Obama applauds union-busting school board that fires every teacher at a Rhode Island high school
So, not only is Obama presiding over the biggest giveaway to US private insurance companies ever with his travesty of a health care bill with no public option that requires people to buy shitty private plans or pay a fine, but he's also applauding the firing of EVERY SINGLE TEACHER at Central Falls High School.
This, of course, is causing a variety of reactions, including fueling the stereotyping of poor and racialized parents as slackers who don't care about their children, and of course there are also tons of people applauding the action and attacking teachers as overpaid slackers who aren't teaching kids properly.
And it looks like you don't get Obama's "School Improvement Grants" unless your school board agrees to bust unions in such a manner.
The decision by the Central Falls, R.I. board followed similar action in other districts around the country, including in Chicago and Los Angeles. President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the firings, which were done in order to position the school districts to get a share of a $3.5 billion Obama Administration program known as School Improvement Grants. Districts with failing schools are eligible for grant monies if they move to improve by extending school hours, or convert the failing school to charter schools, or close the poor schools or replace the principal at failing schools and at least half the staff.
Predictably, teachers around the nation have reacted angrily to the firings, while conservatives have cheered the move toward what they see as “accountability.”
Anyone who is in any way affiliated with, or supportive of, labour unions should be up in arms at this attack on workers. It doesn't matter if you've had a shitty teacher here or there - this is collective punishment being heaped upon all workers - overperforming, underperforming, average-performing - for a problem that has its roots in systemic issues like poverty, poor school funding, and racism.
This is clearly a way of creating divisions within the working class as well, and people are falling into it. Some teachers and more privileged parents blaming poor and racialized parents for widespread failure; Conservatives blaming parents and teachers, but teachers especially because they insist on being paid decently for working in the profession; and Obama smiling over it all in approval.
Meanwhile, in Central Falls, teachers and parents and students were resisting the push to divide them and were protesting the firings in a rally of hundreds. Which doesn't sound to me like out-of-touch teachers who don't care, parents who are apathetic, and students who are impossible.
Here's Obama's "transformation plan":
On the basis of these statistics, CFHS was labeled one of the six worst schools in Rhode Island. This opened the door to the major "reform" effort--the "turnaround"--that Commissioner Gist and Superintendent Gallo are now imposing on the school.
Gallo justified the mass firing on the basis that the Central Falls Teachers Union had supposedly refused to cooperate with another reform model known as "transformation."
Under this proposal, teachers would have been forced to accept a six-point plan which would have extended the school day by 25 minutes; forced teachers to provide tutoring to students for one hour before and one hour after the school day each day; eat lunch with students one day a week "to build stronger relationships"; participate in two weeks of professional development over the summer; stay after school for common planning one day each week for 90 minutes; and undergo more rigorous evaluations by an outside, third-party evaluator. In return, teachers would only receive compensation for the professional development and the common planning--and only then if the district could find the grant money to fund them.
The "transformation" plan placed all of the burden on teachers and would have forced them to perform significantly more labor for free. This is despite the fact that all CFHS teachers have been evaluated in the last two years, and not one received a bad evaluation.
I'm sorry, what was all that "hope" and "change" we were supposed to all "believe" in? Oh yeah, union-busting, selling poor people's health out to predatory insurers, and attacks on teachers instead of on poverty and racism.
That's pretty fucking awesome, Obama. Hope you're a one-term President. I'd rather see Repugnicans who are honest about being Republicans in the White House.