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Glen Ford explains what the Chicago Teachers Strike is really about

In one sentence from the deservedly famous "What Hath Obama Wrought":

Even Obama’s “lesser” crimes are astounding: his early calls for austerity and entitlement-axing (two weeks before his inauguration) and determined pursuit of a Grand Accommodation with the GOP (a $4 trillion deal that the Republicans rejected, in the summer of 2011) reveal a politician intent on ushering in a smoother, more rational corporate hegemony over a thoroughly pacified civil society. Part and parcel of that pacification is the de-professionalization of teaching – an ambition far beyond de-unionization.

Ding ding ding ding ding.

Because there is so much more rent to be extracted from wage slaves running "educational" software than there is from teachers actually teaching.

NOTE The professors are next for de-professionalization via "unbundling," which at least the adjuncts can see. What else can they imagine MOOCs are all about? That declension might take a generation to play out, of course. And there will always be one-to-one "bespoke curricula" for a certain class of people. Those who can really appreciate such things.

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goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

So, you know, he kinda doesn't mean it.

I had an epiphany about what drives Republican voters because I spent the weekend with my sister. It's not really about the money. Well, it sorta is but not really. It's about control. She and her ilk want to be able to control who gets the tax money and they want to make sure the people who get it are deserving. We were talking about grants and loans and research money at the time but I think this can be applied to the educational establishment in general. And even though I am a union supporter, I know where she's coming from. When I ran for the Board of Ed in my town I did it because I had really had it with the curriculum. But when I was sworn in, I found that the union was perfectly happy catering to the lowest common denominator teacher and was incompetent with respect to evaluating curriculum and methods. I had to sit through some pretty embarrassing presentations from the curriculum supervisors who had apparently had no idea how to evaluate pedagogy or textbooks. But if you asked them to get their shit together because parents were losing patience, they just ignored you. They were the experts. They didn't want input. They wanted compliance.
There was too much emphasis on blaming the parents for not being professional tutors at home, too much emphasis on behavior and discipline, not enough on professional standards.
It would have been great if they had taken our advice a couple of decades ago and had reformed their profession and moved from being strictly a labor union to more of a professional union, enforcing their own discipline internally and setting new standards for teaching. They might have been more responsive to parents. But no, every time we asked for them to treat their vocation as something they took very seriously instead of something they dressed up with flowery words like, "Our goal is to nurture each child's potential so that he or she may become life long learners and productive members of society", they balked. We couldn't be too specific, couldn't set standards and expectations, nor could we expect them to set them. Then there was the whole testing kerfuffle. Every other developed nation in the world tests on national standards. It's really not too much to ask just as a diagnostic tool and method by which we evaluate pedagogy. They didn't like it.
Teachers have failed to evolve. They didn't understand the control thing until it was too late. Now it is a gigantic power struggle between cash strapped taxpayers and teachers mentally stuck in the 1970s. The tax payers are winning but they wouldn't have anything to complain about if teachers had been more willing to reform themselves and had given the taxpayers no reason to feel left out of the process.
FWIW, I hope the CTU prevails because there is something more important at stake here but it never should have come to this. It was all preventable.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

where did Glen Ford say he was going to vote for Obama?

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

I think Lambert posted it a couple of days ago. Glen was debating some other guy whose name escapes me. And Glen said he intended to vote for Obama. Yep. I nearly fell off my chair because why would you vote for the more effective evil? Isn't that the basis of his entire argument? That it would sorta be better if Obama lost because it might energize the left?

I don't know, maybe he didn't mean it. Maybe he felt he *had* to say it to not let down the African American community. Whatever it was, it completely undermined his credibility.

Other than that, and his entirely lefty tendency to be unhappy and peevish with foreign policy no matter what the proposed solution is, I totally agree with him.

Submitted by lambert on

This is what he said:

GLEN FORD: Well, we are certainly not encouraging people to vote for the more effective evil. But, however, members of my family and friends and people that we at Black Agenda Report deal with closely, politically, are going to vote for President Obama. All we ask of them is that they not tell any lies about his record in the process, to tell the truth. And truth telling is not something that’s just engaged in in highfalutin principle; we make our decisions based upon the truth.

I can't find where Ford says he, personally, will vote either way. In a rush, missing it?

Submitted by Hugh on

Ford didn't say he would vote for Obama. He just didn't come out strongly against not voting for him:

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: I don’t hear Glen Ford articulating for actual voters on the ground, what will you do November 6? What do you encourage them to do?

AMY GOODMAN: Glen Ford?

GLEN FORD: Well, we are certainly not encouraging people to vote for the more effective evil. But, however, members of my family and friends and people that we at Black Agenda Report deal with closely, politically, are going to vote for President Obama. All we ask of them is that they not tell any lies about his record in the process, to tell the truth. And truth telling is not something that’s just engaged in in highfalutin principle; we make our decisions based upon the truth.

goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

... that he was going to vote for him. I did hear the part about his friends and family voting for him. And then, a little while later, I could swear I heard Glenn say he was also going to vote for him. Either I'm losing it or the clip has been altered.