Thursday, September 25, 2014

Smash the Linkage between "Liberalism" and School Reform

Keep the pressure on. 

Make Duncan, Gates, Obama, The Clintons and other so called liberals etc realize their " Education Reforms" have failed miserably and have lost public support.

Swarm them every opportunity you get, via email, on twitter, in social media.  Bombard them with the evidence of their own failure. And warn them of the political consequences of adhering to failed and unpopular policies.

The pressure is working. They are feeling it. On Testing. On Charters. On Common Core. On Union Busting and Attacks on Tenure and Due Process.

Smash the linkage between "liberalism" and School Reform

And above all remind them that a War on Teachers is not a War on Poverty.

We have enough problems with Conservatives trying to dismantle public education entirely.

We don't need  Liberals doing the same thing under a different name

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why I Won't Discourage My Students from Becoming Teachers.

Every day, I get personal messages from teachers describing how their jobs have been turned nightmarish by tests, assessments, scripting and micromanagement and abusive treatment by administrators. When I posed the question here of whether things are better or worse for teachers than they were 10 years ago, well over 95% said they were much worse; many people said they were planning to leave the profession or were on the verge of being driven out.
So why, given all this, do I tell my students who want to be teachers that they should continue with their plans if they know what they are getting into and understand the powerful trends undermining the profession?
There are two main reasons I take this approach.
The first is that the scripting, micromanagement, surveillance, top down management and erosion of loyalty and job security that teachers are experiencing NOW are deeply established in most other occupations, especially in the private sector. As a teacher and scholar in labor history, I watched the nation's unionized industrial workforce lose their dignity, their power and standard of living in the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's while the rest of the nation stood silent, and saw Wal-Mart, with its abusive management practices and low wages, become the nation's largest employer, replacing General Motors, which once had that status. When that process was complete, I saw the Wal-Mart management style sweep through service industries, and in the last ten years have seen it invade public employment as city and state governments seek to privatize vital functions, break unions, and undermine worker pensions.
There is no "dream job" I can tell my students about, here or in any other country, where you will find security, loyalty, autonomy, and caring respectful management. Work conditions in teaching, as bad as they are, may actually be better than they are in some other jobs.
But there is an additional reason:
I refuse to give up the profession to the privatizers, the abusers, the people who destroying childhood and undermining what should be one of the best jobs in the society.. If there are young people who love the prospect of changing lives, who have a passion to teach, who believe in the potential of all young people irrespective of their backgrounds, personalities and unique aptitudes, I think they should go in and fight the good fight for their students any way they can, and in the process try to organize their colleagues, empower their students, awaken the families they are in touch with, and revitalize their unions.
I don't think we give up on a whole generation of young people because times are hard and getting harder.
Sometime in the next twenty years, if we keep organizing and resisting, we may be able to turn this all around, but even if we can't, there are minds to be opened, lives to be changed, hope to be passed on to future generations.
I still, in spite of it all, think the best and most idealistic of our young people should become teachers.
But Teachers who Fight the Power. Badass Teachers.
Like Us

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The "Data Driven" Nightmare Imposed by the Duncan Regime in the US DOE.

When you base policy on "data" and discount "soft" information such as personal testimony, the hallmark of the Duncan Regime in the US Department of Education, you can produce a policy disaster of epic proportions. Why? Because data can be easily manipulated by self-interested parties. No better example of this can be found than in the sub prime mortgage crisis where Moody's and Standard and Poors gave triple A ratings to bundled mortgages, each of which, on its own, was in grave danger of foreclosure. The same kind of "cooking the books" is taking place in education policy where charter schools are extolled as producing superior test results to public schools, and given preferential treatment, even though they expel or push out students who don't test well.
If you aren't on the ground, taking testimony about what the statistics hide as well as what they reveal, you will never know when your policies end up doing far more harm than good.
Failure to do that is why Arne Duncan is likely to be remembered as the worst Secretary of Education in US History, and the Presidency of Barack Obama as nightmare of false homes and shattered dreams for America's teachers.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Educational Malpractice and the Tragedy of America's Teachers

Someday, though I don't exactly know when or how, there will be a full account of the tragedy of America's teachers being forced to commit educational malpractice and deciding between keeping the jobs they need to feed their families and jeopardizing the educational well being and emotional health of the children they teach.
Based on the messages and emails I have received daily since the founding of BATS,as well as book's like Laurel Sturt's "Davonte's Inferno" this group may well encompasses millions of teachers. This malpractice consists, among other things, of administering multiple tests to children as low as Pre-K, pushing play out of the classroom, cancelling recess for test prep, putting up Data Walls which humiliate students and foster unhealthy competition; failing students for writing essays which do not conform to a script; administering developmentally inappropriate tests to ELL and Special Needs students; doing "close reading" of texts which should be enjoyed or viewed in historical context; denying students access to art, music and sports because they didn't do well on tests; imposing Common Core aligned curricula without dissent even when they are less effective the curricula they replaced.
The sum total of these measures are test mad, creativity deprived, play impaired, and joyless classrooms which break students spirits at an early age.
Teachers are told their jobs depend on imposing these measures. Some resist and are fired, many retire, many feign compliance and try to subvert, but many end of implementing these policies with damaged consciences and broken hearts. More than a few end up going on medication,
What is taking place in our schools is the anti-thesis of Freedom. It has the stench of the authoritarianism that marks the worst dictatorships.
We have to stop it, reverse it, shut it down.
Free the Teachers.
Free the Students.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Short History of Anti-Immigrant Movements in the US

The first wave of anti-immigrant hysteria in the US took place before the Civil War and was directed at Irish Catholic immigrants. It led to the formation of the Know Nothing Party and also sparked mob attacks on Catholic institutions in many northern cities
The second wave of anti- immigrant hysteria took place after the Civil War and was directed at Chinese immigrants. It led to mob violence against Chinese workers, the destruction of Chinese communities in scores of Western towns and the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Acts
The third wave of anti immigrant hysteria took place during and after World War I, largely directed at Southern and Eastern European immigrants. it resulted in the revival of the Ku Klux Klan as an anti immigrant as well as anti-black movement, and resulted in the draconian immigration laws of 1921 and 1924, which sharply reduced immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe and made it impossible for millions of people to seek asylum from Nazism after Hitler's rise to power
Now a new wave of anti-immigrant hysteria is rising, largely directed at Latino immigrants. It would be sad and ironic if some of the participants in this crusade are descendants of people who, several generations back, were targets of anti-immigrant hysteria themselves.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Civil Rights, School Reform and the Danger of Weakening Unions

At the turn of the 21st Century, Civil Rights leaders and their liberal suporters were desperate to find some point of access to addressing racial and economic equality  Looking at a grim political landscape due to the Democratic Party's movement to the Right, they decided that education reform was the only strategy that had a chance of securing bi-partisan support because it required no sacrifice on the part of business elites who had achieved an ascendant position in both major parties by the late 90's. The result, beginning with No Child Left Behind, was a national crusade of unprecedented proportions, fully bi-partisan, which still continues. Unfortunately, it has not only failed to achieve the desired results in education, but has seen every other indicator of inequality- from child poverty, to the racial wealth gap, to wage compression, to the concentration of wealth at the top- worsen, not only during the Presidency of George W Bush, but during the ascendancy of Barack Obama.

But liberals and Civil Rights leaders stubbornly cling to school reform and become increasingly desperate to make it work, an understandable if self-destructive act of political stubbornness at a time when no other egalitarian strategy is likely to gain bi partisan support. What they would have to accept is that continuing current School Reform strategies might actually be worse than doing nothing

But there is a further irony which indicates the trap that liberals and Civil Rights leaders have dug for themselves.. The only egalitarian strategy that has a chance of working would be the unionization of the nation's low wage workforce, but that requires strengthening the very trade unions that education reformers decided to undermine and attack!

It is time for a cold hard look by liberals at the failures of School Reform and for them to end their war on America's unions. Unless they want our current march to Plutocracy to succeed so well that all other options are foreclosed.

Football, Violence and the Language of Male Domination

Some of the best times of my youth and well into my 20's took place on a football field. Like many young men who played the game, I needed an outlet for the violence inside me. An outlet that would bring me respect, camaraderie and the friendship of other men, a friendship that crossed racial and cultural barriers more than almost any other activity I was involved in. But though the game required skill and athletic ability,it was still about violence. and my aptitude for it for it derived from the violence implanted in me by parental beatings and scores of childhood fights.

The language that suffused the sport, whether on the field or the locker room, was also violent, and in many cases, had women as its subject. Men were not only challenged and insulted by comparing them to women, but sexual conquests, real and imagined, were a constant subject of bragging and banter. Control over and consumption of women were constant subjects, to the point that when I became politically conscious in my late teens and 20's, I was reduced to silence on the football field, not my normal way of handling situations.

But the point is this. The culture of football, as I experienced it in the 1960's and 1970s, was something that I could easily see spilling over into domestic violence. both because so many of the people who played it well were filled with rage, and because women were so thoroughly objectified by the language almost everyone used. Have things changed so much since then?. I don't think so. It would be interesting to have a tape recorder on in a college or professional football locker room and hear how women are talked about in that setting.

I may be wrong, but if I am right, the effort to deal more forthrightly with domestic violence among football players may be more complicated and difficult than at first meets the eye.

Are Public Schools Focal Points of Failure in A Successful Society?

Many critics of our public schools imply that public education is an ugly center of failure in a largely successful society, However, singling out public schools for failure relative to other spheres of America economic and social life, such as our banking system, housing market, and medical system does not hold up on close scrutiny. Before Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind left teachers and students stressed and demoralized, our public schools may have functioned better and more equitably than those three.
If you say that our public schools didn't function all that well in our poor communities, which is true- ask yourself if they functioned any worse than our banking system, medical care system and housing market in those communities. Just look at banking. In the 1970's and 1980's.the banking system TOTALLY ABANDONED poor and working class communities where check cashing places charging exorbitant rates now serve as substitutes for banks! Perhaps that is the model for education Corporate Reformers have in mind. Or our housing market where tens of millions of families are doubled and tripled up or renting out rooms,while there are more than 13, million abandoned apartments and homes. And for medical care, have you compared life expectancy and infant mortality rates by race and class?.
We, in education, can learn a lot-- about failure and inequality-- by looking at banking, housing and medical care in the US.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Stop the Attack on the Nation's Veteran Teachers!

The attack on the nation's veteran teachers- which has taken and continues to take an incredible toll on the mental and physical health of hundreds of thousands of people- is something which must be analyzed and exposed no matter whose "ox is gored" and that includes leaders of the nation's teachers unions. All over the nation teachers are being evaluated, micromanaged and rated in ways that are intrusive, humiliating, and demoralizing. Almost everywhere, teachers at the high end of the salary scale are the ones most targeted. Programs billed as necessary to improve the quality of the profession have turned into  cost cutting through humiliation. Administrators target teachers with the highest salaries; elected officials support such purges as an indirect way to cut pension costs. The varied measures chosen to evaluate staff and remove "bad teachers" have also contributed to the "whitening" of the teaching profession, something which has been documented in city and city which has been willing to provide researchers with the data. We now have a teaching force in this nation which is much younger, more unstable and whiter than it was fifteen years ago. And much less able to resist high powered campaigns to privatize public education and make it a profit center for corporate interests, to the detriment of the students and families public schools serve.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The California PAR Program- How Teachers Unions Have Collaborated in the Removal of Veteran Teachers and Helped “Whiten” The Teaching Profession.

During the last fifteen years, the teaching profession in the United States has undergone a massive upheaval. The average length of a teaching career has declined to 5 years; many veteran teachers have left the profession, either voluntarily of through forced termination, and the percentage of teacher of color, especially African American Teachers, has declined precipitously in many American cities. There are many reasons for these changes- among them a sharp rise in testing, the imposition of test based teacher evaluations; school closings and charter school preference mandated by Race to the Top- but one little examined factor has been union approved protocols for removing allegedly “bad “ or incompetent teachers” which has led to tens of thousands of teachers, often those at the highest end of the salary scale, being pushed out of the profession, or in the case of NY, Los Angeles and Chicago, being pushed into a teacher limbo where they represent a surplus labor pool.
One of the most publicized and highly praised of such protocols has been the PAR ( Peer Assistance and Review Program) which has been widely implemented in the state of California. PAR is a program which gives teachers, appointed by their union, input into the evaluation and rehabilitation of teachers given a “U” rating by their administrators. The program sounds great on paper. It has been praised as a model program by AFT President Randi Weingarten, and has been strongly supported by critics of dominant education reform policies such as Diane Ravitch and Anthony Cody. However, thanks to research done by Brian Crowell, a highly rated African American teacher from Berkeley California who was given a “U” rating when he became a thorn in the side of administrators and union leaders in his city, PAR in California has been exposed as an abettor, if not an actual collaborator, in destructive and discriminatory policies.. What Crowell discovered, when he asked for PAR Data from major California cities, is that a large and statistically improbable proportion of teachers referred to PAR were veteran teachers at the highest
end of the salary scale, that most were women and that a disproportionate number were teachers of color. Worse yet, the pattern of teachers terminated at the end of PAR resembled those initially referred to the program. To quote Brian Crowell “,
I found it was over 80% women over 55 years old, masters degrees, tops on the pay scale and disproportionately minority. This was the data I uncovered in Berkeley, CA with the same trends following in Oakland, San Francisco, and San Diego California. A massive austerity and discriminatory program signed off on by the union at the pleasure and delight of school districts. Oakland was so laser like in its data that literally the most expensive teacher (with very few exceptions) at each of the school sites was referred for remediation and possible termination. I can’ tell you how many teachers have gone through this ordeal getting no support or representation from their union.
Crowell came to his devastating conclusion: that PAR actually ended up aiding and abetting California school districts efforts to cut costs by removing the highest salaried teachers, and in the process, undermining resistance to the very controversial “reforms” they were implementing, ranging from VAM, to Common Core, to intrusive teacher observations. Worse yet, instead of mobilizing resistance to these top down policies, teacher union leaders were signing off on them and implying they were teacher approved- participating in what amounted to a campaign of intimidation of rank and file teachers in which the union and school administrators were allied. In Brian Crowell’s words:
. “The outspoken teacher, the active union representative, the highly paid teacher are now arbitrary discipline targets of school districts. Couple that with CCSS and Common Core removing academic freedom no wonder the demoralization of teachers unions and the inability to fight back.”
It is time that teacher advocates, teacher union leaders, and all those who care about the future of public education stop endorsing the narrative that “Bad Teachers” are the main threat to the quality of our public schools, and to withdraw support from all measures which make it easier to remove veteran teachers until those measure are proven not to discriminate on the basis of age, race, gender and position on the salary scale.
PAR, and programs like it, have let to a cruel, and massive assault on veteran teachers all over the United States, documented brilliantly in Laurel Sturt’s brilliant book Davonte’s Inferno: Ten Years inside the New York City Public School Gulag, as well as Brian Crowell’s important research. They have also contributed to a shocking whitening of the teaching profession in major urban areas, even though may city’s are reluctant to reveal that date. In Chicago, the percentage of Black teachers has fallen from 44% in 1995 to 18% today, and most major California cities have seen the percentage of Black teachers go down precipitously in the last ten years. In California as a whole, there are 4,000 fewer Black teachers than there were in the year 2000.
There is something badly wrong when teachers unions have become collaborators in brutal cost cutting, in age race and gender discrimination, and in the removal of teachers most likely to lead resistance to the destructive policies imposed on public schools by the last two Administrations in Washington.
It is time for rank and file teachers union activists to stand up and call for a suspension of PAR and an immediate review of all protocols for evaluating and terminating teachers that have shown themselves to reinforce age race or gender discrimination. And the time to do this is now
Thank you Brian Crowell and Laurel Sturt for sounding the alarm. Enough is enough

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When Teachers Marry Police Officers- Reflections on Race and Neighborhood Culture

During the controversy over the teachers who wore NYPD shirts to work in protest against their unions participation in the Staten Island March mourning the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, numerous commentators noted, correctly, that it is quite common in New York City for teachers to marry police officers.

This pattern is particularly common in certain New York Cit...y ethnic neighborhoods, many of which I became quite familiar with during my 15 years of  coaching Catholic Youth Organization basketball and sandlot baseball in Brooklyn Queens and Staten Island. Among those which immediately come to mind are Marine Park and Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn, and Belle Harbour ( particularly St Frances De Sales parish) in Queens. In those communities, it was ( and in some cases still is) quite common for young women to become teachers, and young men to become firefighters and police officers, and for the former to marry the latter

I have great affection for these communities and the people in them. All produced more than their share of heroes during 9/11, some of whom were personal friends whose deaths I still mourn.

However, there is one feature of all these communities which has to be faced honestly- they had few if any, Black residents. People growing up in those neighborhoods had almost no contact with Black people unless they went to school outside their neighborhoods, and rarely had Black people as part of their social networks or extended families. This did not make people openly racist. The teams I brought into these communities, which were multiracial, were normally treated with hospitality and respect, though there was one important exception to this instance in a parish which was adjoining a Black community
What it does mean however, is that in those communities, people did not have a first hand, direct exposure to how Black New Yorkers saw the world, their nation and the city, and how their views and experiences might differ from those of most whites.

Fast forward to the death of Eric Garner. Given such a racially sheltered upbringing, it is easy to see how teachers who have police officers in their family might not grasp how difficult this event was for their African American co-workers, or the families of African American children in the schools where they teach, and what feelings of vulnerability it triggered.

The main point here is not to explain or excuse but to suggest we all- even the best among us- pay a price when we live segregated lives and live in segregated neighborhoods.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What's Wrong With Minneapolis Schools

As someone who has followed events in Minneapolis Schools for some time, I am not surprised by this author's comments. Well financed School Reformers who see Charter Schools and Teach for America as the path to educational equity have dominated school planning in Minneapolis. But having revolving door teaching staffs largely drawn from outside the state have, almost everywhere they have been tried, weakened the communities high needs schools are located in., How about a different approach- one that emphasized public schools that are round the clock community centers, that hire neighborhood residents to work in them, and try as much as possible to recruit teachers either from these communities or willing to settle in the communities where their schools are located and work in them a long time. Imposing an educational model created outside neighborhoods and staffed by people with no long term connections to neighborhoods is not working. Time to go back to the drawing board in Minneapolis and around the nation.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Why Charter School Leaders Are Behind Attacks on Teachers Unions and Public Schools

If you ever wonder why famous charter school leaders like Eva Moskowitz or Steve Perry don't just run their schools quietly and let the results speak for themselves and instead devote much of their time attacking teachers, teachers unions and public schools, consider this. When the hiring freeze in NYC public schools was lifted a few months ago, a large number of charter school teachers applied for positions in NYC public schools, especially in high performing schools with principals known for treating their staffs well. These teachers couldn't wait to get out of jobs with long hours, no due process or job security and abusive administrators for positions in well run public schools. The hiring freeze is back on so the exodus of charter school teachers has temporarily ended, but you can see why a strong public school system, buttressed by strong teachers unions, is threatening to charters. The best teachers want to teach in well run public schools and be protected by unions. That could be why Eva Moskowitz is a major force behind the lawsuits attacking teacher tenure in New York City and New York State. If public education remains strong in New York City, she will not be able to hold on to her best teachers. Why

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Where Are You From? A Guest Post by Malaya Velasquez Saldana

“Where are you from? the ubiquitous question posed to me since I learned to formulate my first English sentence, has overtime accrued the weight of a multitude of implied questions, and exclamations. Now by 22 years old the weight of that question is so heavy with implications, and assumptive self-erasing experiences I hear it and laugh. The kind of laugh that your mother makes when you lie to her and she knows your lying; she knows where you’ve been last night. Just like I know where the mind of the third man in this bar who has insisted on repeating “no, you know what I mean- where are you REALLY from.


I generally see things spatially. I see my world spatially. As a double major in graphic design & architecture and a dyslexic synesthete I’ve found that I had a better understanding of the world around me if I could explain and express that world visually. Possibly the only I way I can really formulate and fully understand a sentence, or any verbally expressed idea is to remember that those ideas exist in space.


When I say words exist in space I don’t mean just literal space. I mean conceptual space, bear with me, the physical space of a sentence translates into the pixels this word occupies on my computer screen. Words in a conceptual space refers to the dependence the expression of ideas and language has upon our understanding of physical space. How so? Well look at our language. The use of most prepositions are rooted in our developmental understandings of space and time: before, in, by, since, through, over, etc. Without an understanding of space there is no conception of language, and thought. If we do not conceive of what beginning, middle and end means spatially or temporally we can not begin to express the beginning middle and end to a story or a theory. The understanding of physical space and of time is the reference point for language.


So lets look again at that ubiquitous question again. In it there are two key prepositions in play: where are you from? The first word, where, is a preposition; ‘where’ when posed in this form refers “in or to what place or position.[1] and the second preposition ‘from;’ from referring to the preposition of place that is “used to indicate the place that something comes out of, a starting point[2].” By asking where am I from with no prior context other than seeing some phenotypical form of me whether it be in real life or online and asking it as an entrance into some flirtation or some form of extra credit cat call, is problematic. It is alienating and a microagression on my sense of identity and bar on a sense of belonging. Asking me where, you create for me a vestibule of physical otherness, a question, an assumption of mystery. ‘Where’ is an uninvited existential question into the fact that I am different from you, unlike things you have seen before, unlike yourself, unlike others around me. Where. This casual flirtatious introduction is wrought with a need to know is my position my place in order for you to make sense of something he has not seen: based on the shape of my eyes, the texture of my hair, the color of my skin. I haven’t spoken a word to him but across either a keyboard, or across a loud room he’s invited himself to ask me about my identity in order to not learn about me but to place me in a position and place he is comfortable with understanding me from. “I am from American, I am American.” 9/10 this answer is disappointing. “Where are you really from?”  follows that answer. It’s not because he thinks I am lying, my accent is an American accent and so is my passport. American is not what he was looking for, but we can’t both be American. We cannot conceptually originate from the same space, because when we originate from the same space I loose my interest as a question. I loose that position as an ‘other’ as something different, something almost inhuman. I loose the possibility of representing the unknown, of being the uncharted territory marked only by a question mark. I say nothing. He looks annoyed; “I’m just asking because you look so exotic.”



This was written as a short blog version of spatial experience within language through the lens of one sentence; this of course is able to be expanded in many ways and applied to life in the city as a woman of color.



[1] "Where." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. .
[2] "From." Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 3 Sept. 2014. .

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Why The Obama Administration Won't Back Off Its Disastrous Education Policies

   As I was sitting watching the US Open after a day of preparing for classes, I started thinking of why state after state, with the encouragement of the US Department of Education, keeps subjecting teachers to evaluation systems which are humiliating, time consuming and inaccurate, despite evidence that shows that their main effect is to drive good teachers out and turn teaching into a revolving door profession.

   Why won't officials pull the plug on  VAM, Marzano, Danielson, and all the other data systems which teachers and administrators hate and which are causing hundreds of thousands of teachers and administrators to retire before their time?  

   And I thought back to some of the frank conversations which our BAT delegation had with representatives of the US Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights right after the BAT March on Washington.

   One of the things that leaped out at me was that several of the people we spoke to basically admitted that they would rather have bad, even abusive evaluation systems mandated by the Federal Government than giving school districts the autonomy to develop their own evaluation  systems.
And the reason they gave was simple: they were convinced that school districts would only make an effort to serve low income students and students of color if their feet were held to the fire through test and data driven evaluation systems monitored by their Department.  They saw these systems, despite the collateral damage they imposed- which they admitted was large- as the only way they knew to insure that teachers put the same effort into teaching students of color and poor students as they did middle class students and white students.

   And this is the response we offered.  The collateral damage, from a Civil Rights standpoint, was worse than the gains. Among the consequences was

   1. Sharply reducing the number of teachers of color in every metropolitan area
   2. Turning instruction into brutal, mind deadening test prep, in schools in low income areas
   3. Driving the best teachers and principals out of the profession, especially in low income communities
   4. Destabilizing communities by closing schools which had served those neighborhoods for generations.

  Strangely enough, they didn't disagree with any of those four points. But they were terrified that if they let go of their flawed data and evaluation systems, we would go back to a time when students of color and poor students were disgracefully neglected.

   Our response is  was that substituting torture and abuse for neglect does not constitute a net gain.

  And there you have it.  This is why we can't get the Obama Administration to back off a policy that has been patently disastrous

In the US " Improving Teacher Quality" really means Humiliating and Firing Veteran Teachers

All over the nation, the imperative to "improve teacher quality" has morphed into a campaign to marginalize, humiliate and force out veteran teachers. Not only has this caused tremendous distress to the individuals thus targeted, it has deprived our public schools of a priceless source of knowledge and cultural capital and has contributed to huge turnover among new teachers who are deprived of the mentoring and support the need to do their jobs well. It has also made public ...schools in low income neighborhoods easy prey for those who seek to replace public schools with charters and has contributed to the "whitening" of the nation's teaching force. There is something truly Orwellion about School Reform when the legitimate goal of recruiting and retaining better teachers gets transformed into a witch hunt that drives the best veteran teachers out of our public schools.