Race to the top. Then Jump.
CHARTER SCHOOLS PROFIT OFF PUBLIC FUNDS
Teachers teach. Too bad you couldn’t.
Murdoch money gives Rhee clout.
No lie too big to tell.
Those are just a few six-word essay entered in a contest that is a ploy by serial liar Michelle Rhee to get phantom members to join her Astroturf organization, Students First. A lot of people have had a very good time making fun of her phony group and all of the twisted, incorrect distortions of the actual truth that she has been observed to make.
One such distortion is the ad that I just saw when I looked at her page.
It says something to the effect that good teachers are being laid off because of evil union seniority rules.
That’s such a lie.
The force that is causing teachers (good, bad, young, old, black, white, whatever) across the nation to lose their jobs does not originate from unions or seniority rules. It is because huge amounts, perhaps trillions of dollars, is being sucked out of the pockets and savings of ordinary American people of all walks of life, and is going to enrich an already obscenely-rich ruling class who is wealthier than any ruling class has ever been in the entire history of the world.
The way I see it, they are cutting taxes on the rich and shifting the burden for all of the many necessary functions of government (including education, health, and public works of all types) onto the backs of the non-rich. They then use the ensuing grumblings from the masses as justifications not to pay more for those services themselves, oh, no. They somehow justify laying off workers, reducing pensions, cutting funding for public hospitals, public schools, you name it. Instead, they find ways to drain more of the public’s money into their fattened onshore or offshore bank accounts and into their private jets, yachts, lakes, islands, ranches, luxury vacation spots, expensive clothing, jewelry, and so and so on. While public services crumble — such as our bridges, our sewers, our water lines, our electric plants (of whatever type), our roads, and most egregiously, the schools that educate the vast majority of our students.
I think that we have, in fact, as a society have plenty of money that we can spend wisely and well and improve the living standards and levels of well being and happiness not only for America, but in countries around the world. For example, I just learned that Apple makes over $400 in profit from each iPhone, outsourcing most of the work in other countries while the US manufacturing base is allowed to crumble or is simply picked up and put on a ship and sent to Asia. I’ve seen it happen. Now if this was all something that we had decided to do together, that would be one thing. But when was the last time you were given the chance to vote on whether we were going to let our infrastructure, in all of its ways, go to hell while the rich and the super rich became the ultra-over-the-top-wealthy-beyond-all-imagination?
As you know, the job held by you, your family members or friends or neighbors could be outsourced at any time; you could end up with bad debts from medical bills, student loans, or housing mortgages and going bankrupt. It happens to a lot of decent, hard-working folks, including my wife’s cousins. Whereas if a large bank speculates like crazy on weird mathematical models and dubious legal and financial opinions, and ends up losing billions or trilllions of dollars, then they get bailed out and live like kings of old could only dream of. And by “them”, I specifically mean the boards of directors and all the few hundred or few thousand folks who take home astronomical salaries in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars, plus free this and free that, plus stock options and a whole bunch of other ways to pad their income that the public is purposely almost completely unable to detect or track down.
Matt Taibbi’s book on this stuff is pretty good.
Let me point out that it was unions and radicals and church-going people, black and white, who formed a large core of people who fought against slavery and its continuation in-all-but-name called Jim Crow, which lasted until about 50 years ago. Let me also point out that this was a time when union membership was pretty high among american blue-collar workers, and wages generally got better during that period; also, black students began making the largest strides to catch up with the education of white kids than has ever happened in documented American educational history.
Getting back to the offensiveness of that ad: The reason teachers are getting laid off has nothing to do with seniority rules. It’s because of budget cuts and because school systems in nearly every major city and high-poverty county, urban or rural, are being demolished by the corporate elite — led by a handful of the enormously wealthy hedge fund managers I was just mentioning. Notice that the idea of fighting back against the budget cuts is never even considered in Michelle Rhee’s ad. Instead, she attempts to pit one group of teachers against another group of teachers, or to divide and conquer. Wow.
So, if there is a force for social progress in this country, it’s probably got a a lot to do with the membership of various trade unions.
A good place to look for humor and data about Michelle Rhee is RheeFirst!
In case you thinking I’m making the whole thing up, here is the text of the actual form letter:
Subject: Your submission was received
Thank you for entering the StudentsFirst six-word essay contest!
Your submission has been received. Please watch your email closely; we will notify you by email if you are selected as one of our 30 semi-finalists.
In the meantime, tell your friends and family what it means to be a great teacher, and inspire them to write their own six-word essay. Share your essay on Facebook and Twitter now.
Share your six-word essay on Facebook.
Share your six-word essay on Twitter.
If you’re new to StudentsFirst we want to welcome you and invite you to learn more about our grassroots movement to transform public education. In our first year one million members have come together to help pass more than 50 policies in seven states to improve the education of 8.7 million children.
Learn more about StudentsFirst and how you can get involved at http://studentsfirst.org.
Thanks again for entering and best of luck!
The StudentsFirst Team
P.S. You can read the official contest rules here.