Sep 12, 201408:42 AMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Does your Madison public school teacher get ‘down and dirty’?
(page 2 of 2)
‘Resisting things that make education better’
Madison misses journalist Jason Shepard, who captured “John Matthews of MTI: A Lion in Winter” for the Isthmus weekly of March 27, 2008:
But while Matthews laments the failures of government to improve teaching and learning, he glosses over his own pivotal role in local educational leadership. That role includes standing in the way of programs like 4-year-old kindergarten that could help the district meet its educational objectives.
Matthews is no shrinking violet. He drops the f-bomb nearly a dozen times and sprinkles his more entertaining stories with other verbiage from George Carlin’s famous “seven dirty words” satire.
… “John has his peculiarities, and there are certain things that he expects,” says [former school board member Carol] Carstensen, herself once a victim of what she calls Matthews’ “little tricks.” She attributes some of this to gender bias.
‘Do not discuss accountability or innovation’
Media producer John Roach, in Madison Magazine on March 24, 2013, declared that “Madison Teachers Inc. head John Matthews should step down”:
His $300K per annum package at the helm of Madison Teachers Inc. has placed him among the very one percent many of his followers revile. … He now prowls his mansion at night, toying with the local Democratic Party he has purchased, fighting enemies that do not exist, in battles that need not be waged.
In Madison, at this time in history, there is no room on the justice agenda for black and brown people. Scotty Walker has spooked the progressive herd. White folks with college degrees, a 175-page contract, pensions, limited accountability, three months of summer vacation and unassailable job security have bum rushed their way to the head of the Justice Line.
What is worse, they have rewritten the language of productive political discussion. “Support our public schools” has become code for “blind allegiance to John Matthews and MTI.” “Privatization of our schools” is Pig Latin for “Do not discuss change, accountability or innovation.”
Liberal Madison won’t impose sweatshops
“The union draws support from conveying the impression that it’s only the efforts of the union and the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement that protect teachers from the predations of a ‘hostile’ school board intent on imposing ‘inhumane’ changes in working conditions,” school board member Ed Hughes wrote in his May 9, 2011 blog:
If the collective bargaining agreement were to disappear, the school district wouldn’t immediately resort to a management equivalent of pillaging the countryside. Instead, the district would seek out alternative ways of achieving the ends currently served by the collective bargaining process, because the district, like nearly all employers, values its employees and understands the benefits of being perceived as a good place to work.
But when employers aren’t interested in running sweat-shops, organizations set up to prevent sweat-shop conditions aren’t all that necessary. It may be that John Matthews’ ramped-up rhetoric is best understood not as a protest against school district over-reaching in bargaining, since that did not happen, but as a cry against the possibility of his own impending irrelevance.
That irrelevance just got a little closer with the filing Wednesday of Blaska v. Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education and its union.
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