Posts Tagged ‘Randi Weingarten’

Duncan To Marry Common Core Standards

March 13, 2014
Secretary of Education and Civil Rights Leader Arne Duncan to Marry

Secretary of Education and Civil Rights Leader Arne Duncan to Marry

United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan stunned much of official Washington today when he announced that he plans to legally marry the Common Core State Standards “sometime in the very near future.” Mr. Duncan made his announcement at a press conference in the Rose Garden, surrounded by President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and new Under Secretary of Education, Ted Mitchell, former CEO of the NewSchools Venture Fund.

Reporters appeared to be momentarily silenced by what many considered the strangeness of the statement but quickly recovered and questioned both the timing of Duncan’s announcement and the authenticity of Duncan’s motives, as well as the legality of the act itself.
Duncan denied that the wedding was a symbolic gesture or a publicity stunt designed
to draw attention away from the volcanic parental rejection of the CCSS across
the country, especially in New York State.

“This is about love, said Duncan, his voice at times cracking with emotion and his eyes appearing to tear. “True and abiding love. And there’s no doubt in my
mind that the love I feel for the Core, the Core
feels for all the children of America, every last one of
them and especially those we want to help close the achievement gap.”

Duncan acknowledged that there are legal challenges in the unprecedented mating of man and document but, with Attorney General Eric Holder’s blessing, is determined to “ break new ground in the civil rights issue of our time.” Duncan links the proposed union to the larger struggle. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times,
education is the civil rights issue of our age. Our marriage is just another Rosa Parks’ moment on our way to helping all of our children become college and career ready.” Duncan, still legally married to Karen Luann Duncan, acknowledged that before the marriage to the Common Core could take place he had to first divorce his current wife. Holder is said to be personally involved in this process which he is prepared to expedite.

Duncan would neither deny nor confirm the rumor that Andrew Cuomo offered the use of the Governors mansion in Albany New York for the ceremony but did acknowledge that Cuomo would be a guest at the wedding.
A press release from the Department of Education revealed that the ceremony would be a gala and star-studded event with guests including Mark Zuckerberg, Wendy Kopp, Randi Weingarten, Oprah Winfrey, Mike Bloomberg, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Bill and Melinda Gates, Joel Klein, Michelle Rhee, Bono, Eli Broad, David Coleman, Rupert Murdoch, John Legend, Jeb Bush, Thomas Friedman, Kid Rock, Bill Keller, Corey Booker, Whitney Tilson, Caroline Kennedy, as well as President Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama.

The ceremony will be presided over by President Obama. David Coleman, the “architect” of the Common Core Standards, will give away the bride. Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Educators Association will serve as best man while American Federation of Teachers head Randi Weingarten has agreed to be the maid of honor.

The event will take place in an undisclosed location and will be funded in its entirety by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

—————–

Note: This post is dedicated to the pea-heads in both the DOE and the NYPD who thought it a good idea to throw my courageous friend and colleague Francesco Portelos in jail for 33 hours for writing a piece as silly as this. Good thinking fellas! These are strange and terrifying times in which we dwell and we need more than ever to look after each other.

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The Lie and Disgrace that is NBC’s Education Nation

September 22, 2013

iNBC

The yearly corporate sponsored corporate education reform propaganda extravaganza Education Nation sinks lower and lower and as it does so it showers the American people with greater and greater corporate contempt. Here is an event that is billed as a “summit” of educational leaders that, as far as I can see, includes not a single teacher in a position of prominence or authority. (Sorry Weingarten and Walcott, you don’t count.)
Here is an event beamed out across America that includes not a single dissenting voice from the “reformers “ increasingly reckless experiments on American children such as the deceitfully named Common Core State Standards.
Here is an event in which the promoters are not satisfied with merely elevating non-educator hucksters like Joel Klein, (billed as the CEO of education techno firm Amplify) or David Coleman (no longer known as “the architect “ of the Common Core but rather as President and Chief Educative Officer of the College Board ) to the level of expertise but also adds the educational wisdom of non-educator Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, and non-educator politicians like Mike Bloomberg, Jeb Bush, Arne Duncan, and Bobby Jindal.

For a final spit in the face of American parents there is the inexplicable inclusion of filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan, singer Tony Bennett, and actress/comedienne Goldie Hawn.

Well, why not? If Joel Klein can use the “summit” on education to shill for Rupert Murdoch and Jeb Bush use it as an avenue to the presidency, why shouldn’t poor Goldie Hawn use it to get herself back into the public eye?
In short, here is a lineup for an event that is so ridiculous that it is impossible to parody.
And it would be funny if the stakes were not so high.
But they are.
A “summit” on education that is not merely not based on the experience and knowledge of teachers like Susan Ohanian but actively exclude teachers such as Ohanian is beyond a farce.

A “summit” on education that pretends to discuss “active parenting” and does not include the likes of Leonie Haimson and Class Size Matters is a sin.

A “summit” on education that does not include the political insights of Lois Weiner is a disgrace. A “ summit” on education that does not include the voice and vision of CORE’s Karen Lewis is a sham.

A “summit” on any aspect of education today that systemically excludes the moral and intellectual authority of Diane Ravitch is simply a lie and it should be identified as such.

And this should be done again and again and again and in any way, shape, or form that people who are meant to be brainwashed by this egregious show of money and influence will understand. NBC and the forces that created this thing are counting on our silence. We must not be so.

The Triumph of Plutocracy: How Bill Gates Dictates American Educational Policy

August 28, 2013

Randi and Bill: Weingarten personally invited Bill Gates to be the keynote speaker at a national AFT Convention in an effort to promote “dialogue.” Bill. however, had come to co-opt the union. He did.

Gates and Randi

In a brilliant post that hopefully will be read from coast to coast, Mercedes Schneider provides evidence to what many suspected or even knew but could not prove: to wit, that the deceitfully named Common Core States Standards Initiative has been almost entirely funded by Bill Gates, including its promotion and implementation. In doing so, Schneider revels much more.

All of it is appalling and extremely disturbing in what it reveals about who is running our school system.

By exposing the role Gate’s money played in virtually every aspect of the immense project, Schneider exposes the two institutionalized lies at the heart of Common Core promotion: the first is that the Common Core is “state led ” rather than “Gates led” ( as Ms. Schneider put it) : the second is that the Common Core was created by teachers rather than education industrialists and entrepreneurs like David Coleman. (Revealingly, despite being considered ” the architect” of the project, Coleman’s name is absent from the CCSI website. )

Schneider’s post is an astounding and chilling document in so far as it shows how the cooperation of virtually every educational organization of note and influence in America has been co-opted by money from Gates’s limitless bank account. It shows, that is, a betrayal of trust of an astounding depth. How many parents across America know, for example, that the National Congress of Parents and Teachers were given a gift of $499,962 by the Gates’ Foundation? How many believe that a person like Gates “gives” anything without demanding much more in return ?
For teachers, the cruelest blows are the $5,400,000 accepted by American Federation of Teachers and the $3.9 million accepted by the National Education Association. This is beyond grotesque. Such “gifts” expose for all to see the moral rot at the leadership levels of our unions. It shows us that we have been, at best, orphaned if not out right betrayed by the very institutions that exist to protect us – that we pay to protect us. It shows us how desperately we need new leadership.

Common Core State Standards and the intrinsically connected high stakes testing and the intrinsically connected Value Added Measures are now the central nervous system of our public schools. That this is almost entirely the work of a private citizen who is rich enough and ruthless enough to impose his will on an entire nation wholly outside of the legislative apparatus in which we base our democracy should send chills down the spine of every American who believes in political freedom. Gates and his enablers — who are just as culpable — mock our democracy with the smiling acceptance of every dime and the spouting of every lie.
Such an attack on basic democratic principles is ignored or accepted at grave risk.

Nation at Risk, the Ur-document of education reform was published in 1983. It’ most often repeated line was the following: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. “
The “mediocre educational performance “ was bombast then and is bombast now and has been proven to be ideologically based.
But allow me to paraphrase the sentence in light of Schneider’s information: “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the plutocracy that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. “

It is an act of war: class war. And it should be viewed as such and reacted to as such.

Schneider’s post is potentially explosive. It is a document that should be read and studied by every teacher, every parent, every concerned citizen and every high school student in America. We have the right to know who is undermining our democratic processes and who is helping them to do so. We have the obligation to expose them and stop them before it is too late.

Thank you, Mercedes Schneider, for your noble and brilliant work.

The New York Times Publishes Yet Another Rubbish Based Editorial Praising Common Core State Standards

August 22, 2013
Sez "Common Core is Good For You !"

Sez “Common Core is Good For You !”

Not to get conspiratorial about it but exactly what is happening over at the New York Times? Has there been an outbreak of Common-Core-itis, some strange new virus that somehow destroys the reasoning power and critical thinking of brilliant people reducing them to dummies for corporate ventriloquists? Even as the paper has never had anything even remotely “left leaning” or even as “liberal “ as its conservative critics incessantly claim, even though the writing of columnists like Thomas Friedman and David Brooks would make Pollyanna herself blush, even though it is as corporate as corporate can be, the Times has usually offered at least one columnist who observed reality from outside the comfortable hermetically sealed world of corporate bubble-dum, and have, after their fashion, even challenged it.

In happier times there might even be two.

Paul Krugman and Charles Blow, in fact, are two such writers. And yet, within the span of a few days, on top of yet another wildly effusive column by Bill Keller, both Krugman and Blow, far and away the most thoughtful of NY Times columnists, have each written articles praising the Common Core State Standards based on the same stale cream-puff quality of research habitually favored by Friedman and Brooks or, far that matter, Keller.

The decline in the quality of both articles is extraordinary.
Whereas Krugman seems to simply take as gospel Bill Keller’s biased and ignorant rant, Blow partially bases his conclusion about the CCSS on information from the Broad Foundation, which is analogous to basing research on the links between smoking and lung cancer from information from Joe Camel of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Still, I want to make it clear here that I am not writing here about their opinions or even so much rather the information (or lack there of) oh what their opinions are based on but rather their impetus and motivations for writing about the subject at all.

Joe Camel sez, "Smoking is good for you!"

Joe Camel sez, “Smoking is good for you!”

(By the way, can someone somewhere please explain to me how it is possible that “graduates” of a completely unaccredited, transparently ideologically driven private organization such as the Broad Foundation’s Superintendent Academies can legally be running a public trust as vital as the public school system in city after city in America ? How is this possible? Why is this not a scandal? Like any teacher, I had to spend six years in college, earn two degrees, take a battery of tests, be fingered printed certified by the state before I could legally even step into a classroom of children unaccompanied by a certified professional.)

For more on Blow’s sources and rational see posts by Diane Ravitch and Arthur Goldstein.
Nor am I not speaking of Krugman and Blow’s political bent. Democracy is, by definition, a messy, loud, inefficient system that cannot function without equal measure of confrontation and consensus. The clash of opinions is what makes a democracy function. Informed opinions, however, are what make a democracy thrive, and it is the quality of information in all three articles appearing in this most influential publication which is particularly disturbing.

Above all I am trying to understand how, on this one particular subject – a subject, mind you, championed by the unelected, unaccountable, unconscionable plutocrats who have completely overtaken our public school system — two people as intelligent and thoughtful as Blow and Krugman could produce such propagandistic drivel?

Why?

How is this to be explained? Is this simply a coincidence? Or, is it something more aligned with FDR’s quip that there is no such things as either an accident or a coincidence in politics.
I will go further: based on what I’ve read of both men’s works in the past on virtually every other subject, I find it impossible to believe that, faced with the facts concerning the genesis, political machinations, unknowable results and billions to be made from unwitting American taxpayers on what is nothing more than a wholly untested experiment of American students and teachers, I find it extremely difficult to believe that either Krugman or Blow would be stating anything near the positions they have stated.

I do not wish to impugn the integrity of either of these men. But I, like many people whose livelihood is directly and imminently threatened by the imposition of the CCSS and the policies surrounding it, and whose child will be faced with a battery of tests like none that has ever before been seen, am deeply disturbed, by the confluence of the Common Core chorus among the elite and only the elite, with little or nor consideration whatsoever to anyone else effected by it. And I speak here not merely of the corporate elite. Consider that American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten and the National Education Association president Dennis Van Roekel are both tireless proponents of the CCSS, even as the hundreds of thousands of their due paying members are not. Indeed, out of the many perverse realities made manifest in its saga, the advent of the Common Core may have occasioned the first time in the history of American labor where plutocrats, corporate chieftains and union presidents are united in their desire to keep a labor force – in this case teachers — as utterly powerless in the creation of their working conditions as possible.

The decline in quality of both Krugman’s and Blow’s work on this particular subject makes no sense to me at all, any more than does the suicidal enthusiasm of the AFT and NEA. All of the above are but terrible signs of something in America that grows increasingly powerful in direct proportion to American citizens growing increasingly powerless.
Something is wrong here. Very wrong. Something does not add up. This is not the country I was born in, problematic as that nation was, nor is not the country I want to raise my child in. There is something the American citizenry is not being told and that something is aimed straight at the remains of our already enfeebled, anemic, perhaps terminally ill democracy.

Bill Gates Continues To Purchase Major Teacher Unions and At Discount Rates

July 3, 2013

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”.

Justice Louis D. Brandeis

Dennis Van Roekel and the NEA,  brought to you by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Dennis Van Roekel and the NEA, brought to you by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates, a private citizen of obscene wealth obtained largely through his monopolistic cunning and ruthless hoarding of intellectual property rights, has spent the greater part of the last decade insidiously and extra-legislatively dictating public school policy. Mr. Gates has no experience whatsoever in education. This, however, has not stopped him from gaining infinitely more power over my child’s education than I have and infinitely more power over your child than you have. This power, given to him by spineless politicians across the country but especially by Barack Obama, has allowed Gates to perform foolish experiment after foolish experiment on America’s children and America’s educators. These experiments include but are by no means limited to the deceptively named and privately owned Common Core States Standards and Value Added Metrics for teacher evaluations. They also include Gate’s ideas of students wearing “Galvanic bracelets” to measure something or other and video cameras in every classroom all the time as if teachers, are in fact, criminals. And there are many more including the latest intrusion of the rights of children, the data mining, InBloom. Furthermore, Gates has funded every countless phony anti union “grassroots “ group, ( my favorite the despicable union busting Educators 4 Excellence ) major media public relations campaigns agsinst the public school system like “Waiting For Superman” and NBC’s “Education Nation”. and even “public” institutions such as PBS and NPR, the last two of which have followed his scripts as if they were Gate’s valet. To top it off, Obama’s reprehensible Race To the Top, currently wreaking havoc from sea to shining sea – exactly as it was designed to do — was developed in the bowels of the Gates Foundation.

Without his 6o billion dollars, all of Gate’s fascistic ideas would be greeted with silence or a horselaugh and Mr. Gates would be considered a clown in the unlikely case he would be considered at all. With his 60 billion, Mr. Gates is the unelected, unaccountable Emperor of American Education. That is to say, public education, as Mr. Gates, like virtually all the education reformers, would never dream of subjecting his children or their teachers to the degrading, idiotic and debasing schemes he demands for our kids and their teachers.

Mr. Gates has spent the last decade simultaneously undermining and purchasing teacher unions, particularly the two largest, the National Education Association led by Dennis Roekel and American Federation of Teachers led by Randi Weingarten. Teacher unions were created to fight the very kind of imposition and degrading demands that Gates is implementing and forever proposing. Gates has made no secret of his contempt for teachers, even to the place of roaming the county suggesting their modest pensions are far too high.

Despite all this, both the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, instead of ceaselessly pointing out to their members the danger of Mr. Gates and his kind, not merely to their profession but to a semblance of democracy itself, have repeatedly pretended that they can work Gates and all will be fine. Alternatively, they say stuff like, things are changing and unions must change with them.
One hears lots of this sort of defeated without a fight rubbish.
Privately, they insist they have no choice but to work with this man.

Why ? What happens if you don’t ?

Randi and Bill: Weingarten personally invited Bill Gates to be the keynote speaker at a national AFT Convention in an effort to promote “dialogue.”   Bill wasn’t listening.

Randi and Bill: Weingarten personally invited Bill Gates to be the keynote speaker at a national AFT Convention in an effort to promote “dialogue.” Bill wasn’t listening.

It is difficult to gauge the idiocy of this thinking. It is nothing less than suicidal. It is the reasoning of minds that have no understanding of how unions came to be and what they are for. That much the more when there is the track record of reckless experimentation on students and heretofore unimaginable teacher degradation to draw from. But it is not difficult to gauge the results. Schemes developed by Gates have already eliminated due process (tenure) for countless teachers, have already subjected teachers to an evaluation plan that is riddled with error and obscenities such as the contention that poverty is not a factor in student performance on standardized tests. It should be clear to anyone who has followed the billionaire backed farce called “education reform” that Bill Gates never “gives” a thin dime without somehow extracting much, much more in return. At this point, one would have to be crazy or clueless to be dealing with man. To be doing anything, that is, other than exposing him as the narcissistic, democracy hating monster that he is.

Both the NEA and the AFT are willingly becoming adjuncts of the Gates Foundation.
(If you think I exaggerate observe the NEA website which reads like an ad for Common) Core among other Gate’s schemes http://www.nea.org/home/609.htm )
It is time for members to do all that can be legally done to remove Mr. Dennis Van Roekel and Ms. Randi Weingarten from power. Indeed, long past time.

Their actions are beyond parody and beyond disgrace and lead only one way: complete and utter disempowerment for union members. I do not know how this can be done but I know it must before the very idea of a union – that which without there can be neither dignity nor rights for workers of any kind – is completely eviscerated from this land. Such evisceration is precisely the goal of Mr. Gates and his kind and they will succeed if we do not stop them.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/teacherbeat/2012/05/gates_foundation_awards_550000.html