Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Union with Guts

by special guest blogger Schoolgal

So what is the UFT up to now? The truth is we will not really know until the contract is announced. But we do have an inkling of what is happening. First of all, why wasn't Thompson standing on the podium with Bill DeBlasio and John Liu at the last Delegate Assembly? Well, that answer is clear. The UFT is once again withholding its endorsement. And by doing so it's endorsing Mike Bloomberg and Joel Klein.

Another issue that was sadly overlooked was seniority. Is this again another clue to the new contract? Back in '05 I argued both on this site and Edwize what a great mistake it would be to eliminate excessing rights. It would be a major blow to seniority rights. Yet I was told not to worry. The Open Market would save the day. But Klein had other plans and issued a directive to all principals not to hire ATRs as they were "undesirables". This was even published in the NYTims. Not once did Randi Weingarten issue a protest statement. Silence is a quiet endorsement.

Now let's examine another union. The teachers of Kent, Washington are striking, and it's not over wages. They instead are taking a stand against overcrowded classrooms. Seems that is happening here too. Look at this Daily News op-ed piece and you will get a glimpse of what is happening around the city. Other newspapers are now reporting on overcrowding and cuts to afterschool tutoring and the arts. This from a mayor who claims to be strong on education. This from a mayor whose ads claim plans for more jobs and a way to save the MTA.

Even more important, the press is finally reporting on the phony statistics of the so-called "higher scores" and report-card grades. They are reporting on how aides will soon be fired while big contracts are still being awarded to major contractors. They are reporting how the new Governance Law, backed by Randi is really a sham because parents are not a part of the process when Bloomberg can select his friends to serve. These people do not represent the parents of NYC.

Now what can a little town like Kent teach us? That we are not sheep? That we should stand for something other than salary? That we don't have to make deals with the devil?

I applaud the teachers of Kent. When will we take a stand? We now have the election as leverage which wasn't used last time. Why not use it now and stand for the class-size reduction, stand up for the aides who serve our schools well, and while we're at it, why not stand up for seniority?
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