Wednesday, May 4, 2011

arne hearts teachers

Dear Secretary Duncan:

When I read the title for your open letter to teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, I rolled my eyes. I mean, I couldn't help it; my eyes just automatically started rolling. So, Arne has penned a missive to teachers to express his appreciation? RUFKM? Seriously.

You said that teachers "deserve to be respected, valued, and supported". But aren't you the guy who applauded when every teacher at Rhode Island's Central Falls High School was fired? Remember that school? You know, it's one of those high-poverty, failing schools? 

And aren't you the guy who applauded again when the Los Angeles Times published a list ranking teacher effectiveness based on a test score?  I don't think Rigoberto Ruelas was feeling your love. He was that highly regarded teacher who the LA Times rated less effective than his peers. After that list came out, Ruelas killed himself. But that little bump in the road didn't sway you from giving New York City educrats the thumbs up when they announced their intention to publish teacher rankings. I guess, you some people are just slow learners.

You said that you appreciate the challenge and skill involved in the work teachers do and applaud those who have dedicated their lives to teaching?? 
How we recognize, honor, and show respect for our experienced educators will reaffirm teaching as a profession.
I mean, you really said that! I am NOT making this up. You also said that the days of a last-in-first-out (LIFO) policy of layoffs are over.  Wow, Arne, that certainly is an innovative way to honor those dedicated, experienced, veteran educators.

To put it in words, many of which you incessantly overuse, that you can understand: I am fundamentally tired of your laser-like focus dramatically aimed at dismantling public education during your hugely historic tenure as Secretary of Education. I am tired of you putting absolutely amazing veteran teachers on the trajectory to obsolescence. Your unprecedented attack on our nation's schools has been dramatically rigorous as you work to super-size the status quo. You demonstrate an amazing sense of 21st century urgency while pimping for the Billionaire Boys Club as they incent you to do their world-class dirty work. No Corporation Left Behind! Inequitable funding through your ill-conceived Race to the Top should be the civil rights issue of our generation, not getting rid of LIFO and due process for those teachers you so honor and respect.

BTW, a lot of people can say that they have spent much of their life working in education - custodians, cafeteria workers, secretaries, health clerks, bus drivers and playground supervisors. So when you say that you've spent much of your life working in education... well, I'm just not overly impressed. In fact, I'm not impressed at all. With your laser-like commitment to imposing your failed Chicago Public Schools policies on our nation's schools, well, I'm just feeling hugely unimpressed with your understanding of teaching, learning, and how to best serve our most needy children. I'm willing to bet that those school workers I mentioned above have a greater grasp on what is really happening in schools across the land than do you. You're just the drive-by photo op dude to me.

Next year, please don't write another love letter to teachers. We're just not that into you.


One Amazing Hugely Pissed-Off Awesome World-Class Teacher

p.s. You might want to try to out-educate yourself and do a little reflecting: Chicago Tribune says 'Renaissance 2010' has failed 

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