First published on Raging Horse Blog
Oral arguments in the lawsuit to overturn teacher tenure laws or due process begin today. Wright v. New York, a lawsuit filed in New York State Supreme Court last July by Campbell Brown’s new billionaire backed front the Partnership for Educational Justice, is bankrolling the case under the shameless notion that tenure laws
deny public school students their constitutional right to an adequate education.
In this interview on Reason TV, non-educator Brown is introduced as an “education reformer” (as if that is an actual job title) by Katherine Mangu-Ward. Ward completely omits any mention of Brown’s prior foray into “education reform”, the billionaire backedParent Transparency Group which, like the Partnership for Educational Justice, was created for the sole purpose of frightening uninformed or naive parents out of their wits and turning them against their children’s teachers.
Reason TV is, in turn, bankrolled by the Koch brothers, who doubtless are delighted with such arguments, as is their editor who, in between Brown’s heroic posturing, is seen yucking it up with the lady.
Brown, chosen as the face of the education reform campaign after Michelle Rhee proved to be too transparently sociopathic and corrupt, plays her part as one of the 1% messiahs for the underclass well.
Why is she attempting to strip teachers of due process? To destroy unions, and privatize public education and further erode the social contract that, alone, promises a modicum of human dignity ?
How cynical of you !
Campbell, you see, became a mother and, as her powers of empathy are oceanic, her maternal instincts moved her to take the part of all mothers everywhere. Or at least those in “failing schools.” Campbell, needless to say, would no sooner think of sending her children to a public school than she would dare subject her children’s private school teachers to the intellectual and spiritual degradation that falls under the umbrella of “education reform.”
Campbell, we are meant to believe, is motivated by love. Love of children. Love of justice. Love of all things excepting due process which, once removed, somehow will place a great teacher in every classroom in the land. Campbell is moved to action by the “extreme inequality” she perceives in New York public schools,yet seems oddly unmoved by the ever more extreme inequality of wealth and poverty that is causing outright desperation across America. Somehow Campbell sees no link between a “failing school”
(never a “failing school system” or “a failing society” )and a third world economy made that much more painful by insane rents, non-existing jobs, an average wage that has been frozen for 30 some years and a child poverty rate that is nothing short of unconscionable.
And you can rest assured no employee of the Koch brothers is going to remind her of any of that.
The only thing that should “shock the conscience” inn this world, Campbell implies, echoing the judge in the billionaire financed Vergara case in California, is teacher tenure.
This other things…well, what can a person do ?
Campbell lies as sweetly and sincerely about teachers and is as selective with her anecdotes as she did when she was fronting the Parent Transparency Group.
But no matter.
Like Mother Earth herself, Campbell oozes empathy.
She speaks knowingly if abstractly of “incompetent” and “abusive teachers” who, because of tenure, are almost “impossible to fire, even if they are abusive.”
Campbell even speaks of a mysterious survey in which teachers themselves claim that the granting of due process or tenure is “perfunctory.”
Not a single case or figure is given.
No matter. Campbell oozes empathy.
She repeats the outright lie of teacher tenure – which means only that one is given due process and cannot be fired by a vindictive administrator whose nephew needs a job – as granting “automatic lifetime employment. ” Automatic lifetime employment,” in fact, is something that Brown herself seems to have found in her shilling for billionaire-backed front groups.
But no matter.
Does it trouble her to face the slings and arrows of those who cannot abide her truth telling? Well, says our noble suffering servant, better her than a mother in a failing school.
Someday, and I pray that day comes soon, we as a nation will look back in shame and horror at how easily and effectively a handful of perversely rich individuals set the American people against themselves, class against class, race against race, for the betterment of no one but themselves. If and when that day arrives — and as I write it is an “if” — I would not wish to be Campbell Brown.
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