The Reality Principle -Episode 16

“The Politics of Education” with Julie Cavanagh

RPLogoEric sits down with Julie Cavanagh, an educator in New York City and one of the founding members of the MORE Caucus NYC (Movement of Rank and File Educators). Eric and Julie examine many of the most important issues facing public education and public sector unions in general. They discuss the nature of the new evaluation system that is a direct assault on teachers as well as the use of high stakes, standardized testing as a measure of both student progress and teacher effectiveness. Eric and Julie also examine the fundamental and structural problems within the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the New York City local of the American Federation of Teachers, and the various ways in which the MORE Caucus is attempting to address the inherently undemocratic way in which the union represents its members. In addition, they explore the motivations of financiers like New York City Mayor Bloomberg and the real agenda behind so-called “school reform”.

Julie Cavanagh is a Special Education teacher in New York City. She is the candidate for President of the United Federation of Teachers representing the MORE Caucus. Follow her on twitter @juliecavanagh15. Visit for more information.

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  1. Hello Eric,
    I really enjoy listening to your shows and am glad you have joined the BF team. The audio on the podcast 16 was very weak on the interviewee’s side and I could only understand half of what she said. Is there any way you can check out the audio quality of your interviewee’s equipment before you record the podcast? That way if you know their equipment is weak you might be able to tweak it somehow. I am not a technician but I imagine there is a way to do this. Thanks for all the interesting shows you have put out so far. The world needs more people like you.

  2. flogchopsuey says:

    One of my best friends is a whistleblower in the Florida public school system. In Florida, if you have any money, you do not let your kids go to public school. The few public schools where rich kids go are lavished with extra money and attention. In the public school where my friend teaches, policy is geared to deliver inferior teaching to minorities. Deliberately and systematically. I have been asked to edit her whistleblower correspondence just to help provide a second point of view and suggest ideas in how material is formatted etc. Textbook companies, and contracted services get overly lucrative sweetheart deals that play into kickbacks to the powerful interconnected business interests. They want to privatize the system on the model of privately run prisons, and then be on the board of directors of the new institutions where they can issue themselves huge swaths of preferred stock paying rich dividends and call the shots on all of the contracted services to their insider buddies, and find ways to cut their enemies out of the system. It has been most enlightening. Of course it is also sad. Government budgets are hollowed out. Governments are bankrupted. That is good for the corporate and criminal players whose lobbyists are setting policy behind the scenes. Government does not step aside deliberately to let evil reign as Henry David Thoreau once famously said. Government now can be shoved aside by what we call special interests. These interests are now the interests that count the most. The have the motive, the ability, and the means (money, networking, power, mandate, guns) to run the world. Why would they hold back with restraint? So, it is they run the world now. Government is their lackey.

  3. EDraitser says:

    Thanks Chuck. Yes, I know the audio was weak, there was nothing i could do about that since the only means of communication was her cell phone. When you record via Skype, as I do, a cell phone provides by far the worst audio quality and the clarity can go in and out. I try to record conversations only Skype to Skype, or Skype to landline, but sometimes that doesn’t work out.

    I’ll also tel you a little insider fact…this was not initially going to be my Reality Principle episode this week – I had a totally different conversation ready to go (dealing with Greece, the economy, etc.) but mitigating factors prevented that from being used for the episode, so I went with my interview with Julie Cavanagh. I agree about the sound quality and, if you’ve been following my show, you’ll note that I really never have major audio quality issues, this was a one-time occurence.

    And now…to get my snow shovel and prepare for this blizzard.

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