Monday, March 31, 2014

Note to Gov. Christie: Those who live by the accountability sword will die by the accountability sword.

From the moment he was sworn in four years ago, Gov. Christie has been on a personal jihad against public education, unions and teachers. Labeling us “greedy” and “selfish”, and our apartheid schools in high-poverty districts as “failure factories”, he’s done everything possible to brainwash the general public into thinking our schools are overrun with bad teachers who must be held accountable.

He succeeded in getting a new evaluation system passed (my district uses Danielson)* that now tracks every pencil stroke of a student against their teacher. No stone is left unturned as administrators evaluate everything from how a teacher greets her students at the door, to whether students are able to solve their own social problems. And forget about expecting to be found ‘highly effective’ (a score of 4 on a 1-4 scale). Every teacher in New Jersey has been spoon-fed the mantra, “live in 3; vacation in 4”. To be highly effective, students pretty much have to teach themselves and solve their own problems. So, if you are a highly effective teacher, you essentially teach yourself into obsolescence. And yea, that’s totally reasonable, especially with kindergarteners.
Oh Charlotte, what have you done?

But no matter how hard teachers are trained in the new evaluation system, there are some things in our students’ lives that are simply beyond our control; that not even the best teacher in the world can fix.

WE CAN’T STUFF KNOWLEDGE INTO KIDS’ HEADS WHEN THEIR HOME LIVES ARE DYSFUNCTIONAL!

But for no-excuses Christie, that’s no excuse. Teachers must be held accountable! It’s our fault kids struggle to learn because they’re poor. It’s our fault their parents are going through a bitter divorce that keeps them up at night with worry. It’s our fault they have an undiagnosed learning disability. If we can just hold teachers to unreasonable standards, slash their budgets, and test kids til their brains turn to Jello, we will banish those bad teachers once and for all!

And while Gov. Christie gets to hire his staff, I, on the other hand, have no choice which students I teach. I MUST take them all regardless of what baggage they bring with them, and yet I MUST be held accountable for their academic performance.

Well, those who live by the accountability sword will die by the accountability sword. Gov. Christie unleashed the accountability monster, so it’s time for him to have a taste of his own medicine: he must be held accountable for Bridgegate.

I hereby declare Governor Chris Christie ‘ineffective’ on the Danielson rubric for politician effectiveness!

Gov. Christie, you are accountable to the people of New Jersey for surrounding yourself with a bunch of —(to use a word you admitted your mother used, and you called Assemblyman Reed Gusciora)—‘numbnuts’.

You are accountable to the people of New Jersey for hiring not one… not two… not three… but four incompetents. Talk about a failure factory! You hired them. You created a work environment that fostered this type of behavior. That speaks volumes about your ability not only to lead a state but—heaven forbid—a nation. I can just see it:

“Hey, Mr. President, that despot dictator won’t back down, so we created some traffic problems on his border with some Bradleys.”

It doesn’t matter that you looked at the camera all puppy dog-eyed and sad and told Diane Sawyer,
“I’m certainly disappointed in myself that I wasn’t able to pick up these traits in these people. I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t look closer, that I trusted too much.”

You are accountable.

It doesn’t matter that a bogus investigation, paid for with $1 million of taxpayer money, exonerated you and slut-shamed Bridget Anne Kelly. You, sir, are accountable for her actions. (Oh, and can I deduct my portion of that $1 mil from my income taxes ‘cause I’d really like a refund.)

You must be held accountable for the millions of people who were late for work or school, and for the ambulance that could not answer a call in a timely manner because of your poor judgment. Four people behaved horrendously because of your poor judgment.

The buck stops with you, Governor. You can point your finger all you want. You can spray yourself with Teflon all you want. You can trash Bridget Kelly and deny being friends with David Wildstein all you want, but they didn’t act in a vacuum.

‘I didn’t know’ is right up there with ‘the dog ate my homework’. You are ineffective. You need to go.



* If anyone has a link to the Danielson rubric that shows all the domains, please send me the link. I’ve only been able to find a PDF.