A commenter made some interesting observations excerpted below [see full comment here],
… it’s interesting how you use the typical language of the reformers a la Michelle Rhee or Tony Bennett when discussing these candidates. The rhetoric of fake altruism is frankly getting old … Do you really not see how laughable it seems to those of us who have been in the classroom for more than a brief stint of 2-3 years how these corps members seem? These TFA characters have a definite agenda that ought to be questioned more deeply than you pretend to do in your article. Instead of echoing their platitudes and empty rhetoric, one that is so offensive to my colleagues and those of us who plan to stay teaching and not assume it’s a trampoline for self-interest, you should ask them a simple question:
What could possibly qualify you to be a candidate to such an important position considering you have so little experience in the classroom?
Of course, I have heard the responses and believe me the responses they’ll give can be googled, especially considering how they have the corporate PR TFA team helping them through their honorable (it’s for the kids) challenge.
My response: Juan – what I find interesting is that you attribute “the typical language of the reformers” and “The rhetoric of fake altruism” to me. Nowhere in the post did I quote anyone other than direct quotes from the APN article or the candidates own words or positions that they have publicly shared.
Further, the only opinion I voiced was that, based on the candidate’s stated public positions, there did not appear to be a monolithic view or a hidden agenda (a “cabal”) that was espoused by the candidates in question. And, in this case, I stated my opinion because I believe the candidate’s positions lie in stark contrast to the dark and conspiratorial picture painted by Cardinale.
Additionally, based on my discussions with the candidates, I am not able to reach the conclusion that you have and lump them into a group of “TFA characters [that] have a definite agenda”. Each candidate has differing views on not only charter schools and their place in APS, but also hold a wide range of views on how to improve educational outcomes – including focusing on early childhood education; improving new teacher training and empowering principals and teachers at the school level.
None of this sounds ‘scary’ to me and it certainly does not come up to the level presented by the APN article of a “movement to corporatize education…. take education out of the public space… [and] taking democratic control away from communities”.
Lastly, you ask me to ask the candidates a simple question – “What could possibly qualify you to be a candidate to such an important position considering you have so little experience in the classroom?”
I think it is a very valid question if you drop off the last part – “considering you have so little experience in the classroom” as this implies a false choice. The false choice is that to qualify to be a BOE member you must have extensive teaching experience (>5 years). If that were the case, then all the current BOE members and 20 of the 21 candidates in the race are not “qualified”.
If this is your contention, then I could not disagree with you more.
However, the question – What qualifies you to be a candidate for the BOE? – is valid and important. And most (not all) of the candidates have attempted to answer that question by presenting their training, education, work experience, community involvement, position on issues, etc. [see here for individual candidate positions]
That is what I looking to and considering in assessing their qualifications for positions on the BOE.
My hope is that the voting public will also look to the individual’s background and position on issues as a basis for deciding who they will vote for versus accepting a non-specific and shadowy characterization that does not apply.