A Chronicle of Echoes by Mercedes Schneider Reviewed by Patrick Walsh

September 19, 2014

http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/a_chronicle_of_echoes_20140919


Vergara Part Two : How the 1% Have Learned to Use the Noblest Causes for the Most Venal Ends

June 13, 2014

David Welch: A Civil Rights Leader of our Time

David Welch: A Civil Rights Leader of our Time


There have been more than a few events in the past 20 years or so that, even as I accepted their possibility, sent chills down my spine upon learning they actually happened. This sensation of primal fear tended only to grow stronger with time to ponder the deeper significance of such events upon the direction of the nation, a nation in which I now raise a young child.
One was the Supreme Court’s still unfathomable decision to appoint George W. Bush president in 2000. Another was the same Bush’s decision to eviscerate a virtually defenseless Iraq under the pretense of somehow making it into a democracy. A third was the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that permits the military to seize U.S. citizens, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities under the pretense of fighting terrorism.

All of the above are clear and unmistakable evidence that strange, terrible and extraordinarily powerful forces have been unleashed in this country, met only with an as yet equally extraordinarily absence of an effective resistance. In very short order in all of the cases above, what shortly before seemed inconceivable almost overnight become what is cynically called “the new normal.”

Add to these now the decision in Vergara vs. California, which may seem small potatoes when compared with the above, but, unless things change in this country and radically so, I fear it is anything but.

The case, we are meant to believe, was brought forth by nine preternaturally litigious kids who just grew tired of being the victims of “grossly ineffective teachers” who, protected by California’s laws on tenure and seniority, robbed them of their civil rights to a fair and adequate free public education. Somehow, the kids’ cause came to the attention of Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur and modern day civil rights leader David Welch, co-founder of Infinera and founder of the advocate group StudentsMatter, and David being David… well, he just had to act. Welch, out of the kindness of his massive heart, massively bankrolled the civil rights lawsuit, hiring none other than the “high-powered legal team chaired by famed litigators Theodore Boutrous and Theodore Olson, ” the same legal team, in fact, that brought us George W. Bush in the 2000 presidential election.
The solution to this alleged civil rights case, concluded Judge Rolf Treu, is not to extend probation or hire better administrators or anything sensible and moderate like that. No. The solution, declared Treu, is to gut all job protections for all teachers across the state of California; and, if Boutrous and Olsen and their mega rich employers are to be believed, across the country – just like the Common Core.
Or so goes the dark Disneyland narrative.
What is this decision?
It is many things and none of them good. All of them are portents of a bleak and miserable future for 99 % of Americans.
To be sure, the decision is a particularly powerful and harmful volley in the most insidious, sustained and fantastically financed public relations assault on a legal profession in American history, arguably in human history, otherwise known as “education reform.”

Think about it.

Has there ever been a legal profession that has undergone the barrage of insults and insinuations and insane claims ( education is now a threat to national security) from every conceivable form of media—documentary, newspapers, Hollywood film TV, and radio — as have teachers in the past decade or so?

If so, who? When ?

Vergara is too, if one needed it, yet another billboard proudly displaying the Obama administration’s utter subservience to the American oligarchy whose goal is the privitization of every facet of American public life, beginning with the public school system. Consider the words of U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan concerning a ruling that has surely disgusted any serious teacher and will likely dissuade any serious young person from becoming a teacher: “For students in California and every other state, equal opportunities for learning must include the equal opportunity to be taught by a great teacher. The students who brought this lawsuit are, unfortunately, just nine out of millions of young people in America who are disadvantaged by laws, practices and systems that fail to identify and support our best teachers and match them with our neediest students. Today’s court decision is a mandate to fix these problems.”

Neither Duncan nor anyone else on planet earth can explain how stripping teachers of due process (tenure) and the dignity and liberty that goes with it can, in any way, shape or form, help students be taught by a “great teacher,” but what the hey.
Duncan, as shameless as ever, did doubtless please his masters with his straight face declaration that the lawsuit was, in fact, brought by children and not yet another saintly billionaire using children to ram into place their stealth agenda.

To be fair, Duncan does see a role for public participation in the privatization of public education: “Together, we must work to increase public confidence in public education,” said the man. After spending years using nothing less than the weight of the federal government to systemically and as a matter of public policy destroy public confidence in public education, this is what the secretary of education would have us do in the wake of this devastating judgement — “work to increase public confidence in public education.”

Some times one has no words.

It is ample evidence of the dark genius of the 1% who have figured out how to manipulate or purchase the institutions and mechanisms created to insure a modicum of democracy and justice – namely, elections and the courts – and use them to destroy democracy and justice.
It is also ample evidence of the moral bankruptcy of the “reformers,” who will use anything, even children as innocent class warriors, to get their way in their stealth class war.
Most egregiously, insofar as the “reformers” have hijacked the language and iconography of civil rights, the most emotionally resonant, heroic and spiritually charged movement in American history, the Vergara decision is, to my way of thinking, outright blasphemy. But not merely blasphemy: Vergara is blasphemy wrapped in perversity, sugar coated in obscenity.
The blasphemy is using the sacred spirit of civil rights for the venal cause of union busting under the shameless pretence of helping kids.

The perversity is the insinuation that magically appearing billionaires who never taught a day in their lives care more about the fate of the urban poor than the teachers who serve them day in and day out.

The obscenity is the political obsequiousness that fortunes that no sane society would even allow, never mind genuflect before, are allowed to dismantle the institutions — unions and public education – that built America, and are doing it in the name of freedom.
But it is a grave mistake to perceive the Vergara decision as simply another attack, however brutal, on teachers and education. Education is merely the conduit. Vergara is an attack on the rights of every worker in the USA, union or not.
The 1% may know little of history, but they know enough about the union movement to know that, in time, the force that revolutionized even non- union industries, forcing them to treat their workers with dignity, pay them fairer wages and provide them with some modicum of security, was the threat of unions. They also know the absence of unions has exactly the opposite effect. Consider the working conditions of most Americans in the land of the free and the home of the brave since the shrinkage of American unions. No due process. No job security. No pension. No nothing but a wage that for most people has not grown since 1973.

It is in this light that the Vergara decision need be seen: as yet another objective indication of a new, if yet to be fully formed, oligarchic despotism where most of us are to live as obsequiously as valets before our rapacious and one dimensional overlords, grateful to have jobs of any kind, more grateful still for their philanthropic gestures.
The Vergara decision is an act of barbaric civic, legal and spiritual violence against the working people of this deranged country. Sooner or later, when people come to fully
understand that the overlords running their lives, those who have bankrolled and orchestrated decisions such as this, could not care less if they or their children lived or if they died, it will inevitably result in barbaric physical violence.
In the immediate future, what Vergara is about is wrecking the teachers’ unions, the faster to privatize the public school system and all of public life so as to create a revenue stream that will continue the greatest transfer of wealth upwards in human history. In the long term, it’s about eviscerating union consciences altogether so that in a generation or so, solidarity among workers (or anyone for that matter) will seem as distant and romantic as the moon, a process already well under way.
It is also about the insanely rich using the trappings of democracy to hollow out democracy, to insure that “government of the people by the people and for the people” does indeed perish from this earth.


A Rally to End the Fourth Term of Michael R. Bloomberg Tomorrow at 4:30 at Tweed

June 9, 2014

bloomie

Five months have passed since Carmen Farina assumed the role of Chancellor of the NYC Department of Education following 12 years of the sadistic reign of Michael R. Bloomberg. And while, unlike her three predecessors, Farina is indeed an educator, little at Tweed, other than the tone and rhetoric, has really changed. The institutions and the policies remain eerily similar to that of Walcott and Klein.

To wit: Tweed remains bulging with lawyers charged with advising principals how best to fire tenured teachers. The loathed and exorbitantly expensive networks are still running around pretending that they are actually working and actually know what they’re doing. Sociopathic principals are still ruining the careers of new teachers without a second thought, while the cases of hundreds of unfairly U rated or discontinued teachers remain wholly unexamined. The Leadership Academy continues to churn out new “business model” principals by the sackful.

And the newly ratified UFT contract goes near none of this.

In many ways, teachers are struggling through what can rightfully be called Bloomberg’s fourth term.

The first real volley to demand an end to the Reign of Bloomberg will be a rally to take place tomorrow on the steps of Tweed from 4:30 -5:00, organized by the newly created Don’t Tread on Educators. (http://dtoe.org/)

All those who can attend should attend. Nothing will change until we make it change and we have no one to depend on but ourselves.


Rep. Charles Van Zant: Common Core Will Turn All Our Children Gay

May 21, 2014

Rep. Charles Van Zant and pal pointing out the Common Core/ Gay Agenda

Rep. Charles Van Zant and pal pointing out the Common Core/ Gay Agenda


The following article is not from The Onion.

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/05/19/3439163/state-rep-common-core-gay/

One question: Is this man insane or was he hired by proponents of the Common Core to make opponents of the Common Core look insane ?


Need a Job ? E4E is Looking For An Excellent Shill

May 19, 2014
Brought to you by Bill Gates, Whitney Tilson, DFER ,   and other super rich lovers of poor American children.

Brought to you by Bill Gates, Whitney Tilson, DFER , and other super rich lovers of poor American children.

Do you have the ability to lie through your teeth without an inkling of remorse ?

Are you immoral enough to labor to undo and undermine the hard earned rights of teachers under the guise of somehow helping them to become better at a job you know nothing about?

Are you shameless enough to parrot the absurd fantasy that E4E was “founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers “ who then just happened to receive instantaneous and total access to the highest echelons of the world of education, endlessly fawning press and, within a year or two, a multi million dollar budget and offices in several major American cities all because their message is so compelling to teachers?

Do you disrespect yourself and the English language enough to claim that E4E, bankrolled at the moment of conception, indeed, before, by monopolizing monster Bill Gates and Democrats for Education Reform founder Whitney Tilson, exists to highlight “progressive teacher voices? ”

Are you mercenary enough to manipulate the fears and naiveté of young teachers without ever revealing who and what you are really working for?

Are you willing to sell your very soul deforming language and reality to assist in the destruction of one of the most vital institutions of the remains of American democracy?

If the answer to all of these questions is affirmative, then you may well have a luminous future as Director of Communications of Educators 4 Excellence — at least until Bill and Whitney and their pals pull the plug on this elaborate con job at which point it will vanish instantly into thin air.

But for now “ Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices.” So, better strike while the money is still rolling in and the ruse is still being bankrolled.

Make sure you watch the video, “This Is Who We Are,” found at the end of the link which features cameos from a couple of ed reform superstars including the epitome of shilldom, former NYC Chancellor of Education Dennis Walcott.

It’s a hoot!

http://www.linkedin.com/jobs2/view/13675577?trk=eml-jymbii-organic-job-viewjob-link&refId=70ec9c8d-f2a0-4f55-86b1-85d656dfffca

Director of Communications
Educators 4 Excellence – Los Angeles, Illinois, Minneapolis, New York City, or Connecticut with a strong preference for NYC

Job description
For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table: the voice of classroom teachers. Founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers, Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers.
E4E envisions a high-quality, prestigious teaching profession that is responsible for driving positive student outcomes. E4E provides teachers opportunities to:
Learn about the latest education policy news and research;
Network with like-minded colleagues and policymakers through panel discussions, speaker series, and networking events; and
Take Action by advocating for teacher-created policy recommendations through E4E’s teacher leadership training programs.
In just a few years, E4E has quickly grown into a national network of over 12,000 progressive teachers, united by the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs. The work of E4E and E4E teachers has resulted in modifications to legislation on issues such as layoffs and teacher evaluation, the publication of nationally significant teacher-created policy papers, and national and local media attention highlighting progressive teacher voices.
With chapters currently operating in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Minnesota, Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices. Grounded in the experience of educators, E4E’s culture revolves around an innovative, entrepreneurial, roll-up-your-sleeves spirit backed by a shared commitment to continuous improvement.
For more information, please visit Educators4Excellence.org.
ABOUT THE POSITION:
This is an exciting opportunity for a mission-driven professional to shape and execute the communication strategy for a high- growth and ever-changing organization that places student achievement first and seeks to elevate the teaching profession.
Reporting to one of the Co-Founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers and serving as an E4E National Team member, the Director of Communications will manage the overall organizational communications strategy and design internal communications systems for Educators 4 Excellence. This includes developing an organization-wide branding, messaging, and media strategy to help E4E be seen as a leading conduit of education policy information and ideas; seeking channels so members’ voices can be heard; and training and coaching chapter staff on messaging. The Director will be the organization’s primary brand ambassador, and will build relationships with the media as part of E4E’s overall efforts to advance relationships with current and prospective members and drive broader awareness of the organization. In collaboration with other national team members and external partners, he/she will also oversee the integration and day-to-day maintenance of E4E’s communications.
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to: Public Relations and Media Relationship-Building
Manage E4E’s relationship with its public relations firm, and work in collaboration to seek and prioritize media opportunities
Enhance E4E’s image through publicity, messaging and publications
Cultivate and manage relationships with local and national media outlets to ensure steady and consistent coverage of the organization, with a priority on helping members share their voices publicly
Communications Strategy Development and Execution
In partnership with senior leaders , develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance E4E’s brand positioning, broaden awareness of its programs and priorities, and increase the organization’s visibility to current and prospective members along with key stakeholders
Create and ensure cohesion of branded print, Web, and multimedia materials for national and chapter functions
Build, implement and improve internal communications systems and processes
Manage the development and distribution of all print and electronic collateral, including E4E’s weekly membership e-mail and key internal and external communications campaigns
Team and Member Development
Train and coach chapter executive directors and other team members for local media interactions and grassroots communications
Develop and implement a training curriculum to prepare chapter staff and members for media interactions
Work with chapter teams and members to ensure that new and consistent information is posted on E4E’s website and social media platforms – especially teacher-generated content
Eventually build an internal communications team of results-oriented, entrepreneurial, creative thinkers and assume responsibility for their professional growth and development
Desired Skills and Experience
CANDIDATE REQUIREMENTS:
The ideal candidate for this position will have:
Bachelor’s degree
Minimum five years of work experience
Knowledge of and/or experience in education, education policy, community/campaign organizing, communications, and/or advocacy
Experience in planning, writing, editing, and producing high stakes collateral (e.g., newsletters, press releases, annual reports, and marketing)
Demonstrated experience and leadership in managing a complex initiative preferably in a non-profit setting
Excellent written and oral communication skills
Ability to build systems, processes and structures to achieve measurable goals
Proven success in project and vendor management, leveraging time and resources as efficiently and effectively as possible
Appetite for proactively building relationships with reporters and editors, and in successfully positioning subject matter with the media to achieve high-impact placements
Training, facilitation, and/or coaching experience
Experience working with and influencing a wide variety of stakeholders
A track record as an innovative thinker, problem-solver, and communicator, especially in regards to utilizing new media technologies
Moreover, all E4E candidates will have a/an:
Empathy for, understanding of, and respect for the teaching profession; previous classroom teaching experience required
Deep commitment to the values of E4E and passion for students, improving education, and closing the achievement gap
Understanding of education policy and the education reform movement, both locally and nationally
Demonstrated record as both a team player and a self-starter, including exceptional organization and time management skills; a demonstrated ability to design a work plan, prioritize and meet goals; grace under pressure and a good sense of humor; and an innovative spirit
Ability to work non-traditional hours, including weekday evenings and some weekends
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS:
Salary for this position is commensurate with experience. In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included.
Educators 4 Excellence is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.
About this company
Follow company
For far too long, education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table: the voice of classroom teachers. Founded in spring 2010 by two Bronx elementary school teachers, Educators 4 Excellence (E4E) is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape our classrooms and careers.
E4E envisions a high-quality, prestigious teaching profession that is responsible for driving positive student outcomes. E4E provides teachers opportunities to:
Learn about the latest education policy news and research;
Network with like-minded colleagues and policymakers through panel discussions, speaker series, and networking events; and
Take Action by advocating for teacher-created policy recommendations through E4E’s teacher leadership training programs.
In just a few years, E4E has quickly grown into a national network of over 12,000 progressive teachers, united by the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principles and Beliefs. The work of E4E and E4E teachers has resulted in modifications to legislation on issues such as layoffs and teacher evaluation, the publication of nationally significant teacher-created policy papers, and national and local media attention highlighting progressive teacher voices.
With chapters currently operating in Los Angeles, New York, Connecticut, Chicago, and Minnesota, Educators 4 Excellence is entering an expansion phase as it seeks to provide a platform for teachers across the country to elevate their voices. Grounded in the experience of educators, E4E’s culture revolves around an innovative, entrepreneurial, roll-up-your-sleeves spirit backed by a shared commitment to continuous improvement.
For more information, please visit Educators4Excellence.org.


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