Aside from my typical disgust when we are targeted for the egregious offense of dedicating our lives to guiding children, I know there must be a particular reason the Daily News and legal expert Campbell Brown targeted us this week.
There are big issues with this story. The primary issue is the teachers they discuss have not been found guilty of anything. The person who determines guilt, or lack thereof, is the arbitrator. So the Daily News, abetted by legal expert Campbell Brown, cries, "WHY WEREN'T THEY FIRED?" or some such inflammatory nonsense. However, they fail to provide the answer, which is quite simple. "BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T GUILTY!"
That gets left out of the mix, of course, because it tends to detract from the story. "TEACHERS NOT GUILTY DON'T GET FIRED!" won't get you as many readers.
What is it that they want? Ostensibly, what they want is for Chancellor Dennis Walcott to determine ultimate guilt or innocence. That is, instead of the independent arbitrators selected jointly by UFT and DOE mandated by the Contract, Walcott's agency would investigate, and Walcott would decide whether or not his agency did a good job. The fact that Walcott rejects 100% of U-rating appeals has not made it into any of the articles. One could say that is because legal expert Campbell Brown, who just happens to be married to some Students First person (Michelle Rhee's group) does not know about this. Or maybe she chooses not to know about it.
It's tough to say. But last year they made a big deal of it, and they appear to wish to do the same this year. And the message the public gets is that teachers are a bunch of perverts, sickos, weirdos, or whatever invective they've selected this week.
Make no mistake--the message is total nonsense.
But Students First people, like the one legal expert Campbell Brown is married to, tend not to like unions. And the charter movement is very much about avoiding unions. I meet a lot of student teachers, and not one I've met wanted to work for a charter. But in a tough market, a job's a job. So let me assure real parents out there that public schools get first pick of available teachers, and Eva Moskowitz, despite her glitzy ads, gets whoever is left. That's just one reason I send my kid to a public school.
The bottom line is the people the DN and legal expert Campbell Brown are raving about are not threats to children, as far as I know. For one thing, if they were, and Walcott couldn't make a case against them, that speaks more to his ineptitude than anything else. For another, if they were actually criminals, like my daughter's former principal appears to be, there would be real stories enumerating real charges, rather than nebulous crap about only being able to fire 30 of 100, or whatever it is.
So let's be clear--this ridiculous vague attack against a large group is NOT about keeping our children safe. It's about attacking the working conditions of unionized teachers. It's about depriving us of voice.
Because there's one thing I know as sure as I live and breathe--there are people who love kids, who support them, who want them to be happy and successful. The Daily News and legal expert Campbell Brown, and the Students First demagogues are not those people.
We are those people. We stand up for what's right for kids. And we will continue to do so no matter how many times they slime us, no matter how many nonsensical stories they put forth, no matter how much filthy corporate cash they toss around, and no matter how many tinhorn politicians, at any level, they buy.
We love the kids. And we will expose those who attack us for what they are.
Day by day.
Lie by lie.
We tell the truth. We show kids how to find the truth.
Because that's what we do. That's why we're here. And it's also most certainly why we're under attack.
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.