There's trouble in paradise, and it may take more than a spoonful of sugar to fix.
The UFT-run charter school, which was to be perfect in every way, appears to be suffering from some of the same issues that trouble other charters. As a regular reader of both NY Teacher and Edwize, I know Ms. Weingarten has never, ever made a mistake, and no one who works for Ms. Weingarten has ever made a mistake. Naturally, I must suppose they hire perfect teachers who'd happily labor forever under her beneficent leadership.
And naturally, I routinely ignore rumors and email suggesting Ms. Weingarten runs the place like a boot camp.
Still, parents complain of teacher turnover. Doubtless neither they nor the picky pedagogues appreciate the fine work of Ms. Weingarten and her infallible staff. They can be pesky, those parents. Doubtless that's why they had to threaten the top administrator at the UFT school, Rita Danis, in order to get an audience.
And look, after all that trouble, they ended up in The New York Sun anyway. How can this happen to the UFT leadership, who never, ever make mistakes? These darn parents say the UFT leadership is ignoring problems like "lack of security guards, poor communication with administrators, and high teacher turnover." Promptly, UFT bigshots committed to study the issue.
You can imagine how relieved those parents must be. As a teacher, I'm certainly satisfied that the union is studying mayoral control. Perhaps one day they'll come to a conclusion. Meanwhile, I'm well aware that opposing it might jeopardize Ms. Weingarten's political aspirations, thus violating the prime directive of the entire UFT patronage mill (and all the perfect people populating it).
So, naturally, I'm encouraged by all the progress Ms. Weingarten is making:
A regular review of the school issued by the State University of New York's Charter School Institute about the 2006-2007 school year called teacher quality "limited," describing "a lack of student engagement throughout most classrooms" and widespread misbehavior. The report also noted that, "Teachers did not capitalize on 'teaching moments.'"
In any case, the parents got their meeting. In a typical display of the sort of transparency that typifies the workings of our union, a reporter was forbidden to sit in.
As for me, I'm encouraged as usual by the brilliant successes of our Great Leader, Ms. Weingarten. And naturally, I applaud her decision to expand her charter business, opening a Green Dot school here in NYC. There are very few teacher union leaders who'd go out on a limb for a charter chain that proudly rejects both tenure and seniority. No doubt it's such actions that have earned her the admiration and devotion of Rod "The NEA is a terrorist organization" Paige.
Regardless, it certainly appears at the UFT charter school Ms. Weingarten is finally getting a chance to do to schoolchildren what she's been doing to working teachers for years.