Responding to the ridicule of teachers and the teaching profession by politicians and self proclaimed "experts"!
"Where is Albert Shanker now that we need him?" - Walt Sautter

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Newspeak - Reform - verb \ri-ˈfȯrm\ : To eliminate: To end

The Star Ledger has already rescinded its supporting editorial for Governor Bridgegate. Now I see this editorial praising the “accomplishments” of Commissioner “Tenure Reform” Cerf.
Mr. Cerf is a well-seasoned educator with vast, firsthand knowledge of teaching and education. He spent four years (count them four) as a high school history teacher and that was over twenty five years ago.
Additionally, his vast experience was obtained at Cincinnati Country Day School in Cincinnati, Ohio, a private school with a tuition rate of $23,600. However he is still  somehow regarded as an authority on urban schools and urban education!
Mr. Cerf, unlike the claims of the editorial, has been instrumental not in “tenure reform” but instead, tenure elimination. Tenure, as it formerly was, made due process a requirement before dismissal.
“Tenure (.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tenure) - the act, right, manner, or term of holding something (as a landed property, a position, or an office); especially :  a status granted after a trial period to a teacher that gives protection from summary dismissal”
The words “summary dismissal” are defined as  (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/business-english/summary-dismissal ) – “a situation in which a company tells an employee that they have lost their job and must leave immediately because of something that they have done”
Tenure “reform” has actually eliminated the due process and replaced it with two consecutive years of poor evaluations as a basis for firing. Poor evaluations are not “dishonest or illegal”.  It is obvious then that calling the new system “tenure reform” is newspeak for tenure elimination.
Additionally, evaluations by whom and based on what criteria?  Hopefully the evaluations would not be made by Mr. Cerf since it appears that he would have little background upon which to base his evaluations.
The editorial also mentioned his unfortunate inability to eliminate seniority rights for “poor teachers”.
It did mention that he is leaving to join a “commercial venture”. Should I assume that it is a private education enterprise? Considering the quote below I kind of think so.
The commissioner said he remained deeply committed to the value of public education. Some education advocates have warned of the dangers of for-profit entities influencing policy in schools, or being hired to run them. But Cerf called such claims “propagandistic,” and emphasized his view that “public schools should be run by and accountable to public authorities.”
I firmly believe that Mr. Cerf’s motivation for his “accomplishments” is to push public education into private hands!
Elimination of tenure will make replacing teachers on the upper end of the salary scale a breeze for corporate owners of the private schools which replace our public schools. Ending seniority will further grease the skids.
Even before privatization is complete, the elimination of tenure and seniority rights has many advantages (not for teachers that is for sure). It reduces dissension in the ranks, quells even hints of protest and dampens the atmosphere at the negotiating table (assuming negotiations will not be made illegal).
Also, loss of tenure and seniority opens the door for replacement of veteran teachers (whether good or poor) by the relatives and friends of political cronies and supporters. This is not to mention it punishes those who failed to support his pal “The Governor” (as he likes to audaciously call himself).

I wonder if the day might come when the Star Ledger may retract this aggrandizing editorial just as it has recently done for his good buddy Governor Bridgegate?



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