Mad, Mad, Mad World of At-Will Work — Teachers Thrown Under the Bus, Parents Facing a Decade in Jail for Speaking Out

Let’s call this adjunct worker looking for work, Chip. You know him or her – chip off the old block. He or she is looking for work, err, well, it’s a calling, teaching, and no one ever said you should get paid for a calling. A passion? “You pay, dude, like a hobby. Remote control planes, my thing, and, well, teaching is your thing . . . your calling. So pay, dude? Give us a break — no one said life was fair.”  He or she is past 40, could be mid-fifties, or even closer to hip replacement or amputation years. Forty or Eighty-five, is there a difference?

It’s just some of the daily bullshit looking for work in the gentrifying Portland area, and you are getting closer to Alan Simpson (Repube-Wyoming) retirement age. You know, 80 or 81, that seems like a good age to start collecting Social Security (“har-har-har,” says Jon “Stewart” Leibowitz).

Old Chip might be easier to manage as she careens around in her wheelchair. “Stay home, log on, work at all hours of the day and night  (hell, you have to take all those pills at all those odd hours, anyway, so who needs sleep?). We will give you the materials to deliver and spoon feed to the supplicants, and, remember, this is a state you work in that wants common stuff to be processed as education. Do not deviate from the script, and no worries about packing a lunch and finding parking. Just deliver this pabulum at home. If you do your job right, well, students will give you a thumbs up, you will have no drops or failures, and all GPAs will be just fine and dandy. Keep doing this, hell, we might be able to get you more classes at $1800 a pop as you slide into your rusty years, in your nineties. Cuz, well, you’ll need it with ACA or Obama care, whatever version gets rammed down your part-time, at-will throat. Don’t dare give your little digital darlings anything outside the norm. This is college, mind you, the new force for turning kids into kettled adult infants. Subservient to the big eye in the sky, on the phone, in the apps, at every corner. We need more of those churned out so they can buy-buy-buy themselves into debt-debt-death.”

Well, this adjunct, again, Chip, just gets the stink eye from Human (sic) Resources (?) personnel ALL THE TIME, even to teach these video display terminal courses. This inhumane crew of folks, HR, who have zero compassion when it comes to individuality, and they are so disconnected to the mission of teaching and of being a student, that, they are the ambassadors of the Dean-let, the Admin-class of people who just can’t wait for the day when all collective bargaining is fin-terminated-done, when all teachers left are at-will, and when the 100-student classroom is the norm while they play with joy-sticks and iProds-Pads-Pacifiers, well, they are the leaders in Educational Discourse. Not trained to teach, not even the chosen field class of folk, or a class of folk  who have to think of it — working with students — as a “calling.”

But they rule the roost.

Get this: Chip has been begging to teach a class at one area school, and the end game is that Chip is what, too charismatic to teach on-line, and she is too real to be virtual, though that is not a problem for her since she has been blending teaching in the round with emails and on-line communication networks, also called Moodle, Blackboard, Angel, et al?

The problem for Chip – him-her-them — is ethical – does Chip submit to background check by said HR personnel when she is totally against this form of intrusion, an unethical if not unconstitutional intrusion which has zero to do with her teaching?

Sure, we have all submitted to Homeland Insecurity provisos, and the ICE crap of attesting to our citizenship, or “legal human status” before signing a contract. Chip, like many of us, has refused the idea of this bull, and refused literally the  process of urine, blood, feces checks, hair plucking, and personality quizzes and psychological batteries to determine, Gattaca-style, the worth of our bloodline and pedigrees.

I know I did not take the loyalty oath for the state of Tex-ass when I taught there. You know, swearing allegiance to Tex-ass, Bush, the entire petro-cowpoke-flat earth political system. You know, as a literature teacher, sweating to uphold the Tex-ass constitution and put my wit, mental faculties and physical prowess in the way of enemies of the Lone Star Racist State. I did not sign it, and I got some heat for not signing it, and, well, I hear stances like that in Tex-ass are as dead as Bowie is at the Alamo.

Things have just gotten worse, and since a majority of faculty are at will, most of which are in need of every last penny to pay for electricity and food, well, we have fear factor 999 to the fifth power. Add to that the careerists, the lack of a liberal class, the Dean-let thugs and Admin-People-Busters, and all those full-timers who have tenure and zero interest in politics and fighting for education, well, we are subjected to this HR-Admin class factor.

The Chips of the world get easily blacklisted for fighting the vanguard, questioning the bullshit data paralysis, and when they dare build a front against the death of academic freedom.

These people controlling the Chips off the Old Block have been afraid of their shadows for centuries, and the new serfs, the faculty majority, well, rag-tag, to be sure, and not our best allies.

Can you imagine getting in line for interviews and then looking for classes or a class to teach, and the number one thing the schools in Washington look for are background checks? What does that mean for Chip off the Old Block? What qualifies her, or disqualifies him? Sex offender, violent offender, bank robber, economist, slum landlord, busted for protesting war, protesting for peace, for being pushed by cops off public sidewalks?

Entire list of states and wages here — Adjunct Project. 

 School  State  Department  Per Class Pay  on-line  contract  health insurance  retirement  governance
. Bellevue College WA English $3500.00 (5 credit quarter class) N None N N
. Bellevue College WA Communications $3500 (5 credits) Y Quarter Y Y Y WEA
. Cascadia Community College WA Soc. Sci. c. $3700-3800 (5 credit quarter) Both Quarter Eventually Y Y Y
. Charter College WA Business Management $25/hour N None N N N N
. Clark College WA English $1930.50 ($58.50/contact hour) N None Y Y Y Clark College Association of Higher Education
. Clark College WA Sociology $2,500 N Semester Y Y Y Y
. Columbia Basin College WA Social Science $2,914 (5 Credit) N None Y Y Y N
. Cornish College of the Arts WA Humanities & Sciences $3,624 N Semester N N Unsure
. Eastern Washington University WA $1,950 (MA); $3000 (PhD); quarters N Quarter Eventually N Y AFL-CIO affiliate
. Gonzaga University WA Modern Languages $3900 (PhD) N Semester N N N N
. Gonzaga University WA Modern Languages $975/credit N None N N N N
. Gonzaga University (Jesuit) WA English $2631 (MA); $2925 (PhD) N Semester N N Y N
. ITT Technical Institute WA All $1,500 N None N N N
. North Seattle Community College WA Math/Sciences $4700 (5 credit) N Semester Eventually AFT
. Pacific Lutheran Univ. WA Music $288/credit/student N Annual Y Y
. Saint Martin’s University WA Liberal Arts $1,900 Benedictine Dollars N Semester N N N N
. Seattle University WA English $4,000 N Quarter N N Unsure N
. Skagit Valley College WA prof/tech and ABE $1,530 N Semester Y Y Y AFT
. Skagit Valley College WA $880 N N N N Y
. University of Washington Bothell WA CUSP $6,000 Quarter Y Y Y
. University of Washington-Bothell Campus WA Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences $6,000 (5-credit) N Quarter N N Y
. University of Washington Seattle WA $5,500 N Semester Y Y N
. University of Washington Tacoma WA All $4400-$5500 (5 credit) N Annual Eventually N N N
. Walla Walla University WA $1,929 N Quarter N N N No
. Wenatchee Valley College WA Human Resources Y Y N AHE
. Wenatchee Valley College WA Liberal Arts $3546 (5credit/quarter) + $355 for Office Hour Y Quarter
. Western Washington University WA Political Science $3970 (MA) (4 or 5 credits) N Quarter N N N Yes. UFWW
. Whatcom Community College WA Psychology $3108 to $3806 (5 credit/quarter) Both Quarter Y Y Y Y; AFTWA/WCCFT
. Whitman College WA Music $264/student credit/semester N Semester Y N N
. Whitman College WA Sociology $50,000 (5 courses/2 semesters) N Semester Y Eventually Y N
. Whitworth University WA English $4,000 N Annual Y Y N
. Wisconsin
. Alverno College WI Psychology $1,500 N Semester N N N N
. Carroll University WI English $3200 (4 credit) N Semester N N Y

How much is this test costing the taxpayers, and to what ends? From some private outfit called TalentWise (how much is this test costing the state of Washington, we ask?), that’s what Chip says is the vetted and vaunted outfit ready to do a complete character assassination, err, character validation scan of her life. TalentWise? Wow, what double-talk Edward Bernays stuff.

To teach community college, they pay what, $100 or more for some IT creeps, the very intruders college teachers should be railing against in their humanities classes, to do a check on prospective employees. And a background scan on the Chip’s of the world, those, what are we talking about,  at-will, precarious and Part-Time faculty who get called last minute or never again.

We have advanced, now, as a society. Proven guilty before having innocence.  Death is your only accomplice, and your only freedom.

Chip, our old chip off the older block,  she will end up with no guarantee of a class, and she thought she could fill out paperwork to take home to get into the system, but the HR Stasi is looking for cracks, ebbs and flows in character, some police blotter proof that even though there are 400 lined up for each job, HR-gal/gal can screen ’em all out until five qualified candidates are left. The ones left? Well, you fill in that blank.

Chip, she can’t get called yet, not in  this hyper-freaky world which is looking into her background, first and foremost. You know, how many times has Chip ended up with priests, nuns, students, and activists, including former war soldiers, in jail for protesting the Reagan Killing Fields in Central America, the Un-Free North American Agreement (NAFTA), the 500th Anniversary of Columbus, or some environmental cause? Maybe a tree sit, or some march against Monsanto. If she stood her ground just enough, just with enough human compassion, she might be facing a felony. See that article below on a parent speaking out in Baltimore.

Do those count as demerits? Something putting Chip into the “unemployable” category in the US of Stasi?

Come on, Chip’s been teaching since 1980, and this level of bizarre scrutiny and mishap and meanness is where we are heading. People just bend over, take it, and line up for more.

Perfect credit reports, perfect scores on tests, perfect attendance records, and work, shut the eff up, and do more for less money, stop complaining, you are going to be on the streets soon enough, so enjoy a little hyper-artificial world of teaching with the big boys and girls – Tenured, Full-Time, lovers of deans and endless data collection, and endless new and to-be-thrown-out-soon-enough educational change-model.

Chip, like most of the 1.5 million precarious college chumps, err, faculty, gets paid crap. Don’t let the contact hourly amount fool you when you look at the Adjunct Project spreadsheet above, one that has been crowdsourced for two years, to be sure. Teaching a college course, say English 101, one of the key courses, and as Chip has always advocated, one of what she thinks should be 6 mandatory communication-writing-research courses for ALL college-university students to take (it is not that paradigm at all, thanks to rotten Deans, asleep-at-the-retirement-wheel FT-Tenure Trackers), well, put that figure at five times the amount of work or hours to accomplish the teaching, editing, coaching, prodding, and mentoring of students in  Chip’s class, and even that amount of time is cutting it short for students, many of which need individual help from an expert like Chip, who might have master’s degrees, a boat load of real experience running businesses, working as a woman newsperson, heck, even she was wild enough to hitchhike to Panama from Nogales, and an unbelievable amount of professional writing under her/his belt and up her/his sleeves.

They treat Chip and Company like children, bums, lost souls, diseased, the foot-in-the-door cripples, who will stay underclass, underpaid, under-benefited. Chip wanted to show her class a video of an attack on critical thinking, free speech, and even freedom of movement, but the Dean-lets, and Pedagogy Nazis and the HR and powers that be say, “Chip, Chip, Chip, you have to teach what’s in the script. These are babes in the arms of corporations, of the privatizers, and how can you give them some other narrative, about injustice, when justice is only following orders, having perfect credit reports, and paying all usury notes created by Anglo Feds and Zionist Zeitgeist-loving Takers? This video will be blocked, and this time we will allow you, Chip, one free “get out of jail” card. We understand your confusion at 81, working on-line, all this new app and coding stuff New to you.”

And here she is, now, Chip, Chip off the Old Block, now just a parent, just an interested person concerned about where PK12 is going. Think hard about how much we want Chip to go through for her rotten pay and zero benefits.

Check it out, a school board meeting in Baltimore, where all the questions are kettled, the fat-faced school board with their security-cops in attendance, telling parents they cannot deviate from their set of questions, their proscribed talking points.

Last week the Baltimore County School district held a public meeting to go over the “Common Core” curriculum now being taught in Maryland schools.

This was reportedly the first of any public forum concerning what is now being taught to Maryland children.The parents’ questions had to be submitted prior to the event and no new questions would be discussed. This angered some residents who felt the need to ask tougher questions than those selected by superintendents.

One parent, Robert Small, very respectfully tried to voice his concerns and was shut out from participating when a policeman forcefully removed him from the auditorium

Small went on to warn the residents that they have a right to a proper debate on what’s best for their own community and they shouldn’t be dictated to by bureaucrats.

“Parents, take control. We’re sick of this. This is not a CNN political game. This is a public town hall … Listen, don’t stand for this. You’re sitting here like cattle. You have questions. Confront them. They don’t want to do it in public … Parents, you need to question these people…Do the research, it’s online.”


 More arts at David Dees, here.

Well, well, he faces felony charges and 10.5 years in prison? We are a wacked-out, pathetic nation, and the facilitators of this are the school boards, the Arne Duncans, the Obama-Boehner-Gates-Bezos-IT-Corporate Police State. Say you believe it, please, that cops are more dangerous than criminals:

Read it, by Paul Craig Roberts:

The worse threat every American faces comes from his/her own government.

At the federal level the threat is a seventh war (Syria) in 12 years, leading on to the eighth and ninth (Iran and Lebanon) and then on to nuclear war with Russia and China.

The criminal psychopaths in Washington have squandered trillions of dollars on their wars, killing and dispossessing millions of Muslims while millions of American citizens have been dispossessed of their homes and careers. Now the entire social safety net is on the chopping bloc so that Washington can finance more wars.

At the state and local level every American faces brutal, armed psychopaths known as the police. The “law and order” conservatives and the “compassionate” liberals stand silent while police psychopaths brutalize children and grandmothers, murder double amputees in wheel chairs, break into the wrong homes, murder the family dogs, and terrify the occupants, pointing their automatic assault weapons in the faces of small children.

The American police perform no positive function. They pose a much larger threat to citizens than do the criminals who operate without a police badge. Americans would be safer if the police forces were abolished.

The police have been militarized and largely federalized by the Pentagon and the gestapo Homeland Security. The role of the federal government in equipping state and local police with military weapons, including tanks, and training in their use has essentially removed the police from state and local control. No matter how brutal any police officer, it is rare that any suffer more than a few months suspension, usually with full pay, while a report is concocted that clears them of any wrong doing.

In America today, police murder with impunity. All the psychopaths have to say is, “I thought his wallet was a gun,” or “we had to taser the unconscious guy we found lying on the ground, because he wouldn’t obey our commands to get up.”

There are innumerable cases of 240 pound cop psychopaths beating a 115 pound woman black and blue. Or handcuffing and carting off to jail 6 and 7 year old boys for having a dispute on the school playground.

Now, an interview of education historian Diane Ravitch, plugging her new book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, wherein the educational historian writes that the reform movement – pro-charter schools, anti-teacher unions, dedicated to teacher evaluations built on test scores — threatens to undermine democracy. She talks PK12 public education, but alas, even the Chips off the Old Blocks of the World who think they are in a class of their own as at-will, hourly, zero-benefits college instructors can learn from the models of masochistic cuts to our entire way of life — cuts to everything most of us stand for as individuals and groups of people, as workers, as communities, as the majority, 80 percent, with our paltry 7 percent of the USA pie . . . . While the One Percent and their 40 percent of the pie and the 19 Percent and their 53 percent of the pies smear every community with the shame of greed, capitalism, money laundering and assault and battery on we, the people, the 80 Percent!

It’s a far-ranging interview, of Diane Ravitch (DR) and here are highlights as I make quippy comments up front and then offset Diane’s direct quotes in the block quotes we do so well here at DV with our WordPress:

As we all know, from Jonathan Kozol back to Studs Terkel, anyone with a brain, it’s the poverty and the denuded public spaces and places, the gentrifying effects on neighborhoods when IT-Coders come in with their $300,000 a year toy-groping jobs and they push out gays, artists, people of color, young poor people who actually MAKE the place. Think San Francisco. So, it’s about the low test scores? What should we do with  that flawed system of test-test-test? Well, how about solving poverty:

And if you recognize that where the scores are low, where there is a crisis in education, is where there is concentrated poverty and concentrated racial segregation. Nothing we’re doing now addresses either poverty or segregation, so we’re on a course that’s based on false premises with solutions that don’t recognize what the problem is. (DR)

The issue of the home is the castle, sacred, the place where all good things happen is bunk. In fact, most bad habits, bad thinking, racist pushing, just the big ignorance of our times, that is learned AT Home. Let school – public education – be a refuge, and fund it by taxing the billionaires and multi-millionaires. Pretty simple, pretty simple.

There’s a difference between home and school, and home is a place that is not subject to government control, except to the extent that we can lessen the amount of poverty with which people live, which is very debilitating.  But school is a place where kids can be encouraged to learn, where they’re excited about learning, where they find that learning is something that enriches their lives. (DR)

Tests, scores, billions for the testers, billions for the white papers, billions for the supplements, the textbooks, the programs, the pedagogy, the curricular interventions, and the technologies:

Unfortunately, our current approach to schooling – I can’t even call it education – is tests. Tests are not intrinsically motivating.  Tests are motivating in the sense that kids are frightened or worried. They don’t know what’s going to happen to them, and it’s very upsetting when their paper comes back or their score comes back. (DR)

Sure, testing three-year-olds, have them test-test-test their ability to parrot test material, and answer test questions. That’s a society ready for tackling climate change, end of ice, classicism beyond anything in history, and the pollution of the media, culture, political sphere, family, home, job.

There are directives coming from the U.S. Department of Education that have been encouraging the testing of children in pre-kindergarten, so there seems to be no end to the government bureaucrats and politicians who believe that testing is somehow going to raise test scores. Firstly, it doesn’t. Even if it did, these would be scores that were produced by test prep and that would have no real relationship to education or to a love of learning. (DR)

Oh yes, you separate and divide and conquer and bring the competition to the school yard. Sure, teachers should not learn about cooperative evolution, cooperative teaching, team teaching, the whole child, the whole classroom, the whole thing called education.

Why do people continue to advocate things that have been proven over more than 20 years to have made no difference? Merit pay is an even better example. Merit pay has been tried for almost 100 years. It has never made a difference and yet politicians continue to say, “This is what we’ll do it: merit pay.”

In fact, when I go out speaking to teacher audiences and I go through the failure of merit pay, I get huge applause because teachers don’t want merit pay. The reason they don’t want it is not because they don’t want more money – sure they’d love more money. They don’t want to be placed into competition with their colleagues. They understand that when you work in a school you’re working in a collaborative environment and you’re not there to just hide what you’re doing that works and not let anybody see it. (DR)

Oh yeah, it’s a Fear Factor game, the great race, the big ass I am Number One and all the other contenders, all of you in second through 99 place, bye-bye. One winner takes all, one size fits all neighborhoods, all citizens, all on trial, all in the classroom. No differentiated teaching, no fuller teacher contingents working on a very challenged society, young and old. Have them go at each other, like gridiron fools, to see which school comes out on top of the dung heap.

The very nature of Race to the Top – the Obama program – is a market model. It’s an idea of a race to the top. Well, how many people win a race to the top? Very few. It’s usually one person or one group or one state that wins the race to the top and everyone else is the loser, but the basic principle of American education is not a race to the top  — it’s equality of educational opportunity. I think that America has long accepted the idea that the role of the public school is to create a level playing field so that everyone has got a fair chance in what is a market-based economy. (DR)

Cooking the books, the Charter School Way.

Every time somebody will say, “I found a school that is a miracle school” — I’ve seen this again and again – “Here’s a school where 100 percent of the kids graduate!” If you look closer, you find out that they got rid of about 50 percent of the kids on the way to that 100 percent figure. They’re very good at shuffling off the losers. (DR)

Oh, those think tanks, those wondrous bean counters, efficiency experts, risk analysts, those collection points of data-data-data. Yep, we are better off now that we know so much about so little.

I think what we’re seeing nationally is an effort to apply something called “Big Data” to education, and education has always been understood in this country — and every other country, as far as I know — as first and foremost the interaction between teachers, adults and children. It can work well and it cannot work well, and if it doesn’t work well, you try and intervene to find out why. But it’s primarily human interactions. What’s happened now is we’re in a moment of Big Data where management consultants like McKinsey and the government and the big thinkers think that everything can be reduced to data and, if you just manipulate the data, you can come up with the answers. (DR)

In a country where we are all our own Captains of our Own Ship, Masters of our Own Destinies, where “It takes a village” is scoffed at, where community bill of rights is a laughable thing when up against the building, bulldozing, gas-guzzling, paving-over, consumer-consumed lobbies, sure, we need revamping — after the ashes have cooled and the embers mulched into a new fecund ground. Yes, we need states to talk to states, and for all children to be challenged and follow through with what most state universities and what we call education programs teach. We need more tools for the universities to prepare good people to be smart teachers. Oh, all those colleges and departments and organizations talk, and come up with a united front. Yes, we should have some forceful national pride in education in all districts, backwoods or inner city or right in that gated community. But to have the Arne Duncans of the world determine this, or guide it or direct it.

There is a big disagreement on what Common Core is, and really, what the emphasis is. Again, you face 10.5 years in jail in Baltimore for throwing curveballs at the Neanderthal School Board. Parents don’t know much, according to the educational wonks. Bull-shit.

Common Core is going to put even more emphasis on technology in the schools. In my district, they’re spending loads of money rebuilding our infrastructure just to support Common Core. So they are laying off teachers and literacy coaches and librarians, but they’re spending all this money building up this digital infrastructure. Los Angeles Unified School District has this big initiative and they are giving iPads to every student.

What I don’t like about it is that the real goal here is to replace teachers with technology. There’s an assumption that you can somehow get rid of teachers, reduce their numbers and have a hundred kids in every classroom, and they’ll have one teacher and a lot of iPads or a lot of other kinds of technology. That’s a mistake because, ultimately, kids will learn or not learn based on human interactions, not based on technology. (DR)

Charter school initiatives in Washington state passed, thanks to millions from Amazon –dot-Bezos, Gates and Company, Bloomberg and hedge funders and Pearson Publishing. Charter schools, using public funds, using public facilities, using the for-profit investment shareholder model. Sure, for profit medicine, how is that working out, uh?

North Carolina, actually – I don’t know if they ultimately succeeded – is saying there would be no extra pay for master’s degrees, which is a way of saying education doesn’t count. You’re teaching kids, but if you want to get a master’s degree in your subject, you won’t get extra compensation for it, and North Carolina has done everything possible to make its teachers feel unappreciated. The same thing is true in Tennessee and Louisiana. There’s an ongoing battle between the people who work in the classrooms and the Teach for America graduates who are running the school system who seem to have a hostility to public education and also to the teachers who work in public schools. They want everything to be charters and privatized — no unions, no job protections, no tenure, etc., etc., so everything they can think of to make teachers feel unappreciated, they go for. (DR)

Henry Giroux and countless others deride the privatization of the public school system. It’s old hat, now. But it is not stopping with our laments, kick-ass essays and parents in Chicago or in New York going to the streets to protest.

Everything that the reformers are pushing is not reform, it’s just to advance privatization and to get rid of unions and to make teachers at-will employees who can be easily hired and fired if they start costing too much. It all fails, and when it fails and fails and fails, at a certain point the public says we have to change direction. (DR)

Oh, the simplest solutions never-ever see the light of day in this Walmartization Waldo World of Puppets and Sheeple:

Some of my solutions are long-term and you wouldn’t see the results right away, but they’re very important. The first solution in the book has to do with prenatal care; we are among the underdeveloped nations in the world, we’re back with like Somalia in terms of providing prenatal care for pregnant women. [Better prenatal care] would reduce special education referrals tremendously, but we wouldn’t see the results of it for years. That’s very important. (DR)

Oh, this is just a quippy little thing, as I think about the Chips off the Old Blocks of the world inside and on top of  the conveyor belt called Adjunct Teaching. I think about the Chips hourly, maybe minute-by-minute while I work with adults with developmental disabilities for sub-poverty wages and I listen to the Emmy Awards while these cool folk cheer for their favorite careless, uncaring, One Percenter in TV-Boob-Tube-Land. Hell, that entire mess is not even a silly farce anymore, but an example of decades of the rich class, the talent-less on TV, the elite and the very-very white Anglo-Zionist kind creating junk food follies.

These are really talent-less times, talent-less and the more talent-less and crass and foolish, well, that is what rules the day on TV, and, so, heck, just thinking about some guy facing 10.5 years in prison for speaking up and for not folding while some punk cop pushes him, well, we are all Trayvon Martin, correct?

Oh, sure, the early childhood intervention thing!  That won’t help many of society’s ails.

What are two big things, two big solutions — for which  Diane Ravitch was asked by reporter Sara Scribner:

Early childhood education is very important and that could easily be done. It would cost money, but it would cost a lot less than going to war again. Making sure that there are arts in every school, that there is a curriculum where kids have time every day for physical education, which is crucial for their physical health and also their mental health as well – that would be terribly important. So all of those things matter.

I would also change the testing so that the testing becomes something that is more based on teacher testing rather than the high-stakes testing that we’ve come to accept. I think a lot of the testing right now is driven by the market power, by the huge amounts of money that are paid to the testing companies. They all have lobbyists – they have lobbyists in Washington, they have lobbyists in the state capitals — to make sure that we keep using their products. We don’t have to keep using their products. Their products just aren’t that good and I think we would be better off with more teacher-originated testing and less of the standardized testing. (DR)

And, unfortunately, Ravitch speaks, has her tours, her books, her role in discourse with the elite in the mainstream media mush, many of them neoliberals, faux liberals, Zionists, and, well, just look at those Emmys. Whew, was that a lily white Anglo-Judeo event.

The point is that Ravitch and Giroux and Paul Craig Roberts and the rest of them speak, and they do good at that speech and critical analyses, but they too are out of touch with the masses, those mighty few in the One Percent and 19 Percent taking this country into their apocalyptic hell where only the rich survive, and the Top Usury Guns gun-us-all-down for the lead, the rest be damned our we stiffen in our intellectual and spiritual rigor mortis.

See those 275 comments on the story about the 83-year-old adjunct, Margaret Mary of Duquesne University, now posted on Alternet. She dead now, as you read in my last School Yard Fights. See the vile crap, the bile, and feel their arguments why it’s a-okay to allow for survival of the fittest and “life’s a bitch, no one said it was fair” philosophy overtake the discourse, overtake our political theater. Now, I know how to handle these putzes, but so many in the troll world and on-line commentary world just can’t wear these Little Eichmanns down. So, that’s another story — how do adjuncts come out swinging and never stop swinging, because, again, The One Percent Believes Our Lives Should Be Shit While  Theirs is Paved in Gold, so what’s to lose?

“Underpaid 83-Year-Old Professor Died Trying to Make Ends Meet by Working Night Shift at Eat an’ Save.” 

See School Yard Fights version of that pathetic story of the Catholics cuffing another life!

“Two More Inches of Rope from Which to Hang Us Up as Examples of Detritus Teachers.”  


Paul Haeder's been a teacher, social worker, newspaperman, environmental activist, and marginalized muckraker, union organizer. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 17 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read (purchase) his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Here's his Amazon page with more published work Amazon. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.

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  1. Paul Haeder said on September 23rd, 2013 at 2:37pm #

    Well, a petition, here —

    Quoting it:

    Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. Adjuncts teaching college students have more than doubled since 1970. Today, contingent faculty teaches 75% of classes nationwide, yet we are paid shamefully little in comparison to our tenured or tenure track counterparts. According to the Coalition on the Academic Workforce


    on average, we are paid $2700 per course with no benefits. Multiply this by a full load of courses per year, and what do we get? Of course, we usually have limits on courses too. So as you can see, we do not get a living wage!

    We have almost no chance for advancement, we have insecure continuity with our semester-to-semester schedule, and we have relatively little say on anything pertaining to our university or college. Moreover, because we are compensated so unequally, we need to hold several teaching positions in order to support ourselves, making our workload unfeasible. How can we survive?

    If you want a better education for students, then you must demand better pay and status for the majority of faculty teaching in today’s institutions of higher education across the country. Demand better salaries for the underpaid and undervalued adjuncts, the contingency labor force that teaches most of the imperative core classes students need in order to succeed in today’s competitive academic climate.

    Addressed to Obama and Duncan. Unfortunately, the petition is on that site,, the supreme Obama lover.

    Not sure where these petitions go these days, really, in a world of YouTube and the InterNetted. It is sort of a catharsis, and as social media scholars have found, there is a certain mass collective hysteria or group think or group circling of the wagons.

    This is something, nothing harmful like nanoparticles in your Corn Flakes. But to what end, then? Seeing we have 7,500 signatures, and reached some bar-goal?

    It’s MoveOn, after all.

    Great piece over at Counterpunch on MoveOn —

    Shocked by Left Critique of Obama – MoveOn and Lesser Evilism


    I just concluded a brief phone conversation with a MoveOn activist. It’s an election year, and her natural and obvious goal was to promote Barack Obama’s cause in November. She did not say much, however, and did not have a chance to speak at length, for when I heard Obama’s name after her organization’s name, I told her that I would never vote for Obama.

    “Why,” she asked.

    “Because he’s a war criminal, a promoter of authoritarian government, a tool of Wall Street and an opponent of authentic health care reform, among many other reasons,” I replied.

    There was a brief silent moment which I used to punctuate my claim that “I [was] criticizing Obama from the left.”

    I told her this because I did not want her to consult her talking points when she formulated her response.

    She didn’t. In fact, she was shocked, and indicated that she could not understand why anyone on the left would criticize the President.

    And that’s one problem with those progressives who tie their political fate to the Democratic Party and its candidates. They lack imagination. Their commitment to a pseudo-pragmatic electoral strategy binds them to a corrupt Democratic Party, to its commitment to war-making abroad, the security-surveillance state at home, to elite lawlessness, to a general austerity, a predatory economic system and the oligarchs who own them.

    They are blind to the false dilemma inherent in the lesser evil principle. Why is the dilemma false? Firstly, the Democratic and Republican Parties do not exhaust the political options available to America’s nominally free citizens. Secondly, whereas the policies of the two parties differ on this or that issue and their constituencies differ, they are not so distinct that they differ in kind. The Democrat and Republican Parties are system affirmative entities, and reflect this fact. Voting for a candidate of one party thus affirms the core principles of the other party. This point expresses the gist of George Wallace’s “not a dime’s difference” evaluation of the two legacy parties. Thirdly, both parties form a party system which affirms and reproduces the larger political system of which they are a part. They accomplish these goals because they and the elections they contest operate as filters which eliminate the political opposition as an electoral force while thereby producing legitimacy for the results of the election and for the political system as a whole. Barack Obama was elected President. He legitimately occupies the office of the President. Outsiders — Ralph Nader and his kind — typically are shunned and ridiculed. The party system reproduces itself, and changes little. An authentic democratic politics can be found only in the streets. Sheldon Wolin thus identified the early 21st century American political system as an inverted totalitarian regime, a system without an opposition. Fourthly, there are situations, electoral contests and political choices that feature lesser evils which are too evil to tolerate. A lesser Hitler remains a Hitler. An Obama acts like a Bush. A Clinton works hard to complete the Reagan Revolution. War, war crimes and lawlessness; mass murder, suppression of dissent and incarceration of whistleblowers; social austerity, economic predation and personal hardship — these are some of the policies and policy outcomes which MoveOn supports when it thumps the tub for Barack Obama.

    The lesser evil principle acquires its persuasive force when one considers the New Deal and Great Society reforms which once marked the history of the Democratic Party. One may suspect that Americans who voted for Obama and “change you can believe in” affirmed the collective memory of and institutional residues left over from these past victories. But these memories are mostly just memories. The New Deal State and the political culture which supported it parted ways decades back. Militarism and empire, finance capital and the capitalist class pushed labor and the lesser sort to the margins of the Democratic Party. This is the place where one will find MoveOn and the like. Rahm Emanuel once denounced them as “fucking retarded.”

    Well, well. I never stomached MoveOn, even before I worked for the “union” — SEIU 925.

    I am not sure how using MoveOn (dot) org’s petition site helps anyone, but then, we are in the time of the great assault on labor, wages, precarious people, and a great time of messaging, framing, digital genuflecting. Nothing really happens on the internet, except, hmm, reading. Or hitting the “like” on Facebook.

    Maybe I am wrong. Maybe. Sure, I have signed plenty of environmental and social justice petitions. Sort of a big sigh saying, “Well, there are like-minded folk out there in the digital forest . . . why not help?”

    Okay, then.

    Hands Off Syria!
    How the U.S. Left is Failing Over Syria


    The most guilty parties who have aided and assisted Obama’s expected war plans will have blood-stained hands after the bombing begins. Perhaps the best example of this coterie is Van Jones, the former adviser to Obama who founded the Rebuild The Dream organization. On CNN, Jones announced his new appetite for foreign war:

    “I think we need to stand behind this president and send a clear message to Assad that this type behavior is not acceptable.”

    Many liberals took Jones’ “stand by our president” approach, even if it wasn’t stated as directly as Jones did, and even after “our president” was unable to present any sensible reason for waging another aggressive war in the Middle East.

    A notch lower on the leftist spectrum of Syria war guilt is, which has done everything in their power not to portray President Obama’s actions in their true light. But MoveOn had to take a more creative approach to covering up for Obama in Syria.

    MoveOn organized a “teach-in” that was streamed on their website. The panel of speakers — with one exception — presented Obama’s position in a very evenhanded, “objective” way, presenting the president as an entirely reasonable person for wanting to bomb Syria, even if it might not be the best way to deal with the situation.

    Instead of pointing out the flagrant similarities between Obama’s Syria war rationale and George Bush’s Iraq War lies, these similarities were papered over, thus legitimizing Obama’s criminal actions.

    The worst Obama apologist on the panel was Matt Duss from the Center for American Progress, who explained that, although he was against a war on Syria, he “respects” that “other progressives of good faith may come to a different view.”

    Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies was the only consistent anti-war panelist, who appeared as a fringe element when compared to the rest of the panel, only because she offered a common sense, consistent anti-war message.

    The teach-in ended with a “what can we do” segment to influence the situation. Instead of mobilizing in the streets against Obama, the panelists discussed “contacting congressmen,” “calling the White House’s comment line,” “tweeting,” “email,” “petitions,” but no call was made for doing what was done against Bush: mobilize people in the streets to demand that the war be stopped.

    MoveOn further exposed their pro-Obama, pro-war attitude on the website, where for days the featured petition being promoted was titled: “President Obama: Don’t Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval.”

    Again, there is no basis for any strike on Syria, period — Congressional approval or otherwise. Even if Congress doesn’t approve Obama’s actions in Syria, it’s likely that he’ll attack Syria anyway, just as happened in Libya after Congress refused authorization.