Some Friends Of TFA Join In On The Teacher Bashing During a Pandemic

A big topic among teacher bashing reformers, nowadays, is how easy teachers have it as they attempt to work remotely.  In my last post I wrote about how some prominent reformers found no shame in kicking teachers while they were down.

Most reformer are either TFA alumni or are big supporters of TFA.  In this post I want to look at how some of the lesser known ed reformers have joined in on the teacher bashing.

Dan Weisberg is the current head of the Michelle Rhee founded TNTP (formerly known as ‘The New Teachers Project’).  Though this editorial has a small product placement for his own teacher recruitment services, the piece itself does not bash teachers.  But anyone who follows Dan Weisberg knows that he is not a friend to teachers.  Just three days later, Weisberg’s true colors show with this tweet.

So I looked up this ‘shameful’ contract for Boston teachers and found the list of teacher responsibilities during the pandemic.  I encourage any reader to read the entire contract here and decide for yourself if this is something that is unnecessarily easy for the teachers.  Here is the relevant section:

Screen Shot 2020-04-26 at 9.18.10 PMScreen Shot 2020-04-26 at 9.18.20 PMScreen Shot 2020-04-26 at 9.18.30 PM

50CAN is a big ed reform lobbyist group that has a lot of TFA alumni on staff and that took over Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst.

In this tweet, The TFA alum 50CAN guy is reacting to a New York Times article about the struggles that many teachers who are caretakers for their own children have in trying to juggle both responsibilities.  Though that article is pretty balanced, it has the unfortunate title ‘Online School Demands More of Teachers. Unions Are Pushing Back.’  I think the expression ‘pushing back’ has an unnecessarily negative connotation in this context.  But for the TFA-Friendly TNTP and 50CAN, they must unfairly continue their teachers unions vs. students narrative.

Both the UTLA contract (which you can read here) and the Boston contract referenced earlier in this one, require teachers to do quite a lot of work.  Teachers who are able to will surely go beyond the minimum while teachers who are struggling with many of their own issues will struggle to meet those minimums.  But surely it should be the union’s job to negotiate what that minimum should be, and if the Boston and L.A. contracts are the ones that are ‘shameful’ and ‘indefensible’ I would like to see either of these tweeters teach remotely for a week while also taking care of their own young children, with a minimum that they would not consider too light.

This is why I was very surprised, and impressed, to see a counter view from RiShawn Biddle, another staunch reformer and friend of TFA.  Impressively, he came to the defense of teachers in a series of tweets.

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5 Responses to Some Friends Of TFA Join In On The Teacher Bashing During a Pandemic

  1. Tom Snyder says:

    I loathe these teacher bashers. They don’t care about the countless hours spent transitioning in-person classroom materials to online learning materials OR those spent learning new technologies through webinars, YouTube tutorials and just figuring it out along the way. My colleagues and I are working our asses off amidst endless Zoom meetings with administration and colleagues while emailing and following-up with students and parents. It’s all hands on deck tracking down and accounting for each child, doing our best to keep it all going throughout these surreal times. I can’t even keep track of all the hours involved—-never did…….it’s whatever it takes. There isn’t an expletive that is strong enough to express the contempt I have for these bashers and the privatization industrial complex and their Borg Queen DeVos. How many more teacher careers and student lives are they going to ruin before they’re stopped?

  2. Pingback: Gary Rubinstein: Some TFA Leaders Can’t Stop Bashing Teachers | Diane Ravitch's blog

  3. carolinesf says:

    The “reform” sector must consider Biddle a loose cannon — he definitely goes his own way at times.

    • Jack Covey says:

      I agree. During the infamous “rip-‘n-redo” video controversy (February 2016), which showed Success Academy teacher Charlotte Dial screaming like a banshee at a 5-year-old Success Academy student, Biddle broke with his allies in the reform crowd, and blasted Eva Moskowitz and her charter chain’s unashamedly abusive treatment of students of color.

      Here’s how THE YOUNG TURKS covered this: (it includes the Dial video)

      Here’s Biddle echoing THE YOUNG TURKS:
      ============================
      RISHAWN BIDDLE: “Was there anything that the young girl did that merited Dial’s response? Not according to the video. She didn’t misbehave. In fact, she said nothing. As Dial screamed at her and engaged in her own tolerated brand of misbehavior, the child meekly walked over to the chair and sat. Put simply, Dial’s behavior was educational malpractice, abusive, intolerable, and just plain unacceptable.

      “But as bad as Dial’s behavior was, Success’ response was even worse. After New York Times reporter Kate Taylor, who obtained the video from a former teacher’s aide, brought it to the attention of the operator, it didn’t dismiss her or even put her on a long-term suspension. Instead, Success Academy took her off the job for a week, then put her back into the classroom.

      “After the Times ran the story this past Thursday, Moskowitz and her crisis management flunkies hastily put together a press conference in which ‘they accused Taylor and the newspaper of teacher-bashing. [Success also put together a hashtag on Twitter, #StopBashingTeachers, that was quickly hijacked by traditionalists who have long considered Success a bete noire.]

      “As far as Moskowitz was concerned, Dial’s misbehavior was just another “anomaly” that didn’t represent how Success conducts its business. If anything, as far as Moskowitz was concerned, Dial was still a “model teacher” deserving of being considered an example of high-quality instruction for her colleagues. Save for a few reformers, most-notably Valentina Korkes of the otherwise reliably pro-Moskowitz Education Post, most reformers lined up behind Moskowitz’ party line. This included former CNN anchor-turned-reform advocate Campbell Brown, who sits on Success Academy’s board and runs reform-oriented media outlet 74. Despite the piece quoting one parent supportive of Dial and Success Academy, Brown accused Taylor and the Times of failing to balance the piece with even more quotes from supporters. [The Times editor overseeing Taylor’s coverage, Amy Virshup, took apart Brown’s logic.]”
      ============================
      … and on Biddle goes.

      While you had other reform idiots engaging in torturous mental contortions to excuse what was on the video, Biddle wasn’t havin’ it. Not one bit.

      Biddle’s piece is here:

      https://dropoutnation.net/2016/02/16/success-academy-merits-no-defense/

      Also, that video was so old, so by the time that some rogue Success Academy teacher’s aide leaked it, bringing on nation-wide condemnation, Charlotte Dial had been put in charge of training Success Academy teachers. (???!!!!)

      Chew on that one.

      This was after someone researched Ms. Dial’s record, and discovered that in the only two states in which she lived, there existed no record of her possessing any teaching credential of any kind. Her only training came from Eva and her underlings.

      A fellow teacher of mine and I occasionally reference Dial during the the day, as in one of us saying to the other…

      “I got so mad, I almost went all-Charlotte-Dial on the kids today, but I kept it together.”

      OR

      “Lately, the students have been putting me in that ol’ Charlotte-Dial-kinda-mood.”

      Seriously, Dial’s actually done some good, as she serves as an anti-role-model of sorts, getting my colleague and me to keep us from losing our temper and acting abusive or unprofessional.

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