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Class War For Idiots / S.H.A.M.E. / September 12, 2012

On Monday, September 10, the Chicago Teachers Union—the oldest teachers union in America—went on strike. Teachers are striking for better pay, smaller class sizes and more job security. They are striking against school privatizations, teaching to standardized testing and the general “corporate reform agenda” of Chicago city officials.  The list of enemies aligned against the teachers is long and intimidating: Billionaire hotel heiress Penny Pritzker, Charles Koch, Art Pope, Rahm Emanuel, President Obama and . . . Steven Levitt. Yes, Steven Levitt, University of Chicago economist and author of the wildly successful book Freakonomics.

Levitt might come off as just a harmless and off-beat academic—a sort of Wes Anderson pop-economics guru who studies whacky stuff like why drug dealers live with their moms. But underneath that quirky facade, Levitt is a dyed-in-the-wool Milton Friedman neoliberal from the same “Chicago Boys” network that brought you the “shock doctrine.” When he isn’t pursing research into borderline eugenicist policies or studying the benefits of privatized prison labor on GDP, he’s hard at work doing his part helping the oligarchy put unionized Chicago school teachers up against the wall.

Specifically, Levitt has worked with Chicago’s notorious union-buster Arne Duncan, who was the CEO of Chicago public schools until Obama tapped Duncan to be the U.S. Education Secretary in 2008. Duncan has been credited with doing more than anyone else to help bring the neoliberal nightmare to Chicago’s impoverished and mostly nonwhite public schools, funneling public funds to dysfunctional private voucher schools, terrorizing unionized teachers, closing schools and turning public education into feeder tube for the prison-industrial complex. And Levitt, a tenured professor at the University of Chicago, was right there along with Duncan.

Levitt, together with other University of Chicago economists, was given access to the city’s public school system and turned it into a neoliberal R&D lab for high-tech union-busting.

Teacher bashers Steven Levitt and Arne Duncan

Under the guise of objective economic science, Levitt helped develop various ways to weaponize standardized testing and use it to bully and intimidate unionized teachers. Among them was a statistical method that allowed the anti-union school bureaucracy to catch and fire public-school teachers who supposedly cheated on standardized tests. Firing and terrorizing public-school teachers was clearly a point of pride for Levitt, and he took personal credit and boasted about sacking at least a dozen teachers, gloating in his book Freakonomics that, as a result of his method, “Chicago Public School system began to fire its cheating teachers. The evidence was only strong enough to get rid of a dozen of them, but the many other cheaters had been duly warned.”

Most recently, Levitt has been experimenting with a new way of making life miserable for underpaid public school teachers: an experimental program that provides teachers with a cash bonus up front at the beginning of an academic year and then forces teachers to give the money back if their students fail to test above a certain threshold. Cash-strapped teachers are horrified, wondering how they will be able to give back the money if their students didn’t test well:

For one school year, the research project by heavyweight economists from the University of Chicago and Harvard University — including the author of the best-seller Freakonomics — turned nine elementary schools in Chicago Heights School District 170 into a teacher testing ground of a behavioral phenomenon called “loss aversion.’’

Of course, neither Levitt nor any other school “reformer” would ever think that we should hold Wall Street fraudsters to the same standard of accountability. So while the financial-management class pays itself record bonuses for record failure, teachers are being tested for their ability to respond to “loss aversion.” Just how much impoverishment, financial degradation and abuse will teachers take before they are willing to lie, cheat and steal their way into keeping that $4,000 “bonus”? What will they do if they have to pay it back? Will they take a loan? What if they are ineligible? Will they sell a kidney or liver on the black market?

Levitt would definitely approve of the latter. After all, his economic hero and mentor Gary Becker is a huge fan of setting up a free-market for human organs. The free market always finds a solution!

Despite his extremist anti-worker ideology, Levitt isn’t published by Cato or the American Enterprise Institute. He’s better than that: he’s been blessed with a Freakonomics blog on the New York Times website and Freakonomics segment on public radio’s Marketplace. The New York Times has of course officially come out against the Chicago teachers strike.

Levitt shows just how hard Chicago teachers have it. They aren’t just fighting Chicago’s city officials such as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, but are doing battle with the entire corrupt intellectual apparatus of the United States.

Want to know more? Check out Steven Levitt’s S.H.A.M.E. profile.

***

Yasha Levine is co-founder the S.H.A.M.E. Project and author of The Corruption of Malcolm Gladwell.

Click the cover, buy the book!

 

52 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. Vendetta  |  September 13th, 2012 at 5:58 am

    I went to high school in a Chicago suburb district, and it’s pretty obscene how much money there is to be spent. While Chicago districts are cutting teachers left and right and cutting those left to the bone, our district was blowing money on putting a Smart Board in every room (essentially, a five thousand dollar computer projector screen you can write on). And I do mean every room; our auto shop had one (actually was more useful there than in half the real classrooms).

    Shameless.

  • 2. Dan  |  September 13th, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I am a troll and so I am here to say that I taught in CPS for 5 years (this gives my trolling extra “credibility”). Now you won’t believe what I’m going to tell you, because it’s going to shock you: The good teachers are constantly discouraged by the lazy freeriders protected by the teacher’s union. The standardized testing program is a botch as far as my boss in my private equity-funded PR firm is concerned, but everything else Rahm wants is very necessary for my personal well-being if you care about the quality of ass-fucking the CPS students should receive in order to enrich Rahm’s friends. This fake-eXhole supports Rahm.

  • 3. jyp  |  September 13th, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Freako-nomics? Got the name right anyhow. And Arne looks like that wack from the Jackass crew.

  • 4. Zirb  |  September 13th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    “underpaid public school teachers” – Is this true? cuz i hear they rollin’ deep. Like this:

  • 5. Ozinator  |  September 13th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    I found this clown earlier today looking for any news on Obama betraying Unions (I didn’t find much out there saying he flat out did). This asshole has 16 likes to 1 dislike and a bunch of fuckwits responding in his language. Trolls attack!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojfCPigDR1M

  • 6. Anton  |  September 13th, 2012 at 11:44 am

    First I thought the heading read ‘Enemy of the Chicago School’. That would’ve been strange position from a whoring corporate shill.

  • 7. Zirb  |  September 13th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    “cuz i hear they rollin’ deep” — I never said they were overpaid. I was just asking for the evidence that they’re underpaid.

  • 8. Galtic Warrior  |  September 13th, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Mark Ames, the average Teacher salary in Chicago is 75,0000$! That’s a little over half of what the average private sector employee makes! PLUS a 16% increase within the next 4 years and they are still not satisfied? Wow… Just WOW!

    Maybe if they worked a full 8 hour day, 5 days a week, with meetings and staff improvement AFTER school hours, and maybe if they worked 50 weeks to get 2 weeks vacation, maybe then, they’d be worth the ridiculous earnings they make. In this age of computers, kids can learn more from sitting in an online classroom at home, with a single teacher instructing and assisting hundreds or even thousands of students, than they can learn in an out of control classroom full of kids that aren’t interested in learning. As for dealing with parents; they chose the career, they can deal with the pitfalls!

    Who in private industry has gotten a 16% raise in FOUR YEARS? Wages are stagnant, and declining in real terms. Of course, the unions don’t want to share any economic pain..they’re above mere mortals especially the thugs in the “leadership”!

    Worst of all, with the kids in school, the murder rate goes down. Now they’ll have all day and night to kill.

  • 9. Some Guy  |  September 13th, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    If you’re taking requests, I’d like to read something about how terrible Wonkblog has been on the strike. Preferably with emphasis on how Ezra’s and Dylan Matthews’ corporate masters at the Washington Post have a financial stake in testing regimes due to receiving most of its revenue from Kaplan.

    At least that’s the sense I get from http://www.kaplank12.com. Click on “Common Core Support” and read about Teach!(R) Strategies & Resources. Looks like they’ve already mapped out how they’ll make their billions once they break the unions. All Kaplan has to do to pave the way is use its army of pseudo liberals on Wonkblog and at MSNBC to give the stamp of approval to “education reform.”

  • 10. Trickle Down  |  September 13th, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Galtic Piece Of Shit is a house nigger who supports our has-been civilization’s race to the bottom.

    The only thing good about this pathetic decline is that it will eventually get to the point where I can shoot fuckers like him in the face.

    When shit gets real, guys like that will literally be food.

  • 11. Margo Adler  |  September 14th, 2012 at 1:09 am

    “Worst of all, with the kids in school, the murder rate goes down. Now they’ll have all day and night to kill.”

    Really…? Wow. What sort of kids live in your neighborhood? Lebanese child soldiers?

  • 12. Friedmanite  |  September 14th, 2012 at 4:05 am

    Ehy AEC Why You don’t act like adults?
    “oooh We don’t agree with conservative/libertarians economics ideology so they are bad person(“the others”) and We AEC(Borderline communists) are the best because you know…communism works”
    No seriously try to read what Milton Friedman had to say in Free to Choose about school vouchers and freedom

  • 13. CensusLouie  |  September 14th, 2012 at 5:57 am

    Is anyone honestly stupid enough to believe that public teachers make an average of $75k?

  • 14. CensusLouie  |  September 14th, 2012 at 5:59 am

    And just to echo #1,

    often there’s plenty of money, but hiring more teachers and paying them better wouldn’t line the pockets of administrators with sweet kickback deals for blowing it all on superfluous computer equipment.

  • 15. Epsilon  |  September 14th, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Sigh. Why people keep falling for the third-rate trolling of Galtic Warrior is beyond me.

    That out, is always nice to see someone that opposes the Wall Street Axis….and are somewhat smarter than the bunch of dumbasses that elected Andrew Cuomo (that said very explicitely that he was going to fuck over public employees), then held a fucking candlelight vigil when he started to assrape them.

  • 16. joe  |  September 14th, 2012 at 10:45 am

    My mom makes 80k as a cps gym teacher. I feel 65-70k is an appropriate salary for a teacher. I still support unions though. If a teacher’s salary is that high than that raises the wages of everybody else. Unions are one of the few institutions left that prevent this country from devolving into a neoliberal hell hole. There main goal should be to fight school privatization and stand in solidarity with other unions.

    What the fuck ever happened to the IWW that’s the only union that seemed to understand the concept of solidarity.

  • 17. damn red  |  September 14th, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    @16 well you see the IWW was actually good at what they did. During the first world war the government passed some acts that allowed the government to put the boots to them. Now the AFL they were the pro capitalist union that also hated darkies, women and unskilled labor. But since they didn’t support or believe in workers control or other radical “nonsense” they were left mostly alone to become the dominate union. And boy aren’t they effective. We can go into details for reasons why the AFL-CIO is absolute garbage but that seems pretty self evident.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedition_Act_of_1918

    And the IWW is still around just not as large as it used to be or should be.
    http://www.iww.org/

  • 18. Ed  |  September 14th, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    I hate to break it to you, but this is not the first “corporate reform agenda” of our public education system. It started with the likes of Carnegie and Rockefeller.

    Rockefeller’s money established the Baptist University of Chicago. And it was Rockefeller’s right-hand-man and long-time University of Chicago trustee Frederick Taylor Gates who chaired the General Education Board (for southern school “reform”) and issued Occassional Letter 1:

    “In our dreams, we have limitless resources and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions fade from their minds, and unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning, or men of science. We have not to raise up from among them authors, editors, poets or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians nor lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we have an ample supply…The task we set before ourselves is very simple as well as a very beautiful one, to train these people as we find them to a perfectly ideal life just where they are. So we will organize our children and teach them to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way, in the homes, in the shops and on the farm.”

    Does that sound like a friend to the 99%? Jesus and Thomas Jefferson didn’t hammer out our education system. It was the first Robber Barons who established the process–along with a host of “experts,” from German Universities, predominantly. They were established for industrial efficiency. Education in this country before the 20th century was far different than today.

    So this virginal, pure white 99% sheep called public education that Ames and Levine defend so religiously is just another 1% wolf.

    Unfortunately, all of us were conditioned to the system. We’re acclimated to it. We pretty much have no clue, collectively, how to establish a new and different education system.

    You want some reform? How about no textbooks? We have the internet, right? How about no grading? Does it actually have a place? Or is it more of a way to help us learn our place? How about no standardized testing? That’s easy… How about no math before 2nd grade? How about no math at all? How about a school that only teaches rhetoric and kickboxing? How about a system that stresses competency?

    Think of the children! THEY ARE THEY FUTURE! AND I AM A FUCKING HIPPY!

  • 19. damn red  |  September 14th, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    I love it when people read dumbing down of america or what ever that book was called and then talk about the public school system as some vast conspiracy to make the population easier and the schools are designed to fail.
    And it always tends to follow up with some ranting and raving about a shadow government and something about fringed flags not being the actual US government flag.

    Of course you could have a shadowy cabal making public schools fail and not educate kids so they are easier to herd into a FEMA run death camp of course that is insane.

    Or the obvious reason for failing schools
    Wealthier school districts have higher graduation rates and acceptance into higher education and since those taxes are non apportioned the poorer areas tend to get screwed with the resultant high rate of drop outs blah blah blah blah. Look the reason US schools look terrible compared to other nations happens to be caused by including those poor school districts into the measure. Comparing wealthy state’s test scores like those found in the North East tend to give results that are equal and in some cases actually exceed other nations test scores.

    Now it gets even dumber when you realize that the author of the book that I am assuming you read is actually is a bonafide conspiracy nut and actually believed that Reagan was part of a global socialist conspiracy. And let’s not get into the bircher level crazy about the claims that education in america has changed to eliminate things such as morals and religious belief in students and that is why things were better in the 50s bullshit.

    What I find amazing is how every right wing leaning idiot believes in vast global conspiracies and how to stop these cabals tend to be the same solution the moneyed elite are pushing. (It’s like libertarians are useful despite being idiots)

    We should do what Warren Buffet said, make private schools illegal, tax revenue for property will be distributed to all schools and students will be assigned to a school by a lottery. Second you take away the rich bastards ability to game the system will be the second they actually give a fuck about the state of education for the masses.

  • 20. Finnucane  |  September 15th, 2012 at 8:58 am

    @18

    How about a school that teaches weapons training, combat triage, orienteering, history, philosophy, and small plot subsistence farming? Call it Mao College.

  • 21. JozefAL  |  September 15th, 2012 at 11:43 am

    How about some REAL “school reform” and do away with all the insane standardized testing of students? Teachers spend so much time teaching students how to take THOSE tests that they have little time to spend on the subjects they’re supposed to be teaching. Especially considering the fact that certain grades face these yearly tests, you basically lose whole years of real teaching because some principal (who, incidentally, doesn’t seem to face the same level of scrutiny that folks expect of the teachers) is worried that his school will lose funding because not enough kids are passing “the test” and so he (or she) pressures the teachers into teaching “the test.”

    Then, of course, there’s the whole fallacy of “school vouchers.” Sure, let’s see a school fail “the test” and then offer parents money (that would’ve otherwise gone to the “failing school”) and let them send their kids to a “better” school–even a private school–for a “quality education.” Here’s a thought: When a school is deemed to be a “failure” because it failed “the test,” why not send money to THAT school to improve it? By taking money from that school, it simply ensures the school fails.

    Granted, you end up with the conservative argument that “well, if the school spent the money on the students, blah, blah, blah.” BUT. Why do conservatives think that the educators (especially, the principals) are going to be any different from the “job creators” who–for the last 11 years–have benefitted from huge tax cuts but have done little to “create” the jobs that the tax cuts were supposed to finance? Given a choice between hiring new employees for $10 million or dividing the money among the shareholders and owners, these “job creators” will divide the money (and make the current employees just take up the slack).

    The simple fact is that this country has mandated ONE test for all its public school students to take despite the fact that this country doesn’t have ONE public school system. Most states have public school systems for specific cities and specific counties. (I live in Alabama–a state with approximately 130 school systems. Yet all the public school students in the 8th grade in all these disparate school systems have to take the SAME test. By comparison, Mississippi, with a smaller population, has well over 150 school systems. And no one seems to understand that standardized testing is a bit absurd for anything other than college entrance exams.)

  • 22. zek  |  September 15th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    It’s a fact that I am a tool of anti-teacher propaganda. I should really put my face in the garbage disposal, but unfortunately I can’t pull my tongue out of Rahm Emmanuel’s ass otherwise I would kill myself.

  • 23. wengler  |  September 17th, 2012 at 10:10 am

    If you watched that Morgan Spurlock documentary, this guy and his writing partner believe that everything can be solved by placing humans in a Skinner Box.

    Economics to these guys isn’t so much a science as a statement of belief. The operating mantra being ‘the beatings will continue until morale improves’.

  • 24. questions  |  September 17th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    A few questions:

    What is wrong with me?

    Secondly, I don’t have a lot of insight.

    If it is, then I fail to meet the conditions you have.

    I agree with your assessment.

  • 25. damn red  |  September 17th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    @23 If you replace “the beatings” with “Morgan Spurlock films/TV series” it all makes sense.

  • 26. darthfader  |  September 17th, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    Hey, I got some loss aversion for you, Steven. You got an awful nice house there . . . it’d be a shame, y’know . . .

  • 27. Galtic Warrior  |  September 17th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Mark Ames, you believe that investment and profit are supposed to be moral. They aren’t and, by definition, cannot be.

    Supply and demand exist regardless of how many self-righteous moochers want it to be.

    These same people also think they live a “moral” and “ethical” life because they choose “organic” or “local” products. The truth is this: look around your house. Look at what you use. Somewhere in the manufacturing, production or distribution chain of EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT AND SERVICE YOU USE, something immoral or unethical is involved. The diamond in your jewelry box is likely the product of African civil wars. The rice you bought at Whole Foods? The CEO opposes gay marriage. The organics you purchase? They engage in anti-competitive practices designed to push non-organics out of business. The machine that assembled your car replaced a human being who is now out of work. I guarantee that there are millions of workers in the manufacturing chain of everything you use who are racists, homophobic, misogynist, kick dogs, beat their spouse, and steal from friends. If people only invested in pure, clean morality, there would be no investment and we’d be a Socialist country!

    For the umptenth time, Mark Ames, if you’ve spent money, worked in America, YOU HAVE NO GROUND TO STAND ON!!11

    It’s time to take away a BAD INVESTMENT. Fire all the teachers and hire them at market value, and evaluate them every year based on what the Free market demands.

  • 28. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    @8, inter human interaction is important between kids and cannot be substituted by mass factory education by internet link by a thousand students to one instructor otherwise students will be dehumanised, easily manipulated, and oblivious to critical reasoning about inflationary factors in big cities where wages are substantially higher as the prices than rural areas and as such big poll statistics without properly adjusted to living costs to a particular area are worthless.

  • 29. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    @ 10/ Trickle Down, such inflammatory comments about total collapse of society and us feeding of each other in the streets is really hurting the Occupy Wall Street cause. It makes the movement out to be some anarchist movement where people are out in the streets throwing rocks at cars so squirrels can have rights. I’m not trying to dig on anarchists, but OWS is about the outrage that the “small government” officials butt raped the middle class by giving interest free government loans to corporate giants to pay inflated ruling class corprocrats embezzlement at the expense of devaluing our currency, while hesitantly approving continuation of miniscule amounts to programs that might go toward anything else. The playing field needs to return, where if someone is racking in dividend in hundreds of millions it shouldn’t be taxed at 15% while someone working his ass off in San Francisco where one needs a million just to buy a house that would go for no more then $40,000 at Canton, Ohio and is only making 100 thousand.

  • 30. 2012truth  |  September 17th, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    is the Federal Reserve really “privately owned” or is Libertard propaganda creeping into the Exiled’s “Know” RSS feed? AEC: Who’s the libertard here? Libertards say the Fed is a Big Government, even though it is owned by private member banks and has some federal control/oversight. Sort of line your a regulated private utility company, except that it can jack up rates as much as it wants.

  • 31. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    @12, paying outlandish corporate executive bonuses is good for company, because it secures the best talent, but paying anything above the most possible low price for the worker is detrimental. One is applauded by by the rich and another is totally bad for the company? Why? Both are sucking off the shareholder profits, and with so many qualified applicants for top position the thought that one at the top should rack in 1% of a humongous billion dollar enterprise is simply preposterous, especially with those taking positions that have history of ruining businesses and counter to shareholder approval which is limited by corrupt rules in the books that prevent shareholder majority vote from keeping these bonuses in check, even thou shareholders in majority protest them. Approving of workers being paid slightly less to afford basic living standards while empowering the shareholder rights to fight embezzlement is a far cry from uneducated peasants lining up those with glasses for a firing squad.

  • 32. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    @21/JosefAl, I don’t understand what going to school in Mississippi or Alabama have to do with tests that measure reason, critical thinking and mathematics. I genuinely would like to know why high school tests should not be held to same level as university entrance exams.  

  • 33. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    @22, I suggest you take it out, because the toxins will get you in the end, better to take the chances with the garbage disposal, at least it can’t tear your soul apart provided their is any of it left beside the sleeping parts.

  • 34. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    @27/Galtic Warrior, there is nothing wrong with Africans standing up for what they believe in, it’s definitely more sincere then the proxy war in Syria. Trying to cut those economies to bring happiness and peace, when poverty and cornered people time and time again have shown to lead to extremesism is same logic as cutting wages for essential workers to improve their lot.

  • 35. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 17th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    @30, if the Federal Reserve is spending 40 billion a month on buying up short term low interest loans for corrupt corporate establishment, and guarantees such policy until middle of 2015 while this amount, one month’s worth is enough to fix any discrepancy with Social Security for an entire decade then clearly it is a private establishment that does not even mask who it represents.

  • 36. 2012truth  |  September 17th, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    AEC: Who’s the libertard here? Libertards say the Fed is a Big Government, even though it is owned by private member banks

    Top reader review of H.H. Rev Ron Paul’s treatise on the Fed:

    “My eyes have been opened. I had no idea that the Federal Reserve was a private bank”

    http://www.ronpaul.com/books/end-the-fed/

    Alex Jones’ Infowars.com: “we know the Federal Reserve is a privately owned, for-profit corporation”

    But hey, just because a Libertard said it doesn’t necessarily make it wrong… I guess.. PS I’m quivering in fear talking back to the AEC but it has to be said.

    Remain calm, my truther son. Do not look to the sky. The black helicopters will not come for you today.

  • 37. darthfader  |  September 18th, 2012 at 2:39 am

    The years since 2007 have demonstrated that for anyone to invest in anything anymore in the traditional sense, America would have to BE a socialist country. It’s just not in any investor’s material interest to tie up money that way. Why take the risk given the shit return? Instead, the 0.1% who skim rents end up with all the cash. Then the professionals they hire use it to get worse-than- or same-as-market returns on crooked quick-trading and short-selling, or use company executives’ money to drive up the company’s stock price, or etc.

    Look at Paul Ryan’s absolute lunatic juggling of his portfolio from week to week, as described in recent Naked Capitalism stories. Insider trading or not, his returns were mediocre. Financial products as the vehicle for overproduction in an era of underconsumption . . . the wealthy build and concentrate their wealth, but are driven half-mad as their profits decrease anyway.

  • 38. Fischbyne  |  September 18th, 2012 at 2:46 am

    I haven’t read a NYT editorial column in 20 years, but followed Yasha’s link. These things used to be see-sawing equivocations intended to give the impression of a careful Newtonian experiment, yet always tipped ever so slightly right. Now they’ve done away with the Schlesingerian pondering and just soft-pedal class interest like any old rag.

    The top comment is from a Chicago teacher who lays it out: “The board of education closes schools and turns them into charters, giving opportunities for charters to well-connected friends of the city’s elite.”

  • 39. Trickle Down  |  September 18th, 2012 at 6:39 am

    @29. Dimitri Ratz

    What gave you the impression that I give two shits about OWS? They, like you, are a bunch of collaborationist peasant scum who provide political cover for a permanent, entrenched aristocracy.

    Listen to Bishop Mitt’s latest “gaffe” to see how they hold everyone not in their caste in utter contempt. They’ve been warring against most of the population, for decades, and the day people start really shooting back, as opposed to standing in fucking drum circles and getting beat up by police, may be the day our society can finally roll back some of this Randian bullshit.

    Though, feel free to keep bringing your chess set to schoolyard brawls. I’m sure that your intellectual integrity will keep your kids from starving.

    Also, pick your favorite post and reply to it. Nobody wants to read your pedantic rambling about each and every post in this thread.

  • 40. zek  |  September 18th, 2012 at 8:33 am

    so, you hilariously changed my comment without answering it’s salient points – not enough mat, pederas nedayobiniy? okhuel mudak i cheshit gryaznoyou zhopu svoim huyem.

  • 41. Bob Loblaw  |  September 18th, 2012 at 9:26 am

    hmm isn’t it ironic that these tireless supporters of the working class would require you to pay to read their content? EVIL CAPITALISTS!

  • 42. adam  |  September 18th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    This comment is brought to you by “Union Supporters for Union Liberty,” a 501c3 dedicated to freeing unions from union tyranny. Our motto: “For Unions. For Union Busting!” Funding provided by the Daughters of the Hitler von Hayek Revolution.

    “The list of enemies aligned against the teachers is long and intimidating: Billionaire hotel heiress Penny Pritzker, Charles Koch, Art Pope, Rahm Emanuel, President Obama and . . . Steven Levitt”

    Yasha, you left the most insidious, most treacherous enemy of them all… the CTU itself! Your analysis of the situation, erudite and thoughtful though it is, does not take into account the fact that the CTU is doing its best to wear teachers down into accepting a sellout deal. The CTU is holding back teachers from pursuing a revolutionary program.

    The teachers, if they really care about stopping the dismantlement of public education, will have to break with their union because the CTU only cares about one thing – brokering labor power.

    If the aims are small, the gains will be small…

    … and the aims of the Obama admin and the corporate elite are not small by any means.

    Don’t turn a blind eye to the sell out of the unions. Recent history has offered us multiple controlled experiments in the abject failure of Unions to support the workers – just look at the results of NUM and the Marikana massacre, or IAM and the sellout of Caterpillar workers at Joliet. The CTU will force through a contract that gives small change to the teachers but will not stop Emmanuel from closing down 120 public schools and baring these children to the whims of the free market.

    This site has had excellent analysis of the bankrupt middle-class politics of the Democratic party, but the unions are funneling millions of dollars of workers’ pay into it. Breaking with the Dems means breaking not only breaking with the corporate elite that prop them up from one side, but also with the completely discredited and compromised unions – some of whom, like the UAW bureaucracy, actually own shares in their own industries.

  • 43. Dimitri Ratz  |  September 18th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    @39, the part about the peasant is incorrect, the scum part is correct depending on the day. Pedantic is a nice word, but advocating violent force as a solution is not a minute detail. Most violent revolutions were sponsored abroad by other countries to gain influence and the locals themselves had little to gain and lost much of development, being set back decays for those that survived. Violence, and outrages statements weaken the concerns of the trodden, and only solidify the injustices to continue, empowering the very same people you claim to oppose. Also if in your ferry tale the system falls it still would have to be replaced by something, so there is no use avoiding to fix errors and crimes instead of anarchical cause.

  • 44. adam  |  September 18th, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    Well, well, well… Lookie what my retarded “watch me cleverly critiquing from the fake-left-of-left and acting all pure ‘n’ stuff” comment got me: an improvement by the AEC. Thank you for improving my marketing whiz’s idea of what passes for leftwing criticism, I really thought I was smart until I saw that.

  • 45. adam  |  September 18th, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    This AEC must be the new intern. Didn’t you get the memo, boy? Trotsky has friends in these parts.

  • 46. suoerstupid  |  September 18th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Oh maaan, you’ve GOT TO LET THAT MALCOLM HARRIS PIECE OUT!!!

  • 47. adam  |  September 18th, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Fake left? Nothing is more fake left than I am. I was going to find a link to a Trotskyite article that would prove how pure and “real” I am, but then you wisely improved this comment. Thank you again.

  • 48. Mr. Bad  |  September 18th, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Anybody here from the 90′s ? It’s like the sixties but with worse drugs…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fSN3JB2XTSI#!

  • 49. JozefAL  |  September 18th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

    Dimitri Ratz queried, “I genuinely would like to know why high school tests should not be held to same level as university entrance exams.”

    Well, for starters, Dimitri, these tests (at least in Alabama) are taken by FOURTH graders and EIGHTH graders as well as 11th graders. If you can figure out why a 4th or 8th grader should be taken a standardized test, please inform me.

    As to your claim that these tests “measure reason, critical thinking and mathematics,” have you actually seen these tests? They do NOTHING of the sort. Teachers spend days–even WEEKS–before these tests teaching the students HOW to take the test.

    Both the SATs and the ACTs are taken by students who PLAN on attending college. The tests that the schools push on students to help “evaluate” how the teachers and students are doing are taken by EVERYONE, regardless of their future education plans. The SATs and ACTs are used to help colleges evaluate whether an applicant is really worthy of attending; that’s why each college sets its OWN minimum scores for potential applicants rather than the US Dep’t of Education determining what minimum score is acceptable. Unfortunately, public elementary and secondary schools are subject to DOE standards by which ALL schools must abide. Alabama and Mississippi, for instance, CANNOT set their own standards for what is considered a “passing” score for their schools, even though both states spend substantially less on their students than states like New York and California. Also, you have to take into consideration that a school curriculum that an 8th-grader in Alabama may be “inferior” to that of an 8th-grader in California. (I cannot fully attest to the changes since my own days in elementary school, but between my 5th and 6th grades, my family moved from Texas to Alabama. In Texas, I studied at a military dependants’ school–which included a regular daily Spanish class. When we moved to Alabama, Spanish classes were NOT available in elementary school; in fact, Spanish was only available beginning in 8th grade. By the time I got to that “first-year” Spanish class, there was only one student whose performance was better than mine–and that was only because he was from Puerto Rico. On top of it, my 6th grade science textbook was almost 10 years out of date. The moon landing had taken place 3 years before I entered 6th grade; the science text was speculating on what might be found on the Moon and the problems our astronauts “will face” on their trip to the Moon.)

    You might also want to consider who’s *really* benefitting from these standardized tests. Groups who want to privatize the education system (even moreso than it’s already been done) finance these tests and because parents who’d rather foist off their children on “professional babysitters” than spend time helping their kids study or even learn (and, don’t forget, the overemphasis of athletics in the South; there’s a lot of lip service about “student athletes” but the reality is these kids are athletes–usually football and basketball players–first and students, a distant second). The ONLY time most parents pay attention to how their kids are doing is when the kid gets suspended or is otherwise punished for bad behavior. And that’s only because the kid’s behavior becomes an inconvenience for the parents.

  • 50. Fischbyne  |  September 19th, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Let’s not forget who owns the SAT. The New York Times does. Ergo, their editorials attack teachers’ unions that oppose the growth industry of corporate standardized testing.

  • 51. Oelsen  |  November 20th, 2012 at 6:19 am

    Yes, cut it, cut everything.

    And then go the way every Empire did that didn’t value a lean military and a solid education. Go die, now, hurry!

  • 52. Cory  |  May 20th, 2013 at 9:49 am

    I’m a joke — why don’t I have the balls to write critical journalism? I’m ashamed to have merely posted a comment.


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