Are Teachers the “Bottom?”

I can’t say he’s got my vote, but I like Bernie. This morning, though, he has me stumped and he’s given me a question for all you SAGLRROILYBYGTH: when did teachers become “the bottom?”

As of right now, neither of the two big teachers’ unions have endorsed Bernie. However, according to his campaign office, teaching is the single biggest occupation among Bernie’s financial supporters, with more than 80,000 teacher donations to his campaign.

And now his campaign has released this video about West Virginia’s striking teachers. As one striker put it (:50),

Real change comes from the bottom up.

Another teacher agreed (1:51),

What Bernie Sanders represented to me and to many teachers is hope that working people can collectively come together and fight back.

To be clear, I fully support the striking teachers in West Virginia and elsewhere. I’m a union member and generally a teachers-union supporter and fan. That’s not the issue this morning.

Instead, I’m curious why Bernie and his fans seem to agree that teachers represent something besides white-collar professionals. After all, teachers usually have college degrees, sometimes even advanced degrees. Historically, too, teaching has been a traditional path into the middle class from people of working-class backgrounds.

So why do we hear this talk about bottoms and working classes?

  • Is it maybe because teachers feel like they are speaking for their working-class students?
  • Or maybe that teachers feel de-professionalized, smushed down into the working class?
  • Or are there other reasons for calling teachers “the bottom?”
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I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another humdinger of a week. We saw Harry Potter kicked out of school (again), teachers ready to  strike (again), Trump poking the wrong bear (again)…and much more. Here are a few of the headlines that caught our ILYBYGTH attention:

Ahem. Harry Potter books expelliarmused from a TN Catholic school. At WaPo. [Read all the way to the end for the Lady Gaga connection.]

“These books present magic as both good and evil, which is not true, but in fact a clever deception,” [the Rev. Dan Reehil] explained. “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text.”

reehil emailI don’t buy it. Do you? Have conservatives already won the culture wars? At WaPo.

The biggest danger for cultural conservatives, then, might not be demographic change, religious disaffiliation or increasingly progressive opponents. It might be misunderstanding their own hand. Conservatives could make real gains on their priorities by focusing on pro-family economic policies, finding candidates who appeal to nonwhite Christians and casting themselves as allies of — but not knee-jerk partisans for — the armed forces and law enforcement. They could win cultural victories while remaining fundamentally conservative.

But conservatives misunderstand their situation. . . . they overreach. They’re courting backlash by passing extremely restrictive abortion bans in states such as Alabama. They’ve defended the rights of Christians not to participate in gay couples’ weddings, and while doing so, they’ve allowed Democrats to become the trusted party on the increasingly popular issue of LGBTQ rights. They’re backing Trump — a man who is guaranteed to alienate some potentially sympathetic nonwhite voters with his often racist rhetoric. And rather than try to create a more family-centric economic platform, they passed a tax bill slanted toward the wealthiest Americans.

What would honest academic job postings look like? At McSweeney’s.

The Philosophy department is now hiring an assistant professor who can tolerate the toxic environment of our department. Special consideration given to candidates who will take Dr. Warren’s side in her 30-year-old dispute with Dr. Wyatt, that Foucauldian asshole. . . .

The Department of History invites applications for an assistant professor who will make enough leftist remarks to annoy conservative talk radio hosts but whose politics will ultimately support the neoliberal mission of the university.

Trump’s wall has finally reached school funding. Fort Campbell cancels a new middle school and sends the money to the border, at NYT.

The Pentagon’s decision to divert $62.6 million from the construction of Fort Campbell’s middle school means that 552 students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades will continue to cram themselves in, 30 to a classroom in some cases, at the base’s aging Mahaffey Middle School. Teachers at Mahaffey will continue to use mobile carts to store their books, lesson plans and homework assignments because there is not enough classroom space. Students stuffed into makeshift classrooms-within-classrooms will continue to strain to figure out which lesson to listen to and which one to filter out.

And since the cafeteria at Mahaffey is not big enough to seat everyone at lunchtime, some students will continue to eat in the school library.

A new portrait of Success Academy. The author brags that everyone will hate it. At T74.

If you are fan of Success Academy and its lightning-rod leader, Eva Moskowitz, you will likely appreciate the mostly warm portrait of teachers and administrators who are fiercely dedicated to their students. The facile caricature of joyless and militaristic classrooms, “rip and redo” teaching tactics and high-pressure test prep was simply not in evidence. . . . If you are among Moskowitz’s many critics, you will likely feel vindicated to see your suspicions about some of the network’s policies validated and laid bare, particularly its admissions practices. To be blunt, Success Academy functions as a self-selection engine.

What do teachers think about race and discipline? At RCE.

Fordham finds that 81% of teachers view restorative justice practices as somewhat effective alternatives, and PDK finds that two-thirds of all adults see mediation as more effective than detention or suspension. One of the drivers of this appeal for alternatives is pronounced distrust of disciplinary practices. PDK finds that only 59% of all parents trust their child’s school to administer discipline fairly—a number that falls to a mere 40% among black parents.

No, young white evangelicals will not ditch Trump. At WaPo.

white evangelicals who hold warmer feelings toward racial and ethnic minorities do not oppose Trump any more than white evangelicals with comparatively colder feelings. Support for Trump appears to have a life of its own. . . . it’s unlikely that young white evangelicals are about to turn blue. As long as Trump continues to advocate conservative positions on cultural issues, most evangelicals are likely to prefer him to the Democratic alternatives.

Conservative higher-ed website gives up on professor watchlist. Why? They couldn’t find enough professors pushing leftist ideas. At The Week.

CampusReform.org shuttered the rating system in 2012 after it failed to hit any critical mass of reviews. And the reason, I think, is pretty simple: Most professors are not trying to indoctrinate their students in a sort of vast left-wing conspiracy. . . . the egregious cases of professorial misconduct that make the news are unusual.

Yes: St. Paul (MN) high schools start later in the day. At MST.

What happens when a FL district goes all-charter? At WLRN.

This “experiment” in rural Jefferson County has been transformational for many students but disastrous for a few.

Prospects for teacher strikes this year: NV, Chicago, WV, KY. At the Guardian.

“Our governor constantly insults us, calls us names, says we’re selfish and short-sighted, ignorant, compared us to drowning victims who need to be knocked out to be saved, says we’re responsible for children being molested and using drugs and says he regrets none of what he has said about teachers. He’s a real gem,” said Jeni Bolander, a teacher in Fayette County, Kentucky and a member of the grassroots educator group Kentucky 120 United.

NV teacher protestOut of the frying pan: Detroit students who switch schools end up in bad schools, at Chalkbeat.

Researchers at Wayne State University who have been studying student mobility in Detroit say the suburban schools the students leave for are more likely to have higher discipline rates, more new teachers, and higher teacher turnover.

Teachers? Or “Learning Engineers?” At Curmudgucation.

“engineer” comes with its own freight, like the idea that it’s all about focusing on systems and processes, often involving inanimate materials and rarely focused on the needs of live humans. When it does focus on humans, it tends to treat them like meat widgets to be managed and shaped according to the desires of the system managers (see “social engineering”). Engineering is an action that you do to something, not with it.

Larry Cuban on why changing schools is so difficult.

conservatism is built into the purpose of schools and both teachers and students share that innate conservatism–at first.

school rules

Follow the rules, learn to obey…

Why are secular college students so nervous about faith? At the Atlantic.

If I ask them a factual theological question about the Protestant Reformation, they are ready with answers: predestination; “faith, not works”; and so on. But if I go on to ask students how one knows in one’s heart that one is saved, they turn back to their laptops. They look anywhere but at me—for fear that I might ask them about feeling the love of God or about having a heart filled with faith.

How one group of conservative evangelical schools teaches non-Christian classics, at CT.

If the country is preparing to enter a type of second Dark Ages devoid of classical thought, another unlikely group of people is arising to preserve the Great Books of the Western intellectual tradition: conservative evangelical Christians.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Have you ever wondered how conservative Christians think about porn? I haven’t really, but I read about it this week with a lot of interest. That story and more made our weekly review of ILYBYGTH-themed news ‘n’ views:

Porn and the evangelical community: Samuel Perry talks about his new book Addicted to Lust, at NY.

What I found is that, whatever we think pornography is doing, those effects tend to be amplified when we’re talking about conservative Protestants. It seems to be uniquely harmful to conservative Protestants’ mental health, their sense of self, their own identities—certainly their intimate relationships—in ways that don’t tend to be as harmful for people who don’t have that kind of moral problem with it. . . .

But for women, if they are lusting over things visually—if they are looking at things like pornography and masturbating to them or getting turned on—they really feel like an extreme pervert. They experience what I would call a double shame. They are violating their own sexuality in a way that God doesn’t want. So they’re sinning, but they’re also sinning like a man. And so they feel trapped.

In my neighborhood, a group of kids just attacked an elderly man, at BJS.

The end of an era: Moody Bible Institute shuts down its student newspaper, at RNS.

Ew: looks like Trump’s “fixer” fixed some photos for Jerry Falwell Jr., Reuters reports.

Strikes at Chicago charters win big concessions, at Chalkbeat.

chicago charter protestTraining kids as first responders: Should we have ‘active-shooter’ drills in schools? This mom says no.

Losing our ability to feel shame, at FPR.

It doesn’t take a great act of the imagination to apply the rebuke to those of us today who enjoy watching the train-wreck conversations that often accompany the comments sections of various online media outlets—for, as Dante well knew, there is an immense and indecent pleasure in watching other people, especially people whom we instinctively feel ourselves better than, hate one another.

More from Senator Warren on college-debt forgiveness—will a racial angle win more votes? At IHE.

And (a little) more about Senator Harris’s edu-funding plan at The Atlantic.

“It is completely upside down that we currently have a system where the funding of a school district is based on the tax base of that community,” the Democratic hopeful vying to run against President Donald Trump in 2020 said. The line met with approving head nods and a chorus of agreement. “It’s just basic math,” she continued, on a roll. “The community that has the lowest tax base is going to receive the fewest resources, and by the way probably [has] the highest need.”

Pandering? Or Progress?

What do you think? Is Senator Harris’s new plan to raise teacher pay a real winner? Will it improve public schooling? Or is it just an election-season stunt, a way to gain attention without really solving any problems?

Kamala Harris

A winner?

Here’s what we know: In a speech at Texas Southern University, the Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful outlined a plan to increase pay for public-school teachers. In brief, Senator Harris is pledging $315 billion to raise teacher pay an average of ten percent. Here’s how NBC described the plan:

According to the Harris campaign, the goal is to eventually increase teacher pay by an average of $13,500 per person, putting it in line with typical salaries for other employees with college degrees. Campaign materials pointed to research by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute that found teachers make 11 percent less than college-educated workers on average in combined salary and benefits.

Under the California senator’s plan, the federal government would finance 10 percent of the total pay increase for the first year and then pay out 3 dollars to states for every 1 dollar they put into additional salaries.

It would commit additional funds to further increase salaries for teachers in highest-need schools along with a “multi-billion dollar investment” in career development for educators. Half of it would go toward teachers studying at historic black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions with predominantly minority students.

In a sense, Harris’s plan is merely a continuation of a Democratic Party tradition. In the 2016 campaign, Comrade Sanders liked to call vaguely for better pay for public-school teachers. As Sanders liked to say back then,

the top 25 hedge fund managers earned more than the combined income of 425,000 public school teachers.

But Sanders didn’t offer the kind of detail that Harris has laid out this year. Clearly, the echoes of teacher strikes over the past two years have changed the political landscape of progressive politics.

Conservatives are likely to see this proposal as dangerous and extreme. As ed commentator Rick Hess told Politico, it sounds like more of a fantasy for the primary season than a real plan for the Oval Office. As Hess put it,

I don’t know that it’s being proposed as actionable legislation so much as a marker. . . . Republicans, in particular, are nervous about once you open that barn door, just how involved Washington winds up getting in local education decisions and deciding who gets hired, how they get compensated.

And progressives are not falling over themselves to celebrate, either. As my favorite progressive-ed observer noted, Harris’s plan has some glaring problems. As Curmudgucrat Peter Greene tweeted,

If a Dem wants to score points with teachers, pledge to kill test-driven faux accountability. Pledge to champion public ed over privatization. Pledge to put actual educators in charge of Ed Department. Get the federal government out of teachers’ way. And don’t make teachers have to negotiate with DC for their next raise.

All good points, but I can’t help but feel optimistic when I see that teacher-pay is at least being discussed in more depth and detail this campaign season. Like they say, “If you aren’t at the table, you’re on the menu.”

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another doozy of a week here at ILYBYGTH International! Here are some of the top stories that caught our eye:

Florida teacher on why the state can’t find enough teachers, at WaPo.

“Ridiculous:” Trump’s angry plan to punish universities for banning free speech, at CHE:

In 2018 the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an effective champion of free speech on campuses, recorded just nine attempts at disinviting or shutting down speakers. In the same year, 20 — if you’re keeping score, that’s 11 more than nine — colleges and universities adopted versions of the University of Chicago’s model principles of free expression. . . . None of that would seem to warrant sending in the feds to manage speech at our colleges and universities. Granted, our standards for declaring a national emergency have grown lax, but this is ridiculous.

More people support “legacy” college admissions than support race-based admissions, at PRC.pew admissions factors

Sympathy for the anti-vaxxers, at NYT. HT: AP:

I know people whom I think of as otherwise intelligent and well intentioned who aren’t convinced that vaccines are safe.

Bad news for Biden 2020: WaPo uncovers some dirt from the 1970s.

The latest anti-AOC rhetoric from CPAC:

They want to take your pickup truck! They want to rebuild your home! They want to take away your hamburgers! This is what Stalin dreamt about but never achieved!

Forget AOC. America’s most influential conservative sets his sights on a different target: Earl Warren. At NR.

What biden was trying to avoid

What Biden was scared of in 1975:

Are teachers’ strikes really about the students? Or more about protecting the teachers’ union itself? At TC.

Historian Beth Allison Barr on evangelical women.

Beth Moore said the problem isn’t with Hollis; the problem lies with how conservative Christianity has failed women.

Most Americans (90%) believe in some higher power, but only 56% think it is the God of the Bible, at PRC.

Evangelical colleges in the Civil Rights Era and the “colorblind campus,” at the OAH blog.north park college

God and Man still on the outs at Yale, says one conservative law student. At The Federalist.

Do you buy it? Conservative predicts Trump landslide, 2020, at TH.

Trump handwriting on the wall

A coming Trumpslide?

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Are colleges addicted to the internet? Are charter schools “public?” Do Satanists pick up litter? We read with interest the answers to all these questions and more, in our weekly round-up of news ‘n’ views:

Fancy college finds out it can’t live without technology, at IHE.

Walmartification of college, at CHE.

  • Why are evangelical universities over-represented in the mega-online world? Here at ILYBYGTH.

    college enrollment trends

    The sawdust trail moves online…

NJ passes mandatory LGBTQ curriculum, at WNYC.

Why white evangelical women still love Trump, at TC.

White evangelical women . . . rally behind Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump and equate their conservative version of traditional femininity with grace and elegance. . . . The seeming paradox of white evangelical women backing Trump really isn’t a paradox at all. In fact, their support says more about the state of white evangelical Christianity in the US than it does about anything else.

Not just polarized, but…Emma Green on “the bubble:”

a significant minority of Americans seldom or never meet people of another race. They dislike interacting with people who don’t share their political beliefs. And when they imagine the life they want for their children, they prize sameness, not difference. . . . When asked how they would feel about their child marrying someone from the opposite political party, 45 percent of Democrats said they would be unhappy, compared with 35 percent of Republicans.

More strikes and rumors of strikes: Oakland ‘n’ West Virginia, at NPR.

Fundamentalist U leading from behind: More universities assert in loco parentis authority, at CHE.

Are charter schools “public?” Peter Greene says no, at Curmudgucation.

More evidence: 1970s’ hijinx have become 2019 felonies.

On the highway to hell: Satanists adopt a mile in Arkansas, at FA.

Highway to hell

…wow.

 

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

More strikes and the looming s-word this week. Here are some of the news stories you might have missed from the past seven days:

Denver: Teachers out on strike today, at CBS4.

Trump’s 2020 Gamble: Does anyone still tremble at the threat of ‘socialism?’

From Righting America: If there was a real global flood, why did God need to kill all the babies? All the animals?

(How) can evangelical colleges survive? With online classes? Or by getting back to what they’ve always done best? At CHE.

Christian Persecution Update: Campus Christian group scores legal win in Iowa LGBTQ case, at IHE.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Another week, another batch of surprises. A collection of news stories for SAGLRROILYBYGTH:

White evangelicals and racism: Are they or aren’t they? A review of Jemar Tisby’s The Color of Compromise at TGC.

A Parks-n-Rec moment in South Bend: Notre Dame decides to cover its Columbus murals, at IHE.

panel_4_large

From Pawnee, not South Bend….

School superintendent charged with felonies after using her insurance to get med care for a student. At CBS4.

The original dream of public ed is dead, at TC.

The teacher crunch: When teachers can’t afford to live in their cities, at HP.

Old-school creationism in Indiana, at AU.

The OTHER split at evangelical colleges, at RIP.

a whopping 85% of incoming students to evangelical colleges and universities find it at least moderately important that their campuses are welcoming toward LGBT people, with 44% finding it very important.

rip poll lgbtq

Welcoming campuses…?

Why did eugenics persist in US textbooks? Sex, at TH.

Christian persecution update: Pence at NBC. HT: RC.

Ben Shapiro reveals my secular plot to discredit religion (19:30).

Politicians split, leaving the rest of us in the middle, at the Economist.

The Real Promise of Teachers’ Unions

It’s not that they’ll get everyone to “eat the rich.” It’s not that they will manage to unite all teachers in a progressive political wave that will sweep through America’s 2020 elections. They won’t. Teachers are now and have always been a mixed bag, ideologically. But in today’s divided polis, a group like the unions still has enormous potential for good.

 

Pundits who dream that today’s wave of teacher strikes will bring a progressive millennium are fooling themselves. Anyone familiar with real teachers can tell you: We’re not easy to pin down. Sure, some teachers like me have a deep progressive political streak. But just go to any teachers’ lounge and you will hear a dizzying variety of political opinions.

As I argued in my book about twentieth-century educational conservatism, America’s teachers have ALWAYS been ideologically divided. The popular image of united left-wing teachers has never matched reality. Here are a few snapshots of conservative teachers throughout the years:

1939: One leader of a conservative campaign against left-leaning textbooks, Bertie Forbes, liked to tell a story: He was minding his business as a magazine editor when he was approached by teachers from his local New Jersey school district. These teachers, Forbes liked to recount, begged Forbes to get involved in educational politics. The teachers hated the lefty textbooks and wanted political support to teach old-fashioned patriotism in their local public schools.

1950: As Pasadena, California reeled over alleged progressivism in its classrooms, one teacher took to the editorial pages of the local paper. We teachers, she insisted, are not “in full accord with the tenets of progressive education.” She wanted old-fashioned tradition in the classroom, including corporal punishment. The progressive slop on offer, she wrote, led only to “arrogance, hostility, and defiance, even vandalism.” Teachers like her were on the front line against socialist “Pressure and propaganda” and they wanted the support of the conservative public.

1962: Who led the fight to battle communism? It wasn’t only the conservative American Legion. Throughout the cold war, including in this 1962 mash-up, National Education Association members teamed up with the Legion to purge left-wing propaganda from the nation’s public schools.

anti communist teachers

Find the left-wing teacher in THIS photo:

1974: In Kanawha County, West Virginia, a new set of textbooks sparked violent culture-war protests. One teacher took the opportunity to voice his ideas about proper public education. On December 12, 1974, public-school teacher Karl Priest reminded the National Education Association that its policy was always to combat discrimination. The new textbooks, Priest insisted, were “in fact, anti-Christian.” [Emphasis in original.] Teachers like him, Priest argued, were correct in their conservative fight against such discriminatory claptrap.

These days, too, teachers are hardly politically united. Even those who support today’s strikes cannot be assumed to be unified on any other political issue. Teachers, in other words, won’t become the left-wing vanguard that activists have dreamed of for decades.

But that doesn’t mean that today’s teachers’ unions won’t have a huge impact. As politicians are split more and more toward the far edges, any group that can unite disparate people toward specific goals can serve as a beacon of hope.

coming apart

What if politicians could act more like teachers’ unions?

The promise of the teachers’ unions doesn’t come from the fact that teachers are becoming more politically homogenous. The promise, rather, is that teachers’ unions are able to take action toward important goals in spite of the fact that their constituencies disagree on almost everything else.

I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Whew! Another big week in hurly-burly. Here are some of the stories that caught our attention while we waited out the snowstorm:

Christian persecution update:

After Trump and his shambling, punch-drunk administration passes into history, the Left in power is going to double down on punishing conservative Christians for having collaborated with Trump. Trump critics like Russell Moore will be treated no better than Trump lovers like Robert Jeffress. It’s coming.

Liberty U CIO: I was expecting $50,000 to rig online polls for Trump. Instead I got a bag stuffed with cash–$13,000 and a boxing glove, at CHE.

Make It Rain Money GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

David Swartz on convict leasing and $$$ for Southern Baptist Seminary, at AB.

Is this a glimmer of good news? Students don’t want a university without a history major, at NYT.

Can conservatives ever really overcome their legacy of racism? A profile of some who are trying, at R&P.

Diploma mills are alive and well, at HC.

For a mere $180, instantdegrees.com offers Ph.D.s in everything from Gnostic Theology to Tourism and Hotel Management.

Ewww: some companies are paying teachers to serve as “brand ambassadors” in their classrooms, at NEPC.

LA Teacher Strikes—News ‘n’ Views:

When we lambaste the charter schools that urban parents may choose as undermining public education, but say nothing of the urban private schools and exclusive suburban public schools that enable affluent parents to exit struggling districts, we not only apply a dangerous double-standard, but we also place the blame for low-performing schools on those who must attend them.

these modern walkouts are about the very idea that public schools should be kept healthy at all.

Numerous Latino teachers repeatedly told me that a sense of solidarity with their students is what’s driving them to the picket lines—a profoundly personal connection to those children, and a fear that current school conditions are not serving them.