Thursday, June 02, 2016

Never Been to Minneapolis

Jonathan mentions that he's going to the AFT Convention in Minneapolis this July.  I'm thinking of going along too. I mean, after all, I pay dues to this organization that help support it. I ought to have a voice. Of course I won't, as the only UFT members allowed to participate will be members of the Unity Caucus. Each and every one of them has signed an oath to vote as they are instructed.

A couple of years ago they went elsewhere, and Michael Mulgrew told the whole world that if anyone laid a finger on his much-cherished Common Core he'd punch their faces and push them in the dirt. This, I suppose, was in response to the CTU's insistence on opposing things that actively hurt teachers and children. When I pointed out how ridiculous that was, Unity apologists said, more or less, "You see? You don't like it when he stays silent and you don't like it when he gets passionate either."

Actually I'm fine with passion. I'd just like to see it used to fight for things we all need, like smaller class sizes, less testing, and better education. Common Core achieves exactly None of the Above. And in fairness, while I'd like to see him work actively to eradicate it, Mulgrew is no longer speaking in support of Common Core.

Here's the thing, though. Along with half a dozen others from MORE/ New Action, I've just been elected by New York City high schools to represent them. We are, in fact, the only people the high schools elected. They chose us to be their voice, and that we shall, in UFT.

But every single AFT rep was chosen "at large." That means that elementary, middle school, retirees, functional chapters, nurses, and who knows who else made this choice. So my question is this--who represents the dues-paying high school teachers at the AFT convention our dues support?

And the answer is crystal clear--no one whatsoever. The UFT reps will vote as a bloc, in any damn way they are told to. The concerns that moved high school teachers to choose us shall be ignored utterly.

Is there any reason why our voices shouldn't be heard at AFT? We high school teachers represent more members than those in many NYSUT-affiliated unions. If fact, my school itself is as large as some. Why are we paying dues to NYSUT and AFT if we have no voice whatsoever?

I may go anyway, because it will be really easy to blog as a UFT Executive Board member shut out of the convention. I can specifically identify all the things that happen in which we have no voice.

And I guess I can see the house that Mary Tyler Moore pretended to live in when she did that great TV show many, many years ago.
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