Arthur Goldstein: The Sooner “Reform” Dies, the Better for Career Teachers

Arthur Goldstein gives a close reading of Eliza Shapiro’s article about “why New York City is no longer the national leader of reform” in education.

When he read it, he felt heartened by the thought that “reform” was on the ropes, withering on the vine, falling apart, use whatever metaphor you want. Going, going, gone.

And yet he knows how demoralized the teachers in his building are.

He shows the error of Shapiro’s framing of the teacher tenure issue. “Reform” apparently means the utter elimination of any job rights for teachers. “Reformers” want to be able to fire any teacher at any time, without cause, just because they want to. Reformers agree that teachers should have no rights at all, and they wonder why there is a growing teacher shortage.

He writes:

Reforminess is something Trump is strong on, because he doesn’t believe in protecting the rights of working people. With him, it’s all about profit, hence Betsy DeVos, who’s pretty much decimated public education in Michigan. They can wrap themselves in the flag all they want, and claim to care about the children. Those of us who wake up every morning to serve those children know better.

And then there is Andrew Cuomo, who first ran on a platform of going after unions, who appeared at Moskowitz rallies and frothed at the mouth over the possibility of firing as many teachers as possible. Cuomo could not possibly anticipate that parents would become informed and fight back against the nonsense that is Common Core. He could not anticipate that parents would boycott his tests in droves.

What reformies failed to count on was the opportunism of Andrew Cuomo. As a man with no moral center whatsoever, he is driven by rampant ambition. This year, he watched Donald Trump win the presidency against neoliberal Hillary Clinton. Cuomo decided to position himself as Bernie Sanders Lite and pushed a program to give free college tuition to New Yorkers (albeit with a whole lot of restrictions).

Cuomo is now best buds with UFT, judging from what I hear at Delegate Assemblies. While I don’t personally trust the man as far as I can throw him, I’m happy if that works to help working teachers and other working people. So what is education “reform,” exactly?

As far as I can tell, it’s piling on, How miserable can we make working teachers? How can we arbitrarily and capriciously fire them? How can we give them as few options as possible, and as little voice as possible?

It’s ironic. The MORE [MORE is a progressive caucus within the UFT] motto is, “Our teaching conditions are students’ learning conditions.” I agree with that. Take it a step further, and our teaching conditions are our students’ future working conditions. When we fight for improvement of our working conditions, we are fighting for the future of our students as well.

Two of my former students teach in my school. They are the first of their families to be college educated, and the first of their families to get middle class jobs. I will fight for them, and for my other students to have even more opportunity. Betsy DeVos and the reformies, on the other hand, can fight to maximize profits for fraudulent cyber-charter owners and all the other opportunist sleazebags they represent so well.

from novemoore http://ift.tt/2ftCHjv

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