With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, November 12, 2010

Heading into the weekend...

Think-tanker declares victory over unions

Right-wing think-tanker and professional union-basher (used up my Friday hyphen quota), Jay Greene has declared victory over the nation's teachers unions.  Following last week's Republican election victories, Greene blogged, "We won! At least we've won the war of ideas."

The L.A. Times, as expected, took Greene's handoff and ran with it. But their declaration of victory over organized labor may prove to be premature reminiscent of George Bush's infamous aircraft carrier speech.

Yes, these are tough times for union teachers. But let's not forget how many of the important Democratic victories last week, in Illinois, Nevada, and California, to name but a few, couldn't have happened without strong teacher union support. And let's not forget that it was teacher union resistance to Mayor Bloomberg's school closings and the lawsuit filed by the union and the NAACP that ultimately led to Chancellor Klein being run out of town.
"To say that we're under attack is an understatement," Los Angeles teachers union vice president Julie Washington told an angry audience of her members recently. "This is a wakeup call for all of us."
Jim Horn reminds WaPo's Jay Mathews what he left out in another of his fawning columns about KIPP.
 Actually, Jay has chopped off a half hour for some reason (embarrrasing maybe?), since the study he refers to above, “San Francisco Bay Area KIPP Schools: A Study of Early Implementation and Achievement,” clearly notes the 9.5 hour school day (almost half of which is spent on math and reading), the 60 percent increase in school time overall,  and the 65 hour work week for teachers.  What Jay does not mention, too, is the winnowing effect over time that eliminates the weak and recalcitrant "miscreants" in order to maintain the KIPP brand that people like Mathews promote without noting KIPP's abusive psychological sterilization program or the KIPP attrition rates for both students and teachers that would be entirely unsustainable and unacceptable in regular public schools.School Matters)
Eugene Robinson--Why don't they fight back?
Wednesday night, I gave a talk at Indiana State University. "You watch," said a man in the audience, "the Democrats are going to cave on the tax cuts for the rich, just like they caved on everything else." Sure enough, on Thursday I awoke to read the Huffington Post's interview with White House senior adviser David Axelrod, in which he appeared to signal that Obama - with great reluctance - might have to accept an extension of George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans after all. (RCP)

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