Brother Mike reflects the thinking of many when he suggests that the education schemes of the present USDE boss appear to be Bushian, only on a grander scale. He suggests that Diane Ravitch’s “Bush in drag” references to Arne Duncan may have been premature, but ultimately true.
Wednesday, Duncan declared NCLB only “tinkered” with the system of public schools, while he wanted to take “a chainsaw” to it. Yikes! Sounds like a Wes Craven movie title.
Speaking to 300 at a meeting this week of school leaders with Duncan in St. Louis, AFT President Randi Weingarten called for more support for teachers.
Weingarten commended a new era of cooperation between the district and the local union. She praised “full-service” community schools that offer a range of services for area residents, from after-school classes to job placement to health care.
Duncan, on the other hand, focused on school closings and teacher firing.
“This is a neat, neat moment,” he told the crowd. “A historic moment. And I’m going to be watching this place very closely.”
I bet the teachers were thrilled to hear the guy with the chainsaw say that.
Duncan’s Race to Get the Hell Outta Here!
I got a phone call a couple days ago from an excellent teacher working on a technically “low-performing” high school, who was having a spasm of guilt about interviewing for a job at a new (and thus inherently not “low-performing,” at least not yet) school. What made her feel better (somewhat perversely) was pointing that this time next year everyone would be scrambling to get out of her current school, as it would probably be closed in the next two years and seniority would no longer provide a decent position elsewhere in the district if that happened.
That’s where we’re headed. If you’ve got a family and a mortgage, you don’t have the luxury of indulging your desire to help bring up a low-performing school. If it is closed or re-organized, which is likely, you could be completely screwed. You could lose your health insurance and your pension. At best your life and career will be turned upside down, and you’re likely looking at a repeating cycle, since none of these measures show consistent results anyhow. On the other hand, if you can wedge your way into a high-performing school, in the city or more likely the ‘burbs, you’re fine. That’s the new system.