I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Monday, February 7, 2011

Advancing the Reformers, Not the Reforms

Lots of folks in the NJ edublogging sphere are having great fun at the expense of Derrell Bradford - as well they should. His comments about Barbara Keshishian, president of the NJEA, are the sort of frat boy crapola we've come to expect from just about anyone who aligns themselves with Chris Christie.

But his speech is actually a very clear window into the "reform" movement. This may be difficult - but if you can stomach it, take a look at the entire video of Derrell's presentation:

Derrell has perfectly, right, has co-opted all of the language of the 21st century social-media consultant, right, with all of its, right, psycho babbling, right, and marketing terms that, right, are really meant, right, to market the consultant, right?


Don't believe me? Don't think Derrell's "movement" isn't primarily about Derrell? Well, look at this slide from his Powerpoint:

Nice - Derrell is all "About Advancing the People that Advance the Reforms": namely, Derrell. Hey, it's not like I'm questioning the man's motives: he's incredibly upfront about it.

And he's not alone. Michele Rhee spent a $100K gift from a wealthy "education philanthropist" on an image makeover. Mark Zuckerberg bought his way into education policy after an unflattering bio-pic about him was released, even though his education policy experience seems confined to dating a former teacher.

And, of course, there's little pas de deux of Cory Booker and Chris Christie, a transparent bit of political posturing that just happens to return big political gains for both (when convenient):

Teachers, policy makers, and unions: you'd best get smart and understand this NOW. The 'formers have made it quite clear - and, in Derrell's case, blatantly clear - that their movement is first and foremost about THEM.

They do not care that all of the research points exactly AWAY from the solutions they propose. They do not care that it is inherently contradictory to say "we don't have the money" and then fund programs like vouchers that will further drain the state's coffers. Nor do they care that it's illogical to say how much they value teachers while simultaneously pushing to cut their pay.

Because this movement is about "Advancing the People that Advance the Reforms, Not the Reforms Themselves." Your words, Derrell, not mine.

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