The obvious choice is: ME!!
but since I didn't donate big $$$ to the campaign, and I'm not in charge of a huge organization that did, I'm certainly not in the running.
BUT WHO IS?? Lots of names have been floated. It's very important when you think about the floatee to understand who the floater is (metaphor off the rails - ha!)
For instance, when Democrats for Education Reform suggests someone for the top ed job, we need to understand just who DFER is before we assume that their nominations are good. Sure, the name sounds good: "Democrats for Education Reform." But if we've learned nothing from the past 20 years, it's that the word reform means "testing the shit out of teachers and students until everyone gives up in despair." Alternate definition: setting poor schools that serve lots of poor children and students of color up to fail according to our narrow definition of succe$$ then closing their beloved neighborhood school and giving it to a charter outfit so they can make money by looting public school funding."
Also, if we are honest, we can look at the "Democrats" part of DFER and realize that they have been behind this bullshit "reform" effort from the beginning. Remember Clinton at the national Governor's education summit with Bush I? (A history lesson for another day.) Obama and his pal Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan were not our friends.
So... who does DFER have in mind for us?
There have been reports that Biden is considering a big union leader, perhaps AFT president Randi Weingarten or former NEA leader Lily Eskelsen García. I'm a union supporter, but somehow the head of a giant bureaucracy with a mixed record on neoliberal bullshit doesn't seem right. Especially Weingarten, who is not a teacher, and who was head of the NYC union when I worked there and (another story for another day!) was shall we say ... less than helpful.
So, who are we Shit-Talkers thinking about? There's a petition going around in support of Kevin Kumashiro. Some folks like Pedro Noguera for the job. I've heard Gloria Ladson Billings' name multiple times, but also have heard that she will lead the transition then go back to what she feels is unfinished work for her in California.
Diane Ravitch, anyone? Probably not - she posted an article by Carol Burris offering an extensive list of qualified folks - read it here.
What about Pedro Noguera? Brilliant, kind, diplomatic - but not TOO diplomatic - stands up for kids and teachers, handsome, generous (those last two not requirements but still!).
My bottom line: NO ONE who is supported by DFER or other ed "reform/ruination" folks. BECAUSE THIS:
"Innovation" means business-school bullshit innovations, not teachers having room to be flexible and creative and permission to be the bold and badass educators they are. "Choice" means undermining neighborhood schools with charters owned by for-profit outfits that are looting the public coffers (see innovation, above). "Accountability" means testing testing and more testing ... data, data, data. Meaningless and unhelpful data.
Also: no Gates Foundation people; no Eli Broad cronies, not Teach for
America kook-aid drinkers!!
Weigh in folks and let us know who you want to lead us beginning January 20, 2021. And yes, feel free to nominate yourself. It's fun!
...Saw this piece of shit while looking for a job.
Selling education solutions? Like selling the tax-paying public on the idea that they need to pay fucking taxes in order to fund the freaking cornerstone of our democracy, PUBLIC EDUCATION?
OK so then probably...
Selling the folks in charge of education policy from "on high" on the idea of letting public education actually BE the cornerstone of the fucking democracy FOR ONCE? Instead of a sorting tool dreamed up by Thomas Jefferson to separate the poor-ish white males who were fit to lead from the rest of us schlubs? (you know, the women, the POC, the Native people, the immigrants, those who don't perform well on standardized bullshit tests... raise your hand if you're one of us!!)
WHAT THEN? WE ARE DYING OF SUSPENSE!!!
Welllll....This company sells facilities maintenance solutions. Specifically to the education market. Their services can help solve problems of inequity in schooling. No really...
According to ABM:
"Lack of equity in funding is leading to imbalances, including issues with teacher pay and lack of capital for meeting the physical health and technological needs of a productive learning environment. Unequal funding, due in large part to the continuing reliance of school budgets on local taxes, is the subject of legislative and legal fights nationwide, while local district leaders look for tools needed to address funding issues and achieve better equity for students."
Read more of their inspiring sales pitch here.
You can't make this stuff up!
Can you just imagine me, loud smart-ass Yankee Shit-Talker, working at PEARSON??? I would be #alwayslearning how to undermine their status as "the global leader in computer-based testing blah blah blah." They need to go, but I'm not the man to do it. Link below for anyone who wants to take this on!!
Just think ... $52K - $96K per year PLUS... the adulation of all your shit-talking peers! You would be the HERO OF THE AGES!!
Click here to go to LinkedIn and apply for YOUR DREAM JOB!
by Kristidel McGregor
This morning I was in the middle of my usual morning routine (stretching my scalenes because I have a bum neck, drinking lots of black coffee, reading the newspapers online and trying not to curse in front of my kids) when I was confronted with this picture of the inside of two refrigerators. Pop Quiz: can you tell a Trump fridge from a Biden fridge?
This quiz lives behind a paywall, because it’s the fucking New York Times. But I give them money every month so I spent about 10 minutes of my life (minutes I’ll never get back) trying to guess someone’s political affiliation based on their brand of yogurt. Because as everyone knows, only Biden voters eat fancy yogurt (this shit is delicious btw).
This recipe includes a sauce that consists of tomato ketchup and butter, and it’s a cheap and easy dinner. Mamma June says she feeds the family of 6 on about 80 dollars a week, no easy feat.
Meanwhile, the New York Times cooking page has this recipe for tomato sauce, by famous chef Marcella Hazan, who they call “the cookbook author who changed how Americans cook Italian food.” They go on say, “don’t be scared off by the butter. It gives the sauce an unparalleled velvety richness.” The recipe for this famous sauce? A can to tomatoes (the fancy ones, of course), and a stick of butter. You also put a whole onion in the tomatoes while it simmers, just to take it out and throw it away.
What’s the main difference between these two recipes? Why is a can of tomatoes so very different, in the public eye and in how it is represented by the media, from a few squirts of ketchup? Both bring a tomato-y acidity, and the butter of course tastes good, it’s butter! But these meals are represented so differently for the same reason a McMuffin is different from a Double-smoked Bacon, Cheddar, and Egg: one has come to represent a certain social class, and other a very different one.
At a faculty meeting, when asked if the university would be fighting this, a member of the upper echelon of administration said that this order is “difficult to resist” because it’s “very cleverly construed.” He assured us that he was in conversation with other “peer institutions” about how best to respond. Then... he acknowledged that “power exists, and if we start losing grant funding….” “Oh for fucks sake are you kidding me?” I screamed (out loud, cause they muted us all so we couldn’t talk back).
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including [blah blah blah] in order to promote economy and efficiency in Federal contracting, to promote unity in the Federal workforce, and to combat offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating, it is hereby ordered as follows:
^^ Pretty sure the only thing sincere in this paragraph is the part about wanting to promote economy and efficiency. Settler colonial logics on bold display here.
From the battlefield of Gettysburg to the bus boycott in Montgomery and the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, heroic Americans have valiantly risked their lives to ensure that their children would grow up in a Nation living out its creed, expressed in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” It was this belief in the inherent equality of every individual that inspired the Founding generation to risk their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish a new Nation.... President Abraham Lincoln understood that this belief is “the electric cord” that “links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving” people, no matter their race or country of origin. It is the belief that inspired the heroic black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment to defend that same Union at great cost in the Civil War. And it is what inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to dream that his children would one day “not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
^^ So much to bitch about here ^^ First, does anyone else hear the 1812 Overture being played by the West Point band when reading this? Ugh! Get out of my head, Tchaikovsky!! I think it’s important to note that whoever wrote it (not the trumpster fire, as evidenced by the complete sentences) only knows whatever pile of shit he* read in his* 8th grade social studies book. (I’m fairly certain it’s a he… Stephen Miller in the throes of COVID fever perhaps?) “The Civil War was a huge win for Black folks (the only folks mentioned herein) and Dr. King made everything wonderful.” Read a freakin book, asshole!
Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of our forebears, America has made significant progress toward realization of our national creed, particularly in the 57 years since Dr. King shared his dream with the country.
^^ Prove it! I dare you!!
Today, however, many people are pushing a different vision of America that is grounded in hierarchies based on collective social and political identities rather than in the inherent and equal dignity of every person as an individual. This ideology is rooted in the pernicious and false belief that America is an irredeemably racist and sexist country; that some people, simply on account of their race or sex, are oppressors; and that racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as human beings and Americans.
^^ This is “cleverly construed” in the same way as Big Brother’s “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” It makes no sense but it’s easier to go with it than to noodle it through. Anyone who’s read a book (and 1984 in particular) is not falling for this. Let’s just hope enough of us read it before the Common Core kicked in and whole books became beside the point. Crossing my fingers!
This destructive ideology is grounded in misrepresentations of our country’s history and its role in the world. Although presented as new and revolutionary, they resurrect the discredited notions of the nineteenth century’s apologists for slavery who, like President Lincoln’s rival Stephen A. Douglas, maintained that our government “was made on the white basis” “by white men, for the benefit of white men.” Our Founding documents rejected these racialized views of America, which were soundly defeated on the blood-stained battlefields of the Civil War. Yet they are now being repackaged and sold as cutting-edge insights. They are designed to divide us and to prevent us from uniting as one people in pursuit of one common destiny for our great country.
^^ First, let me note the proper use of “its” in the first sentence, further proof that the only time the orange menace got his hands on this thing was when he attacked it with his sharpie.
Second: Again with Lincoln? Are you calling those of us who want justice “apologists for slavery”? Um: NO. Saying that we are fans of Stephen Douglas? NO!
Finally: Our founding documents were written by white folks for white folks. ...by white men for white men …for aristocratic white men for aristocratic white men. In this I agree with Douglas that the Constitution is an “aristocratic slavery document” (john a. powell) and didn’t even START getting good until the 13th Amendment and thanks to the goddess Ava DuVernay we all know where that’s gotten us.
Here’s a cutting-edge insight for you: you need to shut up; go home cheeto, you’re drunk - we know that we can’t pursue a common destiny of justice without owning our own shit - individually, group-wise, and as a nation-state.
Unfortunately, this malign ideology is now migrating from the fringes of American society and threatens to infect core institutions of our country. Instructors and materials teaching that men and members of certain races, as well as our most venerable institutions, are inherently sexist and racist are appearing in workplace diversity trainings [blah blah blah, “not all white men” etc.]
^^^ Oh, you can’t STAND it when we refuse to stay on the margins!! (pro tip: that’s where we get the word “marginalized” to describe how you treat everyone but the white rich guys)
Training materials from Argonne National Laboratories, a Federal entity, stated that racism “is interwoven into every fabric of America” and described statements like “color blindness” and the “meritocracy” as “actions of bias.”
^^^ Rock the fuck on, Argonne National Laboratories!
Materials from Sandia National Laboratories… for non-minority males... stated that an emphasis on “rationality over emotionality” was a characteristic of “white male[s],” and asked those present to “acknowledge” their “privilege” to each other.
^^^ I’m gonna push back a little (this is how polite people in committee meetings start off their “fuck no you did not just say that” statements) on your word choice here Drumpfy &Co:
First: “Non-minority males” seriously what the fuck? Just be brave and say “white.” “Men.” Now put them together: “White Men.”
Also: It is not that individual white males “emphasize” rationality over emotion - some do, some don’t. That would not be a problem except that white / male / settler colonial values do not just “emphasize” this (along with efficiency, ownership, violence, hierarchical ordering of people, things, etc etc etc), but our whole society holds these things above all the others - as the only way of thinking or of doing things. Anyone who doesn’t want to play by your bullshit made-up Calvin-ball rules is out of luck. We see you and we loathe you!
A Smithsonian ... graphic recently claimed that concepts like “[o]bjective, rational linear thinking,” “[h]ard work” being “the key to success,” the “nuclear family,” and belief in a single god are not values that unite Americans of all races but are instead “aspects and assumptions of whiteness.” The museum also stated that “[f]acing your whiteness is hard and can result in feelings of guilt, sadness, confusion, defensiveness, or fear.”
^^^ Which Museum(s)? I need to know so I can send them a love letter.
All of this is contrary to the fundamental premises underpinning our Republic: that all individuals are created equal and should be allowed an equal opportunity under the law to pursue happiness and prosper based on individual merit.
^^^ If we ever did live up our fundamental underpinnings we wouldn’t have to still be marching in the fucking streets to demand that the government stop killing Black and Brown people for fucks’ sake!
[Agencies] should, of course, continue to foster environments devoid of hostility grounded in race, sex, and other federally protected characteristics. Training employees to create an inclusive workplace is appropriate and beneficial. The Federal Government is, and must always be, committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals before the law.
^^^ So… we “continue to foster [these kinds of] environments” by ignoring problems and not talking about the reality of our shared history. Because what? That’s worked so well up until now? Nope.
But training like that discussed above perpetuates racial stereotypes and division and can use subtle coercive pressure to ensure conformity of viewpoint. Such ideas may be fashionable in the academy, but they have no place in programs and activities supported by Federal taxpayer dollars. Research also suggests that blame-focused diversity training reinforces biases and decreases opportunities for minorities.
^^^ Well you should know about subtle coercive pressure you bastards!! Thanks for calling the academy “fashionable.” It’s really not - ask anybody - oh wait you can’t ask because you can’t be seen talking with anyone “elite” (if by “elite” you mean has read a book in the last 10 years).
I can’t go on…. But wait, there’s more!
For a rational adult’s analysis of the Executive Order and its (lack of) constitutionality:
Link to entire text of EO.
Every once in a while (or daily, it's 2020 ffs) some crazy mess happens out there in the world and we need to smack back immediately. In writing. Using spicy language.
WRITE THAT SHIT UP! And send it to Sassy Backtalk.
Sometimes we've been thinking about something for a while, and trying to write about it for the fancy peer reviewed outlets, which is all well and good but we miss the sound of our own voice and are sick of burying our passion under academic word vomit.
WRITE THAT SHIT UP! And send it to Sassy Backtalk.
Did you ever look at an image of two birds on a branch and immediately hear their words in your head? So you draw them some word bubbles and put their words in side them in sharpie? Maybe that's just me. But whatever you do visually,
TAKE A PICTURE OF THAT SHIT! And send it to Sassy Backtalk.
What about those times when you sit down to write and nothing but hilarious scathing critique comes out? Don't delete it...
WRITE THAT SHIT UP! And send it to Sassy Backtalk.
We are here for you. Send us all the stuff.
^^ How it feels talking to the "nice" white liberal school board members.