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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Choosing the "Right Type" of People to Evaluate Teachers

Something's gone terribly wrong in the system, so says Governor Cuomo.  He can't fathom how poor scores on a test meant to slaughter students, with cut scores set just so, can coexist alongside a largely effective teaching force.  It's "Baloney!"  

Surely, at least 62% of teachers must be rated ineffective to mesh with meager student passing rates of about 38%.  Otherwise the Governor's worldview is shattered.  If he can't trust school administrators to get the job done, he must hire outside assasins observers.     

But where will we find a new privileged class of people, slaphappy to fire people for pay, bounty hunters for the innocent?  A few came to mind.  Let me propose some possibilities across time and literature.  Here are their resumes in brief.

1. How about Judge Roy Bean?

Wait, better rethink that idea.  Although it might be fun to condemn teachers from the comfort of your favorite saloon, Bean would, doubtless, be a political liability on many counts.  To begin with, people might inquire why he's sporting a "rope burn" about his neck.  Most damning of all, although known as a "hanging judge," in reality, Judge Bean only sentenced two men to hang--and one, apparently, escaped.  This definitely would disappoint the Governor!  

2.  How about Senator Joseph McCarthy?

Leaving censure aside, he had a pretty good run for two years.  He had great fun harassing many "Fifth-Amendment communists."  Along the way, he also created a climate of fear which only further helped enforce an unhealthy conformity throughout the country.  "Have you no sense of decency, Sir?"  Does it even matter, if you can get the job done for the Governor?  

3.  Does a court of the Inquisition sound welcoming?

The courts of the Inquistion, like McCarthy, may have wrongly persecuted a few persons here and there (Galileo, for one, but at least he survived on a technicality called "recant").  When God or the Governor is on your side, mistakes can be forgiven and apologies accepted--centuries later.

4.  What about Victor Hugo's Javert?

Nope, won't do!  You may think he's too busy chasing down Jean Valjean, but the real problem lies elsewhere.  He has a conscience.  When he observes that his singular and obsessive nature has led him to persecute the most Christian of men, his worldview is demolished.  He can no longer perform his legal duties and act according to authority.  He cannot reconcile his insight into the nature of Jean Valjean with his singular duty to arrest; he experiences an internal crisis of gross proportions.  Instead of carrying out his duties, he chooses to commit suicide.  He, too, is a political liability waiting to happen.

5.  There's always Campbell Brown?

Now, I'm pretty sure we won't find her suffering any internal crises.  When the lewd acts of a few teachers justify in your mind the stripping of tenure from all teachers, it only goes to show that you don't think too deeply about moral issues.   Let's just call her Madame Javert, minus the internal crisis.  


Can't you just picture those merciless fingers figuratively wrapped around the throats of teachers everywhere?  A dynamic duo, no less!

6.  Perhaps Jenny Sedlis might be up for the job if Ms. Brown is too busy  with tenure suits.  

Ms. Sedlis seems to have skyrocketed to ed.-"reform" fame on the shoulders of Eva Moskowitz.  I'm  not sure if she has any credtentials in education.  I do know she attended Scripps College though and ran Ms. Moskowitz's NYC Council district office before going on to StudentsFirstNY.  These last two resume bits probably qualify her, in and of itself, for the title of ed. "reformatrix."  Although she may seem a little young and inexperienced to some veterans, she is the "go-to-gal" for teacher-bashing media quotes.  In my mind, if she doesn't have better credentials, it would be better if Sedlis Saidless.  Yet, for the very same reasons mentioned here, she could only be an asset to the Governor on his seemingly single-minded path of destroying the teaching profession.

7.  Have you heard of Arnaud Amalric?

Parlez-vous francais?  "Tuez-les tous, Dieu reconnaitra les siens."  It may sound prettier in French, but the bottom line is the same:  "Kill them all.  God will know his own!"  Just change "kill" to "fire," keep on a small percentage, preferably those who will work without tenure and quit before pensionable, and you're golden. 

8.  Khans "khan" do it on a grander scale!

If you're not timid of soul, throw the facade of justice to the wind and call in a Genghis Khan or a Tamerlane.  When you wish to slaughter the careers of so many educators, history teaches me the Mongols may be your men.  Think on a grand scale.  They put Arnaud Almaric to shame.  

9.  Would Lewis Carroll's the Queen of Hearts do?

Along the same train of thought, if you are an equal opportunity employer, perhaps, you would opt for a female of proven political stature.  She can just as easily  decree, "Off with their heads!"  What's not for the Governor to love?  Maybe someday, not today, she'll get her comparable pay!


10.  But how about the Governor, himself?

If you want a job done right, you might as well do it yourself!  He doesn't constitutionally control NY State education.  Yet,  he exercises great power.  He pulls many strings; one might as well be a figurative noose.  Why shouldn't our Governor be both the judge, jury and executioner?  Let's just call it expedited justice and be done with it!  Problem solved!

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