March 13, 2009

Bill Maher: my new Anti-Hero

They've just posted the full ed segment on YouTube, so I can cite a few more clips from the show I saw last night that inspired this post.

I can't believe what I just heard him say about teachers this evening. It's worse than what we've been hearing from Obama.

Did they go to the same Professional Development class or something?

Maher laid the entire blame for the all the ed problems the country has at the foot of the — wait for it: Teachers' Union.

"It's huge!" quoth he, and followed up with comments as inane as bad teachers go teach in the worst schools.
What's wrong is the tenure system: he says that's "where the bad teachers go." SHAME ON YOU, Maher.

Maher's "articulate" guest, Professor Michael Eric Dyson (you'd have to have seen the first part of the discussion to know why I use that word) put him squarely in his place, saying that yes teachers should be held accountable, but at the same time, "let's hold the society accountable, as we owe these young people a chance to survive." He mentioned a whole lot of social issues, and he mentioned class size. Bill, I'm afraid, speaks from the seat of his pants.

t wasn't enough, though, to keep me tuned into the rest of the show. Maher cannot redeem himself from this one.

He's not my kind of man anymore, and actually, neither is Obama.


  1. If we blame the soldiers for losing the war, then we do not have to take responsibility for starting it.

    As long as teacher's are blamed for the problems in education, we do not have to take responsibility for fixing the social issues that impact on education & society.

    Should we make BUSH/Cheney give back their salaries after they have ravaged this country? What about SEC? & the Bernard Madoff debacle? There is something rotten in Denmark & it is NOT the teacher's who are stuggling to educate the young!

  2. I have many discussions with "so-called" intelligent people who blame the teachers union. My response is. "Who is at fault when children fail to do work or don't bring schoolbooks to class". "Who is at fault when you have overcrowded classrooms". "Who is at fault when the DOE hires unqualified administrators whpo cannot or will not work with their staff". "Who is at fault when the DOE imposes "a-one-size-fits-all" program that does not allow teachers to teach in their classrooms".

    Bill Maher is just another person who does not know what is going on in the classroom.

  3. Listen Bill Maher was attacking the UFT and he is 100% correct. The UFT does absolutely nothing to protect un-tenured teachers or staff members and yet they take those dues every two weeks from the pay checks and yes, some teachers are to blame for the way that classrooms are run. First of all, we have many suburban teachers who really have no business teaching in the inner city. These teachers live quite well in the suburbs and come to teach in the city and think that the children live as good as they do. With this in mind, the teachers do nothing but yell most of the day and complain about our inner city youth. The system needs to change and we need to hire only teachers who have been born and raised into poverty and the ways of inner city children. These teachers will know how most of these children live and feel on a daily basis. Suburban teachers can teach in the Suburbs where they live. Bill Maher was 100% correct....Randi Weingarten does nothing for un-tenured members......

  4. I didn't listen to the program, but I'll say there are three problems I see (as a parent volunteering). These aren't the responsibility of teachers alone to resolve, but I don't generally see teachers being change agents.

    - fossilized thinking - a school is one of the few place an 19th century person could walk into, 150 years later, and be able to understand what is going on. This is not progress.

    - least-common denominator standards - means that gifted populations aren't challenged or served by the public school system, and they need to be, if we are to remain competitive as a nation.

    - a strong union can actually be detrimental, and serve to inhibit needed changes. As long as there is flexibility in contracts, and ability to being in specialized education resources (technologies and instructors), then the school can experiment with new teaching/mentoring methods.