Thursday, April 06, 2006

John Stossel Accepts Union Offer To Teach For A Week

John Stossel had a not-so-flattering report on ABC's 20/20, and teachers weren't so happy about it; I've previously linked to some of Stossel's writing on the topic. The president of the teachers union in New York City, in a show of bravado, challenged Stossel to teach for a week and see what teaching's really like.

He accepted, but in the end, school administrators put the ixnay on the idea, saying it would set a precedent for allowing reporters in the schools.

Imagine that, actually getting to see what goes on in public schools that your tax dollars support!

Here are some snippets from Stossel's "nyah nyah nyah NYAH nyah!" article:

I accepted. I even said I'd let the union pick the school. I thought I'd learn more about how difficult teaching is. Above all, it was a chance to get our cameras into schools -- something the N.Y. bureaucracy had forbidden -- so we could show you what was really going on.

But it won't happen.

Like most of our dealings with the union, nothing was easy. It took weeks of phone calls to make any sort of progress. I suspect this will not surprise public-school parents...

I guess they didn't want me to look at a normal public school.

But this is the school the UFT picked, and I was up for the challenge. Who knows what I might have learned by teaching?


My producers went to a meeting at the school to choose a class for me to teach. The union representative didn't come, so we were told no decisions could be made. Lots of people came to a second meeting at the school: four people from the union, one person from the city Department of Education, and administrators and teachers from Beacon [the chosen school--Darren]. They decided I might teach history classes and "media studies," but they would have to talk to more people...

I prepped for my history classes. We had more meetings...

Then there were more meetings. Finally, four days before what was supposed to be my first day of class, they canceled. Officially, "they" were the public school administrators who said it might be "disruptive" and that it might "set a precedent" that would open their doors to other reporters.

Too bad. Letting cameras into schools would be a good thing. Taxpayers might finally get to see how more than $200,000 per classroom of their money was being spent...

I'd like 20/20's cameras to see me struggle to be a good teacher.

I wonder what else our cameras might see.

And remember, it's Stossel who's supposed to be the bad guy here. Just read the union rags, they'll tell you!

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