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View Diary: Former Obama Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' New Job? Destroying Teachers Unions. (204 comments)

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  •  Wow, Usually When We See "Dem Would (30+ / 0-)

    Destroy" something about workers, it's at least a little bit exaggerated.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:43:27 AM PDT

    •  Those of us on professional left aren't surprised (78+ / 0-)

      Gibbs as Press Secretary and Rahmbo as COS perfectly complemented each other.  If those 2, Holder, Summers, Geithner, and HRC constitute "Change," then the concept has lost all meaning.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 08:48:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who the F*%$#@ do they think is going to (22+ / 0-)

      go into the teaching profession?

      ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

      by slowbutsure on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:41:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They want to privatize so pub schools need to fail (30+ / 0-)

        "He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."

        by Hayate Yagami on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:13:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Technocracy... the Virtual Future. (15+ / 0-)

        No more pesky Meat Time meetings, no more Peepulz Skool Boards.

        THE ELITE knows what is best for us. THEY will tell us what, when and how, and you better call it Democracy, or else.

        We are the expendable. We are to look for "higher paying high skill jobs," instead of the low paying, low skill teaching profession.

        The delusion of the NeoLiberal mind is as profound as the Teahadist Party. I guess there are no good guys any more.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:38:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  They are damn sure making me ready to quit (7+ / 0-)

        I am thankful my youngest graduates in 2018. I just hope the entire system doesn't implode before then.

        The truth is always the truth whether you choose to believe it or not.

        by sfsteach on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 11:39:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The aim is to motivate wealthier parents (24+ / 0-)

        to take their kids out of the public school system by diminishing the quality of teachers until a "tipping point" is reached, whereupon the corporations backing these efforts can step in and privatize against a backdrop of largely minority students, whose parents they perceive as politically impotent.  That will pave the way for corporate schools and big profits for those who run them.

        Poorer kids will receive an education--of sorts--but it will be geared to place them on the "lower track" of society, essentially guiding them like cattle towards service-type minimum wage jobs that exist to satisfy the shopping fancies and whims of the upper classes.  The wealthier kids will all have migrated into private schools. Middle class families will tear each other apart trying to get their kids out of these hellholes but there will be no escape for many.  That's OK with these corporate entities, many of which are linked to by hedge funds.

        This is the America of the future.  Tenured teachers demanding higher pay and who generally won't get with the program are an obstacle towards that goal. They need teachers who can be fired at will.

        •  i don't support the charter school stuff, (0+ / 0-)

          mostly because of the heightened role of standardized testing associated with them, but I'd be very surprised if any of that were actually Robert Gibbs' goal.  It might or might not be an effect, but we have a lot of lousy schools and a lot of lousy teachers, and it's not indicative of bad faith to see a link between the former and the latter.  It's just an area where he's perhaps just mistaken about the right solution to a very complex problem.  (I wonder how many of those same hedge funds raised capital from other public sector unions . . .)

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:21:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The answer is to improve the public school (15+ / 0-)

            system with the level of commitment and public investment that make a difference. That doesn't make any money for anyone, though.  If the focus were solely on improving the lot of students I would take their claims at face value. But putting the demonization of teachers front and center is the giveaway.

            •  That tends to be where i'd lean, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dartagnan, slowbutsure

              but it's not so self-evident the only possible inference from taking another view is a subjective desire on the part of a Democratic political operative to institute a rigid class system   I think resources and procedural reforms should go together - if we put in the resources, then the teachers who still fail should be fireable.  Tenure should be a matter of degree, and more geared towards protecting against arbitrary or at-will firings, than against firings at all.  Most teachers already make less money to do something they love, but the flip side to unnecessary demonization is unwarranted romanticization.  Most people suck at their jobs, not just teachers but including many hedge fund managers.  

              Gibbs' position, basically, should be part of the conversation, just not the only one; and insofar as he seemed a perfectly fine press secretary, i don't much care what this means for the rest of the administration of which he's no longer a part.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:40:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't think it reflects at all (4+ / 0-)

                on the Administration. Gibbs is just going where the money is, the way most people in his position (Ari Fleischer, for example) do.  As for whether he knows the implications of what he's doing, well, he's been a mouthpiece in his entire public career:

                Prior to becoming a member of the Obama team he was press secretary for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and was a part of several Senate campaigns, having served as communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for four individual Senate campaigns, including those of Obama in 2004 and Fritz Hollings in 1998.[3] Gibbs was also the press secretary of Representative Bob Etheridge.[4] Gibbs was announced as the press secretary for President Obama on November 22, 2008.
                so we really don't know what his real positions or beliefs were on most subjects. Or whether he even had any.
              •  It should only be a part of the conversation (6+ / 0-)

                long enough for us to say "That doesn't work" and move on. There is zero evidence supporting it. The only thing that does support it is lobbyists in favor of privatization and the people who have bought into their nonsense.

                Whether Gibbs wants this to undermine teachers' unions or not is beside the point. It will undermine teachers unions and he wants this policy which means he is seeking to undermine teachers' unions. It doesn't matter that he's well meaning on not, he's doing something that obviously leads to the destruction of teachers' unions. If he can't see that then he's too much of an idiot to pay any attention to.

                No War but Class War

                by AoT on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:53:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not an expert here, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I'll readily concede, but i suppose the argument would be that strong teachers unions are not an end in themselves; and, secondly, there are ways for which they can adapt to changes in the tenure system (which changes can be more or less disruptive).  The more hyperbolic claim was the imputation of a subjective goal to make public education worse.  

                  What we're doing now isn't working, and there doesn't seem to be new money coming from Congress or state legislatures, so I'm not completely against municipalities experimenting, and if you go that route, there really has to be some accountability.  But pedagogically, I don't like teaching to tests, so I guess i wind up skeptical of everyone proposing single solutions.  When I was in school, I was attracted to the idea of charters because i didn't like the one-size-fits-all approach of the large public school. It is interesting, though, that rich suburban schools don't go the charter route, but i guess they'd say there's no need.  I'd like to see unions propose ways to reform tenure instead of retrenchment.  

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 01:15:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  This initiative isn't really about fixing problems (5+ / 0-)

                    Unless you're a millionaire and have problem trying to  become a multi-millionaire.

                    Tenure is a stalking horse issue that is being used to dismantle and defund public school systems in favor of privatizing education through charter schools.

                    Wall Street hedge funds are backing this movement. You don't really think they care about tenure or the detailed aspects of formulating education policy, do you?  They want a PR front to justify slash and burn tactics to replace public schools.  They want profits, the sooner, the better.

                    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

                    by Betty Pinson on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 01:58:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  there's absolutely some truth there, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      but it's overly general.  Not all charter programs are private; and to say the tenure issue is a stalking horse is to avoid a defense of tenure practices themselves, where there is in fact an issue.  It's easier to turn the debate onto simple, external villain.  The line of argument has the rhetorical advantage of totally absolving you of any need to discuss education policy, but it's not terribly satisfying as a result.  (And by the way, Wall St. Hedge Fund is a bit of a contradiction - Hedge funds are not market makers but are the actual clients of wall st. firms; besides, they're in Connecticut, mainly.)  What's missing is what has to change about schools, some of which will and should involve tenure changes.  Tenure elimination is a different matter entirely.  I see some middle ground.  And if you trace the money of Student Matters, you do get people with investments in charter schools, but you also find philanthropists without that.  The fact that Gibbs or someone else hasn't bought onto a theoretically overdetermined argument entirely is not evidence of anything more than that fact.  It's the third step after first proving you're right and second that he knows or should know you are.  

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 02:29:34 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Why? And what, exactly? (4+ / 0-)
                        What's missing is what has to change about schools, some of which will and should involve tenure changes.  Tenure elimination is a different matter entirely.  I see some middle ground.
                        Tenure in K12 is nothing more than protection against arbitrary firing.

                        Any teacher can be fired for cause, tenure or no. Any teacher has to earn tenure, over a period of time. A poor teacher can and should be either helped to improve during that time, or eased out the door before tenure kicks in. If they are not, it is the fault of their (usually much higher paid) administrator.

                        How will changing those facts help public education, exactly?

                        •  They won't help, but it will make for cheap labor (4+ / 0-)

                          which is a big part of the whole reform movement. Temp teachers with no rights, just like college adjuncts. That's the goal.

                          •  "no rights at all," goes way too far (0+ / 0-)

                            but New york's approach of greater budget autonomy to principals strikes me as a good idea.  They'd be the people against whom protection from firing would be asserted in the first run, but principals are probably the best placed to see the whole picture between teacher interest, student needs, and budget constraints.  Some adjuncts might well have unique bases of knowledge not within the ordinary teacher corps (multiple languages, actual experience in dance or music, related work experience), and maybe a school can address poverty issues by spending more on nutritionists or psychologists instead, and delegate some of the more shall we say supervisory roles teachers do (it's not all dynamic teaching, all the time) to newbs.  Assuming the money isn't going to appear in the next 5 years by thinking happy liberal thoughts, it has to come from somewhere - private sector sources are one part, but should stay a small part.  Still, there's always a price.   Some extra money may have to come from wage reductions, even though in a perfect world i'd double everyone's salaries.  I'd also suggest parent input should have the greater role in tenure decisions than it currently does.  Not every parent, maybe just the smart ones.  I bet this changes very little for most teachers, and it's probably not what the reformers would want either.  

                             New York over-relies on testing and uses it badly, but it does have many more academic options for students, including limited use of charters for special curricula, and not just because of its size.  (Other schools could use principal autonomy for more distance learning, etc.)  Making charters the only option as in New Orleans is ridiculous.  

                            Most of the time what's good for teachers is good for students, but while unions might not be defined by the lowest common denominator of their membership, they may well be defined either by the most vocal or the median member of their membership.  The trouble is what's good for the median student isn't necessarily good for the students i most care about - the exceptionally bright and the exceptionally troubled.  For most people in the middle, their lives will be defined by macroeconomic forces, but people at either end of the distribution can either go really right or really wrong, based on when and how we reach them.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:05:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  there is a lot of variation (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          in what constitutes cause, and what criteria have to be met for tenure at the first pass, and whether and how often that's reassessed.  I don't see tenure reforms as a single bullet solution and never claimed as much.  It was completely unreasonable for the court to strike down the L.A. tenure system on state constitutional grounds, but you'll notice the comment to which i was replying said absolutely nothing about education policy at all.  

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 03:38:35 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  As this law suit is being prepped (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            slowbutsure, Darth Stateworker, AoT

                            for NYC - do you understand what it takes to get tenure here? My significant other and I just lived through the process & I know the intimate details of it. It is not just given out arbitrarily. You have to be reviewed, reviewed again, reviewed again, reviewed by your peers, reviewed by your principle, reviewed by the district, and reviewed each year for 3 years and garner a satisfactory rating. Two unsatisfactorily ratings & you can be fired. The bar is very high to get tenure. There is a reason these people are going after the largest and one of the most powerful teachers unions in American and it ain't cause they want to help kids.

                            As a teacher you already have to teach in constant fear for the first 3 - 4 years. When someone gets tenure it gives them a voice and they can't be fired for not having a incomplete bulletin board or if a kid fails a test, complains to their parents that the teacher is evil after cursing out the classroom and then demands to have the teacher removed (happened this year). Tenure allows teachers to be free of fear.  

                            “The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it.” George Orwell

                            by Tool on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 04:38:33 PM PDT

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                          •  In CA it is 2 years, and effectively 18 months. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            On the other hand, districts are willing to give a teacher who did not get tenure a second chance a lot; it often takes more than 2 years to reach one's teaching stride.

                            Not a teacher; sleeping when they passed out those gifts.

                            ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

                            by slowbutsure on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:00:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Good (0+ / 0-)

                            i don't think and didn't suggest it's arbitrary.  And I'm glad it's hard.  Making it easier would make it more arbitrary, i.e., standardless.  More things should be hard.  It should probably be harder again at periodic intervals.  Totally different sets of issues from university tenure, where there's a first amendment stake.

                            As such, I like the idea of greater roles for the principal, as New York has done, and I'd like to see more parental involvement in tenure.  (Teacher and parent horror stories are probably each a terrible way to set policy.)  Why are peer teachers the measure?

                            The testing is not a good idea -- it's a waste of time for kids who don't learn in the same way.  it just doesn't do the job its proponents claim it does.  

                            Don't like the idea of being free from fear, philosophically.  Nobody likes fear, but it drives civilization.

                            Can't speak to lawsuits, but the idea that tenure violates a state constitution is pretty ridiculous.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:20:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  The unions have done all that and more (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    quill, Darth Stateworker

                    Please go do some research. your profound ignorance is demeaning the entire discussion. I'm sure you're a nice person but you are simply not informed enough to comment, and as such you look like an ass.

                    •  sticks and stones . . . (0+ / 0-)

                      i don't know where you get the notion i'm anti-union or denying there's been any movement on this issue.  Some reform proposals are going to be more genuine than others, natch, and I suppose i should have directed the comment not to unions as a whole, but rather to some of their defenders, here, who do mischaracterize opposing views, demonize opponents on entirely circular grounds, and, yes, are guilty of retrenchment.  Denying the prevalence of lousy schools and teachers is a prime example.  Suggests too low standard.  The kids and parents are lousy, too.

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 03:48:32 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  You've got to be kidding. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Darth Stateworker
                        Denying the prevalence of lousy schools and teachers is a prime example.
                        Or maybe you just misunderstand the meaning of the word.

                        When corrected for economic levels, the US consistently scores at or near the top in international comparisons.

                        What is prevalent is economic disparity in the US.

                        •  Bad schools as prevalent as they are prevalent (0+ / 0-)

                          as long as it's not zero, i didn't misuse the word.

                          My high school supposedly did very well on these measures, and it didn't make me feel any better about it.  Even if you meant to defend the status quo in education, I still think we have to find a way to improve education for kids in school now, in the off chance we don't address economic disparity in the next 5-10 years to everyone's liking.  Teacher reforms are probably a small part of that.  Who is supposed to be comforted by the fact that our rich kids out test Belgium?

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:29:34 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Unless you are arguing that schools are (0+ / 0-)

                            predominantly bad, you are misusing the word.

                            prevalent |ˈprevələnt|
                            widespread in a particular area at a particular time : the social ills prevalent in society today.
                            • archaic predominant; powerful.
                            prevalence noun
                            prevalently adverb
                            ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Latin praevalent- ‘having greater power,’ from the verb praevalere (see prevail ).
                            THE RIGHT WORD
                            Wildflowers might be prevalent in the mountains during the spring months, but a particular type of wildflower might be the prevailing one. Prevalent, in other words, implies widespread occurrence or acceptance in a particular place or time (: a prevalent belief during the nineteenth century), while prevailing suggests that something exists in such quantity that it surpasses or leads all others in acceptance, usage, or belief (: the prevailing theory about the evolution of man).
                            Wildflowers might also be abundant in the valleys—a word that, unlike prevalent and prevailing, is largely restricted to observations about a place and may suggest oversupply (: an abundant harvest; indications of decay were abundant).
                            Plentiful, on the other hand, refers to a large or full supply without the connotations of oversupply (: a country where jobs were plentiful).
                            If wildflowers are rife, it means that they are not only prevalent but spreading rapidly (: speculation was rife among the soldiers).
                            If they're copious, it means they are being produced in such quantity that they constitute a rich or flowing abundance (: weep copious tears).
                            What often happens, with wildflowers as well as with other beautiful things, is that they become so abundant they are regarded as common, a word meaning usual or ordinary (: the common cold).
                            Like prevalent, common can apply to a time as well as a place (: an expression common during the Depression). But neither abundant nor common connotes dominance as clearly as prevalent does.
                            Is that, in fact, your contention?
                          •  i don't know where you sourced that definition (0+ / 0-)

                            prevalance is a proportion -- "Prevalence or prevalence proportion, in epidemiology, is the proportion of a population found to have a condition (typically a disease or a risk factor such as smoking or seat-belt use). It is arrived at by comparing the number of people found to have the condition with the total number of people studied, and is usually expressed as a fraction, as a percentage or as the number of cases per 10,000 or 100,000 people."

                            While not a majority, there are certainly a large number, and more in many districts.   Remember, I was responding to the claim that "a lot" of schools are lousy was a false claim.   I needed, and found, a word that expressed that a significant number of them are.  I've made it clear I think "not lousy" is a pretty tough standard, though.  Most have room for significant improvement.  They may do well meeting the goals Americans set for them, but they are pretty bad compared to potential and need.  Apparently people thought my high school was good . . .

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 05:01:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ah, a definition based in epidemiology... (0+ / 0-)

                            School is now a disease.

                            Got it.

                          •  the concept transfers to any population study, (0+ / 0-)

                            but think whatever you want.  Everything's good enough, etc.  

                            There may be something to it, though - a recurring diurnal condition causing numbness and making previously-enjoyed activities less interesting  . . .

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:20:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  Strong unions are an end unto themselves (0+ / 0-)

                    Unions are what built the middle class, it's what keeps people from shitty wages.

                    The more hyperbolic claim was the imputation of a subjective goal to make public education worse.
                    This is the goal. Not of the president nor of many well meaning parents, but it is the goal of the people who came up with these plans originally. These are giant corporations that spend tons of money to buy off school boards which then hire corporate consultants that screw the school up even more and then talk about how horrible the system is.

                    The simple fact is that without more money there is no way to fix schools. We can find all kinds of short cuts and improved ways to teach things, but the problem is a lack of money and nothing else. If schools aren't funded properly then they are going to be shitty, period. There is no magic way to organize a school that will fix the problem of not having money, no way at all.

                    In regards to charter schools, every independent study has shown that charter schools are no better academically than public schools. I wouldn't be surprised if they were actually worse given the fact that at least one of the major "success stories" for charter schools was a giant lie and all it's success was actually just cheating.

                    As with the post office the right wing is doing its damnedest to make sure any sort of public institution is hamstrung and undercut so that they can point to those institutions as an example of why government doesn't work. For some unknown reason the Democrats, or at least the more corporate friendly democrats, are fully on board with this when it comes to education

                    No War but Class War

                    by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:19:30 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i agree on the money thing, (0+ / 0-)

                      but it's unsatisfying to conclude there's no other option in the meantime.  The charter school studies do not show that each charter school is no better, they show that on aggregate they're not better.  The idea that nobody is better off in a charter school is the ecological fallacy.  I like the notion of using them on a limited basis to experiment with different curricula, not to slap a fresh coat of paint on a school and put kids in uniforms and think that's progress.  As long as it's well-meaning parents and operatives getting involved in these initiatives, they can at least mitigate damages or steer the resources going to charter schools -- as they are, independent of whether or not any of us like it -- into mildly constructive areas.   Another way to do that is principal autonomy, which teachers tend not to like either., and perhaps not without reason from where they sit. I said elsewhere people probably hold my old high school up as an aspirational model.  It tests well, high college matriculation, all that stuff.  These people are completely what's wrong with this country.  

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:28:04 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Part of the problem with the money (0+ / 0-)

                        I would not be against charter schools if there was a simple requirement that they be treated like a public school in terms of the teachers union. I'm sure there are some good ones out there, but the negative effect of charters in aggregate means that those good schools aren't worth the negatives.

                        The other side of that is that even good charter schools are extremely limited in who they can admit. They are never going to be a school with a couple thousand students. That means that they have incentives for high performing students to leave public schools, which further damages public schools.

                        And as unsatisfying as it may be to conclude that we can't make schools significantly better without more funding every study shows that funding is the key. Sometimes you just can't do something right unless you have the proper resources. What's sad to me is that there is so much money going into charter schools and other programs to corporatize and undercut public schools that could instead go to lobbying for more money.

                        Education is one of the most important things we as a society do. Making sure that the proper resources are allocated to education is the minimum we can do to make education better.

                        No War but Class War

                        by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 06:47:06 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  i'll freely admit I care more (0+ / 0-)

                          that the highest performing students get the best opportunities than other students get whatever benefit there may be by having high performing (or different learning) students in the same schools as the herd.  The issue i have is charters are often  bundled with an emphasis on testing, which seems at cross purposes with the notion of moving away from the one-size-fits-all model.  (Ironically, the common core emphasis on method seems like something I would have enjoyed.)  I don't like charters driving the bus, but it's (a) a source of funds, and (b) a vehicle for diversification.  One constraint is the fact that teachers trained in the same ways, often long ago - it also has its benefits for many, and all things being equal, more salaries better than fewer.   But an administrator who thinks a troubled school might spend more money on an extra psychologist and pay for it with a scab science teacher seems not prima facie unreasonable. That's where criticism of teachers unions might come in.  

                          What I have at issue with the "reformers" is they take so much as a given.  but to say their subjective goal is to destroy social mobility, isn't even something i'd attribute to corporations, and there's a huge alternative argument where schools themselves are hurting social mobility.  If it's any consolation, I'm not sure graduates of supposedly high performing schools are any good at writing, either.  

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:34:46 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  That sort of attitude perpetuates the worst sort (0+ / 0-)

                            of institutional racism. Not only that it's downright elitist. Why bother with mandatory schooling past elementary? Everyone deserves a good education, not just the rightest people. And really, if they're that bright they can figure out how to learn on their own. It isn't as if public schools don't have any fast track classes for the smarter kids.

                            In regards to moving around money among faculty, that's the basic reason to have a union, so that workers can have some say over how much they make. Screwing over a science teacher so that the school can have a psychologist does the opposite of what you started out saying you wanted. A science teacher with shitty pay is not going to be the best science teacher unless the school gets lucky and some great teachers decides to work there despite the crap pay. "Pay teachers less" is not a solution, it's a guarantee that fewer and worse people will go into teaching.

                            And if their goal isn't to destroy social mobility and privatize the school system for profit then they sure are doing a lot of things that will make those things happen. The idea that they just happen to be pushing a program that will greatly benefit them while not improving schools but they really aren't doing it for themselves is absurd. The main thing that comes out of this movement is that the rich get richer and the poor get screwed. We can talk about all these theoretical ways that they could improve things, but they aren't listening to anything except what makes them money.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 07:56:16 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The elitism was the feature, (0+ / 0-)

                            not the bug.  How is it worse than racism? I would apply this reasoning to suburban school districts, too, which is where i experienced having my curiosity limited  by the learning methods suited to the merely above average, but racism doesn't take individual attributes into account; elitism takes them into account possibly too much.  Elitism is not a bad thing, but if it were, it'd be less of one than racism.  Fast track is the same programs and methods, just slightly more homework.  Big deal.   Corporations have since figured out how to pay educated workers very little, so i'm not sure their interest in an uneducated workforce.  Even to speak of "corporations"as a unified whole strikes me as silly.  

                            Everyone deserves the education that will benefit them the most.  For the Lake Wobegone kids, they're mostly getting that.  Nobody's learning how to write, more than half the country doesn't believe in evolution, but sure.   If I were feeling particularly nasty, I'd ask what practical difference would it make if we hadn't had mandatory schooling past elementary, but that's obviously too far.  A source of funds to benefit the brightest, where that money is not currently available, should be in the mix, as a small piece of a larger whole.  Turning a whole school district over is another matter entirely.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 08:44:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's not worse than racism, it is racism (0+ / 0-)

                            It's a further reinforcement of institutional racism. The problem is the link between race, socio-economic status and school performance. People of color are more likely to be poor and poor people do worse academically. So by focusing on those who do well you will leave people of color further behind when it comes to education, which will leave them further behind in a broad spectrum of socio-economic  measures.

                            Corporations have since figured out how to pay educated workers very little, so i'm not sure their interest in an uneducated workforce.
                            There is a significant difference in pay for people with a collage education as opposed to without, and a difference in unemployment numbers as well, a significant difference at that. Unemployment for people with college degrees is about half of that for people with just a high school diploma. What you're suggesting would mean that people of color would be even less likely to get a college education and would be ever more mired in poverty.
                            A source of funds to benefit the brightest, where that money is not currently available, should be in the mix, as a small piece of a larger whole.
                            I agree with this completely. Part of fully funding our education system is funding education for those who learn at a faster pace. The issue here is doing that at the expense of those who learn more slowly. We should maximize the benefits of education for each individual and for society in general. An educated populace is not just good for the individuals it is good for society. Just like less poverty improves all of society so education improves all of society. Education is a good unto itself.

                            How many Einsteins have gone undiscovered because they had a shitty school? How much have we not learned as a society because we can't be bothered to educate everyone to their potential? Our failure as a country to fully fund education has almost certainly denied us some great people. Maybe even people who could have solved problems like global warming or over population. And we'll never know because we already have an elitist system. It's just based on race and money instead of some sort of theoretical meritocracy.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:13:55 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i'd also only apply charters to high schools - (0+ / 0-)

                            tracking at the elementary school level is bonkers.  But i'm clearly referring to opportunities for people who do well within communities of color.  AP classes don't exist within the fast tracking at urban and deep rural schools that exist in suburban ones.   I don't know when elitism became a negative?  I know i don't have economic interests aligned with the wealthiest 1%, but I'll be damned if anyone wants to lump me in with the other 98%.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 09:56:01 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Elitism is a negative because it happens (0+ / 0-)

                            at the expense of others. And while it may sound great to say that it will provide opportunities for people to do well within communities of color the reality is that communities of color will be hit harder by this because of the effects of poverty.

                            I'm not sure when elitism became a positive. You aren't a special snow flake that's better than everyone else, no matter how much you may believe it.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 10:52:08 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The very nature of the root woord (0+ / 0-)

                            makes elitism a positive.  The special snowflake theory is, however, the literal opposite of elitism.  If everyone is special, as snowflakes are, special has no meaning.  There is something, however, to accommodating individual learning styles.  Since we can't do that for everyone, we should do it where the capacity for growth and appreciation is greatest.  I made it very clear that this applies for learning disabled, too.  It's just as absurd to tell an ordinary kid he's special as a special kid he's ordinary, in terms of benefiting at another's expense, but that's why I would only say this type of experimentation should be at the margin.

                            I'm biased I suppose by all the people I know with graduate degrees who think they're populists because they like Elizabeth Warren's policies.  If populism leads to good policy outcomes, it'll be entirely accidental, and in no way do people who say they campaign against elitism, actually reject it in how they conduct their lives.  Leading the working class is a good way to avoid joining it.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 11:55:28 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's not how language works (0+ / 0-)

                            The root word can be good and the result bad. And the root just comes from the Latin for "to choose" which is hardly a great thing. Pretty unimpressive as far as roots go.

                            And I didn't say everyone was a special snowflake, just the folks who think they should be in charge and think they're the elite. I'm not trying to lead the working class to anywhere, I'm just a part of it.

                            Elitism is the scourge of our times. It wastes valuable resources on people who should be able to do fine without those resources as they're better than everyone else. I don't buy it.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:16:28 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  the scourge is too much of what (0+ / 0-)

                            the russians call "poshlost."  I'd include the fauxlite in that, with alacrity.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:26:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Character flaws are not what got us to this (0+ / 0-)

                            point. And fixing them is not what will get us to a better place.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 12:54:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  we can have a system that either rewards (0+ / 0-)

                            or punishes certain character flaws, thus making them more or less likely to prevail.  also not the argument - the moral tackiness IS the scourge, not the cause of separate ills, though that's also the case.  We could solve all sorts of material problems, and it'd still be the 'scourge' of society.  Your argument finds a cultural elitism objectionable even if it accompanies a rise in living standards, which at times in history, it has.  Inequitable wealth allocation without noblisse oblige  is the worst possible combination.  And to be clear, I'm not referring exclusively or even primarily to character flaws of the poor.  The self-satisfied mediocrity i'm describing more or less peaks in what Paul Fussell called the "high proles."  Hard to get to the self-satisfied aspect with much less in material wealth.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 01:30:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Here's the problem (0+ / 0-)
                            Your argument finds a cultural elitism objectionable even if it accompanies a rise in living standards, which at times in history, it has.
                            Correlation is not causation. Just because elitism accompanies a rise in living conditions does not mean that it is responsible for them. I'd challenge to to point out a time when elitism led to a rise in living conditions as opposed to just accompanying them.

                            Either way, simply picking "the best" and educating them means leaving most people behind, including many who could do well under different circumstances. The central conceit of this belief is that it is possible to separate a person from their social conditions and figure out who is objectively better. That's simply not realistic. The criteria for who is a part of the elite is largely arbitrary, not based on any sort of real differences between people.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 01:35:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i didn't say it was (0+ / 0-)

                            the policies adopted by the government would be, whoever constitutes it.  We're the party of scientists, remember?  Elites by another name.  

                            I don't accept the premise that affording greater opportunities to people who would most benefit from them is "leaving behind," as if anything but the gifted and talented programs would be neglect.  (placing some kids in the typical school is not neglect their abilities, but we covered that.)  There's always choice at the margin, and the tie should go to the exceptional, in all directions - they'd gain more than the average kids, who would still be average, would lose out.  The differences between the person who scores in the 79th percentile and 80th precentile is indeed pseudo-scientific, but there are clear outliers who should get the most resources, not because it would trickle down at some later period, but because educating the most educable IS the greater good.  This is again, why i think charters should be rare and very much the exception.  

                            Separating people from their economic circumstances is one of the points of education . . . but not everyone can, so if we were to separate the effects of education from the learning itself, more resources should go to the people most likely to graduate from graduate school, not just go to a 4 year college with a high acceptance rate.  

                            I also think we need to do a lot more to promote music education, at all levels.  We're losing history and in the classical canon, a record of excellence.  I have so much more elitism, yo.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:20:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Scientists are not elites (0+ / 0-)

                            Or at least they shouldn't be. For the most part they are simply workers who more thoroughly document their work.

                            I don't accept the premise that affording greater opportunities to people who would most benefit from them is "leaving behind," as if anything but the gifted and talented programs would be neglect.
                            When you argue that we should embrace elitism even though education is underfunded then you are advocating exactly that as a practical position.

                            What it boils down to is that we need to fund education fully before we can figure out the answers to these questions. Otherwise we're simply giving people who are already in a better position socio-economically even more of a hand up.

                            To be clear, I'm talking about the reality of education as it exists now, not some theoretical future education where it's fully funded. We can't know what will be best in that situation until we actually get there.

                            No War but Class War

                            by AoT on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:38:21 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, then we have a disagreement (0+ / 0-)

                            on how i'm using that word, and on what scientists do, which is why one shouldn't overrely on matchbook Marxism.  

                            Your position is actually a dodge about the question of what do we do given that we can't fund education "equally."  And if we did, we'd still have to address calls for money to be redistributed within the system.  Any cuts from where the money is not currently being put to it's highest and best use is not the elimination of remaining education, in toto, which is what "neglect" / "leaving behind" entails.  We could double every dollar being spent on education, in anyway, and still face the same conundrum.

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 02:55:48 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

              •  The purpose is to create another private market (4+ / 0-)

                out of a public service.  I don't think he is motivated by a desire to destroy the middle class, but I also don't think he gives a whit about improving education.  Introducing the profit motive into education is as deleterious to a good society as having our healthcare system run by the profit motive.  There is no public good served by either enterprise.  

                I think it's sufficiently well-established that turning public services into private markets harms our society.  Ergo, I don't think Gibbs's position deserves any place in the public discourse, except as a target of derision.  

          •  I could care less what his goal is (9+ / 0-)

            it will be the practical effect of his, and the president's, policies. And it isn't a complex problem, I could solve it fairly quickly, or at least solve the bulk of the problem. It goes something like this: Fully fund education, full stop. Once we do that then we can figure out how to make it even better, but that's the problem right now, the government has been steadily cutting funding for schools and then complaining that they are doing worse.

            If Gibbs and Obama and Rahm can't figure this out then they aren't really trying. Every study shows that it is true, except the one's done by corporate consulting firms that make their money off of "fixing" schools. The whole thing is a bad joke.

            If these folks continue to ignore reality then they have no excuse. This is willful ignorance.

            No War but Class War

            by AoT on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:49:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  you make 2 assertions that are false (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            slowbutsure, Darth Stateworker, AoT

            that we have a lot of lousy schools and teachers. The scholarly research does not support those assertions. Period. Here's a few names to get you stated so you don't sound like a complete fool: David Berliner, Dean Baker, linda Darling Hammond, Diane Ravitch, and Jersey Jazzman. Come back when you know what you're talking about.

            •  well, it depends on how you define lousy, (0+ / 0-)

              doesn't it?  I'm familiar with two of those people, and I didn't claim to be an expert in education.  But i do know rhetorical overreach when i see it.  

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 03:32:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Honolulu is already there, & has been for decades. (5+ / 0-)
          The wealthier kids will all have migrated into private schools.
          Punahou, Kamehameha, Iolani, St. Louis, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific Institute, Sacred Hearts, St. Andrew's Priory . . .

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

          by lotlizard on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:30:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The weird thing is that there is no research (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            that supports better success outcomes from private schools.  It is true that they are less likely to rub shoulders with people who don't look like them, and they have a network to access that we public school folk do not have.  But success - not so much (keiko desu)

            ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

            by slowbutsure on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 05:05:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  As with everything, George Carlin spelled it out (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dartagnan, Darth Stateworker, AoT

          many years ago.

          ...Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I'll tell you what they don't want . . . they don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They're not interested in that . . . that doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin' years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers . . . Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it, and now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street, and you know something? They'll get it . . .

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:53:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Here is how the moneytize charter (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Betty Pinson, AoT, quill

        schools.  Starts at the 5th paragraph.

        ...Son, those Elephants always look out for themselves. If you happen to get a crumb or two from their policies, it's a complete coincidence. -Malharden's Dad

        by slowbutsure on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:28:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not when it comes to teachers. (10+ / 0-)

      Teachers are special. Lots of Dems are only too happy to go after our unions, job protection, dignity . . . .

      "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

      by NWTerriD on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 10:04:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is no exaggeration. This is a WAR ON TEACHERS (12+ / 0-)

      You're with us or against us.

      No options.

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:11:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Also: War on Unions, War on Public Education... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Darth Stateworker, AoT

        I really wish people would get a clue about this. There is no "good faith" on the Reform side - it's all about affecting hidden agendas that have nothing to do with improving education. The arguments for Education Reform are exactly as honest as arguments claiming Global Warming is a hoax.

        "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

        by quill on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 04:31:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Fuck the asshole. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Details here.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:38:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No Democratic candidate will get my vote ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Betty Pinson, quill, Tool

      unless they repudiate the present administration's positions on education and teaching. (No Republican will ever get my vote, regardless.)

      I don't care if the Democratic candidate receives the endorsement of the NEA and the AFT. Those organizations had President Obama's back for two elections. He has never had ours.  

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 01:29:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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