NBC Education Nation Summit: “Waiting for Superman” and Teacher Town Hall

The blind and dumb leading the blinder and dumber, courtesy of MSNBC.com

I couldn’t participate in yesterday’s Teacher Town Hall for NBC’s Education Nation, and I blame Blighter for it.

The Ozymandia blogger and my good friend was married on Saturday, and let’s just say I enjoyed myself a little too much to be involved in any serious discussion on education issues.

Yesterday, at NBC’s Education Nation Summit at Rockefeller Center, featured special Meet the Press panel, a panel discussion about the upcoming school reform documentary Waiting for Superman, as well as the Teacher Town Hall I missed.  They’re both linked below, but some things of note:

  1. Randi Weingarten needed some real coaching in that discussion.  It’s amazing, and downright insulting, that we send a non-teacher up to defend one of the oldest professions in civilization.  You can’t go up against Canada and Rhee, the education golden-children, looking like a shrill Teamster’s wife on the picket line.
  2. Geoffrey Canada, Harlem education entrepreneur, has enjoyed enormous success, which should be applauded.  But how many of us have the financial resources he has to do the outside-the-box stuff that works in his situation?
  3. Michelle Rhee comes off as a complete whiner and a bad loser.  She whines about lawsuits, AFT support of her boss’ opponent in the DC mayors’ race, the fact that a democratic government hamstrings her efforts.  C’mon…cowboy up and face reality: you had the White House, the US Department of Education and the reform movement behind you.  Don’t whine about losing an election: those are the breaks.  Man up and deal.
  4. In a part of the Teacher Town Hall, where a teacher (young, maybe TFA?) gets up and says teachers “should be under attack…we should be held accountable…you’re not in this for the money”, she just sounds like a TFA shill.  Furthermore, she should face political and economic reality.  You will NEVER attract the best teachers with salaries not commensurate with other professions, nor will you attract them with the flimsy education requirements of graduate schools.
  5. The fact that teacher/bloggers such as Deven Black, Ira Socol, Sabrina and yours truly–teacher/journalists that not only stick their neck out on education “reform”, but also teach as well–were so underrepresented boggles the mind.  Not to toot my own horn, of course.

Below are the links to each of these pieces, so take a look for yourselves, and be as liberal as you want with your opinions:

MSNBC “Waiting for Superman” Panel discussion

Part II of “Superman” Panel discussion

Part III of “Superman” Panel discussion

Part IV of “Superman” Panel discussion

Part V of “Superman” Panel discussion

MSNBC Teacher Town Hall: “Are teachers under attack?”

MSNBC Teacher Town Hall in its Entirety

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