Friday, November 11, 2005

Slings and Arrows

It’s always instructive to read Edwize. Let’s see, NYU graduate students are denied representation. Outrageous! NYC high school teachers have the largest student load in the area. Outrageous! Tweed’s latest anti-teacher nonsense. Also outrageous!

I'm surprised, though, to see Unity writers decrying the issue of the large number of students covered by high school teachers. It’s absolutely true a New York City high school teacher can have up to 170 students, the largest student load in the area. And they’re absolutely correct that class size is one of the most crucial aspects of quality education.

What Unity writers fail to point out is that under the new contract, Unity negotiators failed to enact any regulations to reduce class size. Not only that, but with the Unity-negotiated addition of an unprecedented sixth class, NYC high school teachers will actually have a higher student load.

How dare they complain about our student loads? When presented with an opportunity to remedy the situation, they actually managed to worsen it.

After numerous comments that paid Unity non-teachers were dominating the dialogue, Edwize presented a “voice from the trenches.” This voice, however, turned out to be Unity CC Redhog, a regular pro-Unity commenter, writing under another name to in order to pretend he was a typical teacher with no particular agenda.

Redhog, incidentally, revealed to me via email that he plans to retire within the year. He’ll be sunning himself in Florida, perhaps, but certainly enjoying 15% higher retirement pay, with a COLA, a guaranteed raise working teachers don’t get, while we dodge flying tuna sandwiches during cafeteria duty.

And how do Unity writers get on their high horses and demand rights for others when, right in their own house, high school teachers have been denied their choice of VPs since 1994? In a blatantly anti-democratic act, Unity amended the constitution so that we would be forever drowned out by the votes of largely pro-Unity elementary teachers.

It's as though President Bush decreed one day that, for fairness' sake, Alaska, Kansas, and Texas could help New York choose its governor.

Some Unity writers like to invoke the "tradition of union democracy" to justify their tirades against Unity opponents. Nonetheless, they're perfectly comfortable writing for the front page of Edwize, which we support with our dues. They have no apparent problem with the fact that 40% of working, voting union teachers who opposed the contract are offered no representation on that page.

Unity freely distributes pro-contract literature in every school mailbox in New York City. Opponents of the contract are flatly denied the opportunity to do the same.

Such “traditions of union democracy,” as practiced by Unity, led to the fall of another prominent union: the Soviet Union.

It’s time now to take Unity down with it.
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