Tuesday, March 07, 2006


There's an interesting back and forth between Eduwonk and the AFT Blog. Apparently, Eduwonk praised my union for putting our contract on the internet, calling it exceptional.

Eduwonk first says only seven out of 50 unions had their contracts on the net. He then mentions that 31 others are on the net, though not precisely on their sites. Still, it's tough for me to see how 76% doesn't constitute an overwhelming majority.

He then claims the more pressing issue is having unions negotiate in public.

I don't buy that. Eduwonk has previously cited quotes from Edwize, complaining teachers asking for raises was "not about the kids," or some such nonsense (update-more precisely Thursday, September 22nd, 2005--fourth post down). Perhaps he feels we'd champion the kids more during contract negotiations if they were public.

Of course it's not about the kids. Let them see the contract, if they're inclined to read it, but union negotiation is between the city and the union, and if teachers weren't asking for more money, they'd be brain-dead--hardly the sort of role-models I'd want for my kid. Teachers, like all working people, need to stand up and demand fair treatment, and I have fond hopes we'll have leadership (some fine day...) that shares that view.

What's about the kids is what we do every day, and it's a cheap shot attacking us for wanting more for our families, including the kids with whom we live.

Eduwonk writes:

…if I'm a union-basher then they're really in trouble…

In fact, like all working people nowadays, we really are in trouble. Eduwonk may not be John Stossell, but I wouldn't want him negotiating for me--he's been regularly critical of the UFT, the AFT, and my favorite education writer, Michael Winerip. I wouldn't want a champion who ridicules us for wanting a fair contract. Would you?

Do you want good schools? In this order---hire good teachers, even if it means (gasp!) paying them, lower class sizes, build some decent schools and you'll have them. That's the formula, and it ain't magic.

We've all known about it for years.
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