Search results for: "nazis"

The press strains to show “balance.” They do not differentiate between a conventional candidate with experience and knowledge and a candidate who lacks experience, is woefully uninformed, and uses his speaking skills to appeal to the mob’s basest instincts.

Many people, especially Bernie supporters, dislike Clinton’s policies, but she is not a menace and a threat to the future of the nation and the world. Trump is. He makes outrageous statements every day, which the press no longer finds novel.

She dares to say that “half” his supporters are “Deplorables,” and the press blows it up into a media firestorm. But was she right? David Duke tweeted last night, “We are the Deplorables.”

Do you want to see the faces of the Deplorables? Read and watch this article that appeared in the New York Times a. On the ago. The NY Times has published other articles about the neo-Nazism, white nationalism, and race hatred that Trump’s rallies bring out.

CNN and MSNBC have reported on Trump’s avid interest in and support for the Birther movement. He claimed repeatedly that he needed to see President Obama’s birth certificate. He claimed he sent a team of investigators to Hawaii and what they were finding was “unbelievable.” True, it was unbelievable. They found nothing. Now Trump surrogates like Rudy Guiliani and his campaign manager now say that Trump acknowledges that the President was born in America, but Trump has never said it. He thus manages to signal the paranoid right that he is on their side without saying anything more. He owes the President an apology but it will never happen.

Thanks to the media’s lust for trivia, scandal, headlines, and false equivalence, this unhinged conspiracy theorist could be elected president. Those who facilitate the ascendancy of this dangerous know-nothing are the Deplorables.

I exempt the Huffington Post from this generalization because it states at the end of every article about Trump:

“Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.”

https://gadflyonthewallblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/18/i-teach-the-toughest-kids-and-i-love-it/

In recent years, there has been a new genre of writing from teachers who are fed up and explain why they are leaving.

But fortunately most teachers rise every day to do what they love, and they refuse to be intimidated by mandates, administrative nonsense, or tough kids.

Steven Singer says he teaches the toughest kids in his school, and he loves it. He loves the kids, he loves the challenge, he loves meeting them as adults when they come up to hug him and thank him.

Do you want to know what keeps this teacher inspired and motivated?

He begins like this:

It was rarely a good thing when LaRon smiled in school.

It usually meant he was up to something.

He was late to class and wanted to see if I’d notice. He just copied another student’s homework and wondered if he’d get away with it. He was talking crap and hoped someone would take it to the next level.

As his teacher, I became rather familiar with that smile, and it sent shivers down my spine.

But on the last day of school, I couldn’t help but give him a smile back.

A few minutes before the last bell of the year, I stood before my class of 8th graders and gave them each a shout out.

“I just want to say what an honor it’s been to be your teacher,” I said.

They shifted in their seats, immediately silent. They wanted to hear this.

“Some of you have been a huge pain in my butt,” I conceded.

And almost all heads in the room turned to LaRon.

And he smiled.

Not a mischievous smile. Not a warning of wrongdoing yet to come.

He was slightly embarrassed.

So I went on:

“But I’m proud of what you’ve accomplished this year. Each and every one of you. It has been my privilege to be here for you,” and I nodded at LaRon to make sure he knew I included him in what I was saying.

Because I do mean him.

Students like LaRon keep an old man like me on my toes. No doubt. But look at all he did – all he overcame this year.

His writing improved exponentially.

Back in September, he thought a paragraph was a sentence or two loosely connected, badly spelled full of double negatives and verbs badly conjugated. Now he could write a full five-paragraph essay that completely explained his position with a minimum of grammatical errors.

Back in September, the most complex book he had read was “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Now he had read “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” How did I know? Because I had read it with him. We had all read these books together and stopped frequently to talk about them.

Back in September, if he raised his hand to ask a question, it was usually no more complex than “Can I go to the bathroom?” Now he was asking questions about where the Nazis came from, what happened to Mr. Frank after the war, did Harper Lee ever write any other books, and is the fight for civil rights over.

The last day of school is one of the hardest for me, because my classes are doubled. I don’t just have my students – I also have the ghosts of who they were at the beginning of the year.

They all change so much. They’re like different people at the end, people I helped guide into being.

Read and be inspired.

Massachusetts has been engaged this past year in a heated public debate about “lifting the cap” on charter schools. Public school parents are concerned that lifting the cap will encourage a proliferation of charter schools that will harm public schools, draining away students and funding.

One blogger, known as Public School Mama, has become deeply invested in protecting her children’s public school. Recently she and other parents have been slammed on Twitter by an out of state venture capitalist who thinks he knows what is best for parents in Boston and everywhere else.

This venture capitalist doesn’t like public schools. He calls those who defend them ugly names, suggesting they are akin to Nazis or segregationists. He thinks he is a “freedom rider,” although he is not on a bus risking his life for anyone.

My own experience has taught me that it is useless to engage with people who won’t listen. It is passing strange to tell parents that they should open the flood gates to privatization and relinquish their attachment to their community public schools, especially when the person doing the lecture doesn’t even live in the state.

I received this letter from a teacher in Los Angeles. She has been following the heated exchanges on the blog about Rafe Esquith, the celebrated teacher and founder of the Hobart Shakespeareans who was fired by the LAUSD board. She decided it was time to set the record straight, as seen through the eyes of a teacher in LAUSD. Having heard from her before, I know she is for real. I am posting this not because I agree with it, but because I think readers will find much to discuss and debate. I make no judgment about whether Rafe is guilty or innocent. I don’t know. I am with the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times on this one. The board warned against a rush to judgment when all the facts are not known.

 

 

The teacher writes:

 

I assume that most LAUSD teachers do not read this blog since working as a full time LAUSD teacher and having a life for one’s self after 3 p.m. is a task in itself. From the majority of the comments posted here, I just sense that these people are not or have not been LAUSD classroom teachers, and if so, it was a while back. Sadly, the climate on LAUSD campuses has changed since the teacher jail issue and since the popularity of technology, the use of emails, private or LAUSD emails, texting, social media and so on. I believe that when the LAUSD employee is on a LAUSD campus, there may not be an expectation of privacy concerning any technology, but I am not 100% certain. This exists on many work sites, not just LAUSD. You can only have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your own home and that’s only if you are law abiding (not accessing illegal stuff online). Even if it’s on a privately owned cell or computer, your employer may be accessing what you do on that in order to track your behavior.

 
Now, what the employer does with any information he/she gathers from an employee’s information that can be found on a cell phone or computer is another story. That’s where there may be some kind of invasion of privacy, retaliation, etc… I am not a lawyer. I just have opinions.

 
If the publicized emails Rafe sent to students are authentic, and that’s IF they are, then Rafe may perhaps be guilty of some poor judgment, acting too silly with kids, and just, well, over stepping his boundaries a bit, but nothing severe enough to be terminated for.

 
One issue that I don’t read online concerning Rafe or teacher jail is this: students in many LAUSD schools can be called urban youth, inner city, at risk students, people of color, low income, struggling learners, Title One kids, or just, well, ghetto. What is not discussed is that some of these kids are CRAZY in the classroom and are not easy to educate. What I mean by CRAZY is that they have NO FILTER as to what comes out of their little, underage mouths. The students I taught knew ALL of the naughty words in two languages (but maybe needed help with spelling those words correctly!)

 
Over the years I heard kids talk about what they watch on TV, movies and the internet. They know about more naughty things that I didn’t even know existed until I was in high school, college and, well, I’m still learning.

 

Kids talked about grandma porn, watching footage of people defecating in each other’s mouths, beheadings (yes, real ones) that can be viewed online, they talked about the Jersey Shore TV show, South Park, Jackass, Sasha Baron Cohen, Dave Chappelle, etc… They knew about all of this material.

 
I was called “ugly” “bitch” and fill in the blank with any or all swear words insults you can think of by some of my students who were, by and large, a hoot to teach, but not so innocent in terms of language that they were very familiar with. I could not get kids to be held accountable for having a lighter or some contraband on their body because by the time they got searched by the dean of discipline, they had already keistered the item, yes, shoved it in their butt. They seemed to be experienced with doing that and I am talking about 9th graders. They talked about how to pass a drug test using someone else’s urine, how to steal cars, get away with rape.
I showed Schindler’s List, yes, that movie with the NUDITY (ooohhhh!) and year after year, a few students rooted for the Nazis even after I tried to explain to them that Nazis did not like Latinos.

 
Rafe is a tremendous loss to LAUSD and society.

 
If you view the Hobart documentary online, you see that he was more than a teacher. He was a dad, uncle, friend. If a dad or an uncle tickles a fifth grade child is that the behavior of a pedophile???? If a dad or an uncle makes comments regarding a pubescent girl and her “hotness” is that pedophilia or may it just be embarrassing for the child? Borderline inappropriate. Insensitive, sloppy, but not criminal, Not politically correct for 2015 but then what is? Some girls would not like that attention at that age or any age except from their boyfriend, husband, etc…

 
Some of Rafe’s students come from Korean backgrounds where a spanking may not be out of the question on child discipline, in some cases. Rafe joked about spanking. A young girl may not understand the darker, sexual, naughty side of a comment like that but Rafe seemed to be one BIG GOOF with the students. He loosened them up in order to get them to act in theater class.

 
I taught theater for LAUSD. The students I had, showed the personality of a wet mop while reading their lines. These are kids who have not been exposed by their own families to music, theater, or athletic activities outside of school, generally speaking. Rafe tried to break them from their shyness, their shells, to free them up.

 
Rafe may have deserved a talking to, a slap on the wrist for some of these emails that are taken out of context. Some of the emails show a tone of Rafe coming off as a “sugar daddy” with students. Rafe is an older gentleman, harmless, a ham, creative. He wanted his students to succeed more than ANYTHING, to excel, to thrive and compete. He is not perfect nor is anyone. Think of a few of your favorite teachers. Were they infallible Mother Theresas? I learned so much from a few teachers who were faarrrr from perfect! But that’s another essay to write.

 
Besides that I have witnessed numerous male teachers shower certain, pretty students with flirtatious toned banter, and these men still have their teaching jobs, and two male teachers at one school where I worked were rumored to have married their female students. Please, what actionable crime did Rafe commit?

 
Some girls in LAUSD high schools and even middle school dress like they are going to a red light district, for example, they wear low rise jeans where the tushie spills out when they sit to reveal thong underwear, skin tight white t-shirts with black bra, you name it, they wear it. I had some 17 year old students talk in class about how they buy each other vibrators for their birthdays. This was a few years back, before teacher jail was talked about, but if a LAUSD classroom teacher even speaks the word “vibrator” in a class, that grounds for termination right there. End of story.

 
America is a FAKE puritanical country. If fact, our society is so not in touch with its own bipolarness full of smut peddling and acting, like we can’t say “naked” in a classroom, however, I wouldn’t have it any other way (except someone please pull the curtain on the whole Khardashian clan). I wouldn’t want to live in a “real” puritanical country, would you? Our American princess Kim K. got started on the fame track with a sex video and shoots to international stardom.

 

In contrast, Rafe, tirelessly worked for decades to give kids a chance at realizing their dreams, gets vilified and tarred and feathered for having an eye for a pretty girl, being sloppy and over-exaggerated in emails (and a little bit inappropriate), and spoke the word “naked”? Something seems wrong. Where was the due process??? Oh yeah. It’s LAUSD, a school district that seems to be shutting down, snuffing out teachers who don’t show up ten minutes before class starts and teach to tests that these students don’t understand. LAUSD teachers don’t speak up on behalf of a co-worker when they KNOW the district is railroading them out of their career, in fact, they mostly all aid the district. By the way people, it’s teachers and administrators who send a teacher to teacher jail—not students. Just a rumor I may have heard. Rafe will be missed by so many but many teachers on campus nowadays will be forgotten like unwashed gym clothes left in a locker.

From time to time, a blogger or a commenter compares something to Nazism or to Hitler. As sure as night follows day, there will be outraged comments saying that any invocation of Nazis and Hitler is strictly forbidden, intolerable, unacceptable, verboten.

 

I disagree. I wrote a book in 2003 called The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn, about efforts to censor what appears in textbooks and on tests. Everybody has some words that they want to ban, some topic they find execrable, some illustrations they can’t abide, some depictions that they consider stereotypes. The publishers are so fearful of controversy that they have written guidelines with long lists of words, topics, and illustrations that may not appear in textbooks or on tests. I learned about these guidelines when I was on the National Assessment Governing Board. That is when I discovered that every education publisher runs their material through a “bias and sensitivity review panel” to make sure that nothing appears that anyone might object to. You will never see an owl mentioned on a standardized test or witches or evolution or stories with disobedient children or any reference to a landlord or a cowboy. You will never see elderly people with a cane or sitting in a rocker. You will never see a mom making dinner. Instead, you might see a drawing of grandpa on the roof nailing in shingles and a female truck driver. You will see no reference to poverty or cancer or roaches or rats or nuclear war or suicide or abortion. No rainbow flags. No anatomically correct cows. Everyone is happy. Everything has been carefully scrubbed to avoid offending anyone, any group.

 

I don’t like censorship. It is true that I don’t permit certain well-known curse words on this blog, but I am not imposing my views on anyone else.

 

As for Hitler and Nazis, please see Mel Brooks’ movie “The Producers.” Mel Brooks said that the best way to deal with Hitler today is to laugh at him, to make him a fool, and the movie indeed made him into a butt of Brooks’ jokes. I also suggest the classic comedy “To Be or Not to Be,” with Jack Benny, Carole Lombard, and Robert Stack; it was made in 1942 when Hitler was no joke. But they made him into a laughing stock. The movie was remade in 1983 by Mel Brooks and his wife Anne Bancroft. Brooks turned it into a fabulous musical in 2001, which won multiple awards and was turned into another movie. Brooks told the German publication Spiegel that comedy robs Hitler of his posthumous power. Those who are afraid to speak his name confer power on him.

 

To those who say, “You can’t say that,” I say “Yes, you can, and so can I.” If you are afraid to use Hitler and Nazis as metaphors, that is your choice. It is not mine. If Jack Benny could do it in 1942, if Mel Brooks could do it in 1968 (To Be or Not to Be) and again in 1983 (The Producers), well, I say, let freedom of speech ring.

John Ogozalek teaches high school in upstate New York. He watched some of the GOP debate last night (his stomach is stronger than mine) and reacted to one of Marco Rubio’s memorable lines.

 

He writes:

 

“A great howler from the GOP debate last night:

 

“We need more welders and less philosophers…” Marco Rubio

 

Now I wish I could weld. Seriously. 10 years of Upstate New York winters have seriously rotted my car. And, I’ve had plenty of great students who go into trades like welding. I respect people who can do these jobs.

 

But, c’mon. Can Marco Rubio aim any lower?

 

Why can’t welders ALSO be philosophers??? (And, vice versa!)

 

Neil Postman wrote a great piece, a graduation speech, he never had a chance to give. I used it years ago when I taught ninth grade Global Studies. http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/06/athenians-and-visigoths-neil-postmans-graduation-speech/

 

Postman compares the Athenians, who valued wisdom and art to the Visigoths, who believed that the quest for knowledge is useless if it doesn’t give you power and money. Athenians cherished and respected the written word. In comparison, “A Visigoth’s language aspires to nothing higher than the cliche.”

 

Postman wrote, “And I must tell you that you do not become an Athenian merely by attending school or accumulating academic degrees. My father-in-law was one of the most committed Athenians I have ever known, and he spent his entire adult life working as a dress cutter on Seventh Avenue in New York City. On the other hand, I know physicians, lawyers, and engineers who are Visigoths of unmistakable persuasion.”

 

Welders CAN be Athenians. They CAN be philosophers. To say otherwise, is just to further divide our own already damaged polis.

 

I could only stomach part of the GOP debate. But what I saw indicated how far our nation’s ability to have a mature, civil discourse has fallen. What happened to the days when the League of Women Voters hosted serious debates in which booing and hissing was not tolerated? And, remember when Gerald Ford slipped up about communist domination of Eastern Europe, and his feet were held to the fire for the mistake? Nowadays a buffoon like Donald Trump can say anything regardless of the facts…..and his political life thrives.

 

No, Marco Rubio is just this year’s model…..a faster, trimmer more high tech version of the age old Visigoth pattern. Do anything for power and money even if it means dividing the people you profess to lead.

 

By the way…..I’m sitting here at home writing on this blog, with a day off from school. But, of course, this day is really meant to honor our veterans, past and present. It’s those veterans who deserve the credit for defending our nation against Visigoths like the Nazis. We honor them by standing up for the “better angels of our nature” -not by rolling in the political mud.

 

Reading Neil Postman’s great speech is one of the best ways I can honor our vets and our country. Taking part in this blog, “a site to discuss better education for all,” is another.”

George N. Schmidt reminds us of the meaning of Memorial Day:

Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day I would give my students the same assignment throughout the final decades of the 20th Century (the bloodiest in history): Make a spreadsheet of all the wars of the 20th Century and all the countries that were involved in those wars and then list all the casualties… As far as they could go.

Or they could visit someone in a VA hospital, preferably a World War II vet who had been there “forever.”

Then they had to discuss what they had learned…

It helped my students understand the need for the poppies and respectful silence on some days. That work ended when Paul Vallas fired and blacklisted me for test resistance in 2000… But I continue remembering all those lessons and what the “kids” would talk about.

Both my mother and my father served in the United States Army during World War II. For Memorial Day, we would wear the poppies (which I think my Dad would distributed from his VFW Post in Clark New Jersey; we lived in Linden) and visit a few graves. I don’t think anyone in our family said “Happy Memorial Day,” because there was nothing to be happy about.

My Dad, Neil Schmidt, served as an infantryman with the 44th Division from the coast of France to the Austrian Alps from 1944 to 1945. After he and his millions of brothers (and some sisters) had “won” against the Nazis in May 1945, my Mom was just beginning the worst of the hell she would experience — Okinawa. Mary Lanigan Schmidt was an Army nurse in a field hospital on the island of Okinawa during those weeks after, for many in the USA, the war was “over.” Both my parents taught me a lot about silence and not discussing what it was all about. Both were proud of their “service,” but silent about the details of what it involved.

My Dad would only say about the Bronze Star he brought home (“for courage in the face on the enemy during the Rhineland Campaign, February 1945”), “I got lost one night and I got lucky.” When he accidentally told me, very late in life, that he had been first into one of the “smaller” concentration camps (Struhof) I was stunned. I asked him why he had never talked about it with the family: “There is some evil for which there are no words.” I asked him what he remembered of driving his colonel into that liberated camp: “The silence and the smell. The smell never goes away…”

Both came home and by 1946 were fulfilling the dream that had kept them going throughout the war (they were already married by the time of Pearl Harbor, and Dad was in the Army). They were going to work hard and have a family, at least two children (they wound up with four), a home, and all that stuff.

But it wasn’t that easy. Because of their commitment to having a family, my Dad didn’t go to college, but returned to the “service” in the Elizabeth Post Office. He never missed a day of work until he retired, having learned during the Depression that a job was precious and not to be trifled with. He taught all of us the same thing.

My Mom slowly sunk into greater and greater depression and nightmares as time went on, and only after her early death (in 1985) did I begin to understand how the very word “Okinawa” made people who know the history shudder — to this day.

Yes, this is a day to mark with silence, perhaps a poppy (if you still live in a community where old men distribute them), and some attempt to clarify what the word “WAR” means.

Reacting to the news that testing corporations are “monitoring” the social media accounts of children during and after testing, and forbidding even verbal discussions of the tests, retired educator Frank Breslin is outraged. He wrote to me:

“Pearson is encouraging educators to spy on their students’ privacy, thereby trying to undermine the integrity of the relationship that students have with their teachers. This is vitiating the entire tradition of student/teacher trust that has been a sacred tradition between them for thousands of years. They’re making educators complicit in this illegal and immoral spying on children, so that teachers are becoming adjuncts of a Police State.

“This is what the Nazis did to teachers during the Reich — having teachers spying on parents by having children report back to them what parents were saying against the Reich. This is diabolical! ”

I know that some readers object to any analogy that references Nazis, but Breslin might just as well have referred to the Stasi in East Germany or any other police state in which teachers are expected to inform the Authorities about the private communications of their students, and family members are expected to inform on each other.

Jon Zimmerman is a colleague of mine at New York University and a fellow historian of education. He uses his deep knowledge of history to write on many topics. He is amazingly prolific.

Zimmerman writes:

NEWSDAY

April 16, 2014

Brandeis Betrays its Educational Mission

Jonathan Zimmerman

In 1949, Wayne State University president David Henry blocked an invited speaker from appearing on campus. The speaker was Herbert Phillips, a well-known philosophy professor. And the reason was simple: Phillips was a Communist.

“It is now clear that the Communist is to be regarded not as an ordinary citizen but as an enemy of national welfare,” Henry explained. “I cannot believe that the university is under any obligation in the name of education, to give him an audience.”

I thought of this episode—and many similar ones–as I read about Brandeis University’s decision to withdraw its offer of an honorary degree to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the prominent women’s rights activist who was slated to appear at its commencement exercises in May. Citing Ali’s controversial remarks about Islam, Brandeis said these comments were “inconsistent” with its “core values.”

But the core value of the university is—or should be—open dialogue and discussion. And it was Brandeis—not Ali—who who violated it, just as universities did by keeping out Communist and other left-leaning speakers during the McCarthy era.

A Somalian native who fled a forced marriage, Ali moved to Holland and was eventually elected to its Parliament. She also wrote the screenplay for a 2004 film about the treatment of Muslim women, which earned her death threats and led her to move to the United States.

And in a 2007 interview, Ali called Islam “a destructive, nihilistic cult of death”; later that year, she told another interviewer that “there is no moderate Islam” and that it must be “defeated.”

Over the top? Definitely. Offensive? I think so. But Ali’s comments hardly put her in the same category as Nazis or white supremacists, as several critics have recently charged. Unlike fascist ideologues, who stressed the second-class status of women and their duty to reproduce for the fatherland, Ali has spent her life fighting for female independence and equality.

She has also been at the center of an ongoing debate about the degree to which Islam has enhanced or inhibited women’s rights. I was appalled by her blanket condemnation of the religion, which contains much more diversity than Ali allowed. But she has raised utterly legitimate questions, and the university should be in the business of exploring rather than quashing them.

Ditto for Communists in the 1940s and 1950s, who raised tough issues about the morality of capitalism and its role in promoting imperialism. Some American Communists went to absurd lengths in apologizing for murderous behavior by the Soviet Union, to be sure, and a small number of them actually spied for the USSR. But they also had important things to say about economic and international affairs, if Americans cared to listen.

At nearly all of our colleges and universities, they didn’t. Communist novelist Howard Fast was banned from speaking at Columbia and at my own institution, New York University. Likewise, the German Communist Gerhart Eisler was barred from the University of Michigan and several other schools.

And it wasn’t just Communists who were kept out; so was anyone suspected of sympathizing with them. So Miner Teachers College—a historically black school in Washington, D.C.—blocked the writer Pearl Buck from speaking; another teachers’ college in California banned Carey McWilliams, editor of the Nation; and Ohio State University turned away Cecil Hinshaw, a leading Quaker pacifist.

Each situation was different, but the rationale was always the same: Communists (and their “fellow travelers”) were supposedly inimical to the essential mission of the institution. And it’s also what protesters at Notre Dame said in 2009, when the university tapped President Obama as its graduation speaker.

Over 300,000 people signed a petition urging Notre Dame to revoke the invitation to Obama, a long-standing supporter of abortion rights. In hosting the President, the petition said, the institution was “betraying its Catholic mission.”

But turning away Obama would have betrayed the university’s academic mission: to promote dialogue and understanding across our myriad differences. Fortunately, Notre Dame held firm to its invitation. Obama gave his address, and hundreds of graduates demonstrated their opposition to his abortion views by affixing pictures of baby feet to their motor boards.

That brings us back to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who won’t have the opportunity to address the Brandeis graduation next month. More to the point, though, students won’t have the chance to challenge and debate her. That’s the core value of the university, and also of a liberal society. Too bad that Brandies—and its avowedly liberal defenders—seem to have forgotten it.

Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University. His most recent book is “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory” (Yale University Press).

Peter Greene, an English teacher and blogger in Pennsylvania, reviewed the wild and wacky video made by the staff at the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. Apparently the kids there wanted the world to see them as fun-loving buddies who can laugh at themselves, but Greene thinks it didn’t work. Despite the high production values, there is something unfunny about Fordham’s policy ideas (no to smaller classes, yes to Common Core).

Greene, you will note, updated his post at a time when he was teaching William Faulkner’s Light in August to high school students, a task we may assume is as valuable (more valuable?) to society than having a desk job in Washington and telling the nation’s teachers what they ought to be doing.

He writes:

“Final effect? People making wacky shenanigans out of policy ideas that are being used to destroy public education? It’s a hard thing to parse– how would “Springtime for Hitler” have come across if it had been staged by the Nazis themselves? I am not meaning to suggest that Fordham = Nazis, but I do wonder what we’re to make of people making themselves look more ridiculous that we could make them look on purpose.

“It is part of the tone deafness problem. I want to shake them and say, “Did you not see this? Do you not know how you look, both awkward and opposite-of-cool, while making jokes about policies being used to destroy peoples’ careers?” Somehow while shooting for cool and relaxed and with it, they’ve hit uncool and callous, thereby suggesting that they are imbued with so much hubris and arrogance that they either can’t see or don’t care (because only unimportant people will be bothered, and they don’t matter). This is the education industry equivalent of those bankers’ videos of obscenely wealthy parties, the Christmas cards from wealthy apartments, the total lack of understanding of what things are like out there on the street, because the street is just for the commoners who don’t matter.

“It’s an oddly fascinating train wreck. Is it awesomely funny because it’s so awful, or is it too awful to be funny. Whatever the case, it gives a strong 2:20 feel for what sort of attitude permeates Fordham, and it is just as bad as we ever imagined. maybe worse.”