Thursday, July 10, 2014

Teachers of Businessmen

Do Public School Chiefs Really Need an Education Background?
By Jim Vail

When it comes to the system we live in, the names of people helping to run the show are not as important as we think.

Let's take Arne Duncan, President Obama's education secretary.

A prominent education blogger called for a more 'qualified' education secretary with a teaching background to replace Duncan.

Mr. Duncan certainly makes the people angry. 

He said Hurricane Katrina was the best thing to happen to the public school system in New Orleans (half of them became charter schools). Then he said after the disasterous results of Common Core tests in New York, that white suburban moms complaining is silly because maybe their little Johnny isn't as smart as they thought he was.

So let's get someone with a teaching background. 

Rod Paige served as the education secretary under former President George Bush. He was a teacher in Missippi and moved up the ranks into administration and to the top federal job.

He called the teachers unions 'terrorists.' He represented the so-called Texas testing miracle that turned out to be a fraud.

In Chicago many education experts complained about how the mayor appointed businessmen instead of education professionals to lead the public schools.

There was Paul Vallas, who worked in the city's budget office, who ran the schools under Daley. He was mocked for not even being qualified to be a substitute teacher.

Then Ron Huberman replaced Duncan to run the schools, and again, here was a cop now running the schools.

So mayor Emanuel, hearing the cries of a 'qualified' superintendent, replaced him with Jean Claude Brizzard.

Mr. Brizzard had a big teaching background.

He was fired after the first teachers strike in 25 years. He was no defender of teachers.

Did any of this matter? Heck no - all of them have one important thing in common - they work for the man who is beholden to the 1% to implement education reform.

Whether they were a teacher or not, they are now running the city's public schools and implementing harsh education reform measures to ensure privatization, charter schools, anti-unionism, outsourcing, testing, etc.

If any of them refused to follow orders, they would be out the door.

It's the one percent who run the show here. We as defenders of public education must understand this and not get caught up in names to think any administrators have any real pull in the system we're stuck in.

We need to fight for our rights, and not wait for the next teacher turned schools chief to save us!    

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