"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Corporate Spin on the Fenty/Rhee Drubbing: Blame the Teachers

The New York Times has a downplayed story on the Fenty defeat, mentioning neither Fenty nor Gray in their headline and featuring a much larger photo of Fenty than Gray.  It also attributes the loss by Fenty to the bad guys, the teachers. 

And to whom should the new Mayor Gray work to reassure and assuage now?  The Rhee supporters who got trounced in yesterday's election:
In particular, many residents have voiced concern that a victory by Mr. Gray would signal an end to the city’s education overhaul under Michelle A. Rhee, the schools chancellor, which has become a model of education reform advocated by the Obama administration. 
Exactly.  That's what the election was about.  The Business Roundtable's version of "education reform" lost.  Get it? You do not take such a loss as a signal to placate or bow to the losers.

But the strongest corporate response so far has been issued through Pawlenty's office in Minnesota, which frames the repudiation of corporate ed reform by the voters as a win for the greedy teachers' union.  You will hear much more of this in the days to come:
Using a local hook to show off his conservative bonafides, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty offered a searing criticism of teachers unions on Wednesday morning for helping defeat Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty in last night's primary.

"Public schools are failing too many children across the country, but arguably nowhere worse than in our nation's capital," Pawlenty's statement read. "Using education reforms similar to what I've fought for in Minnesota, Mayor Fenty and his chancellor of schools, Michelle Rhee, began to turn their schools around, dramatically improving test scores in the last few years. Their work is an inspiration to me and school reformers across the nation."

"Mayor Fenty lost after the teachers' unions led a campaign against him and Michelle Rhee. Fenty's loss is further evidence that despite all their rhetoric about 'the children,' what the teachers' unions really care about is getting more money for jobs they can't lose at schools that produce students who are not prepared to compete. . . .

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