UFT President Michael Mulgrew claimed he'd "punch" anyone in the face and "push" them "in the dirt" if they tried to take away his standards with their "cold, twisted, sick hands."
The "cold, twisted, sick hands" I see, however, are propping up the Common Core. One hand shoves it down our throats while the other hand grasps some big bills accepted as grants to promote it. Would the Common Core be anything less than a shriveled, deflated mess, if we took away all the money pumped into promoting it and the promise of future profits?
One observer said of Mulgrew's speech, "It was scary. People were saying that he shouldn't be around children." Educators, after all, teach children to use the power of ideas, not the threat of physical violence. In this light, Mulgrew's bully tactics, although popular with some segment of the crowd, were less than reassuring and would certainly land him in 3020a land if the setting had been a school.
But it was not. And, no children were present. Mulgrew knew this. Although I object wholeheartedly to the Core, I'm guessing Mulgrew won't punch me in the face or order a henchman to run me off the road. If this was his policy, there'd be a lot more people to run off the road. There might even be more cars in the ditch than on the road.
I do believe, however, that there is another highly disturbing menace, one which worries me far more. The observer who noted in the NY Daily News that Mulgrew's rant was "scary" "asked to remain anonymous to avoid Mulgrew's wrath." If you have signed onto the UFT Unity ruling party, you must be loyalty-oath abiding. If you speak against the boss, you sow the seeds of your own destruction. Kiss your handsome double pension, lucrative extra-hours after-school job in union offices, and prestigious trips to conferences as a rubber stamp, goodbye! No wonder the Union favors mayoral control and common standards for all. They can be used to speak with one voice, that of leadership, like the UFT, and quell dissent.
Even though I doubt the sincerity of threats of physical violence, Unity is no less than a bully. Unity has no use for people with independent ideas or the will to actually represent a constituency. In this way, Unity closes the doors to some of the Union's staunchest and most talented defenders. Integrity is a liability. Unity doesn't even want its own "lower-downs" speaking at the Mike. Unity delegates are useful for the illusion of democracy and for holding Mike's place in line for the Mike, but not for much more, certainly not for a fresh opinion.
You might want to blame Mike Mulgrew alone for this mess, but it is far more complex. You could point to a "culture" of Unity leadership dating back to Al Shanker, but that doesn't do much for us for today or tomorrow. I'm looking at Randi Weingarten. If she wanted to address it, she could. Instead, she prefers a sham that sells out the rank and file of all parties, including Unity.