Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eating A Ruben

I am starting to really enjoy reading about Ruben Brosbe. He is giving this blog, and others as well, a rich and deep source of material. For that we here at SBSB tip our proverbial hat to him.

Yesterday, and today on Ruben's blog and over at Gotham Schools, Ruben finally admitted to being a card carrying member of Educators4Excellence. But he has not gone far enough. He has yet to explain his role with Ruben you have been offered a platform to explain yourself on The Mind of a Bronx Teacher. You are also most welcomed to leave comments here on SBSB. You will notice that on this blog there is no such thing as moderating comments, or if you choose you can, unlike your blog, post anonymously. You can be assured of 100% civility if you appear. But let's decipher your recent blogging shall we?

Until recently, I didn't know anything about E4E. I had read GothamSchools' profile in April, joined their Facebook group, and that was the extent of my "membership".

OK, will give you the benefit of the doubt on this one. Like driving by the scene of a car accident. You don't want to look, but you feel you need to. However, the crack team takes this argument by you a bit with a grain of salt. There is no listing of you as a member of the E4E Facebook page.

Right after my column on teacher data reports appeared in The New York Post, several commenters mentioned E4E, assuming I had some deeper affiliation.

Yeah, sure. Explain how you got the Post gig.

A week or so later, I attended an education policy panel featuring Diane Ravitch, Shael Polakow-Suransky and... Educator 4 Excellence's co-founder Evan Stone.

And.....and.....and....? Was it love at first sight when you saw Little Evan? Did you sneak glances at one another during the debate? In fact, weren't you concerned that the DOE did not allow that debate to be videotaped? Oh, by the way. Did you notice that Shael looks like embittered Alan Brady produce Mel Cooley?

When the panel was over, I introduced myself to Evan and E4E's Outreach Coordinator, Ryan Black. Soon after I sat down with Ryan, Evan and E4E's other co-founder, Sydney Morris, to talk about how I could be a part of E4E.

And? What was said? Do share.

The truth is since I started teaching, I have looked for ways to connect with other teachers who were not only passionate about our work as educators, but viewed it as part of a broader fight for social justice.

This is the only way you felt you can connect with other teachers? If you read the UFT paper you will notice many trips to shopping outlets, casinos, sporting events, and the such. Perhaps you can check out Rory Dolan's on McLean Ave in Yonkers on a Friday afternoon? There are plenty of ways to meet teachers other than joining a subversive organization. This reminds me of when George joined the Communist party to meet women. Is this what you are ultimately seeking? If it is, I know of several women who are single. However, this women are in their 40's. Can you say, "Goo-goo-ga-joob, Mrs Robinson?" But as far this finding passionate teachers, you mean teachers who wear their passion on their sleeve? If they don't, they then are not passionate? And this fighting for social justice thingy. You mean like a crime fighter? Have you ever been in Appalachia? The Southern Tier of New York? Don't these people have a right for you to fight for them?

My closest peers in teaching were those who shared my passion for education, and my belief that our work was inextricable from the larger conversation developing on education reform.

But you said you were looking for other like minded people. It seems that you already had them. Did they join E4E as well? If not, why?

We constantly shared challenges in our classrooms and our school, and we often discussed how that work was affected by local and federal policies.

And sharing about challenges in your classrooms and school, and discussing local and federal policies makes you think you are special because??? This I have heard discussed every single day for 15 years.

We also talked about how we might do things differently,

See directly above. You see, this is what is bugging me. You do what every teacher I have seen do, and for some reason you think this makes you special, above it all.

or what we might say if we ever had the chance to talk to Chancellor Klein or Mayor Bloomberg.

Wow! Impressive. Again, every single teacher I know, or at least in the blogosphere as thought these same thoughts. You are no different. You are not special.

At it's core, this is what E4E represents. It is a group of teachers who believe in the importance of their work, who believe that education can and must be better, and believe that they have an important voice to lend to the discussion of how to make this change occur.

How do a bunch of third year teachers have any idea what is best? What is acceptable? What should be done? Just the E4E crowd thinks their work is important? This is why you and your type are constantly mocked.

What change are you talking about? The only change is I see is you and yours wishing to save your butts.

E4E is not meant to represent all teachers, but, the principles are generally intended to invite as broad a spectrum of educators as possible.

What broad spectrum? Little Evan was on Fox is September claiming a membership of 700. That is .0008 percent of all NYC teachers. That is not a movement at all. There would be no E4E if it was not getting outside money.

Over the past month a half that the team has worked on developing a system there has been plenty of disagreement.

What team? Who is on the team? Are there any teachers on this team with over 15 years of experience? Want to change the system, change it from within, don't go outside the system. I and others have fought and are fighting from within the system.

However within this group of 16 diverse educators, there's a unity of opinion that the current system is inadequate, and a better one must be created.

Yeah, the system sucks, but it is not because of the teachers. Look at the crappy curriculum's we are given, the working conditions, the paperwork, the crap. Oh let's not forget the persecution. I put my career on the line for the right reason. Can you say you have? Did you listen to the radio show with Chaz? Did you hear what this guy has gone through?

This is what I think Ruben. You are a fourth year teacher. You have already been bumped once. I have a feeling you were denied tenure last year, that you had your probation extended, are scared and think if you turn to E4E you can be saved. You are barking up the wrong tree. But if you turned to a veteran teacher, then you stand a better chance.

If you believe that Last In, First Out is the best policy for teachers and students,

You come up with a fairer way. Unfortunately, there is not. Do you truly believe that the system E4E is proposing won't be strife with politicization? Let's make believe you turn out to stay in the system. When you have your twenty years in, and there is no Last In, First Out, do you truly believe that you will be spared being laid off if there are budget cuts?

that three years of service is a reasonable amount of time to earn tenure,

How long should it be for tenure? If I am right, you didn't even earn it after three years.

or that the current pay structure is fair, you'll disagree with E4E's platform. Cops get paid for seniority. So do firefighters, park employees, sanitation workers, correction officers, city employees, UPS drivers, nurses, the crew of the USS Enterprise, the roadies of Rush, traind conductors, etc.....

But to discount E4E's members as puppets, or to base arguments on vitriol instead of facts, does a disservice to our profession.

You and E4E are a disservice to the profession. You are allowing yourselves to be used, and YOU and yours are dividing the profession in a time in which we must stand united.

Puppets? You really think Michelle Rhee cares about you?

As for the vitriol, where is it? Where are the lack of facts?

Ruben, you truly need to open your eyes. You truly need to get a grip. You are so naive, you don't realize how used you are. Take a listen to all 21 minutes of 2112. Maybe then you will understand it all.

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