I wrote this draft two days after Christmas 2010 while watching MSNBC in gaping shock. I couldn’t figure out *why* they all were reading from the same playbook, bashing the unions and the teachers they represent. But they clearly were.
Now in late March 2011, since the Scotts (Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and Florida’s Rick Scott) are working that playbook and it’s nearly Game Over for all of us, I am asking myself just how much of a conspiracy this has been all along.
[I think this was a “rewind” from sometime in 2010 that re-aired this morning.]
Public school is all a big hustle, a heist — did you know that? It’s all about bad public schoolteachers ruining America for money (wait, isn’t that Wall Street, bankers, insurance and oil companies, oh and politicians– teachers aren’t exactly the idle rich comparatively) and the union leaders who protect them. All they care about is “their own money” and not working for children and the good of the people.
NJ’s GOP Thug-Gov said it, and he said even the President of the United States Barack Obama agreed, that destroying the teacher union or “persuading” them to roll over for the GOP union-busting juggernaut, was the obvious forced choice and everyone in both parties and everywhere in America knows it and agrees, except of course those wicked union leaders holding the children and taxpayers of America hostage, endlessly extracting good money for bad teachers from the wise, wonderful voters represented by him (presumably union leaders don’t have the same obligation to represent their voters?)
And after he said it, even Democrats on the set including the African-American mayor of Newark Cory Booker, the Obama-appointed head of the federal Education Department Arne Duncan, and the supposedly liberal hostess daughter of a man who knows better than pretending to solve problems with brute force, Mika Brzezinski, sat right there and nodded. None would say a word to refute it, demur, or question.
Thinking Parents know from years of conversation that I’m no defender of unions, especially teacher unions. A seventh-grade science teacher walked out on me personally, literally turned on her heel and walked out on ME in the middle of a conversation, back in the 1960s before desegregation. I didn’t understand that the rhetoric about doing it for the kids was a political lie over money and power so I was begging her to stay and teach me, or at least explain how walking out on us in an illegal strike as a show of force, was good for us as her pupils. (I loved school.)
When the schools were finally reopened and our teachers came back, she held my appeal to not leave me, against me. She was stone-faced and graded me unfairly the rest of the year.
But that was then and this is now.
Now I can recognize exactly what Christie was doing on that cable news set this morning. The rhetoric doesn’t fool me now. I know what a show of brute force in a fight to get more money and power looks like while it claims to be all about the children. I know that education politics and policy don’t mix because when they do, they make dangerous, destructive explosives.
I know now that whichever factions in any version of events are mixing and misusing those explosives to extract even more money and power than they’ve extracted from the people already, it sure isn’t our children.
And I learned it all in public school. Maybe truth WILL out.