Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Must Be Dreaming

How else could I explain this article, which seems to have appeared in the New York Times?  We are entering into an agreement that makes it easier to fire "sub-par" teachers, and apparently the UFT and NYSUT trust the powers-that-be to determine exactly who fits that category.  The fact that Klein's minions make a career of lying to us and undermining public education does not appear to have played any part in this decision.

The sentence that really made me go back and check again was this one:

The unions — the New York State United Teachers and the United Federation of Teachers, the city’s union — did not gain any clear benefit from the deal, other than shielding themselves from criticism that they were hurting the state’s chances in Race to the Top.

Did I really read that?   Is this what we get weeks after having elected a new President?  He's used his overwhelming mandate to appease an opposition that vilifies us in the press on a never-ending basis?  Is this what they call negotiation?  Does he remember how that worked out for Neville Chamberlain?

Four years ago they pushed the awful backward contract that created the ATR brigade and endless hall patrol.  The contract that halved prep time for high school teachers.  The one that effectively gave us more work for less pay.  When we cried against it, they asked, "What would the tabloids say if we were to reject this contract?"

The answer?  The same thing they say now.  The same thing they always say.  Teachers suck.  Fire teachers.  Throw them out and dump non-union charters in their place.

I had hoped Michael Mulgrew would bring something new to the UFT.  Instead, he's brought us yet another idiotic deal in which we gain nothing, and provide givebacks.  And this time he's managed to provide no raise, not even an illusory time-for-money swap.   Despite this,  he's unilaterally changed the contract with no input whatsoever from rank and file.

And the Bill Gates experiment, the one the UFT went along with--the one that was supposed to give us a voice in how to determine what a good teacher really is?  He didn't even wait for the results before entering into this agreement, a tenure-killer if ever there was one.

After all, the UFT leadership can still collect union dues no matter how many veteran teachers are fired.  Is that all they care about?

I'd very much like to be convinced otherwise.  If anyone can provide any justification whatsoever for this, I'd love to hear it.
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