Attack of the Oklahoma EduBlob!

blob-looking-sad-clipart dsThe poor misunderstood BLOB.

According to the dictionary, a blob can be a globule of liquid, a small lump or splotch, an oozy amorphous object, or a dull, slow-witted person. Certainly none of these conjure up positive impressions in the mind of those on the receiving end of this word.

Don’t believe me? Try using the word to describe any aspect of your spouse .  .  . to his or her face. Be prepared to run.

Blobs are typically construed as repulsive, slow-moving monsters, a super fat villain, or a hideous pile of something you can’t identify. The blob is a shapeless, amoral conglomerate of snot, typically up to no good.

A blob is hard to define, but like most things that are hard to define – we know it when we see it.

Blobs are what you encounter on an ocean beach after the tide goes out. You know, that unidentified mound of slime that we poke with a stick because no one would dare touch it with their bare hands. That is just how vile the prospect of a blob is, we can’t even bring ourselves to touch it.

Lets be honest here, no one stands for the blob. It is deservedly unloved, reviled, and considered a bad thing to be avoided. Blobs are no fun. Blobs are bad. Blobs needs to be shunned.

blobfishNeed further evidence?

Just imagine reeling this animal up from the ocean floor. It is aptly name a Blobfish.

In 2013 it earned the title of ugliest animal in the world by the “Ugly Animal Preservation Society.” With all due respect to this unfortunate fellow, it’s difficult to argue with that label.

A few days ago, we learned that the blob is the latest descriptor for Oklahoma’s public education system. Perhaps we should adopt Mr. Blobfish as our official symbol.

This newest insult is brought to us courtesy of Dr. Greg Forster, a senior fellow with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. Yeah, those guys.

In his recent article for the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA), Forster describes those who advocate for Oklahoma schools and educators as a BLOB full of shameless, self-indulgent hustlers.

Online Perspective-07

He’s how he begins his diatribe (emphasis mine):

Oklahoma’s education blob—school unions, education schools, and their allies—is becoming unusually shameless in its determination to vote itself another taxpayer bailout. Of course the blob is always on the lookout for another hustle. But in Oklahoma this year, things are getting to a point that might make even Donald Trump blush.

 

First it was a ballot initiative, championed by University of Oklahoma President David Boren. If approved, it will hike the state sales tax to fund a slate of goodies for educators, with the bulk of the proceeds going to an across-the-board $5,000 raise for all teachers. That doesn’t make sense for anyone but the blob—even if we think raising salaries is the best way to spend money on education, why do it indiscriminately? Teachers should be treated like professionals, and paid based on performance.

Read his words again, let them bounce around in your head for a while. Now, recognize that this was posted on the OCPA website, a group who claims to have the interests of Oklahoma’s teachers at heart.

A few months ago, another article published on the OCPA affiliated, “Middle Ground News,” accused yours truly and other Oklahoma bloggers of obstructing serious debate with our vitriolic, disrespectful tone:

“This network of #Oklaed bloggers is filled with insults, venom, hostility and vulgarity. In a line of work where the employees claim to pride themselves on professionalism, the rhetoric fails live up to the hype.”

Seems we have a pot-kettle situation here.

I’ll give Dr Forster this much – as a paid, professional oppugner of public education, he has honed his rhetoric down to a fine point.

So who is this guy and why should we care? Here is his faculty profile on the website of Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan:

Greg Forster serves as the director of the Oikonomia Network at the Center for Transformational Churches at Trinity International University. He has a Ph.D. with distinction in political philosophy from Yale University. He is the author of six books, most recently Joy for the World: How Christianity Lost Its Cultural Influence and Can Begin Rebuilding It, and the co-editor of three books. He is a senior fellow at the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; has published numerous articles in scholarly and popular periodicals; speaks at large conferences like the Gospel Coalition and Jubilee; edits the group blog Hang Together; and contributes regularly to other online outlets. His primary scholarly interest is studying how the structures of culture and civilization (family, work, education, business, politics, etc.) respond to the challenge of the gospel and the ambiguous tensions of religious freedom, in order to equip the church to be good citizens of both the Kingdom of God and our human communities.

The “ambiguous tensions of religious freedom?” That’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

This introduction fails to explain how Dr. Forster has become such an expert on Oklahoma public education after spending precisely zero minutes in any of our schools. It doesn’t, because he is not.

Forster is simply a “hired gun” brought in by OCPA to do their dirty work and add credibility to their school choice narrative with his fancy title and national connections.

In short, Forster is just the next one in a long line of out-of-state voucher wolves dedicated to breaking down our system of public education to support the Friedman plan for universal school choice. Dr. Forster is undoubtedly a big fan of tax-payer supported vouchers for private religious schools.

As he writes, he might possibly support teacher pay raises, but certainly not across the board. Again, we hear the same old merit pay argument that “teachers should be treated like professionals, and paid based on performance.”

I’m not going to rehash these arguments now, but if you’re interested, I have written extensively about this zombie idea of performance pay a FEW times, like HERE, HERE, HERE, and oh, HERE.

In the last one, I spent some time questioning that if performance pay was such a swell idea, why don’t the Armed Forces use such a system?

Are servicemen and women not treated like professionals either, since the military pay scale isn’t based on job type or performance levels either, just rank and years of service. I mean, if adding performance pay can create more Rambo’s or super snipers, why not do it? Well, lots of reasons.

Anyhow, back to our new label of education blob, or Edublob to keep it simple.

As educators, we are used to the constant berating and disparagement from political elites. We have been called slugs, unprofessional, lazy, uncaring, incompetent, godless, and then berated for losing generations of children and all sorts of other societal failures.

So now we’re a blob.

In comparison, maybe the term Edublob isn’t so bad. It does accurately describe some aspects of what we do.

As the Edublob, we are committed to the mission of:

  • Surrounding each and every child with a protective sheath of compassion and care; to insulate them from the sharp realities of life.
  • Constantly growing and changing shape to meet the varied and growing needs of children in the 21st century.
  • Moving and adapting in order to sustain the incessant attacks from policy makers like Dr. Greg Forster – people who seek to perpetuate the myth of widespread failing schools in order to promote the growth of vouchers, for-profit charters, and private sectarian schools.
  • Sticking tenaciously to the ideals of our democratic society; one that seeks to offer all children equal opportunity despite unequal and inequitable backgrounds.
  • Doing everything we can to support the strength and vitality of the whole – recognizing that we are interdependent and that the success or failure of one is extrapolated to us all.

We love our blob. And we are hopeful that in the next few months our Edublob will gain significant strength through our expansion into the offices and corridors of the Oklahoma Capitol.

This Oklahoma edublob is loud and proud and we are not going away. We are attacking not retreating.

We are indescribable, indestructible, and nothing can stop us.

Definitely not a little poke with a little stick from the likes of little Greg Forster.

edublob

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