Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tiger Mom Fetish Reaches Florida Schools

Tiger Mothers are the Best!

Or, are they?

This is the governor's "informal advisor" on education Michelle Rhee telling her duly elected council of District of Columbia Schools why she fired 229 teachers without the authority of to do so; essentially flouting the law that took hold the moment they, the council, voted on a budget and passed it.

It is amazing to anyone who has reported on a meeting involving a commission and an subordinate executive.

I tried to understand why this woman is such a hero to Corpservatives. Knowing my adversary, I took the groin approach first and assumed it was because she's kinda hot, she's young, pretty, prim, efficient and she's Asian. I assumed some of my state legislators likely don't know the difference between her and Tiger Mom author Amy Chua, and conservative columnist Michelle Malkin.

Oh, come on. You thought it too. Get over yourself.

But give them credit. Here we see the reason she's the Corpservative it-girl, their new Maverick. Michelle Rhee doesn't care one wit, what the elected legislative body has decided, she's going to do things her way. A CEO, not an executive working for voters. An anti-democrat.

Welcome to the machine.

That's why Rick Scott loves her. That's why she's his "informal education advisor" because this is how he plans handling not only education, but his entire state. That's right HIS state. Just like Rhee thought D.C. Public Schools was HER school system.

A polarizing force in D.C. schools? How many lawsuits began flying after she enacted a unilateral layoff, a constitutional workaround?

Rhee is the kewpie of the Corpservative right.

Let's explore the Tiger Mom thing; the fetish part of it that my mostly male, clueless, republican state legislature is responding to. The groin.

You'd have to be dim not to have noticed. There is a movement, currently, to applaud hot young, opinionated conservative women, particularly Asian women, to usher them to the forefront in the conservative movement. Sure, credit where credit is due, hard work, smarts, looks, being articulate, driven and the rest, go right along with it.

But some of this craze - Asian women are like the Beatles for aging conservative men - is agenda driven, at a very deep level. From within the Corporate machine itself. It goes beyond democrat and republican, its part of a corporate plan. Fear any trend, these days. Not the people, not the race, not the party. Fear any trend shoved down your throat. Oh sure, this conservative love for smart Asian women? Yeppers. Thats being shoved in my face and I am not sure why.

Chinese American Amy Chua admits here, that the title of her book Why Tiger Mothers are Superior, was an unsubtle surprise from her publisher, and really not her choice. She said it resulted from the publicity machine that knew just the right note to hit, in this politically charged environment, and then promptly went nuts driving the point home. You know the message: that tolerant loving American moms who nurture and let their little girls play, don't have good outcomes. Even though Ms. Chua keeps trying to tell everyone that this isn't the point of her book. That there's as much danger in tough love as reward.

No matter. No one's listening, dear. The machine has spoken and it wants conflict and fear.

Enter Michelle Rhee, who spoke out very strongly against Florida school teachers exuding legislators to "empower parents" against them, not two days ago in Tallahassee. Read: "smash the unions". The news that, somehow, Florida teachers are suddenly incredibly lacking in every way imaginable, came despite Rhee never having observed one single session, in a Florida classroom.

Rhee was featured in the film Waiting for Superman in which as Chancellor for D.C. schools, she admits she "knows kids are getting a bad education." Bam, there goes the machine. Look she's a star!

And of course the uber right's perennial darling,  Michelle Malkin, the product of private schools, Philippine heritage married to an analyst for the Rand Corporation. Or is Jesse Dylan Malkin a former analyst for the Rand Corporation, sort of the way a CIA agent is a "former" member, but you never really know?

In any event, you may remember the RAND Corporation in the conspiracy folklore, as having produced the spooky study for the White House, years back that basically said war is good, and if you get rid of it, you lose control over humanity and it promptly destroys itself. The work, whose authenticity has been spookily disputed in non-denials, and just as spookily non-authenticated, over and over, so many times one can't keep it straight anymore, is called, ominously - and spookily - The Report from Iron Mountain.

If you wondering where this petite woman's fire comes from, all that venom, all the angst against peacenicks and demoncrats and what have you, every now and again ask yourself: "Self? Is the voice coming out of the idiot screen this morning, that of Michelle Malkin, or does it belong to the Rand Corporation?"

The Tiger Mom narrative is great. But surprisingly, Rhee doesn't sound much different than a thousand other functionaries at any number of county school board administrative offices, spouting school speak with relative ease, and really not saying anything. If you've taught school for any length of time, you've at least once found yourself in a room full of people gibbering this nonsense in combat volleys. No pills can keep out the suicide fantasies at moments like these. And for the rest of your  life thereafter, you recognize school speakers instantly when you hear them. This is a school speaker. No matter how much she tries to tell you she's a maverick, she's got this patois down, baby. She's not so special at all. She's no different than the teachers she so effortlessly fires.

Nevertheless the machine wanted to speak again, and so it did and the RAND corporation would have been proud of the manufactured narrative. Subtext translations are added here for your perusal. It goes like this D.C. Schools (African American) got rid of this poor strident, and plugging along champion (Asian Ayn Rand) of self-accountability (patriotic goodness) who bucked a flawed system even though it was the constitutional one (meh, who cares).

Newly minted from the fray, here she is with FOX's Neil Cavuto, basking in his scintillating puff-ballery.

Of course only now do some of the other stories come out about her; that she was fond of taping students mouths shut in Brooklyn, or that she fudged her data to make herself look better and more accomplished in her methods. Really? NO teacher EVER does this. Pfft.

Are they true? Who knows.

The point is, none of these things playing on a national scale have the first damned thing to do with Florida Schools. We note that the fetish legislators all came out to applaud and gawk at missy lamb chops, and then totally avoided the education subcommittee votes and deliberations.

This while the district manager laid a whopping turd of a budget cut, some $3.3 billion, on the state's education system, all the while pointing to the D.C. problem,  with pretty little Michelle Rhee, poor miss do-gooder trying so hard at his side, and somehow equating it to our own situation in Florida.

A clever reporter pointed out that far different than D.C., whose problems go back to the fact it doesn't belong to any state, it is an orphan in every way, Florida has battled back in recent years, advancing to the rank of 5 out of 50 states. As recently as 2000 Florida had been ranked in the bottom quarter.

As Ed Harris said in Apollo 13 "what do we got on the spacecraft that's good?" Well! Florida has got a healthy upwardly rising education system! That's what we got, Ed, er, Governor who looks a little like Ed in that movie!

But Rhee had a ready answer for that as well. It went like this: the United States of America ranks 29th in the developed world as far as education. Disgraceful.

Oh. I guess that's an answer, to some people, somewhere, who were charmed, and who saw that cool movie with you in it, and with music by John Legend. And he's really a mellow cat, so, what you just said must also be true, or at the very least relevant, right?


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