Thursday, January 29, 2009

Klein's True Colors Shining Through

Over at Gotham Schools is a notable quote from Joel Klein, Chancellor of NYC Public Schools. He had the following to say in regard to the possible layoff of 15,000 school-based staff, including teachers, if Governor Paterson’s proposed state budget is passed:

We don't want to lose personnel. PARTICULARLY, we don't want to lose YOUNG TALENTED PEOPLE that we've recruited in recent years. (CAPS added for emphasis)
Apparently, EXPERIENCED TALENTED PEOPLE are of lesser use in the corporate scheme of things. Far easier to manipulate naive young recruits.

As Elizabeth Green notes at Gotham Schools, if teacher layoffs happen, the least experienced teachers would be the first to lose their jobs, according to provisions in the teacher contract.

I would not take joy in seeing anyone have to lose their job, but Klein's words are so telling that they are embarrassing. Heaven forbid that teachers with the most experience and teachers who commit for a lifetime should not be the first to go. Beyond the catastrophically narrow-minded and destructive obsession with testing, there is much to be said for longevity and commitment over PR hype and resume building.

But career teachers are a stumbling block to the continued undermining of public education. They cost too much. They know that the scourge of high-stakes testing being imposed in our schools is dumbing down future citizens. They know it is a practice which literally invites the corruption and gaming that is taking place in our big city schools under mayoral dictatorship. And let's do call it that, for that is what it is.

It's all about money, power, and control. Not children. As ever, education on the cheap for poor kids. Pump up test scores, claim victory for poor children, and an ill-informed public won't be a penny the wiser. Except the public IS getting wiser, despite mainstream media's long history of complicity in either serving as a mouthpiece for edu-biz propaganda or ignoring the war on public education altogether.

The Perimeter Primate, a parent activist who sees the Big Picture, translates Klein's agenda well in her excellent post here. I'll post a snip below but I encourage you to read her entire post.

The scheme now being steadily employed by inner-city school districts across the nation is to replace as many of their career teachers as possible with 22-year-old teaching “temps.” These energetic, young, recent college graduates have a do-gooder mentality and are willing to work in the worst inner-city school situations for very little pay. It is also beneficial to school districts that these fill-ins are green to the world of work and have zero family obligations. Those qualities, and being able to constantly take comfort in knowing they are short-timers, means that they don't tend to get agitated and complain...

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