Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More on "biting the hand..."

Gates set to speak at AFT convention in Seattle

More on "biting the hand" as Bill Gates preps for his "innovation" speech at the AFT meet in Seattle. $3.3 million for union's Innovation Fund courtesy of Gate/Broad gives him an entry point as the Ownership Society forces pull out all stops to head off a repeat of the NEA RA in New Orleans.

But at ground zero, AFT members are losing jobs in mass-- contract, schmontract. Biggest story yesterday was the RIFing of two veteran, master teachers in Chicago. They thought they would use their years of experience to take leadership positions outside the classroom. This gave Huberman's wolfpack a chance to cut them from the herd and get rid of two veteran salaries. 
"My trust in CPS is gone, literally gone," says master special-ed teacher Deborah Domes. "If I asked someone down there what time it is, I probably would look at the clock to double check. That's how much I don't trust them "

Huberman says, don't worry, "it's for the kids." Let's see how the new CORE union leadership responds.


In L.A., oversized Fremont High reopened after mass teacher firings. Lots of  "good, experienced, strong teachers" were reformed out. Of those not coming back, about 70% had refused to interview for their former jobs, says the Times. 

Most of the teachers in one such academy, the Humanitas program, have left, including lead teacher Stephen DeMarco, whose absence was mourned by students waiting outside for school to start. (Tuesday was the official first day of the school year because the 4,500-student campus operates on a year-round schedule.) "The Humanitas teachers supported us," said senior Alex Giron. "Now that we're seniors, we need them more than ever."
Diane Ravitch, an advisor to L.A. Supt. Cortinez when he headed N.Y. schools, called the approach wrongheaded.
 "There is zero support in research or practice for this mindless, punitive scheme to demean teachers," said Ravitch. "Improve schools. Don't fire teachers without individual evaluations."
Tom VanderArk popped up to criticize the Fremont re-opening from the right. VDA headed the education division of the Gates Foundation and currently runs a charter school consulting company.

"Close and replace is the best option," he said. "There's only one thing wrong with the large, struggling high schools of Los Angeles — and that's everything."
So the stage is set for the AFT meeting in Seattle. Should be some interesting fireworks. Stay tuned.

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