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

Friday, September 26, 2014

On Rhonda of the Hamptons

A nice piece from Perdido Street School:
Lyndsey Layton reports the Center for Union Facts is attacking AFT President Randi Weingarten again:

The 11-page mailing, on expensive paper stock, was sent first class to 125,000 households across the country this week.

“I’m writing to you about Randi,” the letter began. “You probably don’t know who Randi is. Most people don’t. The terrible impact Randi has on America’s educational system is something that I hope you will give me a few minutes to explain.”

The writer, Richard Berman, is a D.C.-based corporate communications consultant who is waging a national campaign against Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Berman has run a highly personal attack on Weingarten for the past year, paying for two billboards in Times Square that featured an unflattering two-story image of her, a full-page ad in the New York Times, radio spots and, now, lengthy mailings. He also paid workers to hand out anti-Weingarten flyers during Labor Day weekend in East Hampton, N.Y., where she has a home.

In the mailing, Berman refers to Weingarten as “a vicious individual” who is “on a crusade to stymie school reform and protect the jobs of incompetent teachers — the bad apples that drain so much of our tax resources and sabotage the efforts of parents and caring teachers.”

This is a nasty attack on Weingarten, just as the billboards and other attacks Berman and the Center for Union Facts have launched against her were nasty.

But to be frank, I agree with one part of Berman's attack:

Weingarten and the teachers unions are ruining public education - but for the exact opposite reason Berman gives.

Want to know why there are so many tests in public schools these days?

Because Weingarten and the teachers unions have embraced test-based accountability and the Endless Testing regime.

Want to know why teachers are evaluated using error-riddled value-added measurements based upon test scores?

Because Weingarten and the teachers unions embraced VAM a few years ago and haven't mounted much of a challenge to these accountability systems even now that they're claiming "VAM is sham!"

Indeed, in 2008 Weingarten happily okayed the Teacher Data Reports in NYC that saw 4th-8th grade ELA and math teachers rated using a value-added system with margins of error as high as 87%.

Those reports were published in the New York news media, exposing teachers who had been rated with this error-riddled data system Weingarten collaborated on to public humiliation.

Want to know why Common Core math is confusing children nation-wide and Common Core informational texts have replaced literature in ELA classrooms and children are crying at night over the Common Core homework they're given that doesn't make any freaking sense?

Because Weingarten and the teachers unions have embraced Common Core, have taken money from Common Core proponents like Bill Gates to shill for the Core and have threatened to punch anybody who opposes Common Core in the face.

Want to know why pro-ed deform teacher-hating politicians like Andrew Cuomo are in power and doing all the damage they're doing to public education and the teaching profession?

Because Weingarten and the teachers unions are backing them, engineering putschs when certain union leaders turn against them, then ensuring that there will be no third party candidates to run against them and making robocalls for them when it turns out a primary is closer than it was supposed to be.

Sure, Weingarten and the unions aren't solely responsible for these crimes against children, teachers and public education, but they certainly helped along the way and you can make a pretty good argument that without union collaboration from Randi and the other teachers union leaders, they wouldn't have happened at all.

So I agree with Berman and the Center for Union Facts - Weingarten is ruining education and teaching.

I just don't agree with Berman's rationale for how she's ruining it.

It's not because Randi is out to "stymie school reform."

It's because she is so willing help out the reformers, to collaborate with and shill for the corporate entities, NGO's, billionaires and politicians focused on privatizing the school system, standardizing the nation's curriculum and turning the teaching profession into at-will work with no job protections.

I can't get all worked up over this attack on Weingarten from the anti-union guy - she's done too much damage, engaged in too much duplicity and shilled for too many deform causes and entities for me to put up the barricades and defend her. 

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