Friday, August 23, 2013

To Endorse or Not to Endorse?

That is the question for the UFT. With apologies to the Immortal Bard:

Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous accusations,
Or to take Arms against reformy advocates,
And by opposing end them: while we come to life, wake up...
Was it a good idea for the UFT to endorse Thompson when it did? At the time, I thought so. It appeared Quinn was a 500-pound gorilla, Wiener was poised to enable yet another GOP win, and that de Blasio and Liu were swirling the bowl. 

But when Carlos Danger performed his amazing self-destruction routine, it began to look like de Blasio had a chance. Unlike Thompson, de Blasio had never told the Daily News he approved of Bloomberg giving all city workers, except teachers, an 8% raise. Considering that, Thompson's ties to Meryl Tisch, and his flip-flopping on stop and frisk, I declined to work for Thompson against de Blasio.

One of the arguments the UFT rep imploring me to work for Thompson offered was that one could not simply look at the polls. One must look deeply. After all, Thompson was sorely underestimated in the polls four years ago. This was certainly true. I can't help but recall another UFT rep telling me we could only move the polls five points, and that's why we weren't endorsing Thompson against Emperor Bloomberg. Months later, when Thompson lost by precisely five points, a more senior UFT official informed a group of us we could only have moved the needle three points.

I began to think the UFT did not look so deeply at polls either. And this leads me to wonder, given the supremely unpredictable nature of this campaign, whether or not we ought to have withheld our endorsement before we knew what the hell was going on. When I read in Gotham Schools, for example, that de Blasio claims the lack of union endorsement makes him more independent, I wonder why we've granted him such independence.

Would we perhaps be better off with multiple politicians vying for our votes, rather than one? Why should candidates offer us anything now that we've essentially crossed them off our lists?

Had we not already endorsed, would there be politicians actually uttering words about giving city teachers the raise almost all other city unions got in the last round of pattern bargaining? Would they be discussing more reasonable treatment of teachers given the double whammy that is Common Core and junk science evaluation?

Would there be, heaven forfend, talk of treating our kids better, rather than labeling most of them failures under a system that's never been field tested or determined to be accurate in predicting anything?

We shall never know.

Thanks to Nick
blog comments powered by Disqus