Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Janus Comes to Reformytown

I'm always amazed at the things that reformies say. Reformy of the day is Daniel Weisberg, who has an op-ed in the Daily News about Janus. First, the reformy supports union:

I personally think the court got it right a half century ago. It’s a matter of basic fairness that workers who reap the benefits of collective bargaining should also share in the costs.

And then, in a magical change of direction, we're told what to do after our certain loss:

The more radical move would be to get out of the collective bargaining business and become professional associations — think the American Medical Association or the National Trial Lawyers.

So let's be clear on this, because we're quite different from lawyers and doctors. Last I heard, doctors and lawyers could set their own fees. This means they have no need whatsoever for collective bargaining. If you think teachers are going to be able to charge districts on the basis of their fame and/ or expertise, I have a bridge in Brooklyn and I can give you a very good deal on it. I guess the union leadership could act all professional and we'd be left to hope for the best.

Oddly, differences I have with leadership often involve their eagerness to be professional. I retch when I hear about us getting a "seat at the table." Me, I'd prefer fair compensation to Mulgrew having a meeting with some important muckety-muck. But that's not all:

As professional associations, unions could put all their resources and political clout behind a long-term plan for elevating the teaching profession through higher pay, more rigorous performance standards, and better working conditions. 

Okay, so  I appreciate the higher pay (even though districts without collective bargaining get paid far less), but we don't actually "elevate the teaching profession." Our unions work only district to district. As for higher pay, if we aren't bargaining collectively, how the hell are we supposed to do that? Do we go to church and pray for it? Light a candle somewhere? I know we can't  demonstrate or strike because that would likely not be "professional." After all, doctors and lawyers don't do that stuff.

And then we're fighting for "more rigorous performance standards." I mean, why the hell not? Since we can't do anything to get better pay, why not make observations more rigorous? Isn't rigor what people want most out of life? Yes, I want to be observed 200 times a year, and I want to be judged by test scores in a way that's even more ridiculous than now. Maybe the reformy who wrote this piece is unaware that teachers all over the country are judged by junk science since "Race to the Top," but one of the great things about being a reformy is you get to just, you know, make up stuff.

And they could fight for this agenda without any obligation to defend individual members who engage in misconduct or who simply aren’t up to the job — a change that would probably win them new allies.

Well, thank you very much for that. Hey, I can't wait to have a union that won't defend me when I'm accused. Doubtless people will fall all over themselves for the chance to pay a union that doesn't stand up for them. Hey, why not just make principals God while we're at it? And the principal spake, and it was good.

Here's something that this reformy doesn't know--we don't defend individual members "who engage in misconduct or simply aren't up to the job." We represent everyone. We make sure administrators, who in fact are not God, follow the Collective Bargaining Agreement whether or not they feel like it. I can only imagine that if someone in this reformy's family got arrested, he'd decline to hire a lawyer, and say, "Sorry, son, but you engaged in misconduct. I suggest you plead guilty and save the state the cost of a trial."

Oddly, when charter people are embroiled in scandal, they tend to hire lawyers and defend themselves. I can only guess this particular reformy thinks teachers are innocent until proven guilty.

I don't. That's why, despite my well-documented reservations about leadership, I'll stick with the union. And if Mr. Weisberg wants to know where he can stick his advice, he need only ask.
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