Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trash Teachers! Sell Papers!

I don't need to recount the stories about the UFT President. The Post has done a fine job of that, demonstrating it does not discriminate between lowly teachers and union leaders. It's willing to convict any and all of us without a trial, without a hearing, without conscience, and without reservation.

Mulgrew is a public figure, unlike the teachers they usually go after, so I suppose he has to live with this stuff regardless. The tabloids, Dennis Walcott and therefore Michael Bloomberg, don't even care when teachers are acquitted. They have no problem convicting them in the press all over again, dredging out file letters that were thrown out years ago, and dragging them through the mud anew just for the hell of it.

I insist on the whole innocent until proven guilty thing for teachers and I don't see why the standard should be any different for UFT officials.

But Bloomberg is something else.

His school closings are baseless. This we know. We also know that many of the schools he's slated for closure don't even meet the city's own standards. We know his rationale was first, that he couldn't come to an agreement on an evaluation framework. He therefore needed to protect the federal funds and went for turnaround. When the union agreed to a framework, he said too bad, I'm closing the schools anyway.

The rationale changed again when the mayor realized he was bound by the contract he'd signed with the UFT. Clause 18D, in contrast to Obama's preferred firing of at least half the staff, says he must retain at least 50% of senior qualified staff. Bloomberg, though 18D does not actually guarantee that will result in 50% of staff staying on, then went and said OK, you can hire more than 50% of working staff. This actually jeopardizes the chances of getting that federal money, the money we can't do without.

We know for a sure thing the UFT lawsuit is not absurd (even if sending it to arbitration has the potential to be just that). For Bloomberg to conflate this issue with allegations against Mulgrew is disingenuous, to say the least. You can't trust this mayor as far as you can throw him. And were the press not in his pocket, he'd not have survived ineptitude like City Time, kids standing around freezing while buses didn't come, or the fact that he can remove teachers but not snow. They say where there's smoke, there's fire. That may or may not be true.

But where there's already fire, there's little in the way of mystery. And if anyone unquestionably merits firing, it's Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
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