Faust in Gotham

Faust in Gotham

You never taught inside a school,
While dabbling in the classics,
And yet, you do o’er teachers rule,
Who teach the children basics.

From Marcy Mount to Brooklyn and
From Buffalo to sea,
You rule o’er K-12, and more,
In all your majesty.

And yet, when Bloomberg roars, you squeak,
And toss upon your bed.
You now are grown, and yet, you leave
Your sheets and mattress wet.

Oh Steiner, where’s your backbone gone?
Why do you bow and dither?
Arise, and do your duty, man!
Ask not of Bloomberg, “Whither?”

They say, you’re not a socialite,.
But you were raised elite.
Your father was a famous man,
But was he so effete?

You backed the charters, and you’ve been
With Bloomberg until now.
But now, we have a crisis and
You’re having, see, a cow!

You’re used, like once the English were,
To bow down to your king.
And yet, your conscience tells you that
He doesn’t know a thing.

Not business — that he knows too well.
But teaching children, see!
The ones, who know, are targeted,
By President’s decree.

And all that “education” stuff
That you and your kind preach,
Are now perceived as naught but fluff,
For “Anyone can teach!”

And teachers are but like the ones
That Bloomberg rode from high.
He sends down little CEO’s,
Who parachute from sky.

Ah, David, you are now that Faust,
Who pacted with the Devil.
You listen to the gramophone,
To dull the sense of evil.

You sold your soul and now repent,
And yet cannot resist.
With Satan, you would compromise,
And from the truth, desist.

Oh David, have we so misjudged
And slandered you today?
Then prove us wrong, and do what’s right,
As Joel slinks away.

Arjun Janah      < [email protected] >
2010 November 25th, Friday

1 Comment

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    Arjun Janah

    A sad follow up on this. It seems that NY State Education Commissioner David Steiner can now sleep.

    Even though his own advisory board voted against granting Cathie Black the waiver (needed for her lack of any education credentials — not to speak of teaching experience) and against Steiner’s suggested face-saving compromise, Steiner has caved in, from our viewpoint, and agreed, as expected, to that compromise. He thus goes against his own board’s vote. Of course, some will say that Bloomberg has compromised as well.

    But knowing Bloomberg, this will be a farcical whitewash. All the power will reside in Ms.Black’s, and ultimately Bloomberg’s, hands.

    But that is what the union agreed to when it backed mayoral control.

    Now, if the system crashes even further, or is purposely dismembered, as has been taking place, we can blame the mayor. But where does that leave the teachers and their students? And you know that the dismemberment will be portrayed as a heroic success, by almost all the politicians and media (from Obama to John Boehner at the national level, and from the Times to the Post locally).

    Ultimately, we, the teachers, are responsible for this. We spoke with our votes at each step.

    The carrot and the stick succeeded. And it will again.

    Forever on the defensive. Forever facilitating the obscene by invoking fear of even greater obscenities.

    “Be thankful it wasn’t Rhee. And look, we won. Bloomberg backed down. Now she knows she will have to work with us.”

    Let’s pray that sense will ultimately prevail. But one is less and less hopeful.

    So was my own country of birth conquered and colonized, by wave after wave of invaders, from the Arya to the Afghans and Turko-Mongols to the British, even as most of our great landlord-kings (the Rajahs and Maharajahs and later the Nawabs and Sultans) collaborated.

    Sadly, Arjun

    How Many Feel the Shame?

    Alas, our Steiner’s true to form,
    He’d rather bend than stand.
    Our union will follow suit.
    What’s hard to understand?

    When teachers and all workers see
    That they must act together,
    Only then, will they break free
    From whip and binding tether.

    But if they only fear the whip
    And run towards the carrot
    That’s dangled just in front of them,
    They too, must orders parrot.

    So if they’re told to teach, within
    A term, what should take three,
    They’ll grumble, but they’ll follow suit,
    And expert speedsters be.

    And if the kids must sit in groups
    And gab, in grade eleven,
    Then that is what they’ll have them do,
    And make believe it’s heaven.

    And if our Cosmo Cathie tells
    Our women what to wear,
    That outfits must be sexy, smart,
    They’ll hardly shed a tear.

    And if she says to men, “You must
    Wear shorts and matching tie!”
    Then those resisting will be told,
    “Why must you question why?”

    And even if we’re ordered to
    Dance naked, spouting verse,
    We’ll do as told. Our union heads
    Will hint at orders worse!

    The nations that were colonized
    Had hierarchies in place,
    And all the newest rulers did
    Was grab the highest place.

    Violence and fear were used,
    As they had always been.
    Each rung below was used to it,
    And workers toiled unseen.

    Some use the whip, while others use
    The carrot (color, green).
    But both have equal ends in mind:
    Your slavery, obscene.

    The revolutions come and go,
    And yet, all stays the same.
    And there are those who think that’s fit,
    While others feel the shame.

    This day is called “Black Friday”
    By the merchants. That’s because
    The ones who’re in the red can use
    This day for profit’s cause.

    But we will call it this because,
    We’ve got, today, Ms. Black,
    Because of David Steiner, weak,
    Who’s made this Friday black.

    So those who still may persevere,
    In struggle will recall
    In years to come, this day of shame,
    And Steiner, “scoundrel” call.

    But truth be told, it’s all of us,
    Together, who’re to blame.
    Some work so hard, for long decades,
    And never douse the flame.

    But few can see, that work alone
    Can never do the job.
    Together, we must set things right,
    Or yield to waiting mob.

    Arjun Janah
    2010 November 26th, Friday.

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