Thursday, April 03, 2008

Education Reporting the Way It Used to Be

If you're interested in absurd nonsense, a New York Times feature on scrappy streetwise UFT President Randi Weingarten may be right up your alley. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of reporting without context. If you're a thinking person, you have to ask yourself why folks like Rod "The NEA is a terrorist organization" Paige and Eric A. Hanushek from the right-wing Hoover Institute support her.

I'll tell you.

Ms. Weingarten supports unpaid suspensions of teachers without health benefits based on hearsay evidence. Presumption of innocence is the law of the land, but not if you're a UFT teacher.

Ms. Weingarten thinks it's important for teachers to come back two days in August in order to sit for two days and listen to absurd speeches about what a great job Mayor Mike and Jolly Joel are doing for us.

Ms. Weingarten has her teachers teaching a sixth class (which she claims is not a sixth class), and receiving merit pay (which she claims is not merit pay).

In a financial bonanza for NYC, Ms. Weingarten (who took a principled stance against sacrificing the pay of young teachers on the various awful contracts she's settled for) has now agreed to have 1.8% of their salaries deducted for up to 27 years, even though most of them will never reach retirement.

Ms. Weingarten has sentenced hundreds, if not thousands, of her teachers to the purgatory that is Absent Teacher Reserve. These teachers receive pay, but are deprived of their jobs through no fault of their own. It is a demoralizing and depressing place for people who love to teach. Due to Ms. Weingarten's collaboration with Mr. Klein in reorganization number three, it is highly unlikely any sitting principal will offer any senior teacher employment.

Under Ms. Weingarten's leadership, NYC teachers now work the longest school year in the area for the lowest wage in the area. Despite Ms. Weingarten's preposterous claims of parity, here's what Nassau teachers were earning over three years ago.

Ms. Weingarten took all the professional gains we'd earned through various zero-percent increases her party had cannily negotiated, and tossed them out the window for less than cost of living. And when she and her paid loyalists brag of the increases, remember they're giving you no credit whatsoever for the additional time and work she negotiated.

And when she boasts of breaking the hundred-thousand dollar mark, bear in mind there are teachers in Nassau who've now passed 125K. Keeping 20 percent behind our neighbors is hardly a bragging point.

When I started 24 years ago, we had lunch patrol, and hall patrol once every third semester. We now have it in perpetuity. Though the UFT offices may be open an extra hour (so Ms. Weingarten's patronage mill can do whatever it is they do in there), don't count on any of them joining you in those halls.

They're sitting in their offices, collecting their second salaries and pensions, and laughing their asses off at fools like you and me who still have to work for a living (thanks to them, harder than ever before).

It's very easy to see why conservatives adore Ms. Weingarten. They've rarely encountered union leaders willing to sell out rank-and-file so thoroughly, and for so little in return. They know a bargain when they see one.

Thanks to Schoolgal
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