Render unto Caesar…


The Tribute of Money, Peter Paul Rubens
I’m not a Christian, but like many concerned with social justice issues, I find the Bible, especially the New Testament books related to the life of Jesus, an invaluable resource for handy quotes, and aphorisms.

Render unto Caesar is one of my favorite quotes when dealing with demanding bureaucracies/bureaucrats,  Kafkaesque requirements, or any of the other stupidity of modern day life. To me it suggests the most subtle form of passive resistance, a false compliance to “the man”, whoever that might be.

I see the putting forward of a statement in support of teacher evaluations based on student performance by my national union (NEA) as an attempt to “render under to Caesar”, without really giving the forces of  so-called education reform, and the federal education bureaucracy, what they want. They have agreed to this, but put a number conditions and caveats on the statement in the hopes that they will make it meaningless. This may work…

The early endorsement of Obama may be the better of our options in the long run. Of the two, the testing statement seems more appealing as it looks like compliance, while flipping the “bird” behind our backs. This has an intrinsic puckish appeal to for me. The early endorsement just looks like compliance borne of fear, and that is never a good place to negotiate from.
Image Source: The Tribute of Money, Peter Paul Rubens by Glenn Franco Simmons, on Flickr

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