Thursday, November 01, 2007

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

In Leo Casey's most recent column on Edwize, he decries the politics of personal attack. I found that ironic, and posted this response:

When the LA Times suggested teachers were throwing tenure out the window to join Green Dot, I reported it. Mr. Casey then suggested I was making up facts to suit my daily rant, or some such thing.

It's always illuminating to hear Mr. Casey's denunciations of personal attacks. However, Mr. Casey has no qualms about publicly libeling real working teachers when it suits his convenience.

What a disgrace that 80,000 working teachers must subsidize such blatant hypocrisy.

Minutes later, the reliable UFT censors deleted my comment. Apparently, personal attacks are fine if you're part of the UFT aristocracy. Responding to them, however, is strictly forbidden. In fact, Edwize is supposedly non-political, so you may not even mention caucuses, particularly the Unity Caucus and its monopolistic antics. Nonetheless, Edwize has no problem mentioning ICE, the opposition caucus. in an article entitled "A Grave Injustice to the UFT Tradition of Union Democracy."

Speaking of union democracy, here's an apt quote from Life After the Rubber Room:

When I was chapter chair the representative from the Manhattan High Schools was not part of the ruling Unity party. This apparently bothered the UFT leadership so much that they changed the way people vote. They used an old trick used by segregationists in the 60's. If you were afraid that a minority group would elect representatives you switched to an at-large system. If you had 10 house representatives and 20% of your population was black you changed the way voting was done to have the representatives elected at large. This almost assured that all of the representatives were white.

In our case, of course, they ensured that all the representatives were from Unity. It was designed to shut out New Action. New Action used to be a viable opposition party, but now endorses Ms. Weingarten in exchange for patronage gigs and double pensions for its leaders. Ms. Weingarten now calls them the "responsible opposition," and greatly respects them for not actually opposing her. Now they throw a few seats to New Action, and work to shut out ICE, the opposition party that actually opposes the patronage mill.

As a teacher and a parent, I find the notion of saying one thing and doing another repugnant. Unfortunately, when you don't have the truth on your side, there are few viable alternatives. Perhaps the UFT's peculiar notion of democracy is a contributing factor when over 75% of teachers don't even bother voting in the union election.
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