NPR Denounces CTU Resolution
By Jim Vail
It was interesting to read the corporate press that quickly picked up the story that one of the biggest teachers unions in the country just broke ranks with Obama's Race to the Top and voted to denounce the Common Core State Standards.
It was a significant story in that the Chicago Teachers Union representing progressives and the left just joined the conservative ranks in the republican party to issue a resolution to oppose the Common Core standards, a federal mandate to impose a strict set of standards tied to high stakes testing that teachers unions across the country have supported.
And quickly the corporate "liberal" press went into overdrive to denounce and ridicule the fact that the CTU would buck it's role of serving as a company whore and break ranks with the education reform movement.
WBEZ reporter Linda Lutton said the vote took "teachers by surprise" and represents a "blow" to the standards that simply is "a list of what students should know and be able to do in reading and math."
National Public Radio appeared infuriated that a teachers union would come out against "higher standards" that push students "to read more complex texts and expand their vocabulary."
Lutton further fumed, "The union's vote may prove unpopular with rank-and-file teachers. Polls have shown that teachers generally like the Common Core standards."
She then quickly displayed some survey results which proved her point that teachers love the Common Core (and their reps in the 600 plus schools don't know shite!).
I can say this as a teacher. When Common Core first hit, it sounded great. Rigorous standards, complex text to elevate the students' levels of understanding, close reading.
But when it was first introduced to our union by Rahm Emanuel, with gloating eyes, when he visited our political action committee when he ran for mayor, I was a bit suspicious.
Then reality started to settle in. George Schmidt in Substance, educational historian Diane Ravitch and tons of parents in New York and across the country started to understand what Common Core really represented - an attack on public education with high stakes testing as punishment.
So we woke up, Linda, ok?
Apparently not. She then equates the CTU's resolution with wacko conservative nuts like Glen Beck, who also is opposed to the Common Core standards.
She even puffs her chest out that how dare CTU president Karen Lewis claim, like the right wingers, that the Common Core "represents an overreach of federal power into personal privacy as well as into state educational autonomy."
Lutton interviewed teacher delegate Michelle Gunderson, who helped spearhead the resolution in CORE. Gunderson told the NPR reporter that it is odd to have a "convergent" interest with libertarians right now.
Is it really, though? Libertarians hate all forms of government, believe in a "true" Milton Friedman form of free markets and privatization. Basically, it's a religion of the rich.
But don't we progressives agree with libertarians that the drug war is nuts, the military is out of control, and corporate subsidies are all killing us?
That must be strange to someone like Lutton who reports on behalf of the neo-liberal wing of our ruling class.
Lutton finished her report by interviewing a couple of shocked teachers about the Common Core resolution, because they just love the Common Core.
I must admit I was rather surprised to read this story posted on the CTU website blog. That's because unions traditionally are connected to the democratic party and its liberal media (NY Times, NPR, The Nation, etc, etc).
But a follow up look today, and I noticed the CTU took the story down.
I think we're all learning that this rigged game is just getting uglier and uglier, and we need to do something fast, independent of our ruling parties and their media!