Monday, November 09, 2015

Michael Mulgrew Said "Thank You" for Longer Hours and No Seniority

In Buffalo, the new state receivership law is being tested. It's an important test, because teachers there are expected to work longer and dump seniority rules. This is in direct conflict with the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law, which states that if a new contract is not negotiated, old contract terms remain. The BTF will have to sue if it wishes to maintain its current contractual terms.

This is not anything Mulgrew didn't know. I watched him tell the Delegate Assembly that this new law, if passed, meant the receivers could pretty much do anything they wished. He told us all that, under receivership, collective bargaining agreements would be null and void.

As of now, the decision about whether to allow the hacks who run Buffalo schools to violate contracts is in the hands of MaryEllen Elia, hardly a voice of reason. Even now, her Gates-funded, budget busting program in Hillsborough is being dismantled. That does not appear to have diminished Elia's enthusiasm for junk science teacher rating. It's hard to imagine she will do the right thing here, but we will soon see.

There are reasons why kids do poorly on tests. Sometimes the tests are inappropriate. If you insist on giving millions of kids the same tests regardless of their background, that's gonna happen. Kids with learning disabilities are different from those without them. Kids who speak English are different from those who don't. And kids with parents who need to work 200 hours a week, each, may need a different sort of attention from those who actually see their parents every now and then.

But Bill Gates has declared he can't deal with poverty or its effects. He has therefore decided to focus only on standardized tests. And because Bill Gates druthers are more important than the needs of millions of American children, that's where we are today. What's truly shocking is that UFT President Michael Mulgrew has not only accepted the premise that kids must be judged by test scores, but that he's also bought into the notion that schools must be judged on them. He's repeatedly told the DA that we are going to fix the Renewal schools and show it can be done. Unfortunately, the only metric for this "fix" is higher test scores. So far, the only way I've seen that raises test scores is choosing which students take the tests. That's not helping kids, and that's not improving education.

Worst of all, Mulgrew actually thanked the Heavy Hearts Assembly for passing the bill that enabled receivership. That is insane, and I find insanity a very poor quality in a leader. That's why I'm glad I have a choice this spring. I've going to vote for Jia Lee, the candidate who is not insane, for President of the United Federation of Teachers.

If you agree with me that it's time to have a President who is not insane, you'll vote for Jia too.
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