by some real reformers for declaring Randi Weingarten a collaborator with the ed deformers. "She's not a class enemy," some say "just because she makes errors in judgement." You decide if making Bill Gates the keynote speaker at the AFT convention or consistently taking positions counter to the interests of teachers she supposedly represents are "errors of judgment."

Tuesday night, Randi will be having Steve Brill over for a little ed deform celebration of his anti-teacher diatribe "Class(less) Warfare" – Just in case you don't have any doubts as to whose photo belongs on the Trojan Horse....

Will the Mighty Casey (Leo) come to the plate and take a big swing or a called third strike?

Mike Klonsky tweeted tonight:
"Guess which best-selling anti-union author will be at Randi's house tomorrow [Tues. Oct. 4] for her big party? My invite must be lost in the mail" 
followed by 
"Hint... He recommended her for NYC chancellor at the end of his book after bashing her and the AFT throughout the rest of it."
Actually Brill gave it away on Morning Joe on September 30 when we got this email:

Shocking Brill disclosure about Randi on Morning Joe: Brill said that Randi would be throwing book party for Class(less) Warfare in D.C.

Randi = Ed Deformer. Squared.
Regular readers here will not be surprised that Randi is throwing a classless party to honor the author of "Class Warfare" while teachers in New York City suffer the highest class sizes in decades. Randi is billed as a reformer by ed deformers. You know - if A=B and B=C than A=C. Simple math.

Randi betrays Ravitch
Take a look at Diane Ravitch interviewing the anti-teacher, anti-union (no matter what he says) Brill. Brill spends a lot of time crying that teaching is the only job where no one is accountable or paid for performance. I guess he missed story after story about how incompetent top-level corporate execs get paid fortunes for failure. Maybe Randi is throwing the party so she can give Brill this article:

Let’s Stop Rewarding Failed C.E.O.’s - Common Sense 
Far too often when chief executives are ousted for poor performance, their companies lavish them with millions in bonuses and other compensation as they depart. 
Or this: Outsize Severance Continues for Executives, Even After Failed Tenures
Eye-popping severance packages thrive in spite of the measures put in place in the wake of the financial crisis to crack down on excessive pay.
Poor Brill. He misses so much of what is going on in the real world of finance. Teachers are so much more accountable than these jokers.
Read Ravitch's devastating NY Review of Books review of Brill's book (Diane Ravitch dissects Steven Brill's Class Warfare).
Steven Brill’s Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools celebrates the improbable consensus among conservative Republicans, major foundations, Wall Street financiers, and the Obama administration about school reform. Brill, a journalist and entrepreneur, portrays the leaders of today’s reform movement as heroes.
Diane lists a batch of these heroes but doesn't mention that Brill included Randi Weingarten as a deformer worthy of praise. 
Brill’s book is actually not about education or education research. He seems to know or care little about either subject. His book is about politics and power, about how a small group of extremely wealthy men have captured national education policy and have gained control over education in states such as Colorado and Florida, and, with the help of the Obama administration, are expanding their dominance to many more states. Brill sees this as a wonderful development. Others might see it as a dangerous corruption of the democratic process. …

Class Warfare is not about a “classroom war,” but literally a “class war,” with a small group of rich and powerful people poised to take control of public education, which apparently has for too long been in the hands of people lacking the right credentials, resources, and connections.

So the question is: is Randi letting Brill into her home as a Trojan Horse, just as she opened the door to Bill Gates at the AFT convention in Seattle? Or is the ed deformer Randi Weingarten the real Trojan Horse? Have any doubts? Check the state of conditions teachers all over the nation find themselves as the union leadership that ostensibly represents them lies down with the enemy.

Casey at the bat
Now on to poor UFT HS VP Leo Casey who now has to figure out a way to justify Randi's actions. Hmmm. Let me see. She really invited a guy named Steve Grill but the invitation went to Brill by mistake.

Leo had this little spat with Brill over his comments on Brill's book and got this little comment on Edwize from Brill.
When diatribes like this distort my book and distort the facts, I can usually take solace in the old PR cliche that “at least you spelled my name right.” But here in addition to everything else you even got that wrong.
Steven Brill
Here are a few of Casey's comments:
Class Warfare: that’s the title Steven Brill gave to his recent book on the state of American education.
With such a title, one might think that that Brill’s book would investigate how the deep class divisions between America’s wealthy class and our poor and working class, a gap that has grown immensely over the last four decades, has harmed our schools and our students. After all, educational research has shown that greatest challenge our schools face is the grinding effect of poverty on so many of the students we teach.
But Brill’s book embraces without question or qualification the diagnosis of the wealthy Wall Street hedge-fund managers who have driven much of the dominant ‘education reform’ agenda: in their view, the educational failures of schools and students are the fault of public school teachers and teacher unions. This Wall Street scapegoating of teachers and unions is a profoundly self-serving narrative: for if it is poverty that, above all other factors, has the greatest negative impact on educational achievement, then educational progress would require us to address why, in the words of New York Times reporter Michael Winerip, “people like [the Wall Street hedge fund managers] are allowed to make so much when others have so little.” Winerip posed this question to Brill, who replied that he had not seen the ‘class warfare’ in American education “as the rich versus the union guys, although now that you say it, I can see how you could draw that line.”
Brill demonstrates a special talent for ignoring the obvious in his book, but perhaps nowhere is his obliviousness more glaring than on the nature of the ‘class warfare’ that now afflicts American education.  ----read more at Edwize.


Check out Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: http://normsnotes2.blogspot.com/. And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.


  1. Good point about the CEO's not being accountable. You're right; that is another workplace where people are often not held accountable for performance. (But at least, performance is measured, and poor performance is only about money -- not kids' lives.)

    Steve Brill

  2. Of course it's about kids lives with a poverty rate in this country of 25%. But we don't see "class warfare" books being written about the poverty affliction and the unwillingness to address that poverty.

    And how about the impact on kids lives from bad policing - every black kid will tell loads of stories of being hassled time and again. And some even die.

  3. Accountability is a funny thing.

    I would say what we're seeing is a trickle down, pass the buck version of
    accountability......where those with the money and control are not accountable, get to mess up, blow the wad, then want everyone else on the lower rungs to account for their irresponsibility and greed (aka "class warfare" by those WITH the money.)

    As a wise teacher told me, "when you point the finger at someone else, you have 3 pointing back at you!" Making teachers accountable is an invention created by policy makers, not parents or students. Making children accountable with test scores, mandated by policy makers, being pressured by CEO's is another form of perverse accountability.

    Strange. I would counter the CEO reference by saying it's the only place where performance is measured, and those who fail are generously compensated for their failures. As well, poor performance that seemingly only effects money (and public money or money that does not belong to them) has ramifications that hurt the entire society, children included. Are we connecting the dots? Folks in the streets are!

  4. Let's not forget RAndi inviting Joel Klein to her 50th birthday party, where her staff was pressured to cough up $200 per ticket!
    I have notes from a meeting where she said "Joel Kelin is a liar. You cant beleive anything he says. I dont even meet with him alone any longer. HE doesnt know how to tell the truth."
    Ok- and add this: the UFT -DOE contract states that DOE must file charges against rubber roomers within six months.
    Despite my pleadings to Randi the Lawyer, she never once filed a grievance! Mulgrew was the same.
    So who was complicit in this deal?
    Happy Birthday indeed.


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