The deaths in Newtown were a tragedy. But union supporters want to know: Who will weep for the children killed by charter schools and Teach for America?
New York University prof Diane Ravitch, a one-time school reformer who has since gotten into bed with teachers unions, offered up her thoughts about the heroic teachers at Sandy Hook yesterday on her blog:
Every one of the teachers was a career educator. Every one was doing exactly what she wanted to do. They've worked in a school that was not obsessed with testing but with the needs of children. This we know: the staff at Sandy Hook loved their students. They put their students first, even before their own lives.
Oh, and one other thing, all these dedicated teachers belonged to a union. The senior teachers had tenure, despite the fact that "reformers" (led by ConnCAN, StudentsFirst, and hedge fund managers) did their best last spring to diminish their tenure and to tie their evaluations to test scores….
Newtown does not need a charter school. What it needs now is healing. Not competition, not division, but a community coming together to help one another. Together. Not competing.
Some folks, including Teach for America vice president David Rosenberg, took umbrage at her fairly direct implication that teachers at charter schools or other non-traditional educators wouldn't have tried to protect their charges from a carzy gunman.
Ravitch posted a follow-up, in which she clams to be baffled by why people might have found her line of argument upsetting or tendentious. Instead of reprinting their criticisms, however, she offers up a congratulatory email from Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union.
There might have been a time where "politicizing" tragic events, especially mass shootings was thought to be in poor taste. That has changed with the 24/7 news cycle that continues to focus far too much time and energy on the perpetrator of the massacre than that of our precious victims. Rosenberg's "false outrage" needs to be checked. That same false outrage should show itself when policies his colleagues support kill and disenfranchise children from schools across this nation.
Leaving aside the terrible writing (wait, so we should be falsely outraged over school reform policy proposals?), the underlying argument here is nuts. 1) It's totally cool to politicize mass shootings now, because the media isn't focusing enough on the victims. 2) People who support policies like offering merit pay, revising licensing standards for teachers, reducing the robustness of tenure, and school choice are killing children.
Ravitch, who is a really smart person, posts the email without analysis, saying only that it "pleases" her.
Reason TV on those well-known child killers, Milton and Rose Friedman: