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

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

CTU/AFT's Pathetic Rationale for Caving to the Charter Industry

AFT apologist, Michael Fiorillo, continues his defense of the indefensible move in Chicago that effectively normalizes the corrupt and dehumanizing charter schools.  

My comments are interspersed:

Your reasoning is faulty, as is your understanding of politics.

Which is more likely, that "The People" will suddenly realize what charter schools truly are, rise up and eliminate them (which is my preferred outcome), or that, faced with a rising number of union contracts, a fickle Overclass looks elsewhere to loot, or tries a different vehicle for its looting?

The “Overclass” has no incentive to “look elsewhere to loot” as long as AFT has provided its seal of approval to the status quo.  Why would the charter industry fear the union, especially when the deal in Chicago provides no unified bargaining for those charter employees now rolled into the CTU?  The charter overseers can continue their exploitative, miseducative, non-professional, and abusive practices just as before, except for now they have union sponsorship. 

If the “Overclass” were at all concerned about the AFT “threat,” they would not have just announced the corporate charter takeoverof Puerto Rico’s public schools, where there are 32,000 AFT members among the island’s 45,000 teachers.  Do you think they give a dam how many AFT members there are in Puerto Rico, especially when Weingarten offers up such tepid remarks in response the the takeover?  Doubtless, she has already cut a deal to make sure the newly-exploited teachers on the island can retain the union membership.

As to the possibility of people realizing what “charter schools really are,” the AFT has to own the fact that it has done nothing to help educate the public.  In fact, AFT’s complicity with the charter industry extends to the actual creation of AFT’s own charter schools.  

Why would underprivileged parents think that charters are a bad idea, when AFT and NPE, forever spouting about social justice, support the continuation of thousands of these hell schools, with no end in sight.

Indeed, both AFT and NPE heartily endorsed the latest ESEA version known as ESSA, which offers expanded incentives for the accelerated opening of thousands of new “no excuses” charter schools.

Dr. Fiorillo continues:

I have my problems with what the CTU is doing, but things are so desperate that I don't see an alternative to bringing these teachers into the union, and using that as the potential - emphasis on "potential" - vehicle for culling charter schools, and integrating the worthy ones into the public system as legitimate schools.

What precisely is your plan to minimize the number and effects of charter schools, and who do you propose to implement it, if charter teacher remain unorganized? Short of an answer to that, it's all just posing.

This fanciful notion of leveraging charter teacher union membership as a way to alter the paternalistic organization of the “Broken Windows” No Excuses model of charter reform schools would be laughable if it did not have such tragic implications for both the teachers and children, who suffer daily in these dehumanizing sweat shop schools.  

With CTU/AFT’s recognition of the charter industry’s unprofessional corrections officers posing as teachers, the unionists have normalized the cultural sterilization practices of charter schools, while at the same time spewing meaningless rhetoric about social justice commitments.

I must say the ridiculousness of AFT’s argument does not surprise me, for, after all, there is no sensible rationale for what AFT is doing that does not admit to the fact that the unions are in bed with the Wall Street Dems of charter industry.  And that they will never admit.  

Meanwhile, they are stuck exactly where AFT/NEA/NPE support for the Clintons took them.  The Clintons, by the way, have never felt the need for silly cover stories to disguise their long-established endorsement of charter schools.  Under Bill Clinton, you may remember, the number of charter schools went from zero to 2,000.

As for AFT’s misleadership, Randi Weingarten remains, Trump-like, stuck in her own Twitter-verse, where she endlessly provides commentary on every subject other than AFT’s enabling of the charter industry.  Her lame remarks about the wholesale privatization of schools in Puerto Rico are emblematic of her do-nothing approach when faced with the all-out war on public schools everywhere.

As for what I would do, Dr. Fiorillo, other than taking the union route of capitulating to the charter industry, here’s a few things for the unimaginative “unionists” to consider, none of which are presently being practiced by teachers' unions that are sitting atop billions of unused dollars:

  1. Organize every local union chapter in the nation to resist charter schools.  Make it a part of every every negotiations session a demand that no public money be spent for any school, either brick-and-mortar or online, that is privately managed, by either a non-profit or for-profit enterprise that is not subject to same oversight and regulations as the public schools.
  2. Hold ongoing parent information sessions within the communities to educate parents on the dangers of charter schools to their children.
  3. Provide ongoing public service announcements to appeal to charter school employees to gain professional credentials that would enable them to work in public schools.
  4. Let charter school employees understand the benefits of union membership, and make it clear that those benefits are not available to charter school employees who are constrained by the abusive practices of charter sweat shop management.
  5. Create a national movement calling for an immediate moratorium on the creation of new charter schools.
  6. Engage with the media to create venues for debating the charter school question and to share information regarding the public school advantage.
  7. Help to recruit and support political candidates, from local to national, who understand the anti-democratic threat that the charter school industry embodies. 
  8. Provide funding for ongoing research into the economic and social effects of charter schools on employees, students, parents, and public education systems.
  9. Make it clear that charter schools, which are staffed predominantly by women who are mismanaged by paternalistic and ignorant males posing as principals, represent an ongoing offense to women employees everywhere.
  10. Inform teachers about the existential threat of charter schools to the profession of teaching and to the well-being of children and democratic communities.
  11. Organize parents and teachers to show up at school board meetings at the state and local levels to make their demands known about ending the charter industry’s war on public schools.

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