Posted in Corp Interest, Teaching Career, Tenure

The Latest in Teacher Bashing

ON TEACHER BASHING

The big news of the week is the Time Magazine cover which states the falsehood that it’s (nearly) impossible to fire teachers who have “tenure” and the saviors of America’s children, rich tech entrepreneurs, have solved the problem.

I haven’t read the article…I don’t subscribe to Time and haven’t for decades. I remember an argument my father and I had over Time. I said that Time was a tool of the dreaded Military Industrial Complex (this was the 60s, after all). His response was that they were an opinion magazine and if I didn’t agree with them, I should express my own opinion. Unfortunately, even back then Time had a lot more readers that I did.

Time itself classifies itself as a “news” magazine and in that way disputes my father’s description of it as an opinion magazine. Dad was right, of course, and I would maintain that nearly all “news” sources are “opinion” sources, after all (see Fox News), but the fact remains that the magazine is ubiquitous for any American who sits in a dentist’s or doctor’s waiting room.

Some of those who have read the recent Time article claim that the cover doesn’t accurately reflect the content of the article. In America, however, the soundbite, or in this case,  the imagebite, rules. For most people, Time’s cover is all the content that will be seen.

THE NEWS

Time publishes different editions for different parts of the world. In the other editions for November 4 the lead story is “Stopping Ebola.” For some reason the editors thought that, in the U.S. at least, hating on teachers is a stronger sell than concern about the health threat of ebola (See other editions of TimeEurope, Asia and South Pacific).

APOLOGY-OR-BOYCOTT

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, is pushing her apology-or-boycott of Time (they apologize or we boycott). This is an effective way to rally the masses, but I doubt that it will effect the editors of Time. Chances are that they are wetting themselves with joy over the additional publicity, which, of course, was their goal to begin with.

I did sign on to the apology-or-boycott, but Time Inc includes quite a few other magazines…People, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and Money, to name just a few. Do we boycott them all?

BLAMING TEACHERS: A HARD HABIT TO BREAK

My hunch is that, hidden among the print and electronic media corporations of Time Inc are some vested interests in school privatization. At the very least though, Time Inc has shown itself to be a consistent source of public school teacher bashing. They’ve been promoters of the myth of failing schools, and dealers in “reform” — starting as far back as 1980.

The June 16, 1980 issue had a cover which shouted, Help! Teacher Can’t Teach. The article began by quoting Milton Friedman, the guru of privatization and vouchers. “Parents know their kids are getting a bad education” he said. Time’s cover placed the blame on teachers. Even in 1980, Time Magazine was playing the “bad teachers” card.

Fast forward nearly 30 years to Feb 25, 2008 and not much has changed. The cover read, How to Make Better Teachers. Their answer? Performance pay…the idea that Diane Ravitch says, “never works and never dies.”

Less than a year later we were treated to the December 8, 2008 issue with Michelle Rhee on the cover and a gushing article inside. [Note to self: Find the issue where they wrote about how the D.C. schools are still low achieving despite Rhee and her cheating scandal cover up.]

We learned What Makes a School Great from the September 20, 2010 issue. Again, it’s “good teachers.” The lead article is a four page advertisement for Waiting for Superman.

Where are the magazine covers and articles about the increase in the economic achievement gap, the increase in segregation, and the failure of the almighty charters to do any better than neighborhood public schools? Where are the covers and articles about charters skimming students from regular public schools and vouchers transferring public money into church coffers? Where are the covers and articles about the test and punish plans of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, which have cost us billions of tax dollars while failing to improve student achievement?

Time Magazine is, quite simply, a voice for corporate reform…the November 4, 2014 issue is not an outlier. Teachers and supporters of public education should have been speaking out against this rag all along. Now is as good a time as any to start.

[An earlier version of this blog entry incorrectly connected Time Inc to Time Warner Inc, to Time Warner Cable, and, by association, to ALEC. Those corporations are all independent from one another. Time Warner Cable is a member of ALEC. The others are not. I apologize for the error.]

BLOGGER’S BASHING THE BASHERS

Enjoy the following “Davids” fighting the innuendo, misrepresentation, and outright lies from the “Goliath” — Time Magazine…

TIME Magazine Criticized for ‘Malicious’ Anti-Teacher Cover
A Reality Check for Time Magazine- And A Wake Up Call for America’s Teachers
A Time magazine cover enrages teachers — again
Time Magazine Attacks Teachers
Time’s Tenure Story
Teacher Hate
Letter to the Editor of TIME Magazine: Teacher Tenure
The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story
ROTTEN JOURNALISM: 4 WAYS TIME MAGAZINE MISREPRESENTS TEACHERS

And one final article about ALEC and public education…
ALEC and Battle Over Public vs. Private Education

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All who envision a more just, progressive and fair society cannot ignore the battle for our nation’s educational future. Principals fighting for better schools, teachers fighting for better classrooms, students fighting for greater opportunities, parents fighting for a future worthy of their child’s promise: their fight is our fight. We must all join in.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Author:

Retired after 35 years in public education.

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