Saturday, September 02, 2006

You Don't Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows

Still, UFT President Randi Weingarten seems to have misplaced her complimentary UFT umbrella. For example, while NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein goes on about 44 supposedly unfit administrators, the measure of Randi's folly has yet to dawn upon the Unity brass, let alone the 60% of teachers who voted for the latest contract.

Klein says these 44 are utterly incompetent, offers no evidence, but happily vilifies them anyway. "Innocent until proven guilty" has little appeal to Tweed. Several teachers who've been suspended without pay and cleared (under the new contract) can attest to that.

A friend of mine tells me the names of the APs were shown on television. Nice thing for their kids to see, ain't it?

Are they inept? Not for the most part, according to the CSA President Jill Levy:

Levy maintained that the majority of the 44 administrators, (37, according to today's NY Times) who earn up to $108,000 a year, have not been fired for poor performance. They have no assignments, she said, because of school restructuring that has shut down failing schools and broken large schools into smaller schools.

That's a drop in the bucket compared to what the DoE shells out for no bid contracts.

Even the Daily News characterizes Klein as a union-buster:

The letter was Klein's latest bid to divide and diminish the principals union, whose members include both principals and assistant principals. The union has been without a contract for more than three years - and its leaders were furious to read Klein's blistering words.

Now, you say, what's this got to do with you? You're a teacher, and a good one too.

The fact is, though, after a reorganization, along with administrators, every teacher in the building is gone. None, good, bad, or indifferent, are guaranteed positions. Klein's Jack Welch-trained principals are not exactly on the lookout for the sort of independent thinkers who inspire kids.

Write Leo Casey or City Sue over at Edwize and they'll say no, that's not true. You'll get placed on the substitute reserve and wander the earth forever teaching subjects about which you know nothing (Thanks, Leo and Sue).

But won't a principal hire me if I'm a good teacher?

You'd hope so. But thirty years of New York City history indicate that good teachers are not particularly valued, and a quick peek at the contract you just got in the mail indicates you can get two new teachers for the price of one vet. This administration and its predecessors have repeatedly shown preferences for bargain basement teachers, (though it'll happily shell out millions for consultants) and have consistently made a point to set the lowest standard in the state in order to recruit and retain them.

It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to envision Klein saying characterizing the substitute teacher corps precisely as he did the APs:

Klein said he must waste "millions of dollars creating jobs we don't need" - money that could be used to hire 80 teachers - because the assistant principals' jobs are protected by their union contract and state law.

I'd wager the substitute corps was created precisely so it could be scapegoated and eliminated in a future contract. I thought so the first time I read City Sue boasting about it in Edwize, and I'm not exactly Bobby Fisher. Our leaders, however, can't seem to see a single move in advance.

Next year, we'll have a precious opportunity to choose someone who can. Let's not waste it on Unity. They've had enough vacations, conventions, and gala luncheons on our dime.

Update: Chancellor Klein has already begun criticizing the sub corps, which he helped create in the most recent UFT contract. There was to be a hiring freeze to place these teachers, but the Chancellor stopped it.

: All 44 of the APs in question were rated satisfactory by their previous bosses. Many didn't even know they were out of work until last week. From that article:

"I was disgusted by it," said a Brooklyn principal, who asked not to be identified. The principal acknowledged he had been stuck in the past with assistant principals he didn't want to hire, but still supported his union.

"He's pitting people against each other within the union," he said. "This is bad for morale across the board."

Thanks to Schoolgal and zippychippy
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