Thursday, April 05, 2007

Ms. Weingarten's Strategy Pays Off

UFT President Randi Weingarten has decided to shed the stigma of old-time union boss. After all, if her good buddy Hillary takes the White House, she could be the next US Secretary of Education. And if that doesn't pan out, she could just take the AFT presidency. As her two Unity predecessors have demonstrated, running the UFT is just a part-time job anyway.

It's a photo op here, a limo ride there, and in Ms. Weingarten's case, sign any damn contract that comes down the pike. All the better if it cuts prep time in half, adds an extra class, and makes teaching more difficult, as that shows how contemporary and open-minded she is.

To that end, she's committed NYC's teachers to perpetual hall patrol, six daily classes, hobbled seniority rights, instituted 90-day unpaid suspensions based on unsubstantiated allegations, August attendance (for no reason whatsoever), and she refrains from making any nasty demands for raises, let alone increases that keep up with inflation.

Naturally, the Daily News and the New York Post lauded this agreement. Ms. Weingarten's Unity hacks asked what the tabloids would say if we didn't agree (Oh, no, Rupert Murdoch might not like us). Today's News features a column by Joe Williams (of The Chalkboard) which lays it out fairly well:

It is time to put to rest the tired notion that what is best for union bosses is also what is best for students, teachers and schools.

You see that? Ms. Weingarten showed how open-minded she was by giving away the sun, the moon and the stars, and now (according to those who pimped the contract) the media adores her (and us, the teachers, as well).

What else does Mr. Williams demand? More charters, so working people (the kind kids become when they grow up) can put in 6-day 200 hour weeks like they do over at KIPP. More charters, so more teachers can be fired for mentioning unions, or for no reason whatsoever (and if you don't believe they want that, look at how charter supporters rail against card check and unionization under the plainly idiotic pretense of granting free choice to teachers, as though union reps held an even remote portion of the power employers did).

More charters, so public schools can be drained of kids with proactive parents and, with the mayoral control Ms. Weingarten supported and enabled, perhaps one day be eliminated altogether.

I want to congratulate Ms. Weingarten on her foresight. As I read Mr. Williams' column, and the various editorials that have appeared in the News and the Post, I can see precisely how much the tabloids appreciated her massive and unprecedented givebacks.

It's a win-win (unless you happen to be a public school teacher or student).
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