Monday, June 23, 2014

Neo-Liberal Wayne Barrett, Pseudo-Progressive Anti-Union Charter School Lover

It's remarkable that someone as "progressive" as Barrett fails to comprehend the corporate influence on the modern Democratic party... NYC Educator
You sound like a shill for privatizers. I too am critical of the UFT for not advocating class size reduction and addressing poverty. .. but tenure is hardly the boogie man here, hence my skepticism. In Europe, especially Scandinavia, teachers enjoy tenure protections and hassle-free careers where they’re not observed in the scheme of relentless scrutiny that the UFT has agreed to. They have the most progressive systems on the planet. I know, I have been there many times to see firsthand. Yes the UFT is run by a corrupt political machine. And they have done more to advance what you think is needed. but anyone calling for the abolition of tenure or just gradually dismantling it as the UFT has been doing can't call themselves "progressive"... John Elfrank-Dana responding to Wayne Barrett anti-union diatribe

The most telling bit of information comes after his piece: Barrett is an investigative journalist. His wife is an aide to Gov. Cuomo. One of the things his wife, Fran Barrett, was put in charge of was Cuomo’s initiative to ensure that non-profit CEO’s don’t have salaries above $200K – esp. whose organizations that get more than 30% of their revenue from the state. Unfortunately, they never appeared to apply that rule to charter schools... comments on NYCEDNEWS listserve
Former Village Voice writer and charter school lover Wayne Barrett spent his 10 minutes in the classroom before becoming a so-called "investigative journalist" who can't seem to investigate why over 50% of the kids disappear in Eva's Success Academy and in the KIPP chain - See Gary Rubinstein: The time KIPP was booed off the stage at TFA:
[See below for the numbers -- maybe Wayne might bother to do a little investigating.]

Wayne (who has not been missed since he left the Voice), a self-described "progressive," joined the other whining neo-liberal ed deformers in attacking the UFT [leadership] - which of course he doesn't separate from the rank and file. Arthur took a nice shot at him:
NYC Educator Wayne Barrett Is Shocked, Shocked - It's important to Wayne Barrett that you know he is progressive. *I am a progressive, * How can you argue with that? After all, that's clear.
Barrett's piece is so inept it could qualify for one of those rotten strawberry awards they give to bad films. I met him twice -- at my childhood friend Marty Needelman's wedding in the 70s. Before that I worked with him and his wife Fran in the District 1 local school board election c. 1971 or 72. Supt Louis Fuentes was a target of the vicious UFT assault to remove him and radicals/liberals came out from under the woodwork to work in the campaign for Fuentes. So I guess I can get Barrett's anti-UFT stance. But how narrow can he get? Focusing his anti-UFT venom and directing it at teachers rather than a leadership with its own narrow agenda? Did the investigative journalist miss all the support the UFT gives to the charter movement, overt and covert, while at the same time trying to put up a militant face to the members that they have their backs.

Back to Arthur:
Wait a minute. Is Barrett stating that the United Federation of Teachers represents the interests of (gasp!) teachers? Now I'm shocked too! But what Barrett also does here is advance the meme that the interests of teachers are counter to those of students. Why aren't we out rallying for more work for less pay? After all, isn't that what the children of America need? Despite Barrett's boast of how amazingly progressive he is, teacher v. student is precisely the argument you'll hear from Michelle Rhee, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Chris Christie, and virtually all other supporters of corporate reform.
I am shocked, just shocked that anyone actually would declare the UFT represents the interest of teachers.

Gary runs the numbers on KIPP below the break.

KIPP released their latest annual report recently and one stat I’ve been tracking for years is their attrition rate.  For the past three years, it has been a steady 12% — per year.  This means that in a typical 5th through 8th KIPP, 100 fifth graders would shrink to 88 6th graders, 77 7th graders, 68 8th graders, and 60 graduating 8th graders for a total attrition of 40%.
Then they show this statistic.
ImageThis suggests that kids have a more than five times chance of graduating college by going to KIPP.  But that 44% is just the 44% of the kids who make it to be KIPP alumni.  So this stat is certainly skewed.  Now you might say that 44% of the 60% who remain is still 26 percent, which is still over triple the 8%.  You know, if they said that I still would have some issues, but definitely one issue less.
Another thing I noticed in the annual report is that the SAT scores from their juniors are horrific.  Now I’m not the one who says that test scores are everything, but reformers do, so when I see KIPP Newark, which has gotten a lot of attention lately, and KIPP Washington DC with SAT scores in the 1200s, that’s about 400 per section which you could get by answering about five questions per section and leaving the rest blank, I have to wonder how well those students will succeed in college.
Funded, in part by the Waltons, KIPP is a bit like the Walmart of charter schools.  And just like Walmart may have some good things about it — maybe prices there are low, I don’t know — KIPP might be good for the kids who are a ‘good fit’ for it.  But also like Walmart, the negatives of KIPP seem to outweigh the positives.  This is why the gut instinct of those 1996 corps members back in the day was correct.

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