POLITICS AS USUAL
By John Kass, July 15, 2002, Chicago Tribune
"He's leaving town, before the insiders chop him up slowly over time--which is how the Illinois power clique treats those who threaten them."
Teachers with integrity threaten administrators too.
"Why is it that weasels and bullies prosper in Illinois politics, while people like Vallas are driven off?"
Weasels and bullies prosper in administrations and school boards.
"Vallas spent a lifetime in public service. He worked long hours obstinately, to help the kids in the schools.....And he lived on his salary. A guy with a power job in Chicago who didn't leverage it to get rich? Amazing." "That should count for something. I thought so. Perhaps you did too."
Teacher members of NAPTA thought working hard and being dedicated to our students counted for something. WE WERE DEAD WRONG.
"He has the smarts and integrity, unlike the other fakers and bullies who prattle on about sound management while spending us into catastrophe."
Our administrators are creating a catastrophe in our schools and the price is destroyed lives; schools should be judged by money spent on lawsuits. NAPTA believes there is a direct correlation between high legal expenditures and lower scores in our middle class districts. The more money spent on silencing teachers, the greater need to silence teachers, i.e. greater need to cover up.
"A rare few in politics don't have to genuflect to the political establishment for political money. U.S. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) is one. He's rich. Because Fitzgerald doesn't need their money, he was able to embarrass the establishment into accepting three independent federal prosecutors for the jobs of U.S. attorney in Chicago, Springfield and East St. Louis."
Senator Peter Fitzgerald was one of only three politicians, out of nearly one hundred that were contacted, who responded to Karen Horwitz' pleas for help against the corrupt practices of the Illinois State Board of Education.
"Lies in Vallas Vitae," Substance, March, By Sharon Schmidt
A Substance investigation has revealed that Vallas did not teach elementary school for four years. The item on his 'Biographical Summary' is flagrant resume padding. Neither Vallas nor his spokesperson, Matt Ryan, returned Substanceís phone calls that asked for Vallasís current story regarding his ďteaching experienceĒ and a comment for this article.
Is this sounding more like politics? A consumer cannot even trust what is reported in the first-ranked Chicago newspaper.
Arthur Andersen had no expertise, but took over tasks done by
central and school staff, while remaining the school systemís chief
Substance's March issue pointed out Vallas's political rather than educational choices.
If the Democrats are addled enough to follow the advice of the Tribune and nominate Paul Vallas, Vallasís corruption and goofiness will be page one news beginning in early October and continuing until the Republicans squeak back into the statehouse November 5. License for Bribes will be run off the page one by Crazy Paul stories. By November, solid citizens will be giggling every time Vallasí face is on television. Slowly, Vallasí corruption will also come out. Everything from the busing contracts to his kinfolk to the no-bid deals with Arthur Andersen will be there, day-after-day, on the evening news shows.
issue presented an interesting theory as to why the
Chicago Tribune endorsed Vallas, and perhaps why they spoke
highly of him - as the only hope to get a Republican governor in
time. Based on data reported
in Substance's March issue (www.substance.news.com), and widely
Illinois politics, this
theory appears logical - a clever tactic. According
to Substance,"Other principals
and other administrators
with long and distinguished
careers of service to Chicagoís children were driven into early retirement by Vallasís personal attacks
on them. Vallas punished teachers and principals who chose to work with the neediest and lowest
POLITICAL INSIGHT TWO: Administrators have so much power that they can make almost anyone believe that each teacher is worthy of the abuse they used against her. That is their most powerful weapon against us and is our biggest obstacle to overcome. Much of this power evolves from the naivete of our society.
Administrators buy psychiatric reports with taxpayers' monies. Administrators cover for each other as part of a Good Ol' Boy Network. Administrators simply deem a teacher insubordinate and the teacher is wrong.
Do you really believe the world of education exists on a plane above the rest of our society? The truth is business operates on a higher plane, and I can speak from experience. If for no other reason, businesses have an obligation that schools do not have; they have to be successful or they go bankrupt. Schools are bottomless pits of excess waste and unless an honest board is elected, there is no one overseeing this. No one.
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER THREE: Self-serving administrators are at the top of a food chain whereby they devour the few right-thinking administrators so that teachers can be targeted and silenced as they remain the bottom feeders on the FOOD CHAIN. They in turn hold back information, or lie to parents due to a fear of retaliation. The end result is violation of children's needs. TEACHER ABUSE IS STUDENT ABUSE!
"This country can't continue to exist as home of the free, unless it's also home of the brave." David Horowitz
"The need to play God, or be in control, is what bankrupts the soul." Pastor William R. Grimbol
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER FOUR: Many people who choose administration are ruthless, attracted to the excessive power it provides because teachers are naturally trusting and normally subscribe to humanitarian beliefs. Whereas management in business requires skill to rise to, to reach, and to remain at the top, management in education merely requires ambition to control others with the near absolute power provided; since funds are guaranteed, results and accountability are simply not expected of administrators, particularly when they stack their boards with puppets.
As Colman McCarthy, Director of the Center for Peace in Washington DC, so deftly phrased, "Schools and prisons are the only institutions in our nation where people keep coming no matter what they do." We all know what goes on in prisons; and perhaps many do not really care, figuring those people deserve what they get for ending up there. Few know what takes place in our schools due to teacher silencing, yet people spin their wheels trying to force reform, operating from a basis of what could be called naivety, but is actually deliberately calculated ignorance WITHOUT CONSEQUENCES.
The playing field is nearly vertical, with teachers desperately trying to climb up, only to be occasionally crushed by the edge of the playing field. Supporting the administration is a political game, and a teacher may have the opportunity to climb up a bit. However, only the most lecherous of people can make it to the top and share some of the power with the administration. The contrast between they typical administrator and the typical teacher is what creates the wolf in the hen house analogy.
There is a pattern of derelict superintendents being hired all over the country similar to the way the Catholic Church kept moving the sexual abusing priests around. However, in this case, they didn't need to hire superintendents that have displayed sordid pasts. Why did they? Do they prefer people who have demonstrated questionable ethics?
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER FIVE: The term professional in education means following orders regardless if they make sense, rather than using critical thinking and wisdom that comes with experience in this profession and in life. Schools are run like HMO's, with decision-making coming from the top rather than from the professionals who know the children's needs. Decisions are based on financial equations rather than on the welfare of the consumers - parents and children. Stepford teachers, or programmed robots, are the desired model.
When the hearing officer, Steve Rubin, decided Horwitz's dismissal case, he stated that it is the obligation of the teacher to "save face." He determined that Horwitz was unprofessional for telling a parent the truth about her lack of science skills when the parent inquired about why Horwitz had written an essay about problems at Avoca West School that had ended up on the Internet.
Horwitz was assigned to teach an involved fifth grade science course to two classes, with no inquiry as to her background in science. Her last college course in science had been thirty years prior. She had a Master's degree in Reading and had focused her studies in language. When the principal assigned her to science, she responded positively, saying that she had a good aptitude in that area. That was true. But she didn't choose to pursue it and had little knowledge to offer. An unguarded response evolved from the principal's shock that her ploy to make Horwitz want to quit didn't work; it was, "Oh, that's great. I couldn't teach science. I don't know what I would do if I had to teach it."
Being that she had the same certification as Horwitz, and knew she couldn't handle science, why was she assigning this sophisticated lab course to her without knowing if she could handle it? It was obvious to Horwitz. She wanted her to quit. She was dedicated to giving her orders that would drive her out of the school so they would not have to hold a dismissal hearing, which would result in a record of their demented ways.
Horwitz included her quote about science to the board, pleading with them to listen to what the principal was doing to the district. That quote was confirmed by another witness at Horwitz's hearing. But the board didn't listen and the hearing officer didn't listen.
Steve Rubin's decision is saying in essence "teachers are obligated
to lie to make their
superiors look good," and Karen Horwitz is unprofessional
because she refused to withhold
significant information from parents.
Education is not about doing what is right for children; it is about playing the political game, period, and those of us with integrity, who will not sell out children are the cancer that must be stopped.
When Horwitz went to a local organization that sponsored scientific field trips, the person in charge asked her for her major area of concentration in science. Horwitz explained that she didn't major in science and she responded with an immediate, "Aren't the parents furious about not having a proper science teacher in such an affluent district?" The woman knew how inappropriate this was. Perhaps Horwitz was supposed to fabricate an area of focus and run out of the building if she asked too many questions. Horwitz was not not sure what a Stepford teacher was supposed to do in that situation. But she knew that telling the truth was not it!
Rubin's solution to the parents' fury was Horwitz was supposed to not tell them - cover up; lie; deceive. Our response to Rubin, and to educators all over the country that subscribe to this belief is that we believe in the Golden Rule. Do unto others what you would want done unto you. We would want to know the truth about the schools where we send our children so we could advocate for the best possible education; we would be angry if our children's teachers covered up information and deprived our children. We practice our profession guided by that belief. Special education teachers have a huge problem with this "saving face" concept since it requires they ignore non compliance with laws. Being honest leads to abuse and NAPTA colleagues are proud to say that we would rather be abused than be abusers. That shouldn't be our choice; however, unless the public says NO MORE, it will continue to be.
In Steve Rubin's opinion, Horwitz was obligated to cover up in the same way an HMO doctor is supposed to pretend you don't need to see the cancer specialist when the real reasons is that it costs them too much. He opined that teachers' duty is to public relations and saving face, not to making sure that schools are run in the best interest of the students. Fortunately, most doctors are extremely unhappy practicing medicine this way. Unfortunately, most teachers submit. Why? Are teachers less ethical than doctors? We don't think this is true. The reason is TEACHER ABUSE. A doctor can leave the HMO and still be employable; in fact, most of us would prefer that type of doctor. But a teacher who speaks the truth is smeared, defamed and cleansed from the profession permanently. Few believe her and her career is over. The predatory administrators and supporting hearing officers know that they have this magic wand to make the teacher go away, just as sex abusers know that their victims will not be believed. It is time we took those wands away and castrate anyone who believes abuse is okay.
NAPTA is not about "saving face." NAPTA is about "revealing face." Our goal is to get enough teachers speaking out that the public will finally believe us and exile the scoundrels from the profession just as they are being exiled from corporations and other institutions in our society. Although you will not like the faces you see when you read our stories, your children will thank you.
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER SIX: Schools use propaganda to create an image that they have the best interests of the children as their goals. Administrators keep parents from figuring out their agenda by diverting them with positions on committees and creating issues to redirect their energy. They involve parents in meaningless activities and debates to make them feel important and keep them from looking beyond the surface. You can be sure that if they make you the head of a committee, they want you out of their hair. They know that in the end, they don't have to listen to a word that a committee decides as they will get the teachers to pretend they want whatever they are told they want. Since administrators have large budgets that allow for special deals with text book publishers, architects, or any products used by schools, what the teachers will end up wanting is what is economically best for their superiors. This diversion of parents includes creating curriculum issues such as phonics versus whole language. While parents expend energy fighting windmills like Don Quixote, administrators carry on business as usual. Read: AN ANONYMOUS PARENT DESCRIBES FRUSTRATIONS. The best thing about whole language is that it is controversial, and keeps probing minds too busy to see what is really going on right under their eyes. Manipulation is an interactive way of lying. Keep in mind that it is lying.
BASEBALL AND WALL STREET ON STEROIDS 261.2 from Character Counts, by Michael Josephson
"Two potent symbols of American culture are baseball and Wall Street, and both are in crisis today because they have a steroid problem. In baseball, it's real steroids -- performance-enhancing drugs deemed so dangerous that, despite Major League Baseball's permissiveness, they're illegal to use without a prescription."
Josephson goes on to describe the denial that resulted in fans developing a lack of trust in this beloved sport and how all athletes are now viewed suspiciously due to the actions of some, not to mention the negative impact on children who view sport figures as role models.
"The performance-enhancing substance destroying the credibility of Wall Street isn't a modern chemical, it's a very dangerous natural substance called lying. But just as athletes began to rely on the assistance of steroids, major corporate executives and their accountants became addicted to lying," Josephson stated.
He pointed out how lying usually starts small and grows into outright deception when companies believe they need to pump up their performance. He points out the parallels to drugs both in terms of the insidious need for more and more, as well as the inability to rely on law enforcement to totally eradicate drugs as they are essentially a personal choice as is honesty.
"And now no company is beyond suspicion, we don't know who or what to trust, and the economy is unraveling. Terrorists can't damage the essential viability of the free enterprise system, but lying can." Michael Josephson
Read the teachers' stories and see how many times LIE or a synonym for LIE is mentioned. Or better yet read: LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE. LYING has become the bedrock for running a school.
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER SEVEN: Many principals have no clue about latest research or proper teaching techniques, or even what teachers are doing at a particular level. They are too busy focusing on maintaining power, not interested in keeping up with latest research, not basically interested in the thinking behind best teaching methods, and often more into public relations and the fluff that goes with it. (Some people believe the increasing mediocrity of candidates applying for principal positions is the core of this problem; data has indicated that students choosing education possess considerably lower SAT scores than the average student. Also, women's lib and the opportunities it has offered women, has skimmed the more able females from the mix, leaving education with a large chunk of the "C" students.) Therefore, they do not lead their teachers to improve reading, math or other areas. They do not make sure curriculum is documented for future teachers in that grade level. They view their jobs as public relations managers, and do not delve into the profession. Since this profession is attracting substandard students based on available statistics and common sense, and they have risen from an academically inferior pool, their intellectual skills are limited or non existent and they see no value in analyzing what they do.
A case in point that Horwitz personally experienced at Avoca West School in Wilmette, Illinois, had to do with sex education. When she was assigned fifth grade, she had to teach sex education for the first time. She inquired specifics from her peers and received vague references to the content of the curriculum. They told her to just write down all the children's questions and that they would answer them after a field trip on this subject. There was no written curriculum.
her teammates gave her a film to peruse for possible use with this unit. At one point in this film, it showed a married couple standing next to a bed with a narrator saying that intercourse usually takes place in the bedroom. Although the principal had given this film to the team for preview and the others had felt it worthy of her consideration, she had a problem with the word "usually." Maybe it was because she was a parent and none of the others, including the principal were, but she immediately surmised that a student might ask, "Where else does it take place?" leading to discussion about pornographic films, teenagers in cars, or some other topic she would consider inappropriate to discuss in her position. She relayed her discomfort with the film and the subject was dropped. But it, as well as the team discussion they had earlier that week, led her to believe that she was teaching about intercourse. So when the children asked questions regarding this topic, she wrote them down as she was instructed.
She was surprised when the field trip took place and the discussion dealt only with body changes, taught with the boys and girls in separate rooms. This resembled what she had learned in fifth grade. She was puzzled that it was called sex education as there was no mention of how a baby was formed, simply how bodies changed in puberty. She was confused why they even considered that film. She had a list of questions that she was going to have to avoid as well as a list of questions of her own about the curriculum. Why wasn't there a written curriculum on something this important? New teachers join grade levels frequently, and only teachers new to the school receive a mentor to provide regular indoctrination of materials and methods. A teacher who had been teaching for four years at another grade level could and did fall through the cracks. No one was specifically assigned to help her, although the others were always happy to help when she asked. It was easy for them to assume Horwitz knew of what sex education consisted; but wasn't that the principal's job to make sure she taught it correctly, particularly a subject this controversial, for which parents depended upon their cautious presentation?
Unfortunately, just as principals build false cases against teachers they don't personally want around regardless of how talented they are, principals are too busy playing politics to worry about the welfare of the children. They do not see their job as a duty to the children, to the parents, or to society; they see their job with opportunistic eyes and thus we find people who play games rather than think, and people who create reality rather than live in integrity running our schools. It is scary to those of us who have viewed this negligence and lack of concern for children up close and personally. That is why we have come together in NAPTA.
POLITICAL INSIGHT NUMBER EIGHT: A fundamental method for maintaining status quo is divide and conquer. Administrators have managed to get parents and teachers to mistrust each other to the point that they focus more on each other than on what the administrators are up to. This diversion of energy works like a charm.
The practices mentioned above contribute greatly to this mistrust. But teachers do not dare reveal that curriculum is sloppy, laws are ignored, children's needs are buried, and that schools are organized crime unless they want to experience abuse. Commonly you will hear a spiritually tortured teacher say something like, "Off the record, Jonnie really needs....... But I will deny ever telling you that." That is about as good as it gets in this culture of deceit. Although this may relieve the teacher's conscience, it rarely provides the solution that these parents or child needs, as the power of the system is too strong for any parent's desire to prevail without proof. Therefore, relationships between parents and teachers rapidly deteriorate in this fuzzy, encroaching upon dark, atmosphere.
Divide and Conquer: Parent complains about seeing a teacher shopping during lunch period, which is a work free period according to their contract. Teacher shops then so she can make a quick dinner when she gets home. Board tells teacher she can't shop at lunch even though teacher works well beyond the required hour or 3:45 PM, and stays until 6:30 and still brings home work. Response to complaint should be - she is a professional and does an excellent job and if she chooses to do her shopping at that time so she can stay later, it makes sense. Teacher resents parents. Parents resent teacher.
Divide and conquer: Parent complains about a teacher not helping a child on Saturday when the child manages to sneak through locked doors. Board says teachers always have to help rather than enforce locked school rules even if that children was on her way to an important engagement. Teacher's needs are ignored in spite of her gift of working on a weekend. Teacher resents parents.
Divide and conquer: Parent complains about a teacher giving a poor grade and affecting their child's self esteem even though the child did not do the work. Principal supports parent, creating animosity on the teacher's part. Teacher's principles and work ethics are ignored.
Divide and conquer: Principal stacks a class with very challenging children and offers little or no support. Principal assigns a teacher to a position for which she is not qualified. Teacher appears frazzled and parents blame teacher.
Divide and conquer: Principal places a different substitute in a classroom each day to upset parents. When parent calls to complain, the principal blame the teacher. Read: PARENT DISCOVERS THAT PRINCIPAL IS BLAMING TEACHER; WRITES LETTER TO BOARD IN PROTEST.
Divide and conquer: Over work teachers so they don't have enough time to accomplish their classroom duties, resulting in angry parents. Read about: SIPS , a process designed to match the curriculum to state goals.
MORE POLITICAL INSIGHTS