You know, I speak in public settings on a regular basis; every teacher does. As such I tend to be forgiving when I hear a public official offer up a slip of the tongue. Anyone who speaks regularly is going to eventually say something in a way that isn’t appropriate.
So when George W. Bush claimed, “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?” I chuckled and moved on. When Barack Obama discussed his bowling game with Jay Leno by saying, “No, no. I’ve been practicing. I bowled a 129. It’s like, it was like Special Olympics, or something,” I was surprised at his insensitivity, but I let it go without comment (although I was pleased when he called Timothy Shriver the chairman of Special Olympics to apologize).
But sometimes our slips reveal more about our inner thinking than we would like to acknowledge. Freud said this in Psychopathology of Everyday Life in 1901 when he argued that, “What we observe in normal persons as slips of the tongue gives the same impression as the first step of the so-called ‘paraphasias’ which manifests themselves under pathologic conditions.”
In other words, sometimes a slip isn’t a just a slip. I think that we have a situation like this here.
On Thursday night Dr. Wardynski was introducing the newly selected “Teachers on Special Assignment” that he’s been discussing publicly for the past couple of months. Here’s what he had to say:
These individuals were selected through a rigorous process, uh, by a district level committee of highly effective principals and teachers, to serve over the next two years as Teachers on Special Assignment in elementary schools, and uh, P-8s across our district. They will become part of the feed stock of future school leaders to serve in our district for years to come. We congratulate them and thank them for standing forward to assume the mantel of leadership.
Later in the meeting during the “intimidating” citizens comments, Dr. Wardynski shook his head no when it was pointed out that he had said this.
You know, this slip, by itself, would be meaningless. But when you combine this slip with other comments that Dr. Wardynski has made in the past, the meaning starts to become clear.
As is common of Broad Foundation graduates, Dr. Wardynski regularly refers to teachers, staff, and basically anyone other than himself and his friends as “Human Capital.” Here’s a slide that was produced by LEANFrog at the behest of the Superintendent where the double standard becomes quite clear. You’ll note the juxtaposition of the “Strong Executive Leadership Team” and the need for “Human Capital Flexibility.” (You’ll also not that accountability is assigned to “Staff for Operational Performance” but not to the “strong executive leadership team.”)
Again, if these were just words, none of this would matter. But on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, teachers across the district were called out of their classrooms to the principal’s office to be informed by the principal, often with Mr. Al Lankford in attendance, that they were being transferred to other schools in the district.
At one school, the teachers were told to bring their classes with them to the principal’s office, to have their students wait in the hallway, unattended, while the teacher was informed that she would be moved at the end of the year to another school in the district.
During the special called board meeting on Monday, May 21, 2012 at 8:00am, I suppose that these decisions will be approved by the board during their Human Resource Report and a “business operations matter.”
Teachers don’t matter. Tenure doesn’t matter. Seniority doesn’t matter. Need doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the superintendent has decided to move teachers and principals around.
Feed stock doesn’t deserve human decency.
Feed stock doesn’t need a voice in their own future.
Feed stock certainly doesn’t know what might be or might not be best for it’s students.
Feed stock only needs to be flexible and accountable and to do what it is told to do by the “Strong Executive Leadership Team.”
You know, you may not be convinced by Freud. That’s fine. The first time I heard about the Freudian Slip, I didn’t attribute its insight to Freud either. In fact, Freud himself once said, “Everywhere I go, I find that a poet has been there before me.”
In the case of the Freudian Slip, he was right. In this case that poet was Jesus.
You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. –Matthew 12:34
Dr. Wardynski views educators as test proctors. Skill, talent, and art aren’t necessary. Feed stock doesn’t ask why. His heart is speaking clearly on this matter.