Sun Tzu tells us,
All warfare is based on deception.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
And Niccolo Machiavelli reminds us,
…. is [it] better to be loved rather than feared, or feared rather than loved. It might perhaps be answered that we should wish to be both; but since love and fear can hardly exist together, if we must choose between them, it is far safer to be feared than loved.
we must observe that men must either be flattered or crushed; for they will revenge themselves for slight wrongs, whilst for grave ones they cannot. The injury therefore that you do to a man should be such that you need not fear his revenge.
Teachers may be aghast, how can education policy makers and elected officials read amoral cynics rather than John Dewey or Thomas Jefferson?
In the rough and tumble of politics, the “muck and mire,” governors and mayors dissemble, manipulate and downright lie to achieve their goals. Policies which will achieve outcomes they support, or will advance them to that next higher office, or, give them a place in history, that legacy thing.
Budgets require choices, choices have political impact. The Governor invited key unions and employers to the table to participate in deciding how to make billions of dollars in Medicaid cuts. Is it better for the union/management leaders to be “outside the tent peeing in or inside the tent peeing out?”
In 2005 and 2007 Mayor Bloomberg agreed in contract negotiations to increase teacher salary by 43% in exchange for a longer school day.
For whatever reason he made a political decision to place teacher salaries at the top of his budget agenda.
Four years later he decided to include 6,000 teacher cuts, including 4100 layoffs at the top of his budget.
A conscious decision to feature teacher layoffs in his budget.
Perhaps it was a bargaining chip to eliminate seniority-based layoff laws, perhaps to “teach the union president a lesson,” perhaps to create a crisis for other purposes. It was not an accident, the Mayor decided to threaten teacher layoffs, whether to punish perceived enemies (Michael Mulgrew), or reward perceived friends, (charter school parents and providers), only history will tell us.
In the dark world of Sun Tze and Niccolo Machiavelli teachers are naifs. Teaching is a calling as well as a job. Teachers are pure, their charges, the children dominate their lives during the school day and after the school day. They worry about what goes on at home and in the streets. Their lives are wrapped up in the lives of nine year olds.
Somehow teachers have become the villains. Be it Governor Christie or Governors Cuomo or Daniels, teachers, those very same people who worry about their children are sullied.
More and more teachers are learning from the wisdom of Sun Tse and Machiavelli. After marking papers and writing lesson plans they write an e-mail to their elected official. They drop by the local elected official’s office and ask for a meeting, explain why they’re dissatisfied (or satisfied) with his/her vote. Send in a $10 contribution to the “good guys/gals” and spend an hour or so picketing the “bad guy/gal.”
In fact, social activism is part of the Dewey ethos,
The ideas of democracy and social reform are continually discussed in Dewey’s writings on education. Dewey makes a strong case for the importance of education not only as a place to gain content knowledge, but also as a place to learn how to live. In his eyes, the purpose of education should not revolve around the acquisition of a pre-determined set of skills, but rather the realization of one’s full potential and the ability to use those skills for the greater good…. He notes that “education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction”
As your political activism increases, as your local elected squirms as you lecture him/her, or picket his office he becomes a little friendlier and you begin to realize the truth of that old political maxim.
As you squeeze politicians testicles (euphemistically, of course) their hearts and minds will follow.