Wednesday, June 11, 2014

StudentsFirst Cynicism Truly Boundless

An alert reader shared with me an email she received with the subject line "Demand Better Compensation for Teachers." Turns out, it's just further proof of how cynical the reformsters at StudentsFirst are these days.

The email was generated by the site, a website of the kickstarter crowdsourcing variety, aimed specifically at projects for, well, the greater good. Anybody can hop on there and set up a project and try to raise money, so somebody at StudentsFirst apparently said, "Hey, why not."

The "project," which is for some reason in the breast cancer section of the site, uses this copy:

During a speech, President Obama said, "Education is an investment that we need to win the future."
He's right. In order to invest in our kids' futures, we need to invest in teachers now.

The most important school-based factor in a child's education is teacher quality, and America's teachers are grossly underpaid. StudentsFirst is working to elevate the teaching profession by advocating teachers be rewarded for excellence. Those who show they can move kids along academically should be compensated accordingly.

Our great teachers are the ones who help shape our kids' lives, the ones who give them tools to succeed. Teachers help pave the way for children to become scientists, engineers, world leaders. Their impact on a child's life can't be underestimated.

Yes, as witnessed from California courts to the statehouse of Pennsylvania, this is how we're playing it these days. StudentsFirst is dedicated to getting recognition for teachers, and to do that, they are campaigning tireless to get rid of tenure, seniority, unions, and any kind of job protections.

Only by turning teaching into a job that no grown-up would want to take on as a career, only by destroying teaching as a profession, can StudentsFirst get teachers the rewards they deserve. StudentsFirst will keep advocating for excellence, by which they mean "high scores on standardized tests." And if teachers in certain school settings, teaching poor students in crumbling schools with no resources-- well, if those teachers have students with low test scores, it must be the teachers' fault, and they're not excellent.

What's impressively cynical about it is that it's the kind of rhetoric you can only use effectively if you know that you're full of baloney. You can't sell this stuff if you really believe in it, because it only holds up to reality for about five seconds. And as of right now, over 20,000 people have signed on, with heartwarming messages like "It is of grave importance that we value and compensate our teachers" with no idea that they are just props in a cynical ploy by people who place no value on teaching at all.

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