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A little over a month ago, I wrote about how Robert Gibbs and Ben LaBolt, Obama's former Press Secretary and Campaign Spokesman, had taken on a new project at their PR agency: helping former CNN anchor Campbell Brown in her war against teacher tenure.

Well, that new client didn't sit well with New Partners, the Democratic PR firm where their agency (The Incite Agency) is housed. And when Gibbs and LaBolt had to decide whether it was New Partners or the "war" against teachers, they chose war:

Through their firm, The Incite Agency, Labolt and Gibbs are supporting former CNN anchor Campbell Brown's fight against teacher tenure. Brown is wading into education politics through a group she calls the Partnership for Education Justice, which aims to tackle teachers' work protections by taking the fight to court. A week ago, her group filed a lawsuit in New York state that organized local families as plaintiffs in an effort to have tenure deemed unconstitutional.

"We are in a war, not a fight," Brown said in July at a charter schools convention in Las Vegas. "This is not partisan, we don't care what side of the aisle they're on. ... This is simply right versus wrong."

Gibbs' former co-workers saw it the same way. When he signed on with Brown, he was working with the Democratic firm New Partners. His liberal colleagues reacted angrily when news of the marriage surfaced, and the American Federation of Teachers made its displeasure known.

Gibbs and LaBolt had launched The Incite Agency in June 2013. It was housed within New Partners, but had its own employees and clients, Gibbs said, describing what is a fairly common business relationship in Washington.

Gibbs said the teachers union put pressure on New Partners as a result of his new client. "On Friday, June 27th, the principals at New Partners had a conference call to discuss the situation," Gibbs said in an email. "Only a couple of minutes into the call, I said I believed that there were only two paths forward -- either Incite dropped the client or Incite left New Partners. I announced I had no intention of dropping the client and that I had decided to leave New Partners, effective at the end of the day on June 30th."

Change you can believe in....

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Comment Preferences

  •  So damn typical; typically disappointing. (12+ / 0-)

    I was never, ever a fan of Robert Gibbs.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:39:03 PM PDT

  •  No surprise here.... (12+ / 0-)

    I have never felt this administration or the people who work with this administration have ever had any desire to work with public school teachers, teachers' unions or for that matter, any unions.  

    I felt Hillary was slightly better on teachers', teacher's unions, but just slightly.

    Honestly considering what a powerful ally dems could have in teachers, I have been frustrated with how little interest in public education a large group of dems, including progressives on the blog, have in supporting public education/

    I really think it has been a huge mistake on the part of progressives and dems to allow the dissing of public ed and the out and out war on teacher unions.  Gibbs has never been much of a progressive in my view,

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:40:06 PM PDT

  •  According to MSNBC, she has Boies, too (17+ / 0-)

    David Boies, famous trial attorney who seems to only lose when he represented Al Gore.

    Money talk, folks. Money talks. And big money wants the teachers unions gone so they can kill public eduction as we know it.

    •  Not "as we know it". Kill it for good. Period, (9+ / 0-)

      "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 06:50:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, you are right... (13+ / 0-)

      these rich corporations see dollar signs on the heads of children, especially poor children.  They will use lies, gimmicks, blackmail....to get parents to buy it.

      I saw it happen already.  Back in the 90s, in a district in CO, one of the first pushes for the "chartered public" school was pushed.  It was a conservative city and the DeVos family was already interested in the district....(would late put thousands into getting Christian right wingers to dominate the school board).  So there was pressure to allow this charter to start.  They chose a "failing" school that had a high poverty/free reduced lunch rate; high transition rate (families moving in and out);low scores (even before NCLB).  

      So the group that had started Channel One (a commercial news station for schools) initiated it (though I believe later it was taken over by another corporate group).  The teachers there already were allowed to stay and stay within the protections/salaries of the Master Agreement we had through collective bargaining.  Most of them chose to leave though the few that did stay for one year, left after that and regretted staying even a yea.    Anyway, promises were made (computers to every family); longer day, longer year.    Not all kept (few families ever got the computers until years later and then they were rebuilt pieces of junk).  The days were longer as was the school year.

      Jump ahead over a decade and guess what......not once did this school do any better (test score wise) than it had done pre chartering.   I was teaching in a neighboring school, also a high free lunch poverty rate.  We were very aware of scores...because it was always thrown at us, the teachers....and how it was our fault, we needed to do better.  Funny how the charter school was never chastised.   But eventually, the district took back the charter.  The school reverted to a public school.  The real problem in both our schools was poverty, and high transition rates.  Less than 50% of our students remained in K thru 5.    A third school in this grouping of about ten elementary school in the southern part of the city, was incredibly one of the highest scoring.  Of course, while it was in the downtown area is was a few blocks from a private liberal arts college (and many of the professors' children attended).  Also in area, less than a few miles from the poverty centers were several blocks of extreme wealth....doctors, lawyers.  That school was the same size as the school where I taught.  Once during one of admin's visits to tell us "no excuses, do more, get the scores up....yadayada.."  I suggested that since School A (the rich one) had the same amount of students as our School B (the poor one), and their teachers were so good that they caused their students to often score highest in our and other districts,  they could just switch the faculties.  Then our School B would be a 90th percentile school too.  You can imagine the looks I got from admin for my sarcasm.

      Anyway, sorry for rambling. It's all about the money. If the investors don't make money, they will pull out and leave the students high and dry.  The corporations only care about the profit, not about the kids.

      “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

      by Jjc2006 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:11:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly: "lies, gimmicks, blackmail" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, QBee59

        Glossy presentations are attempts to hide the fact that corporations exist to accumulate money. As employees are to corporations, students in charter schools are expenses. Profits must continually increase and one way to accomplish this is by squeezing teachers and students.

        Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

        by deben on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:31:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That was not a ramble (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lujane, GreatLakeSailor, QBee59

        That was an anecdote that is being repeated thousands of times all over America.  It adds up to the destruction of public schools.

        Thanks for posting.

        "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

        by dcg2 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:27:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  She might have Boies but for sure she has (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Lujane, Victor Ward

      his sidekick on he Prop 8 case, Ted Olsen. They were both on Bill Moyers recently talking about their new book on the Prop 8 case. Olsen said his next big pro-bono effort would be on challenging teachers' tenure.

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:14:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  who needs Republicans for an enemy when (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    banjolele, Gooserock, Lujane, seabos84, QBee59

    the enemy is within?

    Should HRC or [*insert insane R candidate here] take the next Presidency then this nation is officially toast.

  •  Obama's education policy (12+ / 0-)

    ...has been corrupt from the beginning.

    His buddy Rahm has closed a third of Chicago's schools in a move to privatization.  Over the protests of parents and teachers to the point of arresting and jailing the protesters.

    This move by Gibbs doesn't surprise me.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:05:19 PM PDT

  •  I do think tenure should be ended. (0+ / 0-)

    And seniority not be used for every decision.

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:15:20 PM PDT

    •  What is tenure? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10

      Why do you believe it should be ended?

      Don't forget that most men with nothing would rather protect the possibility of becoming rich than face the reality of being poor. - John Dickinson ("1776")

      by banjolele on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:17:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tenure guarantees due process.... (13+ / 0-)

      NOW, more than ever, with the right wing crazies wanting to destroy public ed, hating science, teachers need support from progressives, not challenges from progressive aligning with the right wing.
      Let me tell you....as a teacher I was challenged by parents sent out by Focus on the Family (to challenge teachers when and wherever).  I was teaching a science unit which included some aspects of evolution.  I had a parent insist I include "teaching creationism" to make sure.  Had another parent insist I teach Christianity because the unit on the Mayan Civilization talked about religious practices.  I KNEW I could say no, no matter how much they threatened to go to the school board. WHY??  Because of my union, because I had tenure charges could not be trumped up and I was assured due process.

      And oh yea, I was in Who's Who in Education a few times, an honor bestowed only upon nomination by students (former students who were members of the National Honor Society.  I got those honors when I was in my third decade of teaching........I got better with time.  

      “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

      by Jjc2006 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:25:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly! Give me due process! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina, vernonbc, QBee59

        Tenure for most teachers doesn't even exist. We have continuing contracts. Bad teachers should be fired. However, with superintendents that have the backbone of willows, teachers must have protection, or we will all just give A's.

      •  You can get due process without absolute (0+ / 0-)

        guarantees of employment. Not saying no to unions just to the things that make no sense, like placement by seniority rather than talent.

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:01:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You really don't understand (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          QBee59, KimmieInIN, tardis10

          teaching at all.  And apparently you do not pay much attention to the attacks on "what teachers teach..."......taking away control of how/what from the professional and putting it in the hands of (often extremists) right wingers.  

          You might want to do some research on this topic.  Teachers have been harrassed, threatened, and before tenure, fired for private life behavior outside of school and having nothing to do with students (like, ya know, drinking alcohol).  Teachers have had a history of being fired over political beliefs.   And this is not just before tenure laws.    In a district in a western state, my cousin, a social studies teacher, was pressured to not bring magazines like TIME into the classroom (too left wing radical).   This was in a district that apt to fire teachers before tenure (which took three years to obtain).  Any excuse would do.   Kept costs down.

          As far as talent/seniority....please tell me how YOU know what that is.  What measure do you want to use?  Test scores?  What about the teachers dedicated to special needs students?   How do you measure them?   Do you have any freaking idea how subjective it is to judge teaching across the board?  How about the PE teacher?  Is a good teacher the one that demands so many push ups and physical feats based on a "standard" of the human body at said age, or one who thinks all kids should be inspired and encouraged to participate regardless of size and physical abilities at that age???  Music teacher?  Art teacher???

          Seriously, the way some of you anti teacher progressives simplify what is a complex and demanding profession tells me more about you and your inability to see the big picture.

          “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

          by Jjc2006 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:17:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My liberal teacher friends in Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

            are not in favor of tenure, so I get my insight from people who teach, a whole family and extended family of teachers and now principals

            there are other opinions out there that are valid

            "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

            by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:11:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hey you can tell (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              seabos84, QBee59, KimmieInIN

              me that the whole Dkos progressive view is anti tenure and I would still say you do not know what you are talking about....not even a little bit.

              I am a teacher who spent over four decades in the classroom.

              I know from MY OWN experiences what it means to be harrassed by religious extremist parents who have an agenda and stand up to them.  Your second hand hearsay does not impress me.

              Frankly I do not believe any teacher who favors ending tenure understands the implications.   It is a superficial, unresearched opinion based on simplifying a complex issue, no matter from whom, liberal or conservative, it comes.

              “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

              by Jjc2006 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:33:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please don't denigrate people you don't know (0+ / 0-)

                and it is not hearsay, these people are teachers in every kind of district in MN and their opinions are valid.

                there must be a way for due process without guaranteeing employment unless you are a criminal

                "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:39:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  "tenure" doesn't exist, AND they'll DESERVE (1+ / 1-)
              Recommended by:
              QBee59
              Hidden by:
              merrywidow

              the shit they get when what little protection they have disappears -

              Given the high % of teachers who've lived in "What Me Worry?" land over the last few decades of right wing assault on working stiffs security, on our access to family wage jobs, on our access to health CARE instead of junk care, on our access to non wall street casino retirements, on our access to  safe affordable housing -

              the faster your drooler friends are working as Wal-Mart greeters, the better off we'll all be.

              rmm.

               

              Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

              by seabos84 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:38:15 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My "drooler" friends? Are you serious? (0+ / 0-)

                they are an extended family of dedicated teachers and you have no right to call names.

                "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:41:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  YOU keep repeating right wing lies blaming (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  QBee59

                  ALL teachers -

                  it is really stunning how clueless you & your whatevers are about today's economy and how it got there -

                  but ... blame away !!!

                  oh yeah  - make sure you hide anyone who calls you on your bullshit!

                  ha ha

                  rmm.

                  Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

                  by seabos84 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:51:34 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  are you posting in the wrong thread? (0+ / 0-)

                    why are you yelling about the economy when we are talking about teacher quality vs. protecting them from unwarranted complaints?

                    I am a Piketty wealth tax socialist and so are my liberal teacher friends who also question tenure as it stands now

                    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                    by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 10:09:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  The HR was for calling my friends "droolers" (0+ / 0-)

                    which was just so inappropriate, these are some of the nicest people in the world and dear to me and just because they think tenure could be problamatic you call them "droolers?"

                    ugh

                    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

                    by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 10:11:32 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Whether seniority is used for placement (0+ / 0-)

          and to what extent, is a matter of contract, not law.

          It is used in layoff decisions, of course. But layoffs that don't involve a reduction in student needs are inherently destructive no matter how they're done. If you're laying off 1,000 teachers out of 10,000, I guarantee no one knows them all well enough to stack-rank them. It's already a disaster to lose so many. Having an objective way to do it is also the least resource intensive in a time when you're very thin on resources.

          When doing layoffs, administrators do have the ability to choose to cut services first. So, perhaps the french teacher is your least favorite employee - you can choose to cut French and keep your first year and fabulous PE or science teacher.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:32:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, seniority can be one consideration, but (0+ / 0-)

            there should be flexibiity too.

            I think there is a lot about this issue that no one understands, me too, like all contracts are different in different states.

            people who believe in tenure had better line up some excellent examples of real situations that support tenure because Americans these days who vote will be told it is GUARANTEED employment which is socialism of course

            "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

            by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 10:17:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All contracts are different district to district (0+ / 0-)

              and they have to be approved not only by the Teacher's Union, but by the district administration and the district school board.

              Of course said contracts must conform to state law. But for example, a contract can be negotiated for smaller class sizes, for different compensation strategies, different evaluation schemes, for more work hours, etc.

              Tenure is in place for a reason - it wasn't just invented out of whole cloth. It used to be common for administrators to fire teachers who advocated for their students, or who dared to give the child of an important person a bad grade. Indeed, one of the teachers in the California Vergara case is a highly decorated master teacher who happened to give one of the plaintiff children a low grade in part because she didn't complete all the homework.

              It doesn't mean you can't remove a teacher. It means there's a process to do it.

              I've sat on interview committees with a fair number of administrator candidates. It's fascinating to see how different their perspective is on how they would deal with a problem staff member, and how clearly the situation varies considerably district to district. District administrators who make it a priority to evaluate their staff and to remove problem staff members find that they are mostly able to do so. Large districts sometimes find this harder; I will cynically suggest that it's easier not to follow through when you're not the poor sucker who has to work with a difficult employee.

              But even LAUSD - who had huge problems firing staff that really did need to go - found that they suddenly were able to remove literally hundreds of tenured teachers when they made it a priority.

              There's a process. Follow the process and use other management techniques, and much can happen. (Most typically, a teacher facing the process will choose to resign or retire BTW.)

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 11:21:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Tenure does NOT protect anyone... (0+ / 0-)

              it guarantees DUE PROCESS.

              I have been involved in helping to get two teachers terminated and I was the building rep for our union, and I made sure both teachers were given due process.  However I also made sure administration did its job because they, the principals, supervisors etc are the ones who are responsible for dismissing bad teachers.   I had to make sure our principal understood what and when to document.  When it is done correctly, everyone is treated fairly.  Good teachers cannot be dismissed on the whim of some principal or some parents who decided he or she can evaluate a teacher.  At the same time a bad teacher can be dismissed fairly when an administrator does his/her job.

              Too many good teachers have faced dismissal because it things like their grading; their discipline of a student whose parents have political power.  I have seen it.  Just because some of your dear friends have not had the bad experience of seeing a teacher attacked over a grade; over using a book a parent did not like; of asking a parent to leave when the parents became verbally abusive does not mean it does not happen. And when it happens, tenure is a tool we can use to protect those unfairly attacked.  

              Think about this. 'It's better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongly convicted'   That is one of the premises of "innocent until proven guilty".     In education it is hard to get that kind of protection without tenure.  I have seen a good friend put through hell over an angry 6th grader claiming something that never happened.  It went to trial.  On the stand the girl's friends broke down and admitted they all made it up because they were angry over this girl not getting to go on a field trip because she failed to do her work.    That teacher's life was made hell. Tenure kept him from being fired though he was on suspension until the entire trial, etc was resolved.  But his career was never the same.  He lost his enthusiasm; but he did not lose his job or benefits and was able to retire a few years later after moving to another school.  

              In the end, in all professions there are he bell curve of employees.....a few great ones, a few bad ones, but mostly average.   It is human nature.  But here is the difference with teaching.  Because it depends on student/teacher relationships, two children on the same class can have very different views.  No one human being connects exactly the same with all others.   Someone's great teacher may be just average for another.  Someone's not so good teacher may be effective for another.  It is so subjective which is why tenure matters.  You friends need to rethink their laisse faire attitude toward tenure.

              “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

              by Jjc2006 on Wed Aug 06, 2014 at 06:33:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  Tenure has been abused. (0+ / 0-)

        Here in NYC, the the Board of Ed couldn't get rid of bad teachers. They were mostly sent to schools in minority neighborhoods or sat in a room doing nothing  and collecting full salaries. I am no fan of Campbell Brown, but  the problems of getting rid of bad teachers have been a topic of conversation here for a long time.

    •  The only thing about tenure that should be ended (4+ / 0-)

      Is the name.  

      It should be called "due process rights" because that's all it is.   It's gotten a bad rap thanks to a massively well-funded effort to demonize the term, but I bet if it was just called due process rights, you wouldn't be so against it.

      "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

      by dcg2 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But it is not just due process, it protects bad (0+ / 0-)

        teachers. I live in NYC and I see it all over.

        now how do we rid ourselves of bad principals, I would liike to see teachers have more power to rid themselves of bad leaders

        "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

        by merrywidow on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:03:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Principals usually can be fired easily (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          QBee59

          So maybe what you need to ask is how much of what you are seeing for your local situation is coded in the law, how much is coded in the contract as negotiated by administration, and how much of it is administration just not having quality personnel as a priority.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:14:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is not really bad teachers - you can (0+ / 0-)

          see this in the charter school revolution.  Aside from the decidedly mixed results, what has been the driver for the schools that succeed?  Is it firing the teachers (or the ability)?  No, it is the ability to fire STUDENTS.  Between smaller classrooms, the ability to not take special needs kids, and rates of student suspension that are way higher than the public school average.  

          All of the alternatives proposed now are the same weak sauce.  It is not an attempt to help all of the children, it is an attempt to eliminate the children who won't improve the metrics.

    •  you're a f'king mouth breather. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:03:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scary time for teachers. Today I started year 33 (9+ / 0-)

    of my teaching career. In Iowa, we still have pretty good teacher rights.  However, if the republicans win the legislature and the governor's office, they have the House and Governor's Office and the state is completely up in the air this election cycle.

    If teachers don't vote for democrats, we will look like Wisconsin before the end of next year.

  •  How disrupty! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    banjolele, seabos84

    At best,some of these elitist fools convince themselves that they are in the vanguard of needed change. Thinking themselves such makes it clear they are,at best,C students. But ya can't spell CASH without C,so they is smart.

    "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

    by tardis10 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:17:34 PM PDT

  •  Hang in there... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, ranton, boji, vernonbc, QBee59

    I retired after 37  years (that was in 2004) but still occasionally substitute.  I am closing in on age 69 and probably will stop substituting after this year.  But I enjoy the students still, and I know I can do it.  The teachers I sub for like that they can have an experienced person in there and I like that I can pick and choose when and for whom I sub.

    I hope you can still get your retirement.  

    I really hope the so called progressives here who have anti teacher attitudes wake up, along with the dems leaders and voters.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 07:31:03 PM PDT

  •  Well, they're hired guns. Not politicians. (5+ / 0-)

    These sorts of people are all over Washington,  Dick Morris types. You don't hire them for their beleifs. You hire them to do nuts and bolts political work. They dont really care who they work for as long as they are getting paid well. They arent accountable to the party or the voters. Theyre accountable to the candidate,  that is all. Obama is done with campaigns so why should he give a shit what they do? He probably looks down on them like most politicians do.

    In this situation, the charter school lobby has far more money than any future Democratic campaign in the forseeable future. So, for them it was just business.

    If you hate this sort of thing, you need to look at the entire Washington political establishment. All of them. From the interns all the way up to the top level lobbyists and tv pundits. Theyre all scum. All of them. Theyre a much worse problem than the politicians.

  •  My wife is a huge supporter of a public school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vernonbc, seabos84

    education, while I'm somewhat ambivalent.  In the 3 years we've been involved with public schools, we've had great teachers, and some that were below average, and our school is considered the premier public school in the area.  However, we're seeing a wholesale abandonment of the public school system in our neighborhood. Parents are afraid they're children are not getting the best education available, and it can be very difficult to get/trust information from the school.  As long as my daughters (K and 2nd) are performing beyond my personal expectations, we're willing to stick it out because we believe in the benefits of diversity which can't be matched by private alternatives.  I do think the issues are more complex than teacher tenure, and the charter school phenomenon is actually causing more problems then they are solving.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:23:12 PM PDT

  •  There is so much money behind the war on teachers (5+ / 0-)

    There are two massive pots of money that private industry have not gotten their hands on yet: Social Security and Public education.

    They have a well-funded, well-established infrastructure that pushes Social Security privatization and cuts, all with the intent to shift that money to Wall Street and the private sector.  They haven't succeeded yet, but they keep trying.  

    But education is the one they are starting to make gains on.  Their goal is first to break the teachers union and treat teachers as cheap labor - just as they have done in every other industry where big corporations choose poverty wages over middle class wages whenever they can.

    The goal, then, is to run their own schools, have all the tax dollars flow to them, and make money by paying teachers much lower wages than they currently bargain for.

    Unfortunately, because there are billions to be made, there are massive sums of money floating around to buy off the Robert Gibbs of the world and other PR types who would rather chase the dollar than do what's right.

    In fact, if you work in education policy, nearly all the jobs are on the side of the privatizers and the charter school types.   There just isn't money in being an advocate for children, or for middle class wages.

    And the worst part is the revolving door - the privatizers have tons of policy jobs, think tanks, and PR contracts - and then people go from those networks (think Teach for America) back into policy jobs where they push the agenda of privatization.

    And there's so much money being made on semi-privatized charter schools (both for profit and non-profit) that it's going to be almost impossible to roll this well-funded, well-organized movement back.  And every time someone like Robert Gibbs chases their money, it gets even harder.

    "Journalistic conventions make it hard for reporters to deal with a big, complicated lie." -- Michael Kinsley.

    by dcg2 on Mon Aug 04, 2014 at 08:25:03 PM PDT

  •  What are the unions doing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seabos84

    This may anger some here, but I think it needs to be said. While this is occurring, what are the unions doing to counteract? Holding votes at conventions and issuing press leases will not help the NEA and AFT change the narrative that is being pushed by Brown, Rhee, Jeb Bush, etc. They need a huge PR push.

    Again, I apologize if this upsets some, but this is so frustrating to watch.

    •  Well, the one thing they do do, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      QBee59, chancew

      whether it is NEA, AFT or the state and local counterparts, is try to keep the members informed and voting.

      Both national unions, AFT and NEA have a public presence on MSM (though not as much as I would like).   Mostly, from my experience, the work is done on the local level....contractual and legal work for their particular group.  

      It is hard to break through and overwhelm a narrative being pushed by MSM and the administration.  NBC does their "education nation" yearly and AFT and NEA are part of it but NBC runs it and it is funded by the GATES and there are many media types (reporters with a national audience who are invested in, personally, things like TFA and the corporations behind them.   I watched last year as one teacher tried to explain the problems of KIPP charters and a reporter who is often on MSNBC as a liberal, a guy who was a huge Obama supporter, lost it with the teacher for daring to criticize KIPP schools.

      But tell me, what do you think the unions should be doing.

      “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

      by Jjc2006 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 06:05:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  union "leaders" are sitting on their stuck in '88 (0+ / 0-)

      asses, not deigning to lower themselves cuz then they won't be noblerer, gooderer and smarterer.

      Anyone who is upset at your comment doesn't know how the Seat-At-The-Table mentality infects union "leaders" to the point that they're committed political pathetics, suck ups to DLC style sell outs, or, a mix of each.

      [Of course, people who are upset may also be the suck ups, or, aspiring to the suck up cla$$, or too fucking stupid to know what I'm talking about.]

      The "leaders" at the national and state levels of the NEA & AFT & really have a lock down on processes to insure that their unaccountable entrenched asses aren't accountable - there are a bunch of us working the system to make changes, but ...

      well, ya see, as teachers, we already have day jobs!

      That Harris V. Quinn case really made me scratching my head -----

      the effort it is taking to move those entrenched fucks outta the 50's and 80's might be better spent just starting all over from scratch.

      rmm.
      seattle high school teacher 8 years

      Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

      by seabos84 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:12:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it's a crime that we have poor school (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    seabos84

    districts and rich school districts and I see this as the central problem - funding of schools through property taxes which simply continues a cycle of inequity.

    Rich areas pay higher property taxes and thus have better funded schools - duh! This translates to the physical facilities, teacher salaries, supplies, textbooks, extra curricular activities, sports, etc. Then the better schools prop up the property values and the property values prop up the better schools, yadda yadda yadda.

    This is how you have one school with an Olympic sized swimming pool and a plantarium while the kids in the next town over or in the poor section of town have textbooks from the 70s.

    I believe that the way we fund schools should be drastically altered. I would have the state distribute all funds earmarked for education from whatever source paid out on a strict per child basis so that a rich district was allocated the same dollar per child to spend that a poor district is. We'd see some major changes in very short order.

    This would also help to redistribute the caring parents and families throughout a  larger geographic area so they don't simply cluster together in the small quadrant identified as having "good schools". It would reduce property taxes in the "good" district as well, if that one elite area stopped being identified as the only place where a kid can get a good education. I think a plan like this would be beneficial to ALL the students of a state.

    I also think we spend way too much on administrative salaries that could be better spent on the students and that this could be achieved through consolidating school districts. I lived in one state where every single village and township and it's own inflated bureaucracy in order to oversee the 2 elementary schools, one middle school and one high school that was typical. Now I live in a larger metropolitan area and gee, imagine, a single superintendent is responsible for about 20 times, if not more, of a student population.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 04:46:09 AM PDT

    •  In California (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seabos84, QBee59

      school funding is guaranteed by the state to a minimum level per pupil, and the new LCFF sends extra funds to schools with english language learners and low income students; even more if the school is more than 50% populated by those students. I am hopeful this will be very positive. It still won't erase the advantages of a wealthy community, which will still be able to fundraise for better facilities and other extras, and the base amount is still too low. But, as a concept, it's a powerful start.

      The thing is, what makes a "good" school is less the teachers assigned, and more the other students assigned.

      I have a counterexample for you as far as small school districts; ours is one such. Obviously good management is essential. But what works for our district is that the whole administration is very child-focused and knows every staff member. There are no places for anyone - student or staff - to hide or fall through the cracks. Our administrators are not well paid compared to larger districts, which is appropriate, and they do have to take on more duties - does your superintendent attend volleyball games or figure out how to fund the 4th grade field trip? But it can work, and work well, to give small areas this autonomy, with backup from a regional consortium (in our case, the County Office of Education).

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 07:26:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, well, well (0+ / 0-)

    This explains a lot....

  •  Outstanding youtube about 'tenure' f'ing lie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QBee59

    of course, this is irrelevant to the lying 1% ass kissing top of the management sewage tank scum like Boies, Rahm, Arne, Campbell Brown, Michelle Rhee, pooh bahs of DFER & Stand On Children & TFA & KIPP ...

    http://youtu.be/...

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 08:24:06 AM PDT

  •  Of the domestic areas, Obama has been truly awful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QBee59

    on education policy.  He and his team are sleeping with very very bad people.  

  •  teaching as a profession (0+ / 0-)

    THis is just one more reason why anyone with a brain should never enter into the teaching profession. Education in America is DEAD.

    •  So, if I'm following your logic... (0+ / 0-)

      we should just let it die?

      Perhaps those with both brains AND character might still consider entering the profession, especially given the fact that it is one of those crisis points where one can test the mettle of their values and integrity?

      Just a different take.

      Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.
      ~~ from the DK Partners & Mentors Team.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 01:58:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Attacks rom the right idoits. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QBee59

    These attacks are happening because there is an incentive to do so....money from  truely big donors that want to tear down the culture and building blocks past generations put in place to create a more stable society. Like the founding framers did before them they failed to "lock" in these  fixes for educatrion, civil servants, fire fighters, police, and abortion rights. What is a "lock" you might ask, it is a two thirds majority vote to amend, repeal, or expire existing laws and amendments. No law passing both houses should be allowed such attacks from any branch of govt. Even the SCOTUS can not take up amendments to laws like Roe vs Wade that shuts down clinics. NO more buying legtislation and dodging the law.

  •  It's impossible to fire bad teachers. (0+ / 0-)

    My father was an early supporter of teachers' unions back in the bad old days when teachers made $4,000 a year and had almost no rights at all. Now, with two children grown, I've been through the trauma of very good and very bad children treating my kids very well and very badly.

    It seems impossible to fire really bad, harmful teachers, and that's got to stop. When teachers are fired, they're teachers who insist that children meet expectation, including black teachers who insist that black children meeting expectations. What's wrong with that? And then there's that nasty, insulting, character-assassinating Spanish teacher; the sluggard, inert, untalented Spanish teacher -- neither fired, while the younger, more talented and approachable Spanish teachers are let go. An older, stricter, but very lovable Spanish teacher was also let go.

    Overtly sexist, racist male teachers are kept. My daughter's math teacher would look down her blouse and refuse to help her math. He'd tell her to look it up in the book. My daughter would get so upset with him that she'd leave school and go to a friend's house, bawling.

    Tenure should be reserved for talented, wonderful, engaged teachers, but who decides who those teachers are? I say the kids should decide, not the administrators. Frequently administrators are on the wrong page and know little about what makes a good teacher. Let the kids decide.

  •  Some people will do anything for a fat fee. (0+ / 0-)

    Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you...Elsie de Wolfe

    by Hilltop Mama on Tue Aug 05, 2014 at 03:28:10 PM PDT

  •  Scum. Shows one more reason why Obama's (0+ / 0-)

    first term, while successful, was much less successful than anticipated or possible. I.e. he was surrounded by "business as usual folks" who were not really interested in progressive change.

    And I am Kilrain of the 20th Maine. And I damn all gentlemen. Whose only worth is their father's name And the sweat of a workin' man Steve Earle - Dixieland

    by shigeru on Fri Aug 08, 2014 at 08:28:05 AM PDT

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