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Hey, patient readers…

January 23, 2011

Thanks for sticking around, despite the relative lag in updates. We love and appreciate you.

While I finish revising some things and preparing new content to share, please be sure to check out this motley assortment of recent stories from elsewhere in the blogosphere and the news that bear repeating and sharing.

  • Stephen Colbert ripped into the recent Wake County, North Carolina decision to dismantle its school desegregation program:
The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
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This morning I read a review of Why Great Teachers Quit over at the Education Policy Blog. The review mentions teachers being overworked, entering the profession with lots of idealism (and presumably having it crushed), and the disrespectful treatment we generally receive from the corporate reform movement. These are all reasons teachers quit, to be sure, but I really felt that the review failed to capture the venom with which teachers are being attacked. Many teachers feel like they’re living in a surreal version of Nineteen Eighty-four – no exaggeration.

Just weeks before former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein slammed teacher pensions as “hollowing out public education,” Klein walked into the teacher pension office to collect his own annual windfall, sources told the Daily News.

Klein, who could rake in as much as $4.5 million this year at his new gig with News Corp., also will collect $34,000 annually for his eight years as chancellor.

Accepting the money seems to fly in the face of a harsh editorial he wrote last week, ripping into the guaranteed pensions earned by veteran teachers.

“Defined-benefit pensions helped bring the once-vibrant U.S. auto industry to its knees,” Klein wrote in The Wall Street Journal on Jan. 10. “The promised benefits just proved too costly. In that industry, such pensions are mostly a thing of the past.”

“Alas,” he added, “the same kind of pensions are now hollowing out public education.”

  • Speaking of pensions, New York City Schools Chancellor Cathie Black was booed at a recent PEP Meeting. The boos reached an especially fevered pitch when she mentioned “the pension problem.”
  • At the same meeting, Leonie Haimson shared her thoughts on why the $1 billion dollars the DOE plans to spend  for virtual education should be spent on proven reforms like class size reduction, and Julie Cavanaugh called out the racist implications of the DOE’s actions related to John Jay High School in Brooklyn. Some of the students affected by their decisions protested the proposed co-location of a fourth school within their school at a public meeting:
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Peter D. Ford III permalink
    January 23, 2011 11:48 pm

    How many teachers, including yourself, are attacked mercilessly by our parents and students because of our lousy performance? My sense is very few. I suspect that the vast majority of teachers are satisfying our customers; as public educators, unfortunately, we’re forced to serve our bureaucracy also, and too often today the desires of our edu-bureaucracy outweigh the needs of our true customers, parents and students.

    When folks decry the ‘privatization’ of public education they are, in the kids’ words, getting it ‘twisted.’ Indeed we should ‘privitize’ education, meaning we should mirror the characteristics of truly successful enterprises: quality product, customer service, taking care of your people. Most public education bureaucrats have NEVER done this, simply because there’s never been a real consequence for their failures. Parents having options through choice is the only impetus for reform to which a complacent edu-bureaucracy will respond; instead of fighting school choice, make your product better so parents choose your product versus anyone else’s.

    These unfunded liabilities many states are suffering are a real threat to everyone. If teachers couch this dilemma as folks ‘coming after our pensions,’ when states like California go bankrupt and your pension might get pennies the dollar, if at all, every teacher loses.

  2. January 24, 2011 5:47 am

    Salutations Sabrina, thank you for keeping our fire burning. Maybe it is time to do a blog on the Save Our Schools March and Teach-in week of action now that their website is up and going. Glad to see people are challenging what is happening in New York City. It helps to know one is not alone in this world of education reform spin.


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