Monday, October 12, 2009

Ms. Weingarten Clarifies Her Position

Former part-time UFT President Randi Weingarten has taken yet another bold stand. After having opposed the use of test scores to determine tenure, after having supported legislation that prohibited doing so, Ms. Weingarten has clarified her position. Apparently the use of test scores to determine tenure is not a bad thing after all.

Never mind that standardized tests are only given at certain levels in certain disciplines. That doesn't matter. If kids who don't speak English can't pass the English Regents, it's clearly the fault of the teacher. Why the hell can't that lazy-ass teacher make sure they know the language flawlessly and write perfect essays? After all, he's had five months with that kid, and Chinese is fundamentally no different from English anyway.

The problem, it appears, is not the idea of using "value-added" measures to determine tenure (and never mind that a few short months ago Ms. Weingarten opposed the process). The problem, of course, is that we cannot use such a program under the current mayor. Doubtless the next mayor will be better. Doubtless the next mayor will offer us a fabulous contract. Let's take a look at history.

When I began, we worked under Mayor Koch. He was terrible for teachers, of course. He was followed by Mayor Dinkins, whom we supported wholeheartedly. Except Mayor Dinkins did not turn out to be good for teachers, so we declined to support him for re-election. Mayor Giuliani defeated him by a small margin. Everyone knows Mayor Giuliani was no good for teachers. He was followed by Mayor-for-life Bloomberg, who is no good for teachers.

So, in 25 years, we haven't had a mayor who's good for teachers. The UFT has thus far declined to endorse Bill Thompson, who's been supportive of the UFT. Therefore, despite over a quarter-century of history suggesting otherwise, and despite the reluctance of the union to support a decent candidate, Ms. Weingarten thinks this plan will work under some yet-to-be-determined mayor in the distant future, perhaps after Mayor-for-life Bloomberg anoints a successor.

There must be something special in that DC air Ms. Weingarten is breathing nowadays. This morning I wish I had a little of whatever it is, just to help get through the day.
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