(Updated with quotes: 11/4/2012)
“I love teachers – effective teachers," she told a smaller group of lawmakers and educators that day. "No one has a harder job than an inner-city teacher. There is nothing more noble than working as a teacher.-Michelle Rhee
But if you raise some of these issues you are labeled 'anti-teacher' or a 'union-buster.' I'm not a union buster. But teachers have a very effective organization lobbying on their behalf. I want to be effective representing the other side, our children.”
"In the 21st century, public schools need the kind of innovation that private firms like Google, Twitter, and Apple exemplify (just as there's room for innovation from non-profits like CK12 or Khan Academy). For the sake of our children, it's time to open our minds, move past ideology, roll up our sleeves together, and get to work."-Joel Klein
@anthonycody "I grew up in a liberal family. Certain values were upheld as sacred...You stood with the underdog." Kids are the underdogs.
— Chris Arnold (@chrisarnold) November 2, 2012
To all of the Chris Arnolds, Michelle Rhees, and Joel Kleins out there:
How many kids do you have? How many are in the public schools? How many kids have you taught? I ask because I am a teacher and am a parent with actual children in public schools and I haven't seen any evidence that the policies you endorse are helping students or helping my children. In fact, I see that the policies you support are harmful: harmful to public schools, harmful to quality education, harmful to students, harmful to my children.
I understand that you don't agree. That you probably believe in the mission of the industry you work for (though not, apparently, enough to tell anyone that you work in said industry). That's fine (though I'd love to know how many kids you have actually, verifiably, and concretely helped by touting the the policies you do). I think your beliefs are misinformed, but everyone has beliefs and, for better or worse, many of them aren't the same as mine.
I understand that you and your superiors and fellow education reform industry leaders have a living to make. Peddle your gadgets and your software. Be an education consultant or a professional development vendor. Run your "education reform" organization. Add to the ranks of the over-sized lobbying industry. Be a PR flack. Continue the proliferation of "failing" schools, but make a tidy profit at it, too. Raise your money. Make your living. Help politicians to make a living. I could never look at myself in the mirror doing what you do, but that's just me. Everyone needs to make a living, especially writers. After all, who gives "crap" about creativity when the kiddies can't read, right?
But there is a role you seem confused about. See, you represent an ideology. You work for a company or an organization or contributors. You represent them. You don't represent kids and you certainly don't represent my kids. So stop acting as if you speak for my children. Stop ruining their education in their name. You don't know my children. You don't live in my community. You don't work or volunteer in the schools my children go to. You're not helping my children, their peers, or their teachers (not even the excellent ones). You don't know what's best for them and their education. I represent my children. I speak for them. My children speak for themselves. I know them and their teachers know them. And from what I can tell and what they experience, your ideology is all wrong for them and their education. If you have them, you can speak for your own children. If you don't, well, promote your ideology and your business in your name.
Don't you dare promote it in the name of my children or in the name of their education.