RICH GIBSON :Richard Gibson of RougeForum educators sends strong reply critical of to Nancy Flanagan's statement in discussion on what teachers - allies need o do ,to adopt plan to turn the tide that is smashing up education for the sake of advancingcapitals political needs and the markets for more merciless profiteering.-- at students /teachers/ working class expense!RF 's Gibson makes no bones about the deceit/ collusion of the NEA /AFT and its locals in many states that are mis leading teachers and others,leading workers down the path of accepting the Corporate/State militarism , aggression, PAY-triotism 'headfixing' and war which will mean moreconscripts (students!) needed for he Armed Forces -- mostly as cannon fodder &, drawn from he working class - and more wealth stolen by thebosses' for campaigns to defend-expand their booty and profits ...Study colleague Gibson's spirited critical re[ply and comment -- defense of th working class against Capitals offensives and betrayalsof 'labor lieutenants' for the Democrats (and GOP) heading the unions.
So many reasons this is from NF is utterly wrong.
Teaching is not a profession, unless the bosses want people to work
endless hours "for the kids," buy supplies, "for the kids," etc.
Professionalism is merely a dodge to set teachers apart from other
workers---and teachers ARE workers.
They do not set their hours, wages, working conditions, the curriculum,
the habits of schooling---bells and so on.
Why are Michigan teachers not resisting--the answer applies to the
nation but Michigan stands as a nice example.
1. Racism. Michigan teachers are represented by two unions, the NEA and
the AFT. NEA represents nearly all the suburban, white, districts. AFT
represents Detroit and a few very small districts. White NEA did
nothing, really worse than nothing, as the Detroit schools and the DFT
collapsed. Indeed, when offered a chance, by me, to affiliate the entire
DFT to the MEA, MEA didn't want them. Now, Detroit's conditions
(everyone fired, no wage increases, massive layoffs, gutted benefits)
spill into nearby MEA districts--where teachers are surprised, never
considering that an injury to one might go before an injury to all.
2. Stupidity. See above. Add: few teacher have ever asked the radical
question--Why have school, let alone come up with answers. They consider
them selves agents of the state, which most of them by far see as
"democratic." Few would name the social system, if asked, as "Capitalism
and imperialism." Now, they work inside a corporate state and are
completely oblivious to that fact.
3. Nationalism and the empires bribe. Teacher are, overwhelmingly,
nationalists, witlessly doing the flag genuflect nearly every day. Some
of them realize they are among the last people in the US with some form
of tenure, predictable pay, health benefits, vacations, etc. They might
not realize their pay comes from the US' ability to rule the
world--growing very shaky now. But the teachers' union bosses sure know
it. They are well aware their fabulous pay and lifestyles comes from
their willingness to work side by side with the CIA.
When one person from California put a motion to "Discuss the wars" on
the NEA representative assembly agenda two years ago, Michigan led the
fight to silence that motion. As has happened repeatedly in the last 7
years, the body voted "not to discuss the motion," as it would disturb
the sensibilities of the body.
4. Cowardice. This is not mere fear. It is cowardice. Someone always has
to go first. I believe I can still name 2/3rds of the teachers, school
workers, who have taken a real risk to resist. That number is hardly
growing fast, despite repeated declarations from liberals and fake
radicals that "a tipping point is reached." It isn't.
Even if a tipping point took place, say around high stakes testing---so
what. Is it not possible to teach the love of nation, capital, and
empire using Deweyian or even the old fraud Freirian methods? Of course
it is. But, with both NEA and AFT still hugging Obama and Arne Duncan,
and whatever Democrat is to come, it is reasonable to believe that
Taylorism with long survive the bogus Opt Out Movement which, also,
refuses to ask "Why Have School?"
5. Mysticism. Most teachers have incoherent, unsystematic, superstitious
world views. They have no idea why things are as they are, and they
rarely ask. They don't know how to think and few know even the most
rudimentary processes of history. This means, among other things, they
cannot locate themselves inside historical conditions and they cannot
tell friends from enemies---spiders from flies.
They don't mind when their union bosses declare the unions "partners in
production" with the big bosses and they seem incapable of recognizing
the most obvious betrayals from within. They don't even know that both
NEA and AFT are pro-war unions---offering their students up to a
military that uses them as cannon fodder coming out of the illusion
mills that are capitalist schools.
6. Terrible preparation in undergraduate work and colleges of education,
especially. COE's are cesspools of ignorance, opportunism, and all the
factors noted above. Their faculties are even more gutless, compliant,
racist, stupid, and nationalist.
I know it is unlikely to point at perhaps 4 million people and say: You
have failed your historical mission, everything you set out to do, and
now you are what you probably set out to oppose. But I spent 30 and more
years taking a gentle approach.....see above.
There is no way to "Save Public Education" nor the bogus "profession,"
within our current circumstances. That means saving capitalism,
imperialism, and confronting a fascist, corporate, state with "arguments."
The core issue of our time is the reality of the promise of perpetual
imperialist warfare and booming capitalist crises--paid off by the
working people--met by the potential of a mass, class conscious,
organized, disciplined force ready to take direct action.
Outside of that, these oozing fistulas of liberalism just keep leading
people back into the jaws of a completely failed social system that is
not going to last.
On 2/2/2015 9:41 PM, neil chertcoff wrote:
> Teacher Nancy Flanagan puts forward a perspective that other educators/allies can sympathize with and use
> to network and build up forces in their new grouplets to organize fighting back against Corp Profiteers .,speculators,
> their slick talking bribed political hacks and other masters of deceit.
> Please debate widely 'what needs to be done " to turn the tide !
> join in !
> Nine Reasons Teachers are Unwilling to Stand Up for Their Profession
> Nancy Flanagan
> Jan 29, 2015- edweek.org
> "When I speak the truth in meetings about what is happening in public education, I am met with silence from my fellow teachers. It is the silence that is so maddening. I realize not everybody is as bold as me, but still--shouldn't the people working in this profession care about this profession? Beyond the four walls of their own classrooms? Am I crazy or what?" (Teacher in Michigan)
> Evidently, this teacher (who chose not to be identified) struck a nerve--as her post drew 50+ comments, all of them thoughtful and passionate, about the problem of teachers whose heads are firmly planted in the sand when it comes to the policies, issues and critical questions shaping the work of teaching.
> I use word "profession" intentionally here. I have seen teaching labeled a semi-profession or truncated profession--professional work, controlled by outside forces and institutions. In Dan Lortie's seminal Schoolteacher: A Sociological Study, he compares teaching to being a factory foreman--a position in a defined hierarchy, with great authority over workers below, but subject to policy-making and administration above.
> However--If teachers are ever going to establish themselves as fully professional, they will need to develop an authentic, very public voice and vehicles to advocate for their professional interests and control over their own work.
> So what did the teachers in Michigan believe were the core reasons for apparent teacher apathy, compliance and unwillingness to speak out against destructive policies and practices? Here's a boiled-down summary of comments:
> Fear: This one came up immediately and was threaded through the discussion. I was marked down in my evaluation last year because I spoke the truth. It was called "negative communication." I've got two kids to support and a mortgage. This is exactly what the deformers want to happen. First, they attacked our union, then took away our seniority rights.
> "It could never happen here" syndrome: It is not fear in my school--it's disbelief. Teachers truly don't think this is happening. They think I'm a conspiracy theorist. I work in a well-run district, where good administrators squeeze every last dime, so everyone here thinks the bad stuff is happening elsewhere.
> Lack of information or misinformation: In order to advocate, to understand why better-informed folks sound "radical," teachers need genuine facts. Information. And sorting through the information and editorial content out there takes time and skill. Lots of teachers rely on what they hear in the lounge, and there's no single source of concrete, trusted intelligence about the wider world of public education.
> Teachers are too busy or distracted: I'm too busy to lead or speak up, because all my time is eaten up following someone else's goals.
> Teachers are, by nature, consensus-builders, people who want to get along and be liked: I don't want to seem radical. Let's not bash our colleagues! They do not believe a word I say. I am shunned. Our biggest complainer about everything that is happening in public education goes around telling people I am a radical. When I have suggested ways she could actually do things to try to improve the situation, she has refused.
> Teachers are not political: We are an easy profession to bull doze, and the reformers know it. Teachers tend to be rule followers, and don't like confrontation. There are also dark undercurrents of racism ("those troubled districts") and sexism ("I'm just here for the kids") at work--mention those and people really do think you're a radical.
> Teachers too young and inexperienced to see danger ahead: Teachers coming through ranks are being indoctrinated to work in charters and to accept teaching to the test. The adulation of Teach for America--with all their shiny young Ivy League faces--doesn't help. When going for my masters I saw this often. It symbolized in a class where the text was "Writing On Demand," a book designed to help teachers prepare students for writing on standardized tests. The modal level of teacher experience is one year, so we are gradually losing the wisdom of experience in practice.
> Teachers are used to outsourcing all policy issues to their unions: It used to be that we trusted the unions to lobby for the right things. Our only concern was working with sketchy administrators. Now, it feels like there in nobody representing professional teachers in Lansing.
> Pervasive anti-teacher attitude in media and policy-making: Politicians in both parties have painted us into a corner. When we raise a legitimate concern about education policy (student standardized test results used to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness, for example) , the public, which knows little of all the work we've done and the expertise we've developed in the field, considers us to be "whiners."
> And finally, this: It is maddening and I have reached a point where I am not caring! Fire my *ss! I am trying to do what is right and advocate for teachers and our kids!
> Was there any reason for optimism? Several people mentioned allies in the fight to honor the teacher voice in the policy process: Parents. Retired teachers, with nothing to lose and valuable perspective. Social media groups of like-minded educators. School leaders who might speak out, if their colleagues supported them--a couple mentioned strong, vocal superintendents or principals.
> "The good news is that once teachers know what's going on they are a very difficult group of people to deal with. We are smart, well read, know how to research, write and make a strong argument, and are relentless." (Michigan teacher)
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