Posts Tagged ‘DFER’

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

Advertisements

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.

Vergara v. California Part One: Thoughts on Hannah Arendt, a New Totalitarianism and Completing The Circle of Domination

April 21, 2014
The Vergara Nine surrounded by handlers.

The Vergara Nine surrounded by handlers.

It is a peculiar, dark and unhinged world in which we dwell and it seems to grow more so all the time. Consider the extraordinary case of Vergara v. California, now winding down and awaiting a judgment. Here we have nine students, bankrolled by Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur David Welch, co-founder of Infinera, and founder of the advocate group StudentsMatter, suing the state of California. The suit claims that teacher tenure laws have denied them their civil rights.

Yes, for those who have not been following the case, you read that correctly.

The claim is that tenure laws — which merely insure that a teacher who has already passed through a probationary period of at least three years has the right to a hearing or due process before he or she is fired — are denying the nine students, a multicultural lot who range from high school seniors to fifth graders, nothing less than their civil rights.

The nine have been represented by the law firm of Dunn, Gibson & Crutcher which includes superstar attorneys Theodore Boutrous and Theodore B. Olson, the latter of whom won the case representing George W. Bush at the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore — not typically the kind of folk you would expect to be interested in civil rights. Given the specious argument of the case and considering who has orchestrated and funded it, teachers naturally believe the real purpose of the suit is to undermine the teachers’ union in California which would surely have a ripple effect across the country. At the start of the trial, Marcellus McCrae, a partner in the firm representing the plaintiffs, denied such a motive and stated that destroying the teachers’ unions is not the suit’s goal.
“Let’s be very clear,” McCrae declared at the beginning of the trial, “ We are not seeking to take away teachers’ rights – only five overly expensive and time-consuming statutes in the education code that prevent the removal of grossly ineffective teachers.”

Somehow the idea of grossly incompetent administrators allowing the continuance of grossly ineffective teachers does not enter into the picture. One of those “five overly expensive and time-consuming statutes” is due process, the removal of which would make the profession of teaching as secure and as dignified as that of a 17-year-old employee of McDonalds.

The students’ suit – if you are hallucinating that students actually initiated this action — demands that the court declare each of these statutory protections unconstitutional. Studentsmatter seems to exist for the sole purpose of something called “impact litigation.” “Impact litigation” seems to mean “union busting.”

v2

It is a sign of our increasing historical amnesia, outright ignorance or savage disrespect for our language and our history that a figure like David Welch, like so many education privatizers can usurp the language and banner of civil rights and somehow use kids to position himself as an heir to figures like Martin Luther King, and pass off the privatization campaign as a continuation of that heroic and dangerous and spiritually charged battle. That said, Welch and his fellow privatizers are nothing if not media savvy (or can hire people who are ) and know exactly what they are doing and what buttons to push. (The Students Matter website features a Springsteen-esque soundtrack – think “Philadelphia” — to help along that emotional connection with the underdog school kids.)

David Welch He Shall Overcome

David Welch
He Shall Overcome

It is no accident that nine students were selected and coached in this case. The Vergara Nine seems deliberately calculated to echo the trial of the Little Rock Nine, the group of African American students who were denied entry into a racially segregated school by Arkansas governor Orval Faubas which led to the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. The idea of the nine is to create an emotional connection drawn from an historical instance of grotesque institutional racism and somehow transfer it into a rationale to strip teachers of their rights and bust teacher unions without you even being aware of it.

After all, who but a moral monster is against civil rights?

Three of the Little Rock   Nine surrounded by  soldiers.

Three of the Little Rock Nine surrounded by soldiers.

But my understanding of Vergara v. California brings to mind not King’s “Letter From A Birmingham Jail,” but rather, The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt, one of the 20th century’s most prescient and intrepid writers. Even if the Nazism and Communism that Arendt analyzed have been replaced by gentler if more insidious and pernicious purveyors of absolute control – namely corporations and plutocrats — The Origins of Totalitarianism remains the prescriptive classic of that dark genre and there is still much to be learned from it today.

“Total domination,” writes Arendt” which strives to organize the infinite plurality and differenenciation of human beings as if all of humanity were just one individual, is possible only if each and every person can be reduced to a never changing identity of reactions, so that each of these bundles of reaction can be exchanged at random for another.”

And: “It is the very nature of totalitarian regimes to demand unlimited power. Such power can only be secured if literally all men, without a single exception are reliably dominated in every aspect of their life.”

Privatizers demand unlimited power. Privatizers speak constantly of choice and freedom while constantly attempting to reduce the freedom of teachers by stripping them of their union won protections and reduce them to at will employees. Privatizers, some of whom like Bill Gates are virtual monopolists, moan of the monopoly of “government schools” while attempting to impose a single all encompassing privately owned monstrosity called the Common Core on every school in America. Privatizers spend millions on propaganda films like Waiting For Superman and The Lottery and hire public relations firms to pass themselves off as legitimate organizations and erect billboards in Times Square filled with lies meant to do nothing less than dominate the minds of all who see them and turn them against all aspects of the school system that has educated the overwhelming percentage of Americans for almost 200 years.

The labor of the completely fraudulent "Center For Union Facts."

The labor of the completely fraudulent “Center For Union Facts.”

Arendt describes how such domination is formed by gaining power over individuals
( and then nations) by systemically undermining their individuality and hence their loyalties by a process of systemically deranging their identities and thus manufacturing an emotional connection to a leader or a cause. Broken down to it’s essentials it works like this: our identities are made up of components. Most of us are members of families, communities, political parties, ethic groups, churches, synagogues, mosques and more. Figure out how to target and undermine these components and you have created a void that is to be filled with what the totalitarian wants to fill it with . An attack on one’s identity is always and ever an attack on one’s sense of reality. One is atomized. All that was familiar is made to seem distant,strange, perhaps even sinister. I.e. That school you entrusted your child to – is it really invested in educating your kid ? Are those teachers really “world class?” Is it really your kid’s fault that he failed that class ? It goes without saying that the less educated, more impoverished and psychologically fragile one is, the more vulnerable one is to such attacks which is precisely why all privatizing fronts target the poor.

The endgame is that the atomized person is left with an emotional connection with “the leader ” or the cause, which in the end is, in fact, interchangeable. If done successfully, the emotional connection can find one blissfully helping in the destruction of a public system where at least one has a modicum of rights and a chain of accountability so as to build a publicly funded private enterprise where one has no more rights than a medieval peasant before a king or queen. I have seen this disturbing dance performed by parents in Harlem before the figure of Ms. Moskowitz.

Cults operate under very similar methods.

That’s how the totalitarian methodology worked with individuals under earlier and cruder systems meant for total domination. Something analogous, if far more subtle and sexy, has been going on for years within the campaign to privatize the US public school system: the creation of an extraordinary, indeed unprecedented number of phony grassroots non-profit fronts aimed at undermining all components of a school community in the same manner you would undermine all components of an individual. Such fronts produce the operatives and foot soldiers of the privatization campaign. How would such a method work in undermining a school system ? What is the “identity” of a school ?

What are the components?
First there is the community at large.
Then there are parents.
Then there are teachers.
Finally there are the students whose participation is such groups, until Students Matter, seemed to be considered outside the pale. No more.

Now consider the targets of just a handful of the tax deductible front groups created by and maintained by billionaires over the past ten years, each one created to undermine traditional beliefs and implode the system at large by dividing and conquering every single one of the above constituencies and turning them against each other – and, if possible, at each others’ throats.

Like so much of the campaign to privatize public education, this is a wholly unprecedented phenomenon in the American experience.
Consider the effect of charter schools and charter fronts on communities across the country. Have not the creation of publicly funded charter schools to some degree or another, rent asunder the communities they ostensibly serve ? Have not billionaire created groups like Families For Excellent Schools help sow discord and enmity between parents living on the same streets in the same neighborhoods who without such slick guidance might well be fighting in a common cause for good schools for all of their children ? Were such groups not designed to do exactly that ? Has not the entire idea of a community as geographically defined been ripped apart by the machinations of the charter lobby and their fronts? Have the creation of charter schools not turned one part of a community against another in an insane war for scarce resources and even scarcer public space? At PS 149 where I work in Harlem (where Harlem Success Academy first “co-located” and with Cuomo’s recent legislation may be “co-locating” that much the more ) I have seen this disturbing aspect realized on a daily basis.

Note: In response to newly elected Mayor Bill De Blasio’s extremely even handed charter school policy which were created to insure that New York’s most vulnerable students were not thrown out of their school to make way for charter empires, Families for Excellent Schools spent more than five million dollars on extremely sophisticated, heart tugging TV ads designed to paint charter school students as victims and Bill de Blasio as a heartless, racist monster. Days after Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State legislature rewarded the charter lobby with laws that essentially stripped fellow Democrat De Blasio of power over part of his own school system and gave charter school operators complete dominion over the New York City public school system, Families for Excellent Schools sent out a slickly produced oversized glossy postcard to millions of New Yorkers urging them to call Cuomo and personally thank him for “championing public education.” This from a group that howled at the notion of paying rent.

For the parental constituency the privatization campaign has produced, among others, the risible front group called Parent Revolution, foot soldiers for the absurd Parent Trigger Law which states that if 51 % of a school’s parent body vote for it, they have the right to fire the staff and reopen the institution as a charter school and only as a charter school which will remain a charter school indefinitely. How this kind of idiocy is possible with people’s professions and public property is beyond my comprehension, but what any student of the privatization campaign learns in short time is that when you are backed by limitless wealth, all things, no matter how unethical or insane are possible and likely heading to a town like yours.

Parent Revolutionaries and handler.

Parent Revolutionaries and handler.

The Parent Trigger was celebrated in the execrable propaganda film, Don’t Back Down, which despite bombing at the box office was shown at both the Republican and Democratic national conventions and then featured at Chamber of Commerce events across the nation. The idea behind the group, the law and the film is to convince parents that the unionized teachers of the public school system have been failing their kids forever: conversely, that the publicly funded charter school entrepreneurs are their real friends.

The idea is to poison the well of public trust and turn parent against parent.

For teachers you have Educators 4 Excellence, allegedly formed spontaneously by two teachers in their early twenties under a bare light bulb in the South Bronx (or some such smaltz) who felt that they needed and richly deserved a direct line to power that was not through the teacher’s union and actually competed with it. Due entirely to massive contributions by hedge fund based Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and the ubiquitous Gates Foundation, the two non entities were able to do just that. Almost instantly. And more: E4E were given endless and glowing media coverage in major media by “journalists” who showed no curiosity whatsoever as to how a couple of unremarkable new teachers — whose new ideas aligned perfectly with those of the privatizers — were able to raise hundreds of thousands and then millions of dollars, quit their excellent teaching jobs to devote themselves to educating educators on how to be excellent, and obtain an excellent office on excellent 5th Ave in less than three excellent years.

Their job, of course, is to poison the relationship between teacher and teacher, and teacher and union. To be sure, the Gates Foundation has long ago prepared for an E4E dues check off campaign set to cripple teachers unions and is merely awaiting the most propitious moment in which to launch it.

For the past decade, which is to say the period in which the privatizers’ campaign and their concomitant fronts began in earnest, children were apparently considered off limits. Or, perhaps, the privatizers were merely biding their time — one of the many benefits of being a billionaire or having billionaire backers.
At any rate, with Vergara v. Califorina the privitizers have at long last taken the step of setting students against teachers. And with that the circle of domination is complete. This strikes me as an enormous and egregious step and I suspect it is only the first of many from that direction. Whatever the result of the trial, so ruthless and self righteous are the privatizers, it would not surprise me at all to see the emergence of front groups comprised exclusively of kids like the Vergara Nine who, by nature of being kids, will have no idea of how they are being used and by whom but will be convinced they know better than anyone who disagrees with them.

And why not? As with Eva Moskowitz’s bussing of hundreds of nine and ten and eleven year old students to Albany to “lobby” for her charter school empire, we as a people have degenerated to the place where kids can be transparently used as political pawns and almost no one bats an eye. All that seems to matter in the America of today is that you get your way, as we all and all in our own way race to the top of nowhere.

And don’t think for a moment that our children aren’t absorbing this lesson.

Meet the new face of totalitarianism. They come at you wearing not jackboots and insignias but Nikes and a smile, offering you a frappuccino and maybe a job in their brand new non-profit organization created out of nothing but an undying love of children, your children especially.

.

“Grass Roots” Educators4Excellence Make $250,000 Commercial

February 19, 2013

You know there is something seriously wrong with any teacher evaluation plan that is pined for by the likes of the minuscule and despicable Educators 4 Excellence, a whole cloth creation of Bill Gates, Democrats for Education Reform and other union busting privatizers lusting to get their hands on our public school system and remake it in their own image.      You know there is something even more wrong with the thinking of the United Federation of Teachers who, with very minor differences, were willing to sign on to the same plan before Mayor Mike Bloomberg “torpedoed “ it at the 11th hour over the UFT’s insistence that this radical experiment in union suicide and  systematic destruction of teachers have a two year sunset clause. ( Like all ideas favored by Bloomberg, Bloomberg believed the experiment should  go on in perpetuity: a goal he is apparently seeking for all of the  insane ideas that blossom in his fertile head  in his final 10 months of power. )

Now here we are some six or so weeks later and Governor Andrew “I am the government”   “ Cuomo is poised, somehow, to pass legislation allowing  New York State Commissioner John King the right to  impose his own evaluation plan, union  contacts, and laws be damned, if the existing plan is  not ratified.

This is what passes for binding arbitration in our time.

Inexplicably, my union, the UFT,  seems to be quietly fine with that arrangement.  Much more loudly, E4E is demanding precisely that, and the New York Post, which can be seen as the house organ of E4E, is as ever happy to spread their word.  (Note: As Commissioner King taught for a mere three years before being handed power over education in New York State,  he may well feel an affinity for the leaders of E4E and they for him. )

A couple of  months ago, E4E held something purporting to be a rally at City Hall Park in favor of the wretched plan.   The affair was darkly amusing in its pathos, what with the E4Eer’s chanting idiocies in their billionaire bought green beanies and going on and on about how excellent they were.  “I am not satisfactory!  I am excellent” was a cringe inducing fave.

One after the other they barked on about how they craved feedback from their administrators, all but admitting to being as helpless as infants in their classrooms without an assistant principal telling them what to do and how to do it.

And  yet these were the very same adults who  were demanding the right to influence state educational policy and radically rewrite or outright remove the teacher protections that their predecessors  risked their careers to obtain for them.

A wee bit of a contradiction there, I’d say.  But what the hey!

There were ignorant if almost passionate lamentations  about using the 250 million dollars of Race to the Top extortion money to buy laptops for their students,  as if one dime of the tainted loot was ever going near a   class room and not going straight to consultants and test makers. I attended the rally (and wrote of it in an earlier post) and spoke to some of the beanie wearing crew, all of whom were clueless, some of whom were very pleasantly so.   This morning I  was mailed the on line version of E4E latest effort and — lo and be hold! — there are the same few faces in the video as at their tiny rally spouting the same lines, albeit  it, in  somewhat gentler and infinitely  more somber, even funereal tones.    Alas, what else can you do when your budget is in the millions but your membership is in the hundreds but trot out and re cycle the same people over and over. Indeed, one of them is the very lady who was handed a platform by the NY Daily News on January 3.

The Post does again what it has done since the creation of  E4E , even repeating the nonsense about E4E  forming spontaneously, like Athena out of Zeus’s head, from a couple of frustrated Bronx teachers — neither of whom of is still teaching, but rather living large on their corporate sponsor’s welfare  — in a in a lonely February kitchen under a dim bulb with a sad minor scale violin solo playing in the distance.

( OK, I made up the part about the dim light bulb and the violin but  they made up the bullshit about the kitchen.  You can rest assured, like so much of corporate education reform schemes,  the idea for  this repugnant organization was  vomited  up ages ago in a well lit boardroom. )

A mere two or three years later and here’s E4E with a snazzy midtown office, a branch in LA and   no less than a quarter of a million dollars to spend on a commercial!

My favorite line from the Post’s puff piece?  “The nonprofit E4E has drawn criticism for relying in part on funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Carnegie foundations.”

“In part.”   That’s a good one.

My bet is that there has not been a single dollar raised by teachers for this egregious organization.

And yet here again is E4E, possessors of zero credibility, with less than 1 % of NYC teacher as members again presented as if it is a legitimate organization and an “independent” voice of real educators.

I know of no other group that so completely embodies the fraudulence and deceit of corporate education reform and the willing complicity  of the media to aid in such fraud and deceit as E4E.  Think about it.  A quarter of a million dollars for an ad for a group that was “hatched in a kitchen” three years ago.  There is a story here.  It is the story of media complicity with insidious corporate reformers.  And how that story  goes on and on and on.

And there is another story here, one even darker in its way that the fraudulence of E4E.

And that story is this:  how did it happen that a group like E4E, that was created by billionaire  privatizers  for the sole purpose of   stripping  teachers of their rights,  and an organization like the UFT, that was created by teachers to  grant them rights and protect their rights wind up agreeing to essentially the same teacher evaluation plan ?

 

My question:  on what level of Dante’s hell are we trapped in and how the hell do we get out dignified and alive?

We have reached the hour when everything must change or we will enter decades of data based, billionaire orchestrated, illuminated darkness.

Independent teachers group demands Albany eval plan

  • By ERIK KRISS, Bureau Chief
  • Last Updated: 3:07 AM, February 19, 2013
  • Posted: 1:55 AM, February 19, 2013

ALBANY — A group of reform-minded city teachers is taking to the airwaves today to demand the state impose a teacher-evaluation system on the Big Apple soon, The Post has learned.

Educators 4 Excellence plans to flood network and cable TV stations in the city with a 30-second ad calling on Albany to impose an evaluation system as soon as possible in the face of an impasse between Mayor Bloomberg and the United Federation of Teachers.

Gov. Cuomo will introduce legislation this week for a state-imposed system — but the measure could give the city and UFT until Sept. 17 to agree on their own plan before it takes effect.

But that could push implementation of any teacher-evaluation plan into the 2014-15 school year, E4E says.

“It will be incredibly difficult to train teachers and principals on a teacher-evaluation system that isn’t finished until the beginning of the [next] school year,” E4E executive director Jonathan Schleifer told The Post yesterday.

“We need a system put in place soon,” he said, adding that there is “no local deal in sight.”

The ad buy is expected to exceed $250,000 and may run longer than a week, organizers said.

It’s aimed at Cuomo, who faces his own deadline this week to amend his state budget proposal by adding his mandatory teacher-evaluation plan.

State lawmakers are expected to approve the budget for the state fiscal year that begins April 1 by the end of March.

E4E says it wants evaluations to provide feedback to teachers based on multiple observations, “student growth data” and student surveys, among other factors.

With school out for winter break, E4E members also plan to fan out across the city today to collect petition signatures calling for a state evaluation system to take effect as soon as possible.

“A meaningful evaluation system will tell me what’s working — and help me be better for my students,” Queens seventh-grade mathematics teacher Jemal Graham says in the ad.

“With feedback and support, I will be a stronger teacher for my students,” adds Rafael Gondim, a math teacher in Queens.

The city already lost $250 million in state aid by missing a Jan. 17 deadline for an evaluation plan that must be agreed to by the UFT.

It stands to forfeit another $224 million if the sides miss the September deadline.

“We can’t afford any more empty promises and empty programs,” Gondim says, with Bronx special-education teacher Susan Keyock adding, “Our students deserve better.”

The nonprofit E4E has drawn criticism for relying in part on funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates and Carnegie foundations.

A UFT spokesman questioned how “a supposedly grass-roots teacher organization with limited membership and resources can afford an ad campaign — unless of course the campaign is being funded by outside sources,” adding that the union hopes the state facilitates “binding arbitration” in the absence of a negotiated settlement.

Cuomo’s office had no comment and a spokesman for Bloomberg did not return a request for comment.

E4E was hatched about three years ago by several Bronx teachers frustrated over the lack of teacher input on school reforms. It has also advocated for merit pay and stronger tenure requirements, and opened a Los Angeles chapter in late 2011.

The teacher-quality and school-choice advocacy group StudentsFirstNY ponied up over half a million dollars in December for a citywide TV and social-media ad campaign to pressure the city and UFT to reach an agreement before the January deadline.

ekriss@nypost.com

Trouble viewing this email? You can View this Message Online

Educators 4 Excellence: An Independent Voice for Teachers

Dear Karl,Good morning.I wanted you to be the first to know. As millions of New Yorkers watch TV today they are going to see myself and two other E4E-NY teachers calling on Albany to act immediately and deliver a meaningful evaluation and support system for New York City’s teachers.You’ll probably see it during your favorite news and shows this week, but you can also watch the 30-second video here: http://bit.ly/NYbetter

This message couldn’t come at a better time – yesterday the NY Post reported that the Governor would give the City and Union until September 17th to try to get a deal. Unfortunately, though we hoped they could work something out before, we’ve seen they haven’t been able to – even when a quarter of a billion dollars for our students was at stake. I remain optimistic, but we need Albany’s leadership to guarantee that we will get the feedback and support we need to help our students.

E4E teachers have been asking for meaningful evaluation and support for two years now and we can’t afford to wait until the start of another new school year. In order for an evaluation system to have a meaningful impact, we need time to implement it thoughtfully by training principals, setting up a feedback loop with teachers, and lining up high-quality professional development to support teachers. No more kicking the can down the road!

The video will be seen by millions of New Yorkers, but our voice is strongest when you join Susan, Rafael, and me. Here are two quick things you can do right now to help share this message:

•    Forward this email to your friends and colleagues.
•    Share the video on Facebook and Twitter

Best,

Jemal Graham
Seventh grade math teacher, Queens
E4E-NY School Captain

 


Connect with E4E 

Subscribe | Contact Us |  Privacy Policy

© 2012 Educators 4 Excellence

333 West 39th Street, Suite 703, New York, NY 10018About E4E: For far too long,education policy has been created without a critical voice at the table – the voice of reform-minded classroom teachers. Educators 4 Excellence (E4E), a teacher-led organization, is changing this dynamic by placing the voices of teachers at the forefront of the conversations that shape their classrooms and careers. To learn more, visitEducators4Excellence.org.

Right now, educators are working through E4E to drive positive outcomes for students and elevate the teaching profession. Help grow this movement. Please donate today.

Educators 4 Excellence and the Strings They Pull

January 3, 2013

Once again the farce that calls itself Educators for Excellence, a minuscule organization existing solely to implement the will of its hubristic and anti-democratic billionaire backers, most prominently Bill Gates and the hedge fund gang that calls itself Democrats for Education Reform, have managed to land yet another editorial in a major New York paper, this time the New York Daily News.

There is, of course, no sane reason that as microscopic an organization as is E4E would be treated with such respect and prominence other than the fact that the same people who have ponied up over two million dollars for the two year old propaganda group paid other people to make   some serious phone calls to the honchos at the DN and the heroes of the “Liberal Media” found it advantageous to do their bidding. Hence, another editorial for E4E.

It is more than ironic that these people have the gall to speak of merit.

The editorial, like Educators 4 Excellence itself, is pathetic.   And, like all the times I have actually encountered this deceptive little group, I was almost initially disarmed by pathos.  The last time was a few weeks back at a tiny and tinny E4E rally for the same cause in which head shill Evan Stone, with characteristic humility, bellowed idiotically into a microphone to his 30 or so followers, “ I am not satisfactory!  I am excellent!” with all the energy and passion of a depressed salamander.

For a moment I could not help but pity the poor fool who was trying so hard to please his ultra-wealthy employers who have removed him from the hard work of teaching so as to allow him to play dummy to their ventriloquist.     What else can one feel but pathos?

For a moment, anyway.

In the editorial, pathetically tilted  “Please help me to be a better teacher ” you have the same message, slightly augmented.   You might call this an Educators 4 Excellence version of   Paradise Lost desiring deeply to enter Paradise Regained.

Here you have the song of a teacher who claims that she relocated from the middle of the country “after working as a public school teacher for five years in Colorado” and  “moved to New York City because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of innovation in all things,” assuming, of course, in education.

Here “cutting edge” needs be understood as the educational version of a century old scientific management, also called Taylorism: “a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management. Its development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries.”

Taylorism was beloved by Henry Ford and any number of industrialists.

“Value added metrics” or VAM is a great grand child of Taylorism and as such is a half-baked completely unreliable and fraudulent method of evaluation that links students test scores to their teachers. It can torpedo teaching careers with no justification whatsoever.     Only a person utterly without an ethical center would inflict this crazy system on any teachers.  E4E, like their corporate overlords, are gaga over VAM.  At   least those who know of VAM’s existence, which, at least in terms of their rally, were very, very few.

Alas, hoping to encounter Paradise in “cutting edge” New York, the angst-ridden   author encounters only Paradise Lost and found herself longing for the system she had fled in which Denver  “successfully implemented a teacher evaluation and compensation system known as ProComp when I was working there. Under ProComp, teachers are evaluated by multiple measures, including student growth data, the amount of professional development they participate in and thoughtful, meaningful classroom observations.”

Ah, for the happy days of ProComp!  Alas, one wonders why she fled such an educational Eden in the first place.

Her next lines read as if they were penned by a committee.

“The city and the teachers union have until Jan. 17 to negotiate such a system or risk losing $300 million in state education aid. And if they don’t, we’ll lose a lot more than money, missing an important opportunity to create a world-class teaching force that can provide a great education to every child in the city no matter where they live or which classroom they end up in each year.”

The writer either does not know or  does not care that not a thin dime of the $300 million is  destined for the classroom.  The writer either does not know or does not care that the evaluation system is based partly on the presumption of good faith on the part of administrators – a good faith precious few NYC teachers have seen evidence of since the advent of the Eternal Mayor and his eternal war upon them — and partly on demonstrably bad science called Value Added Metrics.  In short, to implement such an evaluation system as it stands would be to treat the career of New York City teachers as if with a roll of the dice, a scenario that would not seem to faze Mr. Bloomberg in the least.  Or E4E.  Or Bill Gates. Or Democrats for Education Reform.  Or Andy Cuomo.  Or Barack Obama.

Sorry, we need to take your license.  You can never work as a teacher again.  But it’s for the kids, you understand.

Another part of her letter, considering that it entirely concerned with the appalling shortcomings of appalling administrators,  is nothing short of an unintended exposure and indictment of the Bloomberg administration.

“My experience in New York has been quite different. In my first job here, working with students who were considered some have the most disabled in the city, I received tenure without so much as ever having the principal observe me teach. The feedback I received was limited to a checklist that included things like the quality of my bulletin boards.

Never did I get useful feedback on my classroom management; never did I get quality advice on how to better differentiate my instruction to reach more students, and never did I receive insights from coaches or mentors on what had or hadn’t worked for them.”

The author seems to be clueless as to who is responsible for the above but assumes, somehow, the new evaluation plan will transform these incompetents into stellar performers – to use a word cherished by Ed reformers.

Finally there is yet another pathetic attempt to frame the argument in hipster language.

“There is simply no reason New York cannot do the same for its teachers. There is simply no reason that a city that has been at the leading edge on so many other things can’t lead on this.”

But all of this nonsense begs the question of why does this infinitesimal organization which represents less than 1% of teachers and would vanish back in to the hell from which it came the moment its sugar daddies ceased bankrolling it, repeatedly land editorials in widely circulated newspapers, seats on educational forums and interviews with Fox News and the Wall Street Journal ?

Of course, in a nation in which the 1% are waging eternal war against all those who are not them, it is apposite that it is so.  It is also reprehensible.

I said earlier that my dealing with E4E have sometimes led me to be almost disarmed by their pathos.  For a time,  for a time.

But then I think about what they doing, their level of their conscious deceit and cynicism masquerading as innocence and honesty. I think about the cold blooded hubris it takes to try and undermine the last standing union of size in the nation because it will land you a soft cozy job on billionaire welfare.  But mostly I think about the almost animal like lack of empathy embedded in the reckless, unproven, untested policies they promote and the ruthless, predator nature for those they work for.  I think about all the fine teachers I know who have been thoroughly demoralized by the likes of the polices E4E and its masters so insidiously work to implement. I think of dear friends and fine beloved teachers with families whose careers have been destroyed by the same a-human impulse that drives all of this corporate reformer psychosis.

And then I feel something very different than pathos.

I moved here from Denver, where evaluations are more rigorous

Comments (12)

BY / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 2, 2013, 2:55 AM
Mayor Bloomberg (l.) and UFT head Michael Mulgrew (r.) have frequently clashed over education reform.

ADAMS IV

Mayor Bloomberg (l.) and UFT head Michael Mulgrew (r.) have frequently clashed over education reform.

After working as a public school teacher for five years in Colorado, I moved to New York City because of its reputation for being on the cutting edge of innovation in all things. Little did I know that when it came to teacher preparation and support, I’d be taking a big step backward.

Today, five years after my move, our schools still haven’t caught up to forward-looking states like Colorado — and parents and students are left to wonder why there is often such a disparity in teacher quality from classroom to classroom.

A robust teacher evaluation system would begin to help change that by providing educators with meaningful, data-driven feedback about their performance — hopefully leading to training and mentoring opportunities to help us improve in the areas where we struggle.

The city and the teachers union have until Jan. 17 to negotiate such a system or risk losing $300 million in state education aid. And if they don’t, we’ll lose a lot more than money, missing an important opportunity to create a world-class teaching force that can provide a great education to every child in the city no matter where they live or which classroom they end up in each year.

Better evaluation is hardly a novel concept. In Denver, which is a fraction of the size of New York, we successfully implemented a teacher evaluation and compensation system known as ProComp when I was working there. Under ProComp, teachers are evaluated by multiple measures, including student growth data, the amount of professional development they participate in and thoughtful, meaningful classroom observations.

In turn, highly effective teachers in Denver can receive financial bonuses and leadership opportunities — things that signal to educators that performance matters. Studies have shown a positive impact on student achievement, and Denver is now evolving the system to meet new needs and challenges.

My experience in New York has been quite different. In my first job here, working with students who were considered some of the most disabled in the city, I received tenure without so much as ever having the principal observe me teach. The feedback I received was limited to a checklist that included things like the quality of my bulletin boards.

Never did I get useful feedback on my classroom management; never did I get quality advice on how to better differentiate my instruction to reach more students, and never did I receive insights from coaches or mentors on what had or hadn’t worked for them.

I’m currently working at a school where my principal recognizes the value of observing her teachers and working with them to improve their practice. I’ve been fortunate to receive her feedback promptly — and I incorporate her assessments into my planning to enhance the education I am providing. It makes coming to work that much more rewarding, but receiving that support shouldn’t depend on the principal. Rather, it should be offered to every teacher in every school.

Across the country — from Los Angeles to Newark to Washington — many districts have successfully negotiated new evaluation measures.

There is simply no reason New York cannot do the same for its teachers. There is simply no reason that a city that has been at the leading edge on so many other things can’t lead on this.

City officials and the city’s teachers union, the United Federation of Teachers, need to get beyond their eternal grudge match and start thinking about how they can help teachers enhance their profession — which, in turn, can only increase student performance. They can start by providing us with a stronger means to evaluate our work.

Keyock is a special-education teacher at Metropolitan High School in the Bronx and a member of Educators 4 Excellence.

POST A COMMENT »

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/better-teacher-article-1.1230605#ixzz2GtqchgA7