Tuesday, March 08, 2016

If You Set Standards Low Enough, You'll Never Be Disappointed

That, evidently, is the new Unity motto. Otherwise, why would the cover of NY Teacher feature someone who used to work in a charter school and thinks public school is better. What's next? 

It took my blithering 30-year-old supervisor two years to fire me for no reason, but he could have done so immediately at a charter school.

My supervisor is abusive, but the supervisor at the charter school was even more abusive.

I was tortured for two hours, but it sure beats the hell out of being tortured for eight hours.

I guess this is the union loud and proud campaign, but holy crap are their standards low. Everyone knows it sucks to work in a charter school. That's why anyone with half a brain and half a choice opts not to.  But the fact is conditions in public schools vary widely as well. It would be just as easy, for example, for NY Teacher to find teachers who worked in an awful public school for a crazy principal, but now work in a better school with a less crazy principal. The teacher wasn't supported in her charter and is supported in a public school? How tough would it be for Moskowitz to find a failed public school teacher who'd say the reverse?

In any case, this is simply not a good argument. And the fact is, as Mulgrew likes to point out, that the contract is worth less than the paper they've yet to print it on if it isn't enforced. And, sorry Unity, but a whole lot of your loyalty-oath bound chapter leaders are simply not bothering with it. I'm ashamed to say I've had Unity chapter leaders who slept through meetings, through classes, and through life. In my meager defense, I at least had the good sense to never depend on them to help me with anything.

That is my fault, and the fault of my colleagues. After all, who's stupid enough to take a job where you constantly find yourself in conflict with your principal? That would be me, I guess, but the job, like any other, isn't really all that difficult if you don't do it. And that's where Unity excels. Even if you utterly fail to represent your members, you still get free trips and union gigs if only you do Whatever the Hell Leroy Barr Tells You. And even cooler, if your colleagues dump you for not doing your job, they keep you not only as a convention delegate, but also in your part time job.

Even as I was writing this, a colleague walked in to tell me about her retirement consultation. I asked her how it went and she said the rep told her to ask me for a COPE card. I wondered what the hell a COPE contribution had to do with her retirement, and she said that COPE would help fight the 2017 Constitutional Convention. Now that's true. On the other hand, COPE didn't do anything to fight Cuomo, who may enable said convention, in the Working Families primary, the Democratic primary, or the general election. Perhaps leaders were still tired from battling for COPE funds over the quality of quail in a ritzy Albany steakhouse.

If this is the best argument for union loud and proud that leadership can muster for a front page article, we are well and truly screwed. This is a great argument for new leadership, in case any were needed. 

Cartoon by Fred Klonsky
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