Tuesday, July 19, 2016

UFT Folk Do the Darndest Things

Yesterday, someone from the UFT, someone whom I'd never met before, approached me at the Convention Center and started criticizing me for not attending meetings about Part 154, which cripples the instruction of ELLs. There had been two, she said, and I hadn't gone.

This was a pretty remarkable coincidence, because last week when I sought help to reach out to the Regents, a friend of mine told me that I was just complaining and that I had no right to complain because I had missed these two meetings.

The most recent of those meetings was at the end of the school year. UFT sent me an invite the day before it was to happen. It was very short notice and I can't remember exactly why I couldn't go. Here's what I do remember--I went to my AP to tell her about it and she knew before I did. That's a blatant breach of protocol, as I'm the chapter leader. It's my job to represent UFT in the building. In any case, they invited my AP without my knowledge, and didn't find it worth their time to give me a heads up. So I went in to see my AP talking about something that had already been arranged. There's nothing quite like being undermined by people whose job it is to support you.

Part 154 is a funny thing. It cuts direct ESL instruction more or less to the bone. But, after the kids test out of ESL, via tests that don't actually measure language acquisition, it offers them additional instruction. UFT leadership, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to focus on the additional instruction for those who've tested out rather than the draconian instruction cuts to beginning, intermediate, and advanced English Language Learners. So they're gonna do a study.

Here's what I have done about Part 154. I brought it to the attention of leadership, and got the meetings started. In fact I actually attended two meetings that the UFT person who criticized me was invited to but didn't show to.  (I guess this didn't merit a mention when that person was trash talking me.) I was also on Univision talking about it with Aixa Rodriguez, and if you think it's easy to place a story on TV, you are mistaken. It would have been a whole lot easier if UFT leadership helped in any way, shape, or form. I further proposed and wrote the first draft of the resolution to UFT to get our students more instruction.  This resolution was ultimately passed unanimously at the DA.

I've also proposed to UFT that we write a joint editorial as a follow up. I proposed this to someone who had demonstrated skill in writing, which, you know, is kind of a good thing when you're writing something. But for whatever reason, it got passed on to someone else. I thought it would be good if UFT stood up for children and did something that not even our enemies could criticize. I wasn't doing this to get my own stuff published and didn't need their help with that. I thought we could translate it into Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and other languages and let parents of ELLs know what their kids were up against.

So I sent 200 words to get started. I figured that was a good point to begin. UFT leadership did nothing. I sent them 400 words. Nothing. Then I sent them 800 words. Nothing. So now I'm waiting for this person who's never reached out to me except to complain about how I never do anything.  Perhaps she'll get in touch with me in a large convention hall full of thousands of people running around doing 500 things.

You'll forgive me if I sit while I wait. Below you can see Aixa Rodriguez and me on Univision actually reaching out to the public about this.

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