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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Joel Klein On the Fainting Couch

The EduShyster is fast becoming one of the real reform movement's all-stars. Here, he skewers corporate edu-vulture Joel Klein:
What’s that haters, you’re still not buying it? You think that Mr. Klein is nothing more than a glorified snake oil salesmen peddling techno gimmickry to schools in order to sop up tax payer money? Jeez, go easy on the brother, haters! It turns out Mr. Klein doesn’t think much of you either:
The critique that really ignites a response in me, however, is the idea that education companies are motivated only by money. Like any other business that invests its capital to develop and market products or services, educational businesses need to secure a return on their investment. But there are no guarantees for educational entrepreneurs, just like there are no guarantees in other fields. You take a risk and hope for a return. But that doesn’t mean that entrepreneurs are motivated solely by profit. If you have any doubts about that, just ask the people at Facebook or Twitter, who surely want to change the world (but won’t be able to unless they can provide their investors a return). This kind of attack on motive—i.e., that profits are all that innovators care about—is not only wrong, it’s frankly deeply offensive. [emphasis mine]

Quickly, someone get Joel the fainting couch! He is deeply offended that anyone would ever question his motives! Why, Joel Klein would never say such a thing about... oh, say, teachers unions. He would never, ever, question the unions' motives, like people are questioning his!

Would he? [all emphases mine]
Because of his commitment to ferreting out the facts through tough and thorough reporting, Brill’s a brilliant diagnostician. No one has previously brought the education debate to life the way he has. And not a moment too soon. This is the most important issue our nation faces and, unfortunately, most Americans either don’t know or don’t care much about it. But if they read Brill they will see that the depressing picture he paints of the current state of public education is (unfortunately) accurate and that, in no small measure, this is because the unions effectively promote their own and their members’ self-interests, even when doing so hurts kids.
Well, that's just one quote; it's not like Klein has questioned unions' motivations other times...
And it reminds us all that our job is to give voice to the voiceless and the powerless kids that are currently being denied the education they need and deserve. Because, let's face it -- they can't afford union dues.
OK, two quotes. That's it, right?
He slammed teacher unions for allowing the bad apples to sour the system.
"The union is going to protect incompetent workers -- that is their job," said Klein, who now works for News Corp., owner of The Post.
Klein remarked that unions are unhappy with the growth of high-performing charter schools because it threatens their "guaranteed client base."
In the long run, much more important than the settlement's specifics will be the fact that the strike occurred, especially during a presidential campaign in a city governed by the president's former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. The Democrats and teachers unions traditionally have walked in lock step—so much so that, when I became schools chancellor in New York City shortly after serving in the Clinton administration, my former colleagues offered commiserations that went something like this: "Unfortunately our party is killing you, isn't it? We should be for the kids but, truth is, we're beholden to the unions."
Oh, my...
Politicians—especially Democratic politicians—generally do what the unions want. The unions, in turn, are very clear about what that is: They want happy members, so that those who run the unions get re-elected, and they want more members, so their power, money and influence grow. The effect of all this? As Albert Shanker, the late, iconic head of the UFT, once pointedly said, "When schoolchildren start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of schoolchildren."
This last one tells us more about the character of Joel Klein than anything: there is no proof that Shanker ever said those words. Klein's weaselly non-apology after Leo Casey called him out is a real window into the man's soul.

The fact is that Klein and his many fellow travelers in the corporate reform world live to bash the motives of teachers unions and, by extension, teachers. His vitriol against the AFT and the NEA knows no bounds. For him to claim that calling into question his profit motive is "deeply offensive" is hypocrisy of the highest order.

Sorry, Joel: live by invective, die by invective.

Joel Klein in action.

1 comment:

Dan McConnell said...

Klein does little to dispel the profit motive. Sounds more like "Well, DUH...when fancy dudes sink a bunch of money and trick their way into cornering a market OF COURSE they want a return!" Teaching kids and facebook are practically the same thing.