Friday, May 18, 2007

No Tenure? Welcome, Says the UFT

In Edwize's latest offering, entitled Steve Barr, Welcome to Our World, the UFT's Leo Casey attacks both Andrew Rotherham (aka Eduwonk) and me.

Here is how Mr. Casey refers to us:

From the “make up whatever facts fit today’s rant” school of thought, there is the assertion that Barr has thrown tenure out the window. Ed Sector boss Andy Rotherham adds his two cents, that throwing out tenure is a good thing.

While Casey criticizes Rotherham, he makes essentially the same point--that Barr's contract is fine as is. However, the statement about tenure, attributed to me via the link, was actually from an LA Times editorial. Had Mr. Casey paid closer attention to the post he linked to, he'd know that. Here is exactly what they wrote:

Last week, a majority of tenured teachers at the low-performing school signed a petition favoring the move — thus showing that they are perfectly willing to loosen work rules and toss tenure out the classroom window if it means a safer and more vibrant campus.

It's regrettable that Mr. Casey could not be bothered reading the post he criticized, let alone the referenced article.

What's worse, Mr. Casey, despite his long explanation, appears to have very limited familiarity with the topic at hand.

After a brief lecture on the meaning of tenure, Mr. Casey quotes one passage from the Green Dot contract, stating no teacher could be fired without just cause, and implies I should have read the contract. Why he supposes I have access to it I have no idea.

However, the Green Dot website is freely available, and makes specific mention of the contract. What else does it say?

Key reforms written into the contract and agreed to by the union include: teachers have explicit say in school policy and curriculum; no tenure or seniority preference....

And that is precisely what Mr. Casey is welcoming to "our world."

Perhaps there's some nuance which eluded me in that clause, but it's tough to discern. Does Mr. Casey suppose they make this very public declaration because they consider it meaningless? Is that why they specifically refer to it as a "reform?"

Did they write it into the contract because they had a bit of empty space to fill?

Mr. Casey, representing the UFT, embraces a person who plainly rejects tenure and seniority rights, a person with whom UFT President Randi Weingarten is meeting today.

Mr. Casey concludes:

...why let the facts get in the way of a good rant?

Why indeed? Mr. Casey appears to have a highly abridged notion of the facts, and can't be bothered looking them up before he writes.

That, in fact, is the more generous of two possible interpretations.

The other, of course, is that he blatantly libeled a working UFT teacher.
blog comments powered by Disqus