Tuesday, May 17, 2016
You may recall that the great minds of Revive NYSUT overthrew leadership, specifically claiming to oppose Cuomo. They failed to do so in the Working Families primary, when pro-teacher Zephyr Teachout ran against him. They failed to do so in the Democratic primary, when Zephyr Teachout ran against him again. They also failed to do so in the general election, when the Green Party's Howie Hawkins provided an alternative considerably better than shooting ourselves in the foot.
But alas, the leadership of NYSUT and UFT was having none of it. After all, it's scary to endorse newcomers. It's frightening to oppose a governor like Andy Cuomo. He might get mad if you do that, and that's an unacceptable risk. I mean, what if he gets up on his hind legs and demands a teacher evaluation system even worse than the one we already have? So it's best to slink away and mumble ridiculous excuses when members demand you stand by your explicitly stated principles.
On the other hand, Cuomo actually did demand an evaluation system worse than the one actually on the books. Not only that, but he won it as the spineless Democrats voted for it with "heavy hearts." I don't remember the reaction of NYSUT, but it's hard for me to forget an email I got from UFT President Michael Mulgrew thanking the Assembly for passing this atrocity.
Of course, Cuomo has since backed up a bit, what with hundreds of thousands of New York children opting out of his ridiculous tests. And everywhere I read of a "moratorium" on using test scores to rate children or teachers, even though a very limited number of tests are actually not counted. For example, all high school teachers are still judged on the same junk science as last year, and will have to await the "matrix" before we get a new variety of junk science.
But now that Cuomo is pretending to back down on his insane demands, and now that everyone is talking about having him frogmarched into a cell with Silver and Skelos, this might be a good time for NYSUT and UFT to get ahead of the curve. Why not start trashing the governor right now, so that when he finally goes down, they can genuinely take some credit for it?
When Michael Mulgrew, who was gonna punch us in the face and push our faces in the dirt if we didn't support his beloved Common Core, stands up and takes credit for its few and inconsequential reversals, he looks ridiculous. To avoid that in the future, all he has to do is threaten to punch Cuomo's face instead of ours. Maybe then when Cuomo goes down, he can say, "You see? I boldly threatened to brutalize the guy and now he's in prison so I don't have to."
So let's get in there now, UFT and NYSUT leadership. Because once the guy goes down, you know you're gonna take credit for it anyway. So let's make it look good, and begin making some noise. As an added benefit, all those irritating bloggers won't be calling you out all the time.
It's all about looking ahead, for once, and just a little bit. Let's try doing the right thing, just as an experiment, and seeing how it works out. If it does, who knows? Maybe we could make it a regular thing.