Thursday, November 08, 2007

Green Dots on the Big Apple

In the most recent issue of New York Teacher, an article celebrates the coming of Green Dot charter schools to NYC:

The new school will also give its unionized teachers an explicit say in school policy and curriculum; a full and fair disciplinary process based on a “just cause” standard from the first day an educator is employed; a professional work day rather than one defined in minutes; and the flexibility to adjust the contract in critical areas over time.

Note the "just cause" standard, which does not appear to have been tested in practice, is not tenure. Green Dot has very particular notions about tenure. Here's what Steve Barr said while guest blogging on Eduwonk:

...our teachers gladly give up tenure for a more relevant just cause.

Just cause indeed. Here's what Green Dot's website says their teachers have: tenure or seniority preference...

That's fairly straightforward, isn't it?

...a professional work day rather than defined minutes...

Does this mean you'll be executives, making your own hours? Then why do they dock you if you have to leave for an emergency?

Are you content to rely on the kindness of Steve Barr? He does seem like a nice guy. I understand he buys pizza for teachers when he visits schools to encourage them to dump their unions. And he's utterly charming in interviews. Here's how he describes comments from A.J. Duffy, a real live LA union leader, who suggested he might be cherry-picking students:

“It’s bullshit,” says Barr. “It’s like me saying, ‘Duffy’s a pig fucker.’ Have I seen him fuck a pig? Do I have photos? No. So I can’t say it. He should check these things out before he says them.”

I can certainly see why Ms. Weingarten is so thrilled about partnering up with him. And there are other tangible benefits for teachers. Let's just check some other goodies from the Green Dot contract:

1. Teachers are encouraged to do jury duty during vacation time. Jury duty is compensated up to five days. If you’re stuck beyond that, too bad for you.

2. If your kid’s school calls, or anything happens requiring you to leave more than half a day, you’re docked a full day’s pay. If you miss less than half, you’re docked a half day’s pay.

Layoffs are based on “legal requirements and qualifications,” “satisfactory evaluation,” and “expertise and relevant experience.” Seniority is considered only if they’re not able to make a determination based on these factors.

4. Strikes are not permitted, and violations will go to binding arbitration.

5. If teachers choose a PPO health plan (like GHI), Green Dot will pay a maximum of $525 a month.

6. Maximum teacher salary is $74,182.

That's an interesting twist on giving higher pay to teachers, as the UFT article claims. And you'll find a lot more on what "just cause" is right here (Scroll to the bottom). The UFT has never addressed any of these points, and they've been completely silent on the absence of seniority rights at Green Dot.

Green Dot is very important to the UFT. That's why the UFT Academic High School VP doesn't hesitate to libel me in Edwize (blatantly attributing an LA Times statement to me) when I criticize it. It's high time our union stopped representing charter schools (which are not subject to the grading system that may cost you your jobs) and started representing working teachers again.

Working Americans are not much in need of union-lite systems where you can be dismissed "just cause" your boss feels like it.
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