Saturday, April 21, 2012

Triangulation Man: Education Edition

President Barack Obama has said he wants to listen to ideas from all sides. It seems the side that Obama listens to has powerful lobbyists. Technically, SKDKnickerbocker is not a lobbying firm or a basketball team. It seems the law lets you get away with lobbying if you call yourself a consulting firm or a historian. SKDKnicker brings in conservative groups to the White House. How conservative? How about conservative enough to be funded by Rupert Murdoch.
SKDKnickerbocker represents consulting for Students First, a lobbying group aimed at destroying collective bargaining, and replacing public education with a mix of charters, private schools, and online learning companies. According to documents revealed the blog At The Chalk Face, Students First helped craft bills in Michigan to break teachers unions by severely limiting collective bargaining.
SKDKnickerbocker is run by former Obama communications director Anita Dunn. Hillary Rosen also is employed with SKDKnickerbocker. The only question is how much lobbying did Dunn and Rosen had to do for a President who thinks bashing unions is good politics.
But Rhee couldn't have done it alone. Then-candidate Barack Obama endorsed Rhee in a 2008 debate as a "wonderful new superintendent" and later applauded the firing of every single unionized teacher at Central Falls High School in Rhode Island. (The teachers were later rehired.)
The Washington D.C. teachers were rehired because Rhee violated their contract. I often think Obama must have been a terrible law professor. Students First is run by conservative education darling Michelle Rhee. Gov. Rick Scott hired Rhee to work on his transition team. I would love to hear Obama supporters defend or deny that Obama has supported Rhee's education agenda. Any claim that Obama is progressive on education is a blatant lie.

Side note: A local Students First employee, Catherine Robinson, has taken her blog Out In Left Field offline. Litbrit and I have been having a blast using Way Back Machine to read Catherine's past literary masterpieces. Since Way Back Machine is down you can read the description of Robinson's book Learning Curves.
At first, Carolyn found meaning as an educator, helping students who grew to appreciate her enthusiasm and passion for learning. Carolyn's caring and dedicated co-workers also became her closest friends. But she noticed a certain trend. Many teachers turned to drugs i order to deal with the stress of low pay and impossibly high demands. Others lost themselves in illicit affairs, conducted in unused or empty classrooms, and a few risked it all by seducing their own students.

Carolyn tried to ignore the sexually charged atmosphere and cling to her happy marriage, but when an attractive and flirtatious teacher pursued her, Carolyn got swept up in a scandal of her own.
I don't know about you, but nothing screams education reform like "sexually charged atmosphere."

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