Chancellor Joel Klein shot off a movie review on Huffington Post on September 24. He’s no Roger Ebert, but apparently he feels that under certain expedient circumstances, critics are like school CEOs: anybody can do it. There’s reportedly a Detractors Academy housed in the basement at Tweed for mudslinging upstarts.
The chancellor’s gift for twisting is irrepressibly evident in his review of “Waiting for Superman,” the film over which the anti-union warriors are drooling. “It’s a terrific film…(that) is making many people uncomfortable. The truth is harsh. It’s easier to turn away than to watch a crying mom clutch a losing lottery ticket…”
Why the salty tears? The pseudo-empathic chancellor of the public school system is aghast that a child will now be forced to endure a childhood squandered in classrooms over which he, the master of accountability, presides. He practically equates public school education with neglect, abuse and intellectual death.
His post is titled “Waiting for the Teachers Union.” Typical cyanide-laced smarminess!
There he is, aching to rescue the city’s children from the wrath of teacher union tyranny and deliver them to the Halls of Infinite Possibility but the union has these innocent and ambitious folks booby-trapped.
The chancellor views the teachers union as an entrenched, selfish, greedy and intractably cynical obstacle to education salvation. He demands the adoption, indeed the imposition of charter school culture even on district schools. He craves the dissolution of tenure, seniority and due process rights and their replacement by an essentially “divine right” concept which would provide for no mechanism of appeal and no prospect of successful challenge.
In his Huffington post, Klein condemns the “legions of micromanaging regulations” that he claims are embedded in the teacher’s contract. He wants administrators to rule by decree no less so when their decree involves ruling by their own version of micromanagement.
In some places, teachers still face charges of insubordination or incompetence based on solely on their preferred teaching style, choice of methodology or configuration of furniture.
Klein’s feels that teachers will be treated as professionals just as soon as they abrogate all the prerogatives traditionally associated with professionalism. Their status as professionals will in effect be conferred upon them by their supervisor attesting that they have been obedient. And ironically, many of the newer “breed” of school “leaders” display and even flaunt a gaping absence of bona-fides to judge others.
The Chancellor laments the strides that union advocacy has made and blames this clout on the tainting power of money and unity of its masses. Seeking to produce a “smoking gun” to show the cold-hearted collective narcissism of teacher unions to the effect that they don’t care about merit, creative ideas and every child’s rightful access to a superior education, he wrenches luridly out of context a statement from someone in the NEA.
The Chancellor of Steel notes that the educational crisis provoked by teacher unions cannot “get fixed simply by throwing money at it.” In the same breath he adulates three charitable foundations (just a technical legal term, these days) which have poured millions and millions and millions of perception-buying dollars into charter schools nationwide.
Nobody with a sense of history will embrace the chicanery that hedge fund managers are at the vanguard of the fight for social justice and that teacher unions are traitors to the country.
Teacher union-bashing “documentaries” have become all the rage. There are at least three of them comprising a new genre to be added to those of detective fiction or situation comedies. In addition to “Waiting for Superman” and “The Lottery,” there’s a soon to be unleashed “Teached.”
They are more like jaundiced newsreels censored and advantageously paraded by despotic propaganda ministries “in the name of the people” than like legitimate researched inquiries into the unbiased truth.
If satellites in cyberspace could be shocked by indignation at human ill-will into a cardiac arrest of the Internet, the screens of all the earth’s computers would turn blue at Chancellor Klein’s closing words: He says “…our job is to give voice to the voiceless and the powerless kids that are currently denied an education they need and deserve. Because let’s face it — they can’t afford union dues.”
Venality most foul.