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Friday, March 14, 2014

The Fine Art of Advertising Bad Teachers in N.Y.C.

The Fine Art of Advertising Against Teachers in N.Y.C.

When I decided to become a teacher, I realized that I wouldn't have the same clout as a doctor or lawyer, yet I never imagined in a million years that my chosen profession--which seemed noble, albeit a low-paying one--would become the butt of billboards.  The 2012 billboard above launched by Kenneth Cole, the brother-in-law of Andrew Cuomo, imagines that teachers' rights and students' rights conflict.  Funny, I had imagined I became a teacher to try to help students!  When word of potential boycotts leaked, Cole removed the ad, stating that it was an oversimplification of a much more complex issue. 

In the more recent 2014 ad below, the Center for Union Facts (which seems anything but that), an organization funded by anonymous donors of great wealth with the specific purpose of cutting down unions, attacks Randi Weingarten, the A.F.T., and teachers' rights to due process.   It's strange to imagine such a biased group using the term "facts"!

Randi billboard CUF

The Bloomberg administration had a public relation staff of twenty or more persons, in all likelihood, all ready to sell the mayor to the people.  I imagined the staff as having lockers full of attention-catching headlines about bad teachers, which could be launched like ABMs on a moment's notice to distract the public should any potentially harmful news about the mayor or his policies arise. Teachers seem to be the modern-day scapegoats of the wealthy! 

I understand fully why businesses advertise products.  People advertise ideas for wholly different reasons.  It is best known as propaganda.  And the propaganda war against teachers still rages.  If I could wear blinders to these billboards and all the hate that lies behind them, I would gladly do so.  If I could close my eyes, I would imagine billboards about fighting to ease poverty by growing the economy to support more jobs that provide living wages for city dwellers.  I would imagine billboard that advocate protecting the pensions of hardworking civil servants.  I would imagine billboards that restore dignity to professions that are all about helping strangers.  But, I live in a different world, I guess.  And, I 'm just a teacher.  So, what do I know?  After all, I'm not well red!


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