1) Separating the Sheep from the
Goats. In case you're just waking up from a long
weekend and haven't seen the news,
President Obama introduced his plan for reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It didn't take long for the
national teachers' unions to make their feelings known.
"We see too much
top-down scapegoating of teachers and not enough collaboration," National
Education Association President Dennis Van Roekel told the
Wall Street Journal.
"Teachers are on the
front lines, in the classroom and in the community, working day and night to
help children learn. They should be empowered and supported - not
scapegoated," said American Federation of Teachers President
If you think you've been
hearing that term a lot lately, you're not mistaken. Weingarten used it two
weeks ago in response to Obama's remarks about the
Central Falls firings, and union officers in Florida used it to describe
merit pay bill, in Michigan in response to the state's failure to
Race to the Top funding, and in Milwaukee to defend the
union's choice of health care plan.
The word originated in the Bible (Leviticus
16) to describe the ritual of sending a goat out into the wilderness as
a sacrifice to atone for a perceived wrong. The goat, of course, is
blameless, but pays with its life for the errors of others.
That's what makes the use of the word in
these contexts faulty. You can't say on the one hand that
"The key to turning out great students is great teachers,"
while claiming to be blameless when
In noting the NEA response to President
Rick Hess wrote that it's "amazing how little gratitude $100 billion in
stimulus spending can buy you nowadays."
If NEA and AFT are tired of being
scapegoats, American taxpayers are more tired of being sheep - sheared
annually to support a system that not only fails to produce results, but
balks at the notion that there should be results.
2) Just Say No.
You don't want to miss the
Los Angeles Times interview with United
Teachers Los Angeles President A.J. Duffy. Let's just say
he's no Dennis Van Roekel.
Duffy casually dropped this into the
conversation: "I was a heroin addict for many years."
The time frame for this raises a few
his bio states he "organized and taught in daycare center for working
parents in Philadelphia from 1967-72." He would have been 23 or 24 when he
started there, which is also interesting since he told the Times,
"Between the ages of 25 and 30, I taught myself how to read."
It's great that Duffy overcame his
circumstances and his own self-destructive habits, but I wonder how, even in
the Sixties, daycare centers hired as teachers recovering heroin addicts who
3) Scheduling Note.
The EIA Communiqué will be on hiatus, returning on
Monday, April 5. However,
Intercepts will continue to be updated daily during that period.
It's probably as good a time as any to
suggest that e-mail communiqué readers consider switching to the
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You won't miss any content, you'll get
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of against us for a change. Thanks.
4) Last Week's Intercepts.
Intercepts, covered these topics from March 8-15:
California Teachers Association Spent Almost $212 Million on Politics in the
2000s. Even for a banana republic, that's a lot of bananas.
Totally Bombed. Let's not dwell on failure; let's dwell on what we
Archey? Or Jughead? Stop digging.
Also Heard From. But not heeded.
Education Writers Association Awards. Think twice.
Quote of the Week.
"I think the longer we're in a recession, the more union membership is going
to come back." - William George, retiring president of the Pennsylvania
AFL-CIO. (March 12