Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nicholas Kristof Scapegoats Reassigned Teachers As The Cause Of Our School System's Failure - Another Ignorant Journalist Who Believes Klein's Lies

Previously, I posted how these non-educators who are clueless of the New York City schools have these idiotic ideas how to fix them. Now we have a once respected journalist, Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times who makes a fool of himself as he writes an article that shows his ignorance of the New York City school system and his acceptance of the phony claims of Bloomberg and Klein that the schools are improving and would improve more so if they could only terminate tenured teachers more quickly. What is his solution? Glad you asked. More Charter Schools, no union rules, no teacher tenure. Interestingly, he failed to point out what educators believe are the issues that affects student academics the most. Like small class sizes, adequate school supplies, collaboration between administrators and staff, stringent student discipline codes, modern classrooms with smartboard technology, and most of all, experienced teachers. However, when you are ignorant of the education process, it is easy to blame scapegoats such as the teachers sent to the "rubber room". Mr. Kristof simply follows the script of history when unpleasant facts are presented to you, deflect it by finding a scapegoat to blame it on.

A little history lesson is needed here. When the Black Plague decimated Europe in the 1300s, the leaders simply blamed the "Jews" for bringing the plague onto the people. It didn't matter that Jews were dying too. Just don't let the facts interfere with a good story. When the Joseph Goebbels Nazi propaganda machine would report the same lies over and over again, it soon was accepted as the truth, even by people who should have known better. Now we have Nicolas Kristof believing the Bloomberg and Klein lies of great student achievement when even the media mouthpieces of the New York Post and New York Daily News have now questioned the alleged academic improvements under their leadership. A more intelligent person who understands the phony hype of the New York City school's boast about academic improvement can be found in Dianie Ravitch's opinion piece in the New York Post.

Fast froward to the present where Nicholas Kriistof has swallowed the lies of Bloomberg and Klein and accepted the now discredited New York State tests while ignoring the baseline federal tests that documented no improvement in academic progress. More ominously, he blames the poor teachers who have been reassigned to the "rubber rooms" throughout New York City as a deterrent for further academic progress and has proclaimed every one of them "guilty". No hearing in front of an independent arbitrator, no acknowledgement that many teachers might be innocent and were railroaded by vindictive administrators. Just like the Jews in the 1300s, according to Nicholas Kristof, being a "rubber room" teacher is guilt enough.

Has it ever occurred to Mr. Kristof that many of the 700 teachers currently in "rubber rooms" throughout the city might be innocent? Don't you think it is strange that before the Bloomberg/Klein administration the "rubber room" averaged 90 teachers on a yearly basis. What accounts for the greater than sevenfold increase? Better investigators? That's a joke read here for the real story about the DOE investigative process. Maybe it is poor screening of teachers? Teachers in the "rubber room" average over 15 years of service. That can't be it. However, the sevenfold increase in "rubber room" teachers is probably attributed to three things. First, the increase in power to the principals who have almost complete authority to remove teachers under false, frivolous, or embellished charges as they see fit. Second, the fact that once removed, the teacher's salary is taken off the school's budget after only sixty days. Third, the fair student funding formula encourages principals to file charges to balance the school's budget and to hire newbie teachers at half the cost. Both Accountable Talk and Rubber Room Reporter talks about this. No Mr. Kristof, the vast majority of the teachers assigned to the "rubber room" are there because of power crazy principals, budgeting constraints, and age discrimination and that is the truth as I see it.

Stop scapegoating the "rubber room" teachers and start writing about the phony education reformers who spin statistics with their fuzzy math and the abusive principals that now run many of the schools. Only then will you earn my respect that you once had but lost as you pandered to the mob of phony education reformers at the expense of the teachers.

Mr. Kristof, why don't you sit in on a complete 3020-a hearing, from start to finish. You might be "shocked" to see and hear how ridiculous some of the charges are. Stalinist Russian trials are the closest examples of how the DOE lawyer operates at the 3020-a hearing, realizing the weakness of the case against the teacher,the DOE lawyer resorts to character assassination. Little wonder 90% of the teachers end up back in the classroom. However, the collateral damage done to the students when the school cannot replace the teacher with an adequate replacement is real but then again don't let the truth interfere with a good story. Right Nick? Nick, are you there?


fred said...

right on...

Chaz said...

I am really shocked by the lack of responses to this post. I guess it must not be very important to teachers....until they are railroaded to the rubber room themselves.

fred said...

I'm surprised too at the lack of responses.....I sent it out to a # of people. I find teachers are not generally interested in talking politics and may be ignorant of the wider world outside education. For example, most teachers I speak to are unaware of teacher blogs. We tend to stick to ourselves.....unfortunately. United we are not.