Archive for the ‘Race to the Top’ category

Race To The Top – Sweet Sixteen Preview

March 4, 2010

What do you expect when you have a basketball player and not an educator leading the Department of Education.

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Negotiations Aren’t a Popularity Contest

January 7, 2010

As the Race Off a Cliff  continues, I’m shocked by some of what I see from teachers union officials.   An article in the News-Press out of Fort Myers Florida entitled Lee County Teachers Union Boss Has Dilemma caught my eye today.  The story was about Mark Castellano who is the head of the Lee County’s teachers union and how he feels he is in a difficult spot because he is being asked to sign a memo of understanding saying that he is in favor of Florida’s race to the top program.

As in just about all states, Florida has made their pitch without consulting teachers.   The state’s  Race Off a Cliff proposal will cost the teachers rights that their predecessors fought very hard to earn.  In exchange the state will be eligible to  gain a one time increase to their operating budget of 0.3% in federal funds.   If you read the comments at the bottom of the article, you can see exactly what the people of Florida think of Castellano and teachers in general.  If he wants to win a popularity contest, he really should try another field.

Teachers are not very popular.  With all of the teacher bashing that our politicians are doing lately that isn’t going to improve anytime soon.   Teachers unions better learn to forget about the popularity and start looking out for their members and the students they teach.  The move to open public education to greedy entrepreneurs has been going on for 15 years now in Chicago.  There will be a host of new charter schools as a result of this “reform”, but it too will pass.  People will look back 10 years from now and either bash teachers further and try to take away more rights or ask why we didn’t fight this if for no other reason than to look out for the kids we teach.

Teachers know that this kind of reform isn’t for the kids.   This is top down government intervention to open more public funds up for people like Dennis Bakke.  However, no matter how many conditions they attempt to impose on the teachers of a state, they are still going to be looking for a memo of understanding.   If the states want the union’s signature this is the time to negotiate.   There is no reason to sign on for one of these misguided plans.  Instead, we need to act like adults and negotiate.  The fight to privatize the schools is a national one and it is one we can withstand only if we fight back nationally.   Any 7th grade teacher can tell you, if you wanted to be popular then you went into the wrong business.   Ok, I needed to vent.   It just feels too much like counseling somebody through an abusive relationship.