SUBSCRIPT: WTF?! NPR (National Propaganda Radio) continues its long tradition of racist teacher bashing and union busting with 'seniority is a bad baad BAAAAD thing' story

…Was anyone who reads Substance surprised when NPR (which likes to call itself “National Public Radio” but actually should change its name to “National Propaganda Radio”) opined on March 6 that teacher seniority should be dumped in favor of something the ruling class is now calling “performance.” Everybody who doesn’t know anything about teaching knows that “performance” works better than experience. Just ask, for example, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is cited by NPR:

In the shadow of Chicago's City Hall, a protester hold up a sign that tells almost all of the story now being told in Wisconsin and elsewhere where teacher bashing and union busting have become the national agenda. But the sign really should have read "First they came for the Chicago teachers" (see photos below), because all of the attacks on teachers that are now being exported nationwide were market tested by Chicago's media, school officials, and politicians between 2002 (when Arne Duncan first announced he was closing schools to create a "Renaissance") and 2010, when the last group of all-black segregated high-poverty public schools were humiliated by "turnaround" and the teachers fired after a lifetime of dedication to the children of Chicago's inner city. Substance photo by Susan Zupan.“Like local leaders around the country, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says he will soon have to lay off teachers because of shrinking state aid. He says he cannot have his hands tied by a system that judges teachers solely on their years of experience. ‘We need a merit-based system for determining layoffs this spring,’ Bloomberg says. ‘And anything short of that is just not a solution to the problem we face.’"

But before you reader on, dear and gentle reader, check out the full NPR report, which aired on Sunday, March 6, 2011, adding to the massive repertoire of reasons why teachers and union members should change stations and channels when NPR or your local "public radio" station makes its next appeal. Leave the charity to the billionaires like Bloomberg who are behind all of NPR's union busting and teacher bashing. For those who don't have their own Bloomberg machine to get rich and want to her and read the snide NPR attack on teachers, the URL is:

The other veteran non-teacher who is quoted as an authority in the NPR selection is U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who learned everything he needed to know about teaching in the inner city by dropping in on his Mom’s after school tutoring program at Jackie Robinson Elementary School in Chicago’s ghetto. (Duncan’s version of unreality has already been approved as authentic by the Chicago Tribune and The New Yorker, as well as by The New York Times, so the next time you want to become an “expert” on teaching in the inner city, just ask Mom to set up a Little Red After-School House nearby and drop in a few times to get your certification…).

Substance was the only media to cover the school closing hearings in Chicago every night during the years that Arne Duncan, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Chicago's ruling class were market testing the viciously racist experiment in "turnaround." Had anyone else been there, the photographs of the veteran inner city teachers (most of them African American) and the children and parents (all of them African American, and most poor) would have had a chance of changing the ruling class "narrative." The above photograph was taken during the hearings on the proposed "turnaround" of Chicago's Bradwell Elementary School on February 8, 2010. By that time, Arne Duncan, who had proposed the destruction of dozens of African American schools because of what he called "underperformance" was U.S. Secretary of Education, appointed by Barack Obama despite the fact that Duncan had absolutely no real teaching experience, let alone experience teaching in the rough inner city schools of Chicago. The Bradwell closing (above) was ordered by Duncan's successor, Ron Huberman, whose experience in teaching was as vapid as Duncan's. Huberman's racist attack on the Bradwell teachers (above) was predicated on something called "Performance Management", whereas Duncan had used raw test scores to condemn inner city schools to ruin and to bash their teachers and principals. What Duncan had was carefully scripted teacher bashing, which first got him through seven years as chief of Chicago's public schools, and then landed him in the Cabinet of the President of the United States, thanks to a ruling class whose privatization and union busting policies became clear across the USA, too late to save the teachers and children whose lives and careers were destroyed at schools like Bradwell. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.This stuff is enough to make a crusty Master Sergeant in the Army or Marines go postal. Imagine if the master of the American Empire tried to put a bunch of FNGs in charge of armies in battle? “After all, I played with those little green toy soldiers when it was raining out and Mom took out the box,” General Duncan opined, “And learned everything I needed to know about deploying my legions in battle.” For a little while longer, American teachers are going to have their experience and training denigrated by people who have never lasted one season in a harsh classroom filled with the tragic reality of the American underclass and the children of the nation with the highest poverty rate for children in the so-called “advanced” world. Every Buffy and Chad with a “vision statement” and a “business plan” is better qualified to run things in the inner city than the veterans. Just ask Teacher for America or President Barack Obama.

Even the most mindless and expensive vision for “innovation” is preferred over experience and patience, which with knowledge of a subject and respect for children constitutes what really makes the best teachers.

Another school attacked and subjected to a humiliating "turnaround" in 2010 by Ron Huberman was Charles S. Deneed Elementary School, like Bradwell on Chicago's South Side. Again, the photograph from the hearings (which were only covered by Substance, alone among Chicago's media, during the seven years of the attacks on Chicago's African American teachers and the ghetto schools serving Chicago's poorest and most segregated communities) shows the teachers, children and parents of Deneen, most of whom were African American. The teachers, for the most part, were fired by Huberman following a kangaroo court "hearing." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The seniority bashers are just the latest smug avatars of teacher bashing, but the difference between 2011 and when Duncan could get away with the racist firings of thousands of African American veteran teachers (they were fired by Duncan from dozens of schools for “underperformance” between 2002 and 2009, when Duncan went to Washington with Barack Obama) is that the whole world has finally awakened to this scam.

The destruction of Chicago's African American schools during the years between 2002 and 2010 under Arne Duncan and Ron Huberman required a group of African American administrators who were very highly paid and were willing to say anything they were told to. One of those, testifying above at the hearing on the proposed "turnaround" for Bradwell Elementary School in February 2010, was Geraldine Middleton (above left). Middleton knew nothing about Chicago's public schools when she was hired in September 2009 to be a "Chief Area Officer" by Ron Huberman. Scandals involving cheating on test scores had been breaking out in North Carolina involving Middleton when she was quickly hired by Chicago to one of the highest-paid ($151,000 per year) jobs in the school system and placed in charge of more than 30 elementary schools in one of the city's most segregated and impoverished ghettos. Middleton was also paid $6,000 to move to Chicago a few months before she read from a carefully prepared script (above) to help destroy Bradwell Elementary School. Selected by Ron Huberman, Middleton lasted less than a year in Chicago, but by the time she was gone, at the beginning of the 2010 - 2011 school year, he expertise had helped destroy the careers of more than 100 teachers and principals, most of them African American, at schools like Bradwell and Deneen. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. And even the people who still take NPR seriously are saying “WTF?” every time they hear some Trevor or Mindy mouth another platitude from Wendy Kopp’s Book of Banalities… 


March 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM

By: Doesn't Work

"Performance &/or Merit"

It's not like "accountability" and "merit pay" are new concepts; these proposals have been around since God created dirt. The reason they never became policy is because THEY DON'T WORK. It is not possible to objectively or fairly rate a teacher based on the kind of criteria these labels claim to be able to measure. The whole manufactured 'crisis' is just that, manufactured.

I remember back in the 70's, my Mom was a teacher in Troy, MI (I am a product of Detroit Public Schools, but that is another story)and she was complaining about 'accountability' and 'merit pay' being talked about but it went away. So for me to hear all this talk once again, only now it's called "performance" is sort of deja vu, only this time it's NOT going away. We HAVE to push back. I must say that I am disappointed that we, as a union and as a profession, are not 'schooling' these pundants more forcefully about the error of their ways and calling them out about what this really is about-the money. It's telling that wealthy school districts have not gone after the RTTT money (the don't need it) and the only groups penalized, that have to go begging, hat in hand, are poor, urban districts. I don't understand why money isn't invested where it would do the most good, the lowest performing schools. Pay teachers MORE to teach in those "hard to staff schools".

It's just the idiots in charge of the assylum at this point. Let's start throwing stats & percentages back at them, theirs are all massaged as it is. Enough said.

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