Saturday, August 16, 2014

NYSUT Takes a Stand. Or Is it a Sit?

A few weeks ago, at the AFT Convention, NYSUT President Karen Magee, despite campaign promises that her leadership opposed Common Core, said the following:

If not standards, then what? A free-for-all? Everyone does what they please? No common base? No common method to look at what they're doing?

This is a black and white logical fallacy, acknowledging no other option but chaos to the program in which Bill Gates invested billions, including contributions to AFT. Judging from Magee's assertions,  we were having gunfights in the street before Bill Gates and his billions came along to save us. Though Magee went on to offer the boilerplate rationale about implementation being at fault, this is a blatant broken promise. This was followed, of course, by a refusal to endorse Zephyr Teachout or Howie Hawkins, despite a handout that compared Cuomo to Scott Walker.

Not that the English scores have risen a whopping .1%, and math scores 5%, after the cutoffs being lowered, Magee is singing the same old song:

Karen Magee, president of the New York State United Teachers union, said the union is “certainly pleased to see scores rising,” but cautioned that “students are more than a test score.”

From her mouth, this amounts to another empty platitude. Where's the Revive promise to oppose Common Core? Where's the Revive promise to oppose Cuomo, who they likened to one of the most union-unfriendly figures in living memory? Where's the Revive promise to move out of the shadow of UFT, or its face-punching President?

Where's that NYSUT that was going to be led from the bottom up, as promised after its UFT-sponsored victory? It appears that now they're in office, status quo is just fine with them. That's too bad, because outgoing Prez Richard Iannuzzi was beginning to take clear stands against Cuomo and Common Core, and likely as not, that's why he's ex-president.

UFT makes up 28% of NYSUT, but gets 34% of statewide votes. Small impoverished locals can't afford a weekend at the NY Hilton, and there's no mechanism for remote, online or absentee voting. NYSUT still accepts the dues of these disenfranchised teachers. NYSUT also accepts my dues, and those of my members, though we get no voice in the loyalty-oath bound UFT delegation. Of course, if I were to sign the loyalty oath we'd still get no voice, since I'd then be representing leadership rather than membership.

It's clear to me that the current NYSUT leadership is there to maintain status quo, including failure to oppose Cuomo, failure to oppose Common Core, and failure to stand up to total domination by the UFT political machine. The question is whether or not that will become clear to NYSUT membership.

There are those of us here who will work very hard to give city members a voice, no matter how hard Mulgrew wishes to punch us in the face. How many of our brothers and sisters statewide will stand with us?

Only time will tell.
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