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

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cerf and Murdoch: BFFs!

These poor, unloved reformy types! I mean, they're just trying to have a nice, quiet conference where they come up with new ways to screw unions, screw teachers, and enrich education profiteers. But the rabble just won't leave them alone, what with their uncivil calls for "transparency" and such:
About 50-75 protesters picketed a conference hosted by Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education Thursday in San Francisco. Those protests came in part because of its inclusion of News Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, who last year launched an education division within the global media conglomerate that also includes the conservative leaning—and some say teacher unfriendly—Fox News Network, as well as a British newspaper recently indicted in aphone-hacking scandal.
Apparently, these plebes actually have the temerity to want to ask questions!
During the Q&A session, Steve Begley, a blogger from the K-12 News Network, asked Klein about what Murdoch had in mind for his foray into the education business, which Murdoch has said is a $500 billion market largely untapped by the corporate world. After noting Klein's $4.5 million annual compensation, Begley asked him what sort of "revenue goals" Murdoch had set for him, and "what kinds of goods and services are you going to sell to meet those goals?" Before he could even finish his question, the panel moderator Chester Finn, from the Fordham Institute, cut him off. He told Begley that he was out of line, and that his question was inappropriate. He demanded that Begley pass the microphone to the person behind him. Begley persisted with his questions, until the audience booed him and a woman came up and asked him to leave. As he was being kicked out, he asked Klein, "Don't you want to answer the question?" Clearly Klein did not.
Where did these people get the notion that the public schools are a civil institution that serve the people, rather than an ATM for the already insanely wealthy to further stuff greenbacks into their own pockets?

Now, one good thing about our brave new world is that there are lots and lots of new ways for these people to show us their true colors. Take, for instance, the assistant Indiana schools chief, Dale Chu. He tweeted during the entire conference, and gave us a few insights into Acting NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf:

 Dale Chu 

Amen! NJ chief Chris Cerf to Murdoch: "Thank you for the tremendous dignity with which you handled our 1st Amendment friends." 

"1st Amendment friends" are obviously the protesters who dare to question their betters. Now, why would Cerf suck up to Murdoch like this? Hmm...

Remember, our Acting Commissioner has a history of bouncing back and forth between the public and private worlds. And his former boss is Joel Klein; setting yourself up for your next gig, Chris?

And I wonder how you feel about Klein's view of local control of schools?
Joel Klein's succinct take on school boards: "They don't work."
Klein says "The evidence is in. The evidence is clear. School brd governance model hasn't worked. We can't 'meet' our way 2 success"
Klein: "Most school boards I know resist choice. They like the monopoly."
Damn you school boards and your "accountability"! Why can't we just put up hundreds of mediocre charter schools on the taxpayer dime without your interference?!?

Some more insight into Cerf's world:

 Dale Chu 

 Chris Cerf: "This is a knife fight in a dark rm. We haven't shown courage & we've been nibbling at edges." 

Two takeaways here:

1) You ain't seen nuttin' yet. A few charters, some more tests, gutting tenure... kiddies, Chris Cerf is just getting started. This is just "nibbling at the edges." Think this is a guy who would be happy to walk away from this nonsense if a real "pilot" program showed his vaunted schemes won't work? Maybe that explains why he doesn't have a real pilot in place, but a phony excuse to shove this crap down our throats.

2) Cerf thinks he is having a "knife fight" with the people who oppose his little plot. So...

If you're a parent who thinks your local school board ought to have a say in approving a charter school in your town...

If you're a teacher who thinks that your tenure protections are necessary and should include an appeal to an authority outside of your district....

If you're a principal who thinks it is massively stupid to evaluate your teachers by using the secretive and never-been-fully-vetted NJASK...

If you're a student who is sick of filling in bubbles...

If you're an education researcher who is sitting on gobs of high-quality research that is being ignored by these guys...

If you're a union that dares to advocate for your middle-class members...

Understand this: the other side thinks this is a knife fight. You know how you win a knife fight?


Teacher Mom said...

FYI: you made my unions local newsletter :)

Duke said...

Cool! Tell them JJ sends his thanks, and keep fighting the good fight!