After the astroturf folks brought out two propaganda films, neither of which exactly hit box office gold, the United Federation of Teachers has decided to sponsor its own film, to bring the true story of education "reform" to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Sixpack. It's clearly been difficult for the astroturfers to get their message across, as their ideas are supported neither by research, practice, or any objective semblance of reality.
The UFT film will focus on bold leadership willing to tackle tough issues. For example, it will show how real leaders are unafraid of taking on the anti-teacher media and political demagogues who use teachers to deflect from societal problems like overwhelming poverty, learning disabilities, and limited ability in English. It will show them facing these problems head on and coming up with practical solutions.
For one thing, it will portray a heroic union leadership ready and willing to negotiate an evaluation system, even though said system will end tenure as we know it and result in firings of hundreds of teachers for no defensible reason. When people complain that teachers will be denied tenure based on unreliable test scores, the leadership will tell them how meaningless tenure will be under the new law, and of course that will be the absolute truth.
It will show how, via determined leadership, solutions will be found to the nagging problems of democracy. In Hamburg, NY, where rank and file actually got a vote, junk science was overwhelmingly defeated. But in NYC, by restricting voting to bodies consisting of people beholden to union leadership for free trips to conventions, or possible non-teaching gigs, there will be no further discussion of the nasty issue of letting the actual rank and file vote on these innovative moves. This, of course, is all in the name of solution-based unionism.
The working title is We Will Back Down Immediately and Unconditionally, and it will refute the nonsensical portrayals of union as an obstacle to "reform." It will contain interviews with scores of ATR teachers who've been reformed out of their jobs, and it will show that they've been replaced with young teachers with little or no experience. It will show how teachers now get letters in their file for no reason whatsoever and have no recourse. It will demonstrate how 87% of working teachers can get rated ineffective with no means of appeal unless they're willing to pony up tens of thousands of dollars to go to court.
You'll see teachers patrolling lunchrooms and bathrooms across the city rather than teaching or preparing classes. Finally, you'll notice the sea change of teachers doing nothing but prepping students for the tests on which their careers now depend. While this will be of no benefit whatsoever to hapless public school students, the inevitable failed test-takers will result in more corporate-sponsored charters. As said charters cream all the best test-takers, more neighborhood schools will close and profits will increase dramatically for privatizers.
And it's all done with the absolute blessing of the union. Get your eight bucks ready, because the theater's already begun to heat up those garbage bags full of popcorn.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.