Monday, October 20, 2008

Ms. Weingarten Takes a Stand

Take heart, UFT members. Sure, you're working more days than anyone in the area, and you're still being paid less than your neighbors. It's certainly true that our canny leaders managed to negotiate the worst contract in my 24 years as a teacher without even demanding cost of living to compensate for the massive givebacks they agreed to.

As a result, 1400 teachers, many through no fault of their own, are stuck in the limbo of the ATR brigade, regularly vilified by both the press and Mayor Bloomberg's puppets (transparently masqueraded as independent organizations). Thousands of others are teaching a sixth class (which is not a class, according to the UFT) and perpetually walking that hall patrol.

And sure, the UFT declared victory on the class size issue after making a toothless, unenforceable agreement that's had no effect whatsoever. NYC's 1.1 million kids study under unconscionable conditions, in hallways, closets and trailers, saddled with the highest class sizes in the state. And with typical lack of vision, the UFT has agreed to use test data to rate teachers, perhaps actually believing it would not actually be used to rate teachers.

I could go on. But this week, Ms. Weingarten and her gang were in court fighting for your right to wear buttons in school. Personally I don't wear buttons anywhere, and if I did, I probably wouldn't bother to try to influence my students, few if any of whom can vote anyway. But the point is that this is where the UFT has chosen to draw the line.

For what it's worth, they lost, but the court affirmed your right to place political messages in teacher mailboxes and on staff bulletin boards (although I'm not precisely sure how that will work out if you oppose Ms. Weingarten's Unity monopoly). That, perhaps, is another victory, just like when Teacher's Choice funds were reduced by almost half.

Keep voting for the likes of Ms. Weingarten, teachers, and we can guarantee more of the same.
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