Like many teachers, parents, and community members, I was elated when the UFT prevailed in its lawsuit against Joel Klein's Death Star, apparently saving 19 schools from oblivion, and hundreds of teachers from the scrap heap that is the Absent Teacher reserve. Finally, I thought, someone is standing up to the criminals who run public hearings and ignore absolutely every word the public says.
In the months that followed, it became clear that Bloomberg was going to simply ignore the order, sending only 21 students as the 9th grade class to Beach Channel and 23 to Jamaica. Furthermore, they were going full speed ahead with their plans to open new schools in the buildings slated for closure, judicial order or no. Bloomberg stated his contempt for the law when the judge's decision was affirmed, as he knows what's best and laws largely don't apply to him. In fact, to grab a third term, he simply had the law changed.
It was unclear whether or not Bloomberg had the right to open the new schools, but it seemed he did not, as they were designed to replace schools illegally slated for closure. After all, the UFT could always file another lawsuit blocking their openings. But then the UFT aristocracy went with their minions to Seattle, applauded Bill Gates, and heaped juvenile abuse on those had issues with his anti-union, anti-labor, anti-teacher pro-KIPP agenda.
Yesterday we learned that the UFT decided to fall down before it was pushed, agreeing that 9 of 16 of Joel Klein's new schools could "colocate" inside the buildings it "saved." We also learned the DoE would provide no additional resources for the targeted schools, as the UFT apparently did not see this matter as worthy of including in the negotiation. This does not bode well for the schools slated for closure, like Beach Channel and Jamaica, which will both house new schools next year. In fact, it's entirely possible Klein and company will abide by the letter of the law next year, while still ignoring community sentiment, and close all the schools it wants to next year.
It's discouraging to watch the union so eagerly snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But they appear to be learning important lessons from Bill Gates--to do whatever the hell he wants and ignore the interests of teachers, parents, students, and communities.
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