Hillary remained silent.


A report by ABC’s Brian Ross once again tells the story of Hillary Clinton’s role as a Wal-Mart board member during the 90s.

In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world’s largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers.

As Wal-Mart developed their strategy to keep unions from organizing their employees, Hillary sat quietly and said nothing, according to the ABC report.

As a result Wal-Mart has the reputation as one of the worst companies when it come to its attitude towards unions, its ruthlessness in fighting them and a true bottom-feeder when it comes to how it treats its employees.

Full disclosure.

In recent blog postings and comments to them about the presidential election and the candidates, I was offered the “right” to be for Obama. Of course, I have never said who I was for although I have commented on what I consider the strengths and weaknesses of many of the candidates and their campaigns. Following Edwards pathetic showing in Florida and his subsequent dropping out, there are two Democrats left.

On most issues of substance, there is little that separates Obama and Clinton. All the talk of “change” and “experience” hides much more than it reveals. Each has supporters that I distrust and admire. Unfortunately, each represents the centrist tradition of Democratic Party presidential candidates over the past 50 years.

Both have been inconsistent about the War in Iraq.

On issues of national education policy, I have heard them both. Any differences between them are almost invisible. One emphasizes merit pay one day. The other applauds some charter school the other.

Here’s what the IEA says:

On Feb. 5, IEA members can help ensure that policy decisions impacting educators and students are made by people who support public education.

The IEA Board of Directors voted to recommend Sen. Barack Obama for president in the Democratic primary after a careful review of his support for education in both the Illinois legislature and the U.S. Senate.

“Sen. Obama has consistently demonstrated his willingness to listen to IEA members and leaders and react positively to our concerns.” said IEA President Ken Swanson.

Illinois has early voting. On Martin Luther King’s birthday, Anne and I went to the local library which was closed in his honor, but was open for voting. I voted for Barack Obama.

Today I am in Brooklyn to see my kids and grandchildren including the latest arrival, Joey, who is five days old.

I know there is a lot of talk these days about how this is the post-race era. But this is what I know: When my grandchildren are old enough to ask me about such things, and if I am still around, and they ask me who I voted for when the first African-American who had a real chance to be elected President was running, I will not say I voted for someone else.

Rotherham, charters and Rosemary’s Baby.


Here’s the plot line for this conspiracy tale.

Andy of the Democratic Party, is a proponent of charter schools. His loyal side-kick (let’s call him Joe) even argues that there are no such things as “good charters” or “bad charters.” Joe says that this distinction is an invention of the evil Union Bosses.

But everyone knows they are full of crap on that point,”

says side-kick Joe.

Anyway, back to Our Hero, Andy.

Andy has argued that the Democratic Party should be the party of charter schools. So far, this hasn’t had much traction. Although there has been some support for charters among Democrats, support has mainly come from the Republican Party, President Bush and his Secretaries Paige and Spellings. And this presents a conundrum in an election year. How do you get a key platform of the Republican Party to become a key platform of the Democratic Party without turning into a Republicrat, that dreaded education version of Rosemary’s Baby?

Well, you cook up a theory that the Republicans, Bush and Spellings never were for charter schools!

Speculation has always been that Ed Secretary Spellings sort of has it in for charter schools. Conservatives have never trusted her (or for that matter the President) on choice overall. Meanwhile, charter supporters mostly consider her lukewarm at best on public charter schools.

Maybe when the writer’s strike is over, someone can take this piece of fiction and run with it.

Kennedy endorses Obama. An NCLB subtext?

Leo Casey posts in today’s EdWize, the UFT’s blog, that the Ted Kennedy endorsement of Barack Obama has an NCLB subtext. Casey speculates that both Kennedy and California Congressman George Miller are endorsing Obama because Obama is not as critical of NCLB as Hillary has been.

There is a growing consensus among NCLB hawks like Kennedy and Miller that Obama would be much more amenable to their position.

Perhaps. But Casey, who is rumored to be in the running to take Randi Weingarten’s place as UFT President, should point out that the UFT gave an early stamp of approval to Hillary. That provides some “subtext” too.

Sunday links.


The percentage of workers who belong to unions increased last year, according to the annual union membership report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Some 311,000 new members joined unions in 2007, the largest single-year increase since 1979. Overall, the rate of union membership increased slightly to 12.1 percent last year, from 12 percent in 2006, reversing a trend of decline in recent years. AFL-CIO Now

If we encouraged members in ’schoolwide bonus’ schools to support equal distribution of the $, there would be no problem. But since we did not, what are they going to look at? Well, many are good union people, and will try to divide equally anyhow. But principals will bring in… that same lousy data, and this: Since the bonuses were school based, the fundamental flaws of the DoE’s “value added” pilot project were not present… is clearly mistaken. There is probably even greater chance of raw numbers being abused.
-Jonathan Comment section of Edwize

But what to do about “reformers” (maybe we should rename them “deformers”?) who use their extraordinary power to rush through one after another measure that undermine such optimism about democracy?? They are on a different track entirely. Deborah Meier

What’s the moral here? Morality must be strictly adhered to by working people, while important folks like Saint Rudy can do whatever they want, however they want, whenever they want. NYC Educator

Three over coffee.


Chicago – It finally warmed up. We might actually get to fifty on Monday. This past week has been bitter cold. Down to ten below actual temperature. I’m not talking wind chill here. I’m talking what it says on the thermometer.

So the coffee was good.

In fact all is good with the world. A new grandson has come to join a granddaughter in the family and I’ll be heading to Brooklyn on Tuesday after school to help out and hold the new one. Exciting.

Andy Rotherham as Monty Hall.

Remember “Let’s Make a Deal.” You’re probably too young. It was a day-time game show where the audience dressed up all goofy. The host, Monty Hall, picked someone to play the game. There were three doors that the contestant could choose from. They could win whatever was behind the door.

After the contestant chose a door, Monty would inevitably offer some cash in trade for what was behind the door before the door was opened. Sometimes what was behind the door was a new car. Sometimes it was junk.

I know. I led misspent youth.

Yesterday, Eduwonk read like an on-line version of Let’s Make a Deal: Fire ten percent of the teachers and the rest of the teachers get more money.

But here’s the thing.

Andy isn’t Monty Hall and this ain’t Let’s Make A Deal. He doesn’t have a show, he’s got no contestants and he’s got nothing to trade.

Oh, but his Ed Sector is writing a paper on the idea. That’s good, Andy. A paper. That’s good.

Where class size is important.

From this morning’s NY Times in a report about prep schools like Phillips Exeter:

With its small classes, computers for students receiving financial aid, lavish sports facilities and more, Exeter devotes an average of $63,500 annually to house and educate each of its 1,000 students.

George Bush went to Phillips Andover down the road.

Exeter has a billion dollar endowment. That’s a millions bucks per student.

Parents don’t like their kids used as lab rats for the CPS.

Look at Orr. First they break up the school, then they put it back together. They don’t know what they’re doing. They’re just using our kids as experiments,” said Joanne Powell, whose daughter attends one of the Orr schools.

Parent protests erupted when CPS CEO Arne Duncan released new school closure plans.

Reported the Sun-Times:

Duncan seeks to phase out nine half-empty elementary schools, relocate two others, and bring an academic “turnaround” strategy to four underperforming high schools and the four elementaries feeding them.

His earlier solution to the underperforming Orr High — its deconstruction into three small schools — failed. With student performance at those schools still below par, he wants to merge them again, this time into a teacher training academy.

Follow the action at Educon 2.0

From HitchHikr:

EduCon 2.0 is both a conversation and a conference.

And it is not a technology conference. It is an education conference. It is a School 2.0 conference. It is, hopefully, an innovation conference where we want to come together, both in person and virtually, to discuss the future of schools. Every session will be an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.