Wednesday, July 10, 2013

To Bobblehead, or Not to Bobblehead

Let's be clear. If I were going to get a bobblehead it wouldn't be the one you see to the left. It would be Diane Ravitch, or Leonie Haimson, or maybe Stephen Krashen.

But there are a lot of bobbleheads out there, and that includes the overwhelming majority of UFT chapter leaders. In fact, almost every one has signed an oath to never disagree with leadership in public. They are supposedly permitted to express disagreement within the confines of the Unity Caucus, but a very small minority of teachers are privy to what the hell goes on there. For all I know, anyone who speaks out of turn there gets a pinky cut off.

Yesterday, this blog received a comment from the sole Unity blogger, Ed in the Apple:

Unfortunately the union movement has spent too much time fighting internally rather than concentrating on their enemies...

Actually, I focus a lot on union enemies, like Bill Gates for example.  My union, on the other hand, invited him to keynote the AFT convention while every bobblehead chapter leader wildly applauded. To thank them, Gates went out and said screw them all once they retire. Actually, my life might be a little easier if I went to Seattle and applauded with the chapter leaders. But would I be representing and advocating for teachers if I applauded the man who's brought us so much misery?

Would I be doing teachers a favor if I were to support VAM, which has been established to work absolutely nowhere? Shall I tell teachers the fact that the city no longer will have to prove they are incompetent when trying to fire them is a benefit? In fact, if the new "validator" says the principal is right and you stink, it will be on you to prove your competence. How on earth is it an advantage to be guilty until proven innocent?

Should I stand up and applaud when the union supports mayoral control? After we experience it and find it to be an abysmal failure, should I give three cheers to Mayor Bloomberg for all the schools his rubber stamp fake board of education has managed to close? Because the same people who now complain about school closures supported mayoral control not once, but twice.

Does it behoove us to support the ATR system that has teachers wandering week to week from school to school? I have heard an earful from unhappy teachers stuck in the system. I know untenured teachers who, desperate to find a place, took whatever they could get only to be discontinued at year's end. I know teachers who resigned rather than endure being a teacher without a classroom. I've had teachers cry to me about how miserable they are, on multiple occasions.

What on earth is the point of being activists if we're unable to speak our minds? What is the point of being teachers if we set such a miserable example for our students?
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