Facing outcry from teachers, Kenneth Cole has offered to pull a new ad and web campaign that blithely pits "Teachers' Rights vs. Students' Rights"—and David Sirota's article at Salon explains the hubbub. For starters, a Cole foundation website is asking readers to weigh in on the question, “Should underperforming teachers be protected?” Calling the campaign "thinly veiled ideological propaganda," Sirota notes that "almost nobody believes 'underperforming teachers' should be protected."
Even teachers' unions "have been outspoken in backing 'accountability' reforms for teacher tenure," so "right off the bat, Cole is constructing a straw man." Worse for Cole and his "fellow one percenters," Sirota writes, "wealthy unionized districts in America do so well—but poorer districts have such problems." So "poverty and funding disparities" are the real issues. "I hope America sees just how wrongheaded and ideologically extreme the crusade against public schools, teachers and unions is." If Cole really pulls the ads, looks like Sirota will get his wish. (Read more ad campaign stories.)