O Jon Chait, O Jon Chait,
Are you too contrarian for Slate?
I lament, it is my fate,
To sorrow as you pule and prate,
That is an Original Poem, one of many available for a low, low price of $450 and a winged mule, available upon inquiry, please contact Whiskey Fire Industries, LTD, via the standard method. Handcraft-printed on the finest virgin whelk vellum, and we're assured by counsel that it stops the godawful smell after a fortnight or seven, maybe. Also it's "curated," because now everything's "curated," because that is a verb now in common use among preposterous dickheads.
Oh right, sorry, got carried away. I'm irked at Jon Chait. For this. FOR THIS.
Paul Farhi profiles Campbell Brown, the former CNN anchor turned education-reform activist, who is working to end strict teacher tenure protections. Naturally, this enrages teacher-union evangelist Diane Ravitch, who not only disagrees with Brown’s position, but expresses offense that anybody should listen to Brown at all:
“I have trouble with this issue because it’s so totally illogical,” says Diane Ravitch, an education historian. “It’s hard to understand why anyone thinks taking away teachers’ due-process rights will lead to great teachers in every classroom.”
As for Brown, Ravitch is dismissive: “She is a good media figure because of her looks, but she doesn’t seem to know or understand anything about teaching and why tenure matters ... I know it sounds sexist to say that she is pretty, but that makes her telegenic, even if what she has to say is total nonsense.”
Why, yes, that does sound rather sexist.
Ravitch probably shouldn't have gone there, fine.
But Chait is invoking the right-wing neener-neener nyah-nyah version of feminism, or racism, or homophobia, or what have you; it's a smug rule-invoking, not a principled defense of any particular position. If Chait wants to make a feminist argument about what Ravitch said, he can go ahead and do that. But he doesn't. Instead, apparently, he jumps right to Twitter:
Yeah, that's point-scoring, not outrage about how women who happen to be media figures often have their opinions treated.
And, and, why shouldn't Ravitch be pissed off? I would be -- Ravitch is a serious, accomplished, scholar of educational policy. Brown... isn't.
If you want to drive a scholar up the wall, tell her she's got to enter the lists against a rich, famous person engaged in an ideological jihad crusade. Ravitch behaved a lot better than I would have.
Anyway, Chait gets right to the mansplaining, because he's a dick:
Why, Ravitch wonders, would the elimination of a job protection help attract better teachers? Let me reveal, via the power of logic, how this can work.
If you want to get all feminist, telling Diane Ravitch that she needs to appreciate "the power of logic"? Fuck you you sneery fuck! Whee!
Chait is all sorts of wrong on the issue of teacher tenure, have at him on this, but let's hone in:
Now, education-reform advocates come in conservative and liberal flavors. The conservative ones tend to believe ending tenure alone will improve classroom outcomes. Liberal ones tend to favor an end to tenure along with other reforms, such as higher pay. The liberal education-reform theory is that the public will be more open to higher taxes to support higher levels of teacher pay if teachers are accountable for their performance. Likewise, those dollars will be spent more effectively if they are related to performance rather than to years on the job.
Listen, you fucking asshole. Whenever you have "two flavors," in AMERICA, the "compromise" that emerges as the concrete reality is the conservative one.
Chait and the "liberal educational reformers" will end up with low pay for teachers, no teacher labor protections, and horrendous consequences for children.
You'd think these fucking assholes would have caught on to the real game after how humiliated they were by cheering on the Iraq debacle, but since all they really want to do is play "Policy" like it's fucking Risk, they don't give a shit, and then they all got swell jobs anyhow! Hooray!
MAS. And then there is this from Chait:
In most fields, your pay is based on your perceived value rather than on the number of years you have spent on the job. Value-based pay does not work perfectly in any field. It certainly doesn’t work perfectly in my field, which explains, for instance, Howard Kurtz’s rumored extravagant wealth. Yet if we stopped paying journalists on the basis of their perceived value and started paying them on the basis of time served, I'd argue it would reduce the quality of journalism.
Jon Chait does "journalism"?
If we had a dedicated, nationally funded corps of "just the facts" journalists, we'd all be better off, and far more in line with the Founders' vision.
Chait is paid to offer his glib opinions about issues he has no time to study in any real depth. As an educator, I suggest he fuck off and get a real job, like, say, teaching.