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

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pitbull Speech at Ntl Charter Schools Convention - The Remix

The rapper Pitbull gave the opening speech at the 2013 National Charter Schools Convention this past week. He came to the podium to the strains of his hit, "Feel This Moment."

Given the background of Pitbull and his partners in his new charter school, SLAM, that just didn't feel right. In the tradition of hip-hop, I therefore present this remix. Sit back, ingest a dangerous amount of caffeine, and enjoy:

Remember: Pitbull is endorsed by Democrats For Education Reform!

Because our children need upright, decent role models who endorse choice in education...

Darcie has more on the speech, if you can take it:
Pitbull opened his speech with a joke to break the ice. 

"I know you guys might be thinking, 'What is Pitbull doing here today?' 
I'm thinking the same thing... 
But speaking of that, they told me that Bill Cosby has spoken here before, which I think is amazing. Somebody that I really relate to. I also love Jello.
Ha ha! I'm just getting started!
Bill Gates; phenomenal, incredible. I relate to Bill Gates.  We're both very... good looking. 
*wink at audience*
And Bill Clinton. You know, I really relate to Bill Clinton... (laughs from audience)  We're both musicians."
In that single joke, Pitbull equates himself with Bill Cosby's product endorsements, Bill Gate's money, and Bill Clinton's womanizing.

That really is what Pitbull is all about, isn't it?  Endorsementsmoney and women....

I want, I need, I like to get
Money, money, money, money
I want, I need, I like to get
Money, money, money, I like

Joel says: "I like the beat - I give it an 86!"


Mrs. King's music students said...

A fine job of reporting one half of a story that needs to be told. Meanwhile, here is an example of what the RACs are up against in Camden Public Schools.

Early this year they determined that some of our Reading and Math Coaches were not highly qualified, and were actually being selected by ed. admins to cover admin duties such as lunchroom, scheduling, purchasing, etc... The RAC immediately applied half of a solution - re-interviewed every coach, sent those who passed back to work and those who didn't back to the classroom. The result? In Camden we've got some mighty fine Literacy and Math Coaches manning the lunchrooms, scheduling and purchasing.

But hey-I'm not complaining. A simple minded music teacher such as myself will gain valuable insights into bringing next years first graders up to speed in reading and math while the top-notch Lit Coach administers the Summer Program - recruiting, scheduling, lunchroom, purchasing, calls home, AND emergency PD for slow witted music teachers getting acclimated to the first grade classroom.

Tori said...

While I don't question your information on the finances and politics of charter schools. I think your assumptions about Pitbull are way off base.

I've followed his career from the start and I truly do not believe this is about money for him. My understanding is that he donated a substantial amount of his own money to make that school a reality.

Yes many of his lyrics, particularly from the early days are cringe worthy at times. However his music and attitudes towards women has evolved greatly over his 10 year career. His passion for helping children has been on display for many years it's not some new found interest for the development of the school. As for his politics, like all of us Cuban Americans, he's anti-Castro. However you mistake that with being a conservative. He campaigned for Obama (and likely had a lot to do with the higher than normal percentage of Cubans voting Democrat) He routinely lambasted G.W.Bush ( just listen to his song 8 years of BS) and it's safe to say he and Rubio aren't besties.

Mr. Perez's difficult childhood gave him a passion for education and it's power to change children's lives. So whatever flaws the charter system has, and it seems that there are some definite flaws, don't lambaste decent person for trying to make a difference. The world needs more people who are willing to try.

Duke said...

Tori, fair enough. We can agree to disagree about Pitbull's worth as a person and an "artist." Frankly, I find his endorsement of Sheets, a dangerous product for children, more than a little distasteful. I find his lyrics to be misogynistic, and that includes recent hits like "Room Service" and "International Love." I actually find an endorsement of Obama proof of Pitbull's neo-conservatism. Your mileage may vary.

What we can both agree on, I suspect, is that the deals behind SLAM and other schools in Academica's network have not been subjected to the proper level of transparency. Academica has made a fortune off of the public's dime. Pitbull is well-known for selling his brand. It is not too far of a leap to conclude that something may be going on here.

Before we canonize the man, I'd like to know the exact details of this charter's operations, including the deals with the Marlins, Academica, Pitbull, and every other interested party.

It is a measure of the failure of both the Florida and federal government that the details of those deals are not accessible to the general public. I can easily look up the salary of every superintendent in the state of New Jersey (and, I suspect, Florida) and details about their district's budget. Why can't I just as easily get the financial details of SLAM if it is, indeed, a "public" school?

Tori said...

I am in complete agreement that any school that is categorized as a "public school" should have total transparency. And frankly I am of the thought that neither the educational system nor the penal system should be for profit. It completely destroys the integrity of the institutions.

If you stuck with questioning those issues you'd have my full support. What I take issue with is your obvious prejudice towards Pitbull. You throw out that he's a neoconservative? Because he supported Obama? How is that even logical? He was totally against the Iraq war, he supports amnesty for immigrants, and he made huge headlines for singing the national anthem in Spanish. What part of any of that screams neo-conservative?

While I share your concern about caffeinated energy drinks (honestly I think we're going to have an entire generation who have burned through their adrenal glands) However his product is not marketed towards kids and in fact advised against their use for anyone under 12. And at the end of the day, it's a perfectly legal product. To imply that his association with Sheets makes him unworthy to fund a school is ridiculous.

If you set aside your prejudiced view you might see what others see. A man who grew up in extremely difficult situation, who acknowledges making poor decisions in his youth and who now counsels others against the same. He's someone who is actively reaching back and helping others, trying to break the cycle of poverty and drugs that exists in his old neighborhood with education.

I'm not saying he should get a pass. If there are financial irregularities than those need to be investigated. But does the fact he sells beer or sheets actually have any bearing on him supporting a school? He's not a teacher, he's not in the classroom day to day. He comes in occasionally and gives a motivational speech about the importance of believing in yourself. In a world where too few people are trying to help, doesn't he at least deserve the benefit of the doubt?

Duke said...

Tori, given the fact that his partners, the Zuluetas, have made money hand over fist from their charters...

No. I don't think he gets the benefit of the doubt at all.

Read my previous post, "Define Charity," for more on this.

Hannah13 said...

... and in the meantime, a teacher can get fired for having a glass of wine in the background of a picture on Facebook.