Monday, July 23, 2012

How Do You Get Teachers to Clap for Bill Gates?

At the last AFT Convention, incredibly, Bill Gates was the keynote. Personally, I was horrified. Here is this man who's doing everything his billions will permit to eviscerate our profession, and we're inviting him in to tell us about it. Why on earth would anyone want to do that? I have no idea.

I do know a little about how you get New York teachers to clap, though. It's largely because each and every UFT member at the convention is a member of the Unity Caucus, the group that’s controlled the UFT virtually since its inception.

The caucus is open only by invitation, and there are very particular rules one must follow, when and if invited. You can access the application here by clicking download.

Here’s one part of the agreement:

To express criticism of caucus policies within the Caucus;

That’s healthy, of course. If something’s wrong, it behooves you to let people know about it. It’s the next part that, although it pretty much explains everything, is a little disturbing:

To support the decisions of Caucus/ Union leadership in public or Union forums;

Thus, every single "Union activist" in attendance is bound to do whatever they're told. Does this applause for Gates represent the membership? Certainly not those who really know what Gates is all about. 

Would it really be that dangerous to allow UFT members to tell Gates their real thoughts? And would Gates show up if he thought that had half a chance of happening?

Most perplexing is this--how can you be an "activist" if you're sworn not to express any but pre-approved thoughts?

To be continued...

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