SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Open Letter To Anna Phillips

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Open Letter To Anna Phillips

I had a brush with greatness yesterday. As reported by Norm over at Ednotes, I met the Anna Phillips of Gotham Schools fame when I stopped over at David Pakter's hearing. The goosebumps on my arm stood an inch high.

As Norm reported, Anna finds this blog obscene. And sarcastic. And snarky. She said that I can't have any credibility as a journalist as long as I am this way. But I am not a journalist. I am a blogger. Big difference. Besides, isn't Maureen Dowd extremely sarcastic and snarky? But that is besides the point. Anna claims this blog, and myself since I am the author, is obscene. But what is obscene?

Obscene is defined as;

1 : disgusting to the senses : repulsive

I nor this blog is repulsive.

2 a : abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically : designed to incite to lust or depravity

My morals and ethics are on the right side. I am not inciting lust. I might be somewhat depraved. But not to the legal definition.

b : containing or being language regarded as taboo in polite usage

Ok, this I can agree with. Yes the word masturbation has been used. There have been comments regarding ho ho's, hoo ha's and ding dongs. There have been inferences to the exploits of certain EDiots. But, if they were not EDiots would their exploits be inferred? Oh Anna finds comparing the Rubber Rooms to Gitmo obscene or even Tweed as a bastion of neo-Nazis obscene. I guess Anna never cared for Mel Brooks.

c : repulsive by reason of crass disregard of moral or ethical principles power>

Not me. But let's hold that thought.

d : so excessive as to be offensive

Mmmm. Let's hold off on that as well.

For argument's sake let's combine defintion C and D. But first, a little aside.

I am sarcastic. I am snarky. I am not obscene. I will accept crass, blue, tacky, tasteless, but not obscene. Is Imus obscene? No. But like Imus, and even Howard Stern, sometimes one has to shock to see the abhorrent and hypocritical behavior in others. It's all satire. Too a point. But which brings me to a much much bigger obscenity. Care to guess Anna?

Which brings us to the definitions C and D.

The big obscenity is what Michael Bloomberg and Joel Klein have been allowed to perpetuate on teachers in the last 8 years. Want to know how obscene it is to see a teacher with an unblemished record for 25 years all of the sudden told that he or she is now rated unsatisfactory by a 29 year old, snot nosed, pimple faced, never been in education before, principal?

The big obscenity is Eva Moskowitz and her $350k salary and her emails back and forth with Joel Klein.

The big obscenity is what the BS of the "children first" mantra from Tweed.

The big obscenity is the hedge fund managers involved in education.

The big obscenity is Whitney Tilson, Thomas W Carroll.

The big obscenity is Mychael WIllon, Kristine Mustillio, and Little Philip Oliveri.

The big obscenity is tying teacher's evaluation to subjective test scores.

The big obscenity is the Florida House voting to do away with teacher due process.

The big obscenity is how Tweed turns away from principal misconduct time and time again.

The big obscenity is the curriculum. Everyday Mathematics, The Workshop Model.

The big obscenity is the disrespect and disregard teachers get everyday.

The big obscenity is what the DOE is doing to David Pakter.

I can go on and on and on. If anyone wants to add something I am leaving out feel free. Call me tacky, tasteless, crass, but Anna don't ever call me obscene. I am proud of what this blog has accomplished. It has affected change. And it is on side that is right. This blog does not straddle the fence, nor does it just aggregate.


Anonymous said...

How do we nominate you for the Pulitzer Prize??

Polo Colon said...

I was at that meeting with you, Norm Scott, Betsy Combier, David Pakter and Anna Phillips among all the others.

I witnessed your pleadings with Anna and Norm to stop excluding you simply because you were too inciteful in your commentary of the condition of education today, especially in NYC! I told you there that I totally agreed with your approach to depicting the obscene players at the DOE! You quite correctly pointed out that you are not a journalist, but a blogger and therefore you do not have to be beholden to the chains of "journalism" that might prevent you from being loudly outspoken in your denciation of the truly obscene. If Anna or Norm or anybody doesn't like that, TOO BAD!

I once had occasion to review my friend, Brooklyn College Professor Arthur's well-written speech before Joel Klein and his Panel for Educational Policy. I just shook my head and told him that if you want to be effective with these people, you can't offer them a masterpeice of a speech! They couldn't care less about a well-written speech! They will fall asleep to it and take it, when the speech is done, yawn and crumble it up and flush down the toilet bowl of history! I said, Arthur, if you want to get their attention, you MUST present them with an incendiary bomb of a letter! It is the ONLY thing that they respect! Well-written speeches, to them, are a dime a dozen. Get their attention with a statement that will embarass them publicly for their crimes against humanity. Exaggeration? What about their exaggeration of charges against teachers or their exaggerated claims about the so-called great progess that they've made in NYC?
No, SBS, you are understating how bad they really are! And I applaud you for being recognized as too crass! The same is said about me and frankly, my dear, I don't give a dam! Keep up the good work! As far as I'm concerned, we aint seen obscene yet!

Pete Zucker said...

Polo, Norm was fine. Have no issue with him. Just the aggregator Anna I do.

Polo Colon said...

Thank you! My apologies to you, Norm and the readers for that. Somehow, I got that mistaken impression.

I believe that it is important to be united and that the work we are doing is far more significant and noteworthy than some give it credit for.

I also believe that at the forefront of the fight for quality public education is the fight for teachers' rights. Teachers are the ones that will solve the education problem, not administrators or anyone else. As long as teachers are controlled and not treated as professionals, but instead are miocromanaged by automotons posing as educators, the pedagogicide being perpetrated by the non-educator administrative terrorists will continue to exascerbate the problem rather than remediating it.

We agree that the DOE empowers and indemnifies principals for violating the law and will witch-hunt whistleblowers instead. Until this is done away with it , education is and will continue to be dead in the waters!

ed notes online said...

Teacher rights are under attack and a major reason is that the UFT has abandoned the fight to protect them. That fight is one all too many refuse to take on. I certainly don't see any public statements out of you on this issue. You can fight all the individual battles like Pakter's but things will only get worse as long as the UFT takes neutral positions instead of being an advocate.

And let's give Anna and Gotham a break here. Especially Anna who less than a year ago was a senior in college and has done an amazing job of learning the ropes of a complicated education situation in NYC that most seasoned reporters never get the hang of.

And though I feel Elizabeth Green has tilted at times, she still is an amazing reporter and the only one who broke stories that were to out benefit over the years.

I know other bloggers who have battled with them and they win some and lose some. But they do listen.

No other group than Gotham has given so many of us this exposure. Without them there is only the Bloomberg controlled press. I sent them my contribution so that can stay alive beyond September.

Polo Colon said...

Again, I stand corrected! If I'm wrong, I will be the first to admit it. I did not know Anna and Gotham's history or of Elizabeth Green's support of teachers' just causes. I only went by the interaction of that day at the Pakter hearing as well as my somewhat limited prior knowledge of the issues and relationships taking shape.

I will now step out of my opinion and extend an apology for the sake of unity to all those I may have offended, including Anna Phillips!
I have never referred to Ms. Green but if that was also misunderstood, I respectfully concede that as well.

My stand regarding the UFT's role is well-known. I am critical of everyone who may try to undermine the teachers' movements for the just causes of education, including the UFT. Some know that NYSUT was sued by me with regard to their impotent representation of teachers, including myself. However, neither they nor the UFT are the focus of my critiques, since that is playing into the DOE's hands.

Don't fall for the DOE's divide and conquer schemes. That is partly the reason for what we have today. If the union had let us down in the past and maybe even today, we mustn't throw out the baby with the bathwater, no matter how rabid we may feel about it.

What the opposition parties are doing in correcting the union's direction from within is the right way of handling our concerns, so you and ICE, GEM and the rest ought to be commended for the dogged determination to make those points. But playing into the DOE's hands by doing exactly what they want done to the union is stupid.

The ones promoting the ghastly policies and approaches against teachers are the goons of the Gotcha Squads of the DOE! They are the real adversary! Administrators-gone-wild are the culprits and their Leadershi_ Academy! Bloombucks and his robot Klein are the villains. The PEP is their atomic tool. The cohorts in their camp, which include many media organs and a bunch of organizations are the serious enemies of teachers' rights. Then there is the corporate monstrosities that both they and the likes of Arne Duncan and Obama are promoting. That should be enough to keep us all busy!