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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cuckold, Jonathan Pelto, Soldiers on for Diane and Randi

I received a letter from Jon Pelto last evening expressing his, um, anger I guess, at my recent post on the Ravitch and Cody April NPE talkathon coming up in Chicago, this year featuring both corporate misleaders of AFT and NEA.  

Here is the heart of the letter, which details precisely how Pelto got screwed in every bad way by Weingarten during his run for governor of CT last year.  In the end (pun alert), however, he remains loyal to his very core.
. . . I write the note on my own behalf and certainly don’t speak for any of the 220+ members of the Education Bloggers Network – since the very essence of the Education Bloggers Network is to promote the multiple voices that make up the crusade to save public education in this nation. . . .
. . . .I write the note on my own behalf and certainly don’t speak for any of the 220+ members of the Education Bloggers Network – since the very essence of the Education Bloggers Network is to promote the multiple voices that make up the crusade to save public education in this nation.
The fact is, there are few in the country that are as disappointed as I am in the actions of the leadership of the AFT and NEA, and fewer still who have burned by that leadership the way I was.  
As a petitioning candidate for governor of Connecticut, I ran straight into politics of appeasement that is being orchestrated by the leadership  of the AFT and NEA.
Facing the only Democratic Governor in the nation who proposed to do away with teacher tenure for all public school teachers and eliminate collective bargaining for teachers in so-called “turnaround schools,” I will forever be disappointed, and even bitter, that the AFT endorsed the incumbent without even allowing me to fill out a questionnaire, meet with the PAC committee or even the AFT-CT executive committee before they made their endorsement.  Adding insult to injury was the fact that Randi Weingarten came into the state to endorse Malloy, claiming that despite by “good friends” with me, she was endorsing him for his outstanding work on education – work that not only included trying to eliminate tenure and collective bargaining, but was focused exclusively on promoting the privatization of public education and the destruction of the teacher profession.
And, although as I legislator I received the highest award from the Connecticut Education Association,  I’ll never forget that in my effort to collect a sufficient number of petition signatures, the ONLY group in the entire state that refused to allow me to stand outside a meeting and ask people to sign my petition was the Connecticut Education Association which prohibited me from attending their summer leadership conference for fear it would upset the sitting governor.
And finally, since I announced my campaign for governor, I’ve been blacklisted by the unions and told – to my face – that my opposition to one of the two more anti-teacher, anti-public education Democratic Governors in the country means that the unions will not fund any project that I am involved in.
But that said, as nothing more than a foot soldier in the war against the corporate education reform industry, I find your remarks about Diane, Anthony and the NPE offensive, insulting and absurd.
Our collective cause is important enough, our tent is large enough and the task is great enough that I am eager to participate in the NPE conference – despite the fact that the presidents of the AFT and NEA are in attendance. . . .
Collective cause, really??  It's worth remembering that NEA and AFT were the chief corporate enablers and appeasers whose support made possible the proliferation of VAM for teacher evaluation, pay for test scores, 6,500 charter schools, Common Core, alternative certification, and many other loser ideas that have been implemented to benefit the profiteers of the education industry.  

I have no intention of getting inside a tent, regardless of how large it is, with arsonists.

My reply to Pelto:


A couple of questions, and a brief comment:

1) When and how have the unions aligned their positions with supporting the eradication of 

a) high stakes testing, 
b) segregated learning environments, and/or 
c) corporate control in public education?  

2) When and/or how has NPE initiated any action of resistance to high stakes testing, segregated learning environments, and/or corporate control of public education?

3) How does NPE “promote the multiple voices” of those who are not signed up to support the union-approved agenda of NPE?  

If you were, as you say, "promoting the multiple voices that make up the crusade to save public education in the nation,” you would be willing to acknowledge my criticism as an attempt to promote those multiple voices, rather than acquiescing to the echo chamber that Ravitch and Cody have built to contain the resistance in ways that make the world safe for corporate unionism. 

Public education won’t be saved by talking about it saving it or by protecting those who are selling teachers and kids down the corporate river.  The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will stop wasting your time being pissed off at those who are willing to point out that obvious fact.  

Jim Horn


  1. Anonymous1:02 PM

    As an AFT member in Newark, I would advise Pelto to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Abigail Shure

  2. Jim,

    As for your questions and comment to the NPE, I think you've hit the nail on the head. What I see is the growth of a larger tent to enclose a larger choir which continues to sing, a capella, to itself and its loyalists. These leaders of the national unity groups of AFT, UFT, NEA have shown themselves as partners with the ownership of the instrumentation of government subsidized privatization of education through their support of the Common Core. I have not heard Diane Ravitch speak against her friend Randi Weingarten and Weingarten's approval of the Common Core.

    I do, however, have concern regarding the other speakers listed on the flyer depicted in your Jan. 7th blog. I have personally communicated with a few of them and went away from our conversation feeling that they would not support the values which Weingarten and Garcia clearly favor regarding public education.

    Do you feel that those named above the "big three" on that flyer are in agreement with the likes of the AFT/UFT and NEA misleadership? Corprate unionism? Or do you think that these additional speakers are brought in to serve as a countervail for the true direction and determination of corporate union forces? To whip up the soldiers of the NPE while maintaining all discourse within the echo chamber?

    1. I do not presume to judge what resides in another human heart. Actions, or inactions, are matters of record, however, and they must be used to make distinctions.

      That said, it is not uncommon for the The Union Reform Network (TURN), which now drives AFT and NEA, to bring in outside speakers to their sweet-sounding meetings who may be repulsed by the TURNcoats' traitorous tactics and strategies. Who can say.

      Ravitch and Cody are good with the charm offensive, and many people are sucked in by stump speeches and platitudes aimed to pacify the troops and to convey the pretense of action. The time for just talking tough, however, is long past.

      The only thing that will sever the blood funnel of the Vampire Squid is enough force to deter, redirect, and damage it. When it gets too expensive or too dangerous to stay in the education game, that's when the profiteers and ideologues will move on to new ground. Probably in other countries, as TFA is quickly moving its resources into the worldwide Teach for All, as college campuses are increasingly unwelcoming to these corporate fascists.

      The resistance will get smaller but more effective, and the speechifiers will continue to play their political party games and sell their books. But high stakes testing, segregation, and and corporate steering of public education will come to an end. And it will take bodies and minds, and it will require sacrifice we have not seen yet. But most of all, it will require the courage of true conviction.

      In the end, CorpEd is comprised of self-aggrandizing cowards who are on the wrong side of history. It is time to push forward without fear.

  3. WOW..the #EdBlogNet tent has to be big enough to contain honest, internal self-criticism. #CorpEd is a Hydra to behead with multiple, fierce and courageous actions. I think that the teacher groups can be effective allies to defeat the profiteers and ideologues but it will take many more organized and strategic efforts on the ground. Notoriety and re-posting on social media is a small but important tactic yet the main arenas for confronting the insidious power are older, more traditional and more difficult. Having been in battles for over 50 years I can attest to the huge challenges faced with litigation, policy development, institutional change and community organization. All those means must be continually used toward the end of having excellent and equitable neighborhood public schools for all children.
    We bloggers, essayists, editorializers and writers will continue our efforts but, without diminishing our righteous indignation and anger at injustices, must humbly admit to serious differences among us.
    My organization www.idra.org has been in these battles since 1973 and my first protest march was in 1968 as a young Chicano teacher who was furious at how Chicanitos were being treated by our public schools and all other institutions that are supposed to serve our communities. My anger and passion have not diminished and I wish the internet and cell phones had been around back then.

    Aurelio Montemayor #EdBlogNet Twitter: @ElMonte08 Facebook: AurelioIDRAmatico