Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Casey Rides Again

I've been giving a lot of thought to charters lately. I'd been thinking I might support them if they didn't get preferential treatment, and if their employees were given free and fair opportunities to unionize (or not).

Then I go to Edwize, and look at Leo Casey's take on it, and I don't know what to think. According to Mr. Casey's trenchant analysis, the problem with charter supporters is they all trot around saying "Like, duh," and scratching themselves inappropriately.

It takes something quite extreme to drive Edwize to “valley girl” discourse. We are teachers and we are New Yorkers, and proud of both, so we lean toward the intellectual side of things. Ask us about that good book we just finished reading, the great jazz gig we saw over the weekend or the latest exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum, not who is on the top of the pop music charts.

I'm pleased to hear once again how sophisticated Mr. Casey feels himself to be, and delighted by his cheerful stereotypes of teachers and New Yorkers in what he perceives as his own image. It's a good thing Mr. Casey isn't teaching while he spouts his stereotypes, as he'd be subject to 90 days suspension without pay under a clause he loudly championed. No doubt Mr. Casey shares my sense of relief, since the potty patrol he also advocated has turned out to be so intellectually unrewarding.

Far from defending and extending the status quo, we are looking for ways to negotiate better contracts, and to create post-industrial, bureaucracy free schools which work better for students and for teachers.

Mr. Casey and his monopoly party achieve this by cutting teacher prep time in half, saddling us with permanent lunch duty, hall duty, potty patrol, a sixth class, two summer days of pointless conferences, and agreeing to previously-mentioned 90-day suspensions for working teachers based on unsubstantiated student accusations. I've already read of two teachers falsely accused under this policy. How does that work better for students or teachers?

Furthermore, Casey's party agrees to these things, among others, for less than cost of living. Working teachers need Casey's negotiating acumen like they need holes in their heads.

The main problem with charters (disregarding the preferential treatment of schools like Ross) is union-busting. And the main problem with the UFT is its blatant lack of democracy, typified by pompous windbags who won't lower themselves to either defend its practices or engage in civil discourse with its critics.

Mr. Casey is quite right about union-busting in general, and provides statistics to support his point. But it's also true Mr. Casey sold us out with the worst contract I've ever seen, and while we gave scores of givebacks, he and his 6-figure Unity cohorts got the same raise we did.

Their giveback? They keep the UFT office open one extra hour a week. Don't hold your breath waiting to read about that on Edwize, either.

Go ahead, Mr. Casey, and discuss music and Shakespeare with your clever intellectual friends. But stop pretending you're one of us. You sold us out, actively quashed opposition voices, and told us you got a good deal. Neither you nor your witty dinner companions will suffer the consequences.
blog comments powered by Disqus