Monday, September 01, 2014

Happy Labor Day, Back at You, Randi!

Randi Weingarten (with help from Lorretta Johnson and Mary Cathryn Ricker) sent along Labor Day thoughts and wishes to me and probably many thousands of others.  I read the e-mail just as I read Mulgrew's, to see how much I can agree with before the red flags are thrown up--or how much I can stomach before I throw up.  In this case, I made it a ways.

Then, I got to the part that said, "Together, by being member-mobilized, community-engaged, solution-driven and, yes, a little bad ass, we can reclaim the promise of America.  We can create a nation fueled by democracy, justice and opportunity for all, instead of for the very few."

These sentiments are all very nice, but as AFT president, Randi knows her UFT answers to her.  She knows it controls NYSUT and the AFT, among other things.  And, as she very well knows, as long as the UFT keeps the doors of lucrative union offices and advancement closed to any who refuse to take a solid (loyalty) oath to carry out leadership's marching orders with ne'er a second thought to conscience or constituency, there can be no democracy.

When we spend $2 million of our union dues to pay 800 delegates to parade around at the AFT Convention in Los Angeles under the charade of democracy to vote exactly as they're told by Randi's voice coming through Mulgrew's "megaphone," union democracy is a sham.  When Common Core is pushed forward under threats of punching and pushing in the dirt with an obviously thrilled Randi beaming from the podium, we are not listening to the voices of teachers, parents, students or reason.  

When 800 people all cast the same vote eight-hundred times because they're told to do so, the inanity of it all is beyond belief, more so, when you realize that these are teachers supposedly helping people develop their cognitive capacities.  The arguments used to support the Core at the AFT Convention were absurd.  Leroy Barr:  We all have to be on exactly the same page at the same time from New York to California so his son can seamlessly make a switch, if necessary.  UFT President Mulgrew:  Take our standards away and I'll crush and trample you.  NYSUT president Magee:  If we don't use their standards, we'll have no standards at all.

The e-mail states "we must fight forward to move forward, and that means never being afraid to both engage in conflict and find common ground...."  I would have to say the same holds true for the relationship of NYC teachers to their Union.  We hold so many interests in common, but a compromise with the deep pockets of the Common Core and a refusal to truly listen to the voices of our communities is not in our best interests.  And, it makes all the promise of her lofty words truly ring hollow this Labor Day.
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