I had originally titled this “Teachers reaping what they sow through their inaction – privatization free fall”, but changed the title because it’s still a decent one, and furthermore may draw more readers
Sort of like a microcosm of the American public’s reaping what they sow, by failing to radically reform or else abandon both the Democratic and Republican parties, teachers are now looking at a free fall in terms of their job security, which will make remedying their situation that much more difficult. If you look at the final votes for Gramm-Leach-Bliley, which helped do away with Glass-Steagall, you’ll see that almost all Democrats and Republicans, both, voted for it. The American public had all this time to organize against the forces that brought them Gramm-Leach-Bliley, but it has consistently failed to. In a very real sense, we are reaping what we’ve sown, via our inaction – we are getting what we deserve. (With help from veal pen type faux actors, which I never tire of pointing out. Blackagendareport.com also has a catchy phrase, for a related phenomena, viz., “the black misleadership class”)
I just read Why it’s a cakewalk for education “reformers” now. In their own words. where they quote from Democrats for Education Reform
President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s federal “Race To The Top” (RTTT) competition produced more simultaneous fissures in the dam than we’ve ever seen. Cash-strapped state legislatures, hoping to win a chunk of nearly $5 billion in federal prizes, passed more education reform legislation in eight months than they had in the previous eight years. Reform in exchange for dollars became the new mantra, and the status quo – desperate to avoid widespread teacher layoffs – found itself uncharacteristically nullified in the political process. (Union leaders were forced to choose whether they wanted layoffs or not – with these changes being the price of additional federal funding.)
Without supporting or attacking the merits of whatever reforms the “reformers” have in mind, I can still make what I consider common sense criticisms of teachers. Teachers have first Amendment rights, which they could have, and still can, exercize on public sidewalks right next to their schools, to good effect, and help radically politicize the docile American public. (This is not the same as saying that they can, or should, politicize the American public towards radical ends. ) I wrote about this in some length in my recent diary My email to Naomi Klein, re organizing teachers intelligently, and the New Progressive Alliance. See also American Unions are a Compliant, Selfish Disgrace, Compared to European Unions
Like the American public in general, they failed to exercize their opportunities to politically organize, and to think systemically, about cause and effect and where things would inevitably devolve to, and how it would affect them. CONSEQUENTLY, THEY ARE NOW IN A WORSE POSITION, DUE TO FEARS OF IMMINENT LAYOFFS, THAN THEY HAD TO BE HAD THEY EXERCIZED THEIR RIGHTS, INTELLIGENTLY, EARLIER ON.
All is not lost, yet, and teachers still have a superior capacity, compared to most segments of American society, to trigger the radical politicization of the American public. Unfortunately, it’ll cost some teachers much more than it would have, earlier, but to that I say “Welcome to the club”. This facet of the problem is not unlike that of the more general public, many of whom have already lost their jobs and/or houses, and consequently have not the same capacity for political action that they had previously.
Be that as it may, I ask my gentle readers to consider what would happen to Rush Limbaugh’s head if, as I suggest, teachers politicized the American public via their more ready access to the nation’s children, and from ther into their family home, and then beyond into their parents’ social networks. The teachers could propagate any messages they choose to, however it’s sort of a slam dunk that they won’t be propagating any message of the “every man look out for himself”, Rush Limbaugh type.
Now imagine, gentle reader, THAT AT EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE LAND, IN EVERY JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, AND EVERY HIGH SCHOOL, TEACHERS ARE PAMPHLETING THEIR STUDENTS, AFTER SCHOOL ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS, WITH POLITICAL LITERATURE. STARTING WITH EXCERPTS FROM NAOMI KLEIN’S “THE SHOCK DOCTRINE”. YOU’D NOW HAVE A SITUATION WHERE BOTH MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND RUSH LIMBAUGH’S* DOMINATION OF RADIO HAVE BEEN BYPASSED. AND THERE’S NOT A DAMN THING THAT MR. LIMBAUGH CAN DO OTHER THAN FULMINATE.
Although teachers are the best candidates for accessing students, in point of fact, any citizen could do this. (I imagine your mileage will vary, subject to local laws.) In this case also, Mr. Limbaugh’s head would explode.
Ideally, exploding Mr. Limbaugh’s head shouldn’t be anybody’s primary motivation for anything, but given the rampant tribalism of the human species, gentle reader, this would indeed be the biggest motivation for some of us. Well, so be it.
But let’s be honest with ourselves, if we fail to do this and similar actions, even from baser motives. In this case, we will continue our spiral downwards, and in a very real sense, deserve what we get. American soldiers died believing that they were defending our rights. A citizenry too apathetic or cowardly to exercize those rights, intelligently, probably doesn’t deserve them. And thus dishonors it’s idealistic soldiers, especially those who made sacrifices of life or limb.
Just had an idea. To help prod teachers into exercizing their First Amendment rights to propagate political messages that they believe in, it may be necessary to “poke them with a stick”. I.e., if teachers are too dense or inert to utilize the awesome opportunities that they have, it may help them get the point if, say, Tea Party types utilized those same opportunities to propagate messages about the desirability of busting the teachers unions.
I will now proceed to write a diary, which I’m tentatively calling “Call to Action: How the Tea Party can intelligently help bust Teachers’ Unions”.
Needless to say (well, not really; there are a lot of clueless people out there!), one doesn’t have to be a member of the Tea Party to apply such a stick. One could be a bleeding heart liberal, e.g., who is tired of waiting for teachers to get a clue, and thus decides to personally deliver that clue. If the teachers are too dumb to figure out what you’re trying to accomplish, after you explain it to them, then perhaps they shouldn’t be teaching our children…
I will post a link to said companion diary, when it’s up.
* Limbaugh and Company. I beleive that about 80% of talk radio is right wing.