Monday, September 15, 2008

Leo and Me (Corrected)

A recent post on Edwize proclaimed the joy and wonder of a new Green Dot school in New York City. A video of Steve Barr with Randi Weingarten and Joel Klein shows the great happiness they all share in their new endeavor. I posted a question:

I've heard some interesting things about the NYC Green Dot contract. Could you please tell us whether the contract is available online? If it is not, could you please post it?

Now when I first posted this, I mistakenly attributed this post to Leo Casey. Mr. Casey is my representative in the UFT, and he has very important work to do, so I apologize sincerely for my error.

And naturally I'm honored he put up a post today responding to my error. Unless I'm very mistaken, though, Mr. Casey subscribes to the UFT argument that the Green Dot "just cause" provision is better than tenure because there is no probationary period attached.

I myself have serious doubts, since the Green Dot website proudly declares its teachers have neither tenure nor seniority rights. It fails to mention its teachers have something better than tenure. Call me cynical, but that, along with bragging about no tenure suggests you clearly disapprove of it.

And call me worse, but when union muckety-mucks start pooh-poohing tenure, it does not bode well for teachers. And while Mr. Casey's patronage mill has seriously weakened seniority rights, they haven't yet managed to scrap them altogether. So what about that contract? I spoke to a reputable source who not only claimed to have seen it, but that it contained some very odd, and not very teacher-friendly clauses. Here's what Edwize has to say:

As for the Green Dot New York Charter School’s teachers’ contract, the blogosphere will have to wait. Despite popular perception, we believe that the school’s teachers should be central participants in the bargaining process. As they were only hired in June and signed union recognition cards this summer, we’re now able to start negotiations.

So perhaps there is no contract, and perhaps this person was simply making things up. I can't imagine what motivation this person had, but who knows what evils lurk in the hearts of sources? I posted this follow-up:

Thank you for answering my question. Could you please tell us how many times this "just cause" provision has been tested by Green Dot Schools? Also, are you saying the contract has not been written or are you simply refusing to allow UFT members to see it?

It would appear Mr. Casey is correct that there is no contract. As for my question about the "just cause" in Green Dot, he has pointedly chosen to ignore it. Instead, he accuses me of having a "rich fantasy life."

Nonetheless, if Mr. Casey has any data whatsoever to show this process actually works, that it's actually been utilized, or that it has protected Green Dot teachers, I'm open.

Meanwhile, I must categorize Edwize's contention that Green Dot's "just cause" is superior to tenure as utter nonsense. However, it's certainly charming that Leo Casey prefers to libel a working UFT teacher (namely me) rather than utter a disparaging word about role-model Steve Barr.

It's nice that Mr. Barr gets support from the UFT. It would be nicer, though, if they'd focus their energy more on supporting working teachers. After all, that is their job.

Isn't it?

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