Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The American Federation of Randi Weingarten

UFT President Randi Weingarten may soon be DC bound, where she can enjoy many gala luncheons with her admirers, like ex-US Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Thus, her United Federation will become but one lowly portion of her vast kingdom. She's now schooling heir-apparent Michael Mendel in the groundbreaking "more work for less pay" philosophy that's characterized her reign.

Before she makes her ascent, she will painstakingly instruct Mr. Mendel in the art of time-for-money swaps, negotiating zero-percent increases for perks, surrendering said perks (and far more) for less than cost of living, supporting mayoral control, and enabling reorganizations that blatantly hurt working teachers. Rest assured that by the time Mr. Mendel is handed the reins, he will be fully prepped on all Ms. Weingarten's canny negotiating techniques.

No one can deny Ms. Weingarten is no old-fashioned union leader, and the time is right.

Teacher-bashers like Rod Paige and the LA Times editorial board are enamored of Ms. Weingarten as they praise her very public move to the center. They applaud when she unilaterally cancels a demonstration against Mayor Bloomberg's third reorganization, magically dragging the groups under her umbrella with her.

They cheer when she casually tosses away the UFT transfer plan, and relegates hundreds of teachers to wander about as permanent subs. They hoot and holler when she sends teachers back to the lunchroom, to the hallway, to the guidance office, to a drafty doorway. They stand up when they see her teachers can be suspended without pay for months based on unsubstantiated allegations. They cry "Hallelujah!" when they see her inch toward partnerships with people who publicly renounce tenure and seniority.

Tenure-shmenure, says Ms. Weingarten's internet mouthpiece, Leo Casey. What's in a name? So what if Green Dot's website clearly states he did away with it as a reform? So what if the LA Times says his teachers toss it out the classroom window? Let's get the message out that tenure isn't important, and who knows how excited we can get Rod Paige and friends?

In fact, let's get rid of tenure, let's eliminate seniority (instead of merely weakening it, like we did in 05),and make the teachers think it's for their own good!

It's the wave of the future. Let's partner with a charter school outfit that already rejects tenure and seniority, delight Bloomberg, Paige and Klein, and show the world how moderate we are.

"Bravo!" shouts Rod Paige. "The NEA may be a terrorist organization, but the UFT is my kind of union!"

: Don't miss Eduwonk on the Casey case.
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