Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poop Sandwich

If you wanted to trick someone into eating poop, you would not just hand them a bowl of poop unless you also had a gun to point at the person's head.

No, it would be easier to trick them by hiding the poop inside something yummy like soup or a casserole. Or you could make a poop sandwich. Just hide the poop between two perfectly good slices of tasty bread (white, rye, pumpernickel-- for purposes of this metaphor you can use whatever bread you like, as I have no idea which bread would go best with poop).

Recently I wrote about (and by "wrote about," I mean "made fun of") the burgeoning science of grittology. In that piece, I used a quote from Dr. Robert A. Martinez, a guy who seems to be trying to make a go out of something he calls "transformational resiliency." Dr. Martinez dropped by my comments section to convey that he's a sincere guy (actually, he appears online as "resiliencyguy") who wants to make the world and education a little better for people. And I'm inclined to believe him; I've seen his three-minute video which has an earnest shot-in-his-office production value combined with reading-from-a-script-setting-next-to-the-camera delivery. I believe Dr. Martinez is sincere.

Because here's the thing-- grit is not entirely a bad concept. I think many of my students could use a little more toughness, a little more faith in their own strength, a little more willingness to bounce back from disappointments and failures.

But grit as it is being presented these days is a big poop sandwich. The perfectly good bread of personal toughness and resiliency is being used to hide a bunch of poop about how schools and employers and corporations and government don't have to show any sensitivity or support to human beings-- if people can't handle being abused and mistreated, then it's their fault for not being gritty enough. Grit as it is currently being presented in the world of Reformy Stuff is just a big poop sandwich.

Standards are not an innately bad thing. But the CCSS are using the value of standards to mask some terrible one-size-fits-all badly-framed poorly-written poop. Having high standards? Also a good thing, but that value is used to hide the crazypants untested wrongheaded standards of CCSS. Having smart young people spend some time helping strengthen schools is not a terrible thought and teaching really is a noble profession, but TFA is using those values to hide an agenda of destroying the profession and aiding profiteering. Assessment is a necessary part of teaching students, but the values of assessment are being used to justify the most wretchedly awful program of high-stakes testing ever seen in human history. Teachers should be accountable to the taxpayers who pay our salaries, but that value is being used to mask an abusive anti-teacher evaluation program that is about destroying teaching as a career.

Those of us who argue against Reformy Stuff often find ourselves in some variation of the same conversation; we are pointing out the evils of some aspect of the whole wretched mess to someone who keeps saying, "But this part of it right here is totally okay!" It's just a variation on this conversation:

Pro-public school advocate: Do not eat that poop sandwich! It's a poop sandwich!!"

Other guy: But the bread looks totally okay.

People are coming around, slowly. They are lifting up the bread and declaring, "Hey! This is poop in here!" And reformers, getting greedy and sloppy, keep putting less and less bread with more and more poop, making their poopiness more and more obvious.

Of course, the next hard part comes later, because when you make a poop sandwich, you end up ruining a lot of perfectly good bread.


  1. Wolf in Sheep's Clothing….Poop Sandwich….Sociopathic Corporate Billionaire Reformers….whatever it is called …'s still the same…….

    Deviant Behavior of Adults Perpetrating Abuse to Children!

  2. Yes yes yes yes!!!! It's like an abusive relationship ....we're staying together foe the kids....when all that's being done is modeling abusive relationship dynamics. Have a cousin who stayed in an abusive marriage" for the kids" and now the kids are nearly adults who seek out relationships w abusive people. The reform movement is the same. "We're doing this for the kids" .... so the kids are observing stressed and emotionally deadened teachers unless they wake up and get the hell out. Either way, the kids are getting screwed in this reform situation. Grit? Hell, it's become another word for "let me slap you upside your head and then tell you it's your fault."

  3. While we are on the subject of packaged poop, there is another poop sandwich that veteran teachers are burned out, and must be eliminated. LAUSD rid itself f 17,000 ‘dead wood’ teachers, and they have a new scam now to reduce the budget. Wait until you read this most recent post by Lenny Isenberg whose site chronicles the corruption in LAUSD:

    This has reached a point where anything goes in order to harass teachers.
    This can only occur because there is not a shred of accountability for the administrative behaviors and the WAR against American who happen to be teachers shovel the poop on them!


    Drill Kill Bubble Fill. Here is a song that describes the economic origins of the poop sandwich.