Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Union President

If you read the NY Sun article about the Green Dot-UFT connection, there's a very interesting quote concerning UFT President Randi Weingarten from Education Sector's Andrew Rotherham, aka Eduwonk:

"She gets that choice is coming to public education, so she's out in the front, instead of just waiting to get run over by it like some of her colleagues."

Well, she's certainly out in front, and that's why she's so beloved by teacher-bashers like ex-US Secretary of Education Rod Paige. That's why the LA Times editorial board pauses to praise her while trashing tenure.

Ms. Weingarten gets "out front" by supporting mayoral control, and by having teachers suspended without pay for months based on unsubstantiated charges. While she applauds "teacher professionalism" at Green Dot, she's got no qualms about sacrificing UFT teacher planning time so they can walk hallways and lunchrooms. Then she casually tosses away retention rights, and substantially more for a compensation increase that fails even to meet cost of living.

Clearly, reformers ought to just give her a medal. Still, her job, ostensibly, is to improve the lot of working teachers. I'm in for 22 years now, and Ms. Weingarten has managed to move us back to a point well before I began.

Now maybe choice is coming to public education.

But Mayor Bloomberg and his predecessors, with eyes planted firmly on the bottom line, have consistently forced public schools to operate under substandard conditions. Unless that is addressed, choices will be severely limited. And no charter, no matter how good, compensates this city or its children for over a quarter-century of systemic neglect.
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