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Obama Applauds Firing Of RI Teachers

Some (probably feigned) outrage from the Trotskyites at the World Socialist Website:


Obama applauds firing of Rhode Island teachers

By Jerry White
2 March 2010

In a speech before the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC on Monday President Obama hailed the decision by school authorities in Rhode Island to fire the entire teaching and support staff at Central Falls High School.

The mass firings ordered by state school officials were part of a national plan developed by the Obama administration to deal with so-called “failing schools.” Seventy-four teachers and 19 other school employees were dismissed after they rejected a “turnaround” plan—authored by Obama’s education secretary Arne Duncan—which would have torn up their contract and forced them to work longer hours without additional pay.

And by “longer hours,” in the case of Rhode Island, the new arrangement would require only 25 minutes more a day from the teachers.

Obama made it clear the firings would be as a model to impose his right-wing school agenda on teachers and other school employees throughout the country. This includes merit pay and other “performance-based” schemes, along with plans to shut down thousands of public schools and replace them with privately owned charter schools.

Isn’t this the same “right-wing” President who closed down the voucher system in Washington, DC?

The president said the administration will target the 5,000 “lowest performing schools” in the nation for similar treatment. States would be instructed to identify high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent, he said, and the administration would use $900 million in federal funding to compel districts to implement its strategies to improve graduation rates.

“Strategies like transforming schools from top to bottom by bringing in a new principal,” the president said, “and training teachers to use more effective techniques in the classroom. Strategies like closing a school for a time and reopening it under new management, or even shutting it down entirely and sending its students to a better school. And strategies like replacing a school’s principal and at least half of its staff.”

We are highly skeptical about Mr. Obama’s sincerity here. But if by some miracle he does mean what he said, why should doing this cost yet another near trillion dollars?

Shouldn’t it save money?

If teachers and administrators continue to “fail” their students year after year, he said, and a school “doesn’t show signs of improvement, then there’s got to be a sense of accountability.”

“And that’s what happened in Rhode Island last week at a chronically troubled school, when just 7 percent of 11th graders passed state math tests—7 percent. When a school board wasn’t able to deliver change by other means, they voted to lay off the faculty and the staff. As my Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, says, our kids get only one chance at an education, and we need to get it right.”

The president deliberately made no reference to the fact that high rates of poverty are the surest indicators of low test score results, and that teachers in Central Falls—the poorest city in Rhode Island, like their counterparts in Detroit, Baltimore and other impoverished cities—are already going beyond the call of duty to help children while being forced to teach in overcrowded and chronically under-funded classrooms.

Obama’s education “reforms” have nothing to do with improving conditions for students. On the contrary, the president’s agenda is driven by the interests of the corporate and financial elite who are determined to slash school funding, while opening up the multi-billion dollar “education market” to private, for-profit companies.

Notice how the ‘socialists’ call adding another $900 billion dollars to education ‘slashing school funding.’

Employing the same language the administration used when it demanded the spin-off or liquidation of “non-performing assets” at General Motors and Chrysler, Obama told the assembled businessmen at the US Chamber of Commerce that 12 percent of US schools were responsible for 50 percent of all dropouts. The teachers and administrators at these schools, like auto workers before them, would either have to accept draconian “turnaround” plans or lose their jobs.

In case anyone thought this was a serious article.

Saying it was particularly appropriate to speak about education at a business forum, he made it clear that his agenda was entirely tailored to the interests of big business, which needed higher educational levels to “compete and win in the 21st century.” Moreover, he said, high dropout rates “cost our economy hundreds of billions of dollars” because high school dropouts were more likely to be teen parents, to commit crimes and rely on public assistance…

In fact, with the firing of teachers and use of federal funding to blackmail school districts into accepting an expansion of charter schools, the Democratic president is carrying out an attack on public education that the far right of the Republican Party has supported for decades but could never impose because of widespread popular opposition, including from teachers and other school employees.

Who knew?

The Obama administration has only been able to carry out this assault because of the undying support it enjoys from the trade union apparatus, including the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), which has offered its services in support of the administration’s right-wing, pro-business education agenda

Ah, yes. Those notoriously rightwing teacher’s unions.

The AFT has repeatedly pledged its support for the White House’s reactionary school “reform” agenda, as long as it was implemented with the collaboration of the union executives. In a January 12 speech at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Weingarten pointed to the role played by the AFT in imposing “accountability” schemes such as merit pay on teachers in Detroit and other cities.

Of course this is the way the radical left regularly works.

They intentionally go as far to the left as possible, to make even a radical like Mr. Obama seem mainstream.

It’s their version of ‘triangulation.’

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

21 Responses to “Obama Applauds Firing Of RI Teachers”

  1. NoNeoCommies says:

    This type of strategy worked with the Flight Controllers when Reagan was Prez.
    It should be used on any failing beaurocracy (and which one isn’t failing?).

  2. proreason says:

    He obviously thinks he has the teachers in his pocket.

    This is a taste of the thumb screw to let them know what can happen if they step out of line and disagree with any of the manifestos.

    • GL0120 says:

      You do realize that you’re marked for re-education, don’t you PR?
      Our Dear Leader and his followers can’t afford to have someone like you, someone who sees what’s really going on.
      Yes, this was a shot across the bow; step out of line and you’re gone.
      Of course, the Department of Eduction, under the guidance of Our Dear Leader, will be drawing a very flexible line that you might find yourself on the wrong side of at any time.
      Don’t be too surprised to find that other industries soon begin to follow this example.

    • TwilightZoned says:

      Pro, I think you’re on to something. Plus Barry does nothing without calculating how it will reflect on him.

    • Mithrandir says:

      That’s right, just like the novel, “1984.” Even your slightest eye-twitch will be monitored for dissent. And everyone will fall in line shouting “Sieg Heil!” and wave Obama flags as he passes by, just to keep out of the eye of disfavor.

      And people always scratch their heads and say, “How could the Germans support Hitler? Why did they allow all that to happen?” DUH! It’s not that hard to figure out now is it?

  3. canary says:

    Obama would have been fired, if held to any standard of teaching, and it cost.

  4. U NO HOO says:

    I’ve got mixed emotions about this RI thing.

    First, isn’t there a contract?

    Second, if teachers getting the big bucks and have students failing, the teachers should want to do what it takes to get the students educated. Sometimes we do things to save the system, like socializing capitalism, right?

    Third, pro bono is a recognized concept.

    (Read sarcasm as you see it.)

  5. GetBackJack says:

    Gilbert says – They intentionally go as far to the left as possible, to make even a radical like Mr. Obama seem mainstream.

    Living Out West in the great Colorado Basin, got lots of experience in how this tactic works. When we Followed The Money in the environmental sectors, lo … turns out the craziest, nihilist enviro-nazi groups were being funded by ‘mainstream’ Environmentally Responsible non-profits.

    The Plan was this … since the mainstream nature and enviro groups weren’t getting the primary agenda advanced very far … fund some genuinely crazy and dangerous louts to do dangerous and insane acts against The Man.

    This then would create a media push towards cooler heads, more mainstream views and more sensible actions by the very ‘mainstream’ non-profits that funded this dangerous activity. You know … the Reichstag Effect?

    Steve is absolutely right.

    This is how it’s done.

    Ask any of the early-adopters in the first days of the Bolsheviks, and how many made it through alive to control The Party.

    That’s right … about zero. Casualties in the Greater Revolution.

  6. bousquem says:

    Watch how if the tax payers infused more than the bloat already going to the red tape messes of the schools, all those new computers and equipment would either be trashed by the students because “it’s fun” or stolen so it could be sold on the street.

  7. Rusty Shackleford says:

    But, overall, it’ll be the kids who take the biggest hit. As always.

  8. Chuckk says:

    You can tell things are going badly in Obamaland. He has started saying things that make sense, even if he doesn’t believe them.

  9. TwilightZoned says:

    I don’t have a problem firing bad teachers. However, let’s not forget we do have populations who don’t put a premium on education. Values in the home, have far more influence over students, according to studies, than time spent in school. The old saying you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink also applies to education. Trying to educate those who don’t want to be, is futile.

  10. Liberals Demise says:

    Brown shirt Obamabots “Ready For Duty”.

    Whether or not they are (be) licensed; for the King shall put the people to work!!

  11. mom1958 says:

    since Obummer is worried about the bad job they are doing, who is going to fire him??

    I’ve looked at the polls and his administration “one of the lowest performing ever”

    well it is sad to say I am sure alot of the teachers voted for HOPE AND CHANGE
    well they got it

  12. Mithrandir says:

    I really have no idea where the federal government has the authority to get involved, Constitutionally, a state issue.

    I just fear that lining up people for firing, with “suggestions” on how schools should be reformed is for the states to decide. If states want to have crappy schools, that’s their problem, and it’s the voters problem to figure what to do about it.

    The so-called “solutions” to fix low performing schools (as I wrote in an earlier post) are flat-out ridiculous, and ineffective. This is why people abandon teaching as a career, because everyone from the POTUS on down, has their fingers in the soup.

    I don’t feel sorry for the teachers, as they all knew full-well the school was horrible, but losing their jobs over it is even worse. You think any teachers are going to go into that terrible school, with those terrible kids, with their terrible behavior, terrible pedestrian parents, and poor study habits and just turn it around like some Hollywood movie? –Pfft! Dream on. ..

  13. canary says:

    I have a friend teaches, and tried to convince teachers not to vote for Obama. They keep wondering where all the money went Obama promised, losing jobs, pay cuts, and they are all on the blame Bush thing. Idiots.

  14. sheehanjihad says:

    submitted for your consideration: The compromise between the Union and Obama will be that those students who cannot pass remedial testing will be inducted into “civlian brigades” in lieu of having to stay in school, and say, five years of “service” will be the equivalent of a High School diploma…..and being functionally illiterate, the AFT will feed thousands of followers with no sense of self or intelligence into a system upon which they depend for amenities, and in return they will do the bidding of those who are placed in charge of them….and they will get a snazzy red shirt and cammo pants, slogans and make work projects that are camera ready, and their ranks will swell as more and more impressionable kids looking to belong are swayed from finishing a real education, the teachers are no longer held responsible to teach, and there is an appearance of Obama solving the “Education Crisis” as he gets his “civilian army” of mindless drones to do the bidding of his socialist agenda.

    They will be incapable of constructing huge run on sentences, but they will be beholden to the system that feeds a clothes them, and more importantly, gives them a place in the “new society” rife with ersatz power and entitlement. Teachers will now be feeding that all important “red shirt” obamabots…and their value will skyrocket instead of festering in the sewer of incompetence brought on by union membership being placed ahead of student’s education.

    It will be a win win for all concerned…except for conservatives. The only thing that would allow this would be a second term….the time needed to implement the agenda. Just another huge reason to make sure there is no second term.

    Remember!! Everything from this administration is FREE!! We just pay separate shipping and handling.

  15. cheeflo says:

    $900 million or $900 billion?

  16. AcornsRNutz says:

    One thing I have discovered from living against my will in Massachusetts is that as this state goes so goes the plans for the country. They have a similar situation here being orchestrated by the state. The difference is that if these 35 identified schools don’t shape up to the plan, they get turned over to the state to run them. The differences will probably be minimal at first, but what few barriers the parents have still in place to have say in their kids education will be gone.

    If the warning doesn’t work, I assure you this is the next step. How much worse will our schools be when teachers are even more owned by the state government?

  17. ostrichchaperon says:

    Check Arne Duncan’s most recent turnaround effort in Chicago, Fenger High School. In this Chicago turnaround, they couldn’t transfer the worst performing students to other area schools to boost attendance rates and test scores and show off what a ‘miracle’ they had accomplished. . .and remember, no student can be held responsible for anything.


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