Tag Archives: Public School Teachers

Why Jeff Sessions is Great for Public Schools

jeff_sessions_official_portrait

by Christopher Paslay

Jeff Sessions’ objective application of the law will be a positive change from the racial divisiveness of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, whose race-based policies demoralized teachers and tied the hands of school administrators. 

According to a study published in the Washington Post in July of 2016, America is more racially divided than it’s been in decades.  Despite President Obama’s promise to bring Americans together (“. . . there’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America . . .”), the tone of his administration could be more aptly summarized by his statement, If I had a son he’d look like Trayvon.

The irony, of course, is that a bi-racial president was so racially polarizing.  This divisiveness was felt by many Americans, including our nation’s public school teachers.  Following the lead of Attorney General Eric Holder, Education Secretary Arne Duncan used the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to label public schools and their teachers as institutionally racist and hit them with suffocating regulations.

According to a 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, Black students were more than three times as likely as their White peers to be suspended or expelled.  That was noteworthy information, being that 84 percent of America’s public school teachers in 2012 were White.

The result of this report, of course, was not only the demoralization of public school teachers, but the implementation of regulations which made it harder to discipline students and maintain workable classroom environments.  Teachers were forced to rethink the way they approached their jobs, planning lessons which accommodated the unruly behavior of minority students who were no longer allowed to be removed from the classroom; these challenged children were forced to coexist with their functional hard working peers, and the integrity and quality of everyone’s education, Black and White alike, was compromised.

So how is our new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session going to remedy the situation?  By being a fair and objective arbiter of the law.  Throughout his confirmation hearing, Sessions insisted he would uphold and protect the United States Constitution, unlike Barack Obama and Eric Holder, who selectively enforced the law.  In other words, Sessions will not use race to set policy or interpret the Constitution — a simple enough premise.

In short, Sessions won’t play the part of an aggrieved activist, using skin color to either prosecute — or refrain from prosecuting — American citizens.  The new culture of “colorblindness” will hopefully set the tone for the rest of the DOE.  This would mean the race card might be put away for a while, and teachers will be free to teach once again.  Disciplinarians will be free to discipline, too.  Regardless of race.

Perhaps the morale of public school teachers may improve as well.  Not being labeled a racist — along with having a manageable classroom environment — will go a long way in terms of school performance.  In Sessions, teachers now have an Attorney General whom they can respect as a fair arbiter of the law, an attorney General who will work for everyone equally, not just those minority groups the government deems worthy of preferential treatment.

Unfortunately, though, the campaign to slander Sessions has been in high gear as of late.  His critics don’t want a neutral arbitrator of the law but a social justice activist like Holder and Lynch — someone who will selectively prosecute based on skin color, the way Holder did in 2009 when the DOJ dropped the case against the New Black Panthers for intimidating voters in Philadelphia.

The fact that Sessions will be colorblind is the main reason why his opponents label him . . . get ready for this, racist . . . and continue to use smear tactics and spread misinformation sessions-bridge-3-1024x683about him.  In the world of race-baiting and identity politics, being colorblind is akin to committing a hate crime.  Despite the disingenuous attacks from fellow senators, Sessions is a good man with a glowing record on civil rights.  During a march to commemorate the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” Jeff Sessions held hands with civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

According to the Weekly Standard:

Sessions’s actual track record certainly doesn’t suggest he’s a racist. Quite the opposite, in fact. As a U.S. Attorney he filed several cases to desegregate schools in Alabama. And he also prosecuted Klansman Henry Francis Hays, son of Alabama Klan leader Bennie Hays, for abducting and killing Michael Donald, a Black teenager selected at random. Sessions insisted on the death penalty for Hays. When he was later elected the state Attorney General, Sessions followed through and made sure Hays was executed. The successful prosecution of Hays also led to a $7 million civil judgment against the Klan, effectively breaking the back of the KKK in Alabama.

Jeff Sessions is hardly a racist.  On the contrary, he’s an honest man with character and integrity, and will have a positive impact on both public school performance and teacher morale.

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Arne Duncan is Right: Protesters Shouldn’t be Blocking DeVos from Public Schools

duncan

by Christopher Paslay

Obama Education Secretary is right to condemn agitators for verbally assaulting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and for physically blocking her from entering a D.C. public school.    

On Friday afternoon, after Betsy DeVos was physically prevented from entering a Washington D.C. public school and verbally assaulted by a group of agitators (allegations that DeVos was physically assaulted are still being investigated), Arne Duncan tweeted out the following:

Agree or disagree w @BetsyDeVos on any issue, but let’s all agree she really needs to be in public schools. Please let her in.

Duncan, who served as Obama’s Education Secretary for seven years, should be commended for remaining above the fray and calling for civil treatment of DeVos, the newly confirmed United States Secretary of Education. Whether you agree with her stance on education or not, the all-out smear campaign on her background and character is inappropriate.

Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson actually likened DeVos to a murderer, tweeting that her policies “will kill children” and lead “queer kids” to “more suicides” because of a lack of access to supports in religious schools.

Interestingly, if you take a closer look at her agenda, you’ll find that many of her views aren’t that different from Arne Duncan’s, which might be why he went out of his way to defend her right to be heard. Duncan’s record as Obama’s education chief reveals he did quite a lot to dismantle traditional public education and attack schoolteachers, turning neighborhood schools into charters and trampling collective bargaining rights in the process.

During his seven year tenure, Duncan fought to:

  • Use performance pay to compensate teachers based on student performance on standardized tests.
  • End teacher seniority to give principals the autonomy to pick their own staffs.
  • Turn “failing” schools into charters.
  • Overhaul entire staffs of teachers and principals at failing schools.
  • Reduce suspensions and expulsions to deal with unruly and disruptive students.

Then there was his whole plan to shame teachers into improving performance, endorsing the public release of information about how well individual teachers fare at raising their students’ test scores.

This doesn’t sound like a man who respected teachers’ unions, traditional public education, or educational privacy rights, but other than an occasional editorial in the newspaper, not a whole lot was said about it. The Obama/Duncan “Reform Train” railroaded public schools, students, and teachers from coast to coast, for seven long years. And how many times did raving agitators, holding Black Lives Matter signs, block his entrance into schools?

Zero.

How many times did Chuck Schumer insist that Obama’s appointment of Duncan to office should “offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country,” the way he did of Trump’s appointment of DeVos?

Zero.

How many times were Duncan’s policies accused of killing children?

Zero.

Why?

Politics as usual.

Take education in Philadelphia, for example. There’s this notion floating around that the appointment of Betsy DeVos marks the end of Philly public schools as we know them, that teachers’ unions—along with collective bargaining—will be irrevocably dismantled. I’ve heard it mentioned, in fact, that Betsy DeVos is the biggest threat to collective bargaining ever.

Ever?

Hardly.

Dwight Evans wins this title. In the late 1990s, he fought to pass the Pennsylvania Charter School Law, which opened the floodgates for school choice and took millions of dollars away from traditional public schools and pumped them into privately owned charters.  Evans also supported Acts 46 and 83, which enabled Harrisburg to take over the Philadelphia School District, and replace the local school board with a state-run School Reform Commission.

It also took away the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ right to strike.

Now, fast forward to 2017. The city doesn’t have a local school board, and contract terms can be unilaterally forced on the union by the SRC.  The school budget has been slashed by hundreds of millions, and staffs are running on bare bones.  Many schools lack adequate nurses and counselors. It’s been over 1,000 days since teachers have had a contract.  Their seniority has been cut, their degrees marginalized, and they haven’t received a raise in nearly four years.

Was Dwight Evans ever blocked from entering a school?

No. On the contrary, he’s been continually voted into office by establishment Democrats, many of whom are the same folks throwing a temper tantrum over Betsy “Doomsday” DeVos.

Why isn’t DeVos the biggest threat to collective bargaining to date in Philadelphia? Because under Act 46 and 83, there is no real power to collective bargain.   You can’t take away something you don’t technically have.

Yet somehow DeVos remains the ultimate boogiewoman, and has been relentlessly smeared before even being given a chance to develop her vision for American education.

Kudos to Arne Duncan for remaining above the fray and calling for the civil treatment of DeVos. You can agree or disagree with DeVos on any issue, as Duncan stated, but at least know she must be allowed to visit public schools so we can have an appropriate and responsible dialogue.

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10 Reasons to Send Your Child to School Wearing a Wire!

by Christopher Paslay

It’s the latest educational craze—sending your child to school wearing a wire.  Last week, the Associated Press wrote about the phenomenon:

Teachers hurled insults like “bastard,” “damn dumb,” “’tard” and “a hippo in a ballerina suit.” A bus driver threatened to slap one child. A bus monitor told another, “Shut up, you little dog!”

They were all special-needs students, and their parents all learned about the verbal abuse the same way—by planting audio recorders on the children before sending them off to school.

Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, supports the practice.  “If a parent has any reason at all to suggest a child is being abused or mistreated, I strongly recommend that they do the same,” she said.  It appears, according to a story in the Huffington Post, a number of parents of disabled children are beginning to do just that.

For those parents interested in starting a war with their child’s teachers, here are 10 reasons to pimp-out your son or daughter and send him or her into a classroom with a secret recording device:

10.  Get Famous.  Just look at Stuart Chaifetz (see video below), the angry renegade dad from Cherry Hill, NJ, who wired-up his 10-year-old autistic son with a tape recorder in order to find out the real reason why the boy was attacking his teachers and throwing chairs at Horace Mann Elementary School.  As it turns out, after sifting through six-and-a-half hours of tape that was recorded without anyone’s consent, Chaifetz located several snippets of airplay where the teachers used a mean voice, telling his son to “shut his mouth,” and mumbling that he was a “bastard”.  After putting the audio on YouTube, the teachers were eventually disciplined and an aid was dismissed, and rightfully so; teachers should remain professional at all times, and those unable to act responsibly should be dealt with.  Now Chaifetz is an internet sensation, and his post has gotten over four million views!

9.  Create a Platform for Your Personal Politics.  Do you have a gripe with teachers?  Unions?  Tenure?  Give your kid a wire to wear to school, but before putting the illegal recording up on YouTube, embed your personal political agenda into the edited version with carefully crafted commentary that will be sure to touch a nerve in everyone!

8.  Violate the Rights of Teachers.  When you take your video, make sure you do it dishonestly.  Don’t first get the consent of the teachers appearing in the video or have them sign the proper release forms.  Just do it behind their back, violating their privacy rights both before and after you publish the edited version to the entire world on YouTube.

7.  Violate the Rights of Other Students.  Violate the privacy rights of the other students in the classroom the same way you violated the rights of the teachers.

6.  Make a Spectacle of Yourself.  When you edit the illegal video you forced your child to take in school, make sure you add-in video commentary of yourself speaking loudly and angrily into the camera with a look in your eye that suggests you are a few cards short of a full deck.

5.  Create a Toxic Learning Environment.  Nothing boosts classroom instruction better than the underlying tension created by the possibility of students recording their teacher’s every word and action, and then giving the recording to their disgruntled parents for calculated editing before putting it up on YouTube.

4.  Smear the Reputation of an Entire School District.  One rotten YouTube video can ruin all the hard work of an entire district of dedicated teachers.

3.  Show the World How Self Righteous You Are.  See reason #6, but when you talk angrily into the camera, let everyone know how important and heroic you are.

2.  Inflame Relations Between Your Community and School.  Improve public education by attacking teachers and violating privacy—and do all of it publically, on the internet.

1.  Pretend Your Child Does No Wrong.  We all know that discipline problems in the classroom have nothing to do with the behavior of children, and everything to do with mean-talking, bullying teachers (that is until teachers start putting videos of disrespectful and unruly students on the internet!)

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Filed under Teacher Bashing

Test your knowledge of America’s public school teachers!

1.  What percentage of public school teachers are white?

A)  50%

B)  84%

C)  72%

 

2.  What percentage of public school teachers are women?

A)  55%

B)  84%

C)  62%

 

3.  What percentage are 29 years old or younger?

A)  18%

B)  21%

C)  52%

 

4)  What percentage has five years teaching experience or less?

A) 19%

B)  26%

C)  42%

 

5.  What percentage has earned a master’s degree? 

A)  28%

B)  43%

C)  32%

 

6.  What percentage teach in the city?

A)  49%

B)  31%

C)  22%

 

7.  What percentage teach in the suburbs?

A)  51%

B)  26%

C)  12%

 

8.  What percentage teach general elementary?

A)  35%

B)  48%

C)  2%

 

9.  What percentage entered the classroom from an alternative teacher preparation program?

A)  33%

B)  16%

C)  92%

 

10.  What percentage are “very or somewhat satisfied” with their overall job as a teacher?

A)  10%

B)  89%

C)  51%

 

ANSWERS:

1.  The answer is B.  84% of teachers are white.

2.  The answer is B.  84% of teachers are women.

3.  The answer is B.  21% are 29 years old or younger.

4.  The answer is B.  26% have five years experience or less.

5.  The answer is B.  43% have master’s degrees.

6.  The answer is B.  31% teach in the city.

7.  The answer is B.  26% teach in the suburbs.

8.  The answer is B.  48% teach general elementary.

9.  The answer is B.  16% entered the classroom via an alternative route.

10.  The answer is B.  89% are satisfied with their overall job as a teacher.

(Data from “Profiles of Teachers in the U.S. 2011”)

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