Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Neutered Action

One of my favorite fables is The Pearl by John Steinbeck. In it, Steinbeck writes of how the common people are cheated. They go to sell their pearls, from one buyer to the next, but each buyer is just an arm of the one true buyer--they actually commiserate to keep prices down, rather than competing for the pearls they buy.

That's how I feel every time New Action drops another ridiculous paper in my mailbox. We oppose this and that, but it's all good because we support that and this. The implication is that any actual opponent would be a contrary nitwit who reflexively opposed everything for no reason whatsoever.

The other implication, of course, is that New Action is an opposition. In fact, New Action was once an opposition, and I've voted for them more than once. Knowing little, but sympathizing with the underdog, I voted for Mike Shulman for VP, and he actually won. This put UFT leadership in panic mode. First they challenged the election, and if I'm not mistaken he won bigger the second time. Finally they changed the voting rules so that all officers were elected at large--the elementary and middle school teachers, more reliably Unity, now help us choose a leader so that genuine opposition voices will not prevail again without Unity pre-approval. This is akin to having Alaska and Texas help NY to pick a US Senator.

At some point, New Action decided to give up and sell out. They get a bunch of their people cross-endorsed, and in return they routinely place the Unity candidate at the top of their ticket. So their prez is the Unity prez, Unity allows a few seats for them, and then they muster the audacity to claim they are opposition. This is tantamount to the Democrats running GW Bush and saying they're the choice to oppose him.

This was a brilliant, inspired move on Unity's part. As long as real working teachers believe New Action is an opposition, it pretty much fractures the chances of any real opposition getting a foothold. Make no mistake--that's the one and only reason they grant New Action these seats.

If you like what Unity does, vote for Unity. At least Unity doesn't pretend to oppose themselves. It was Michael Mulgrew who went to Albany and negotiated the junk science evaluation that will almost certainly result in good teachers losing their jobs for no reason. A vote for New Action is a vote for Mulgrew, and if Mulgrew isn't Unity, then Unity is a figment of our collective imagination.

While you will hear talk of a fair evaluation system, and while some may actually have faith in reformy John King to impose one, bear in mind that any evaluation system will include not only junk science VAM, but also a proviso that the DOE will no longer need to prove you are incompetent at 3020a when they endeavor to fire you. It will be on you to prove your competence, an uphill battle to say the least. You will be guilty until proven innocent, a fundamentally un-American concept.

Again, if you want to vote for Mulgrew, I suggest voting for Unity rather than those who pretend not to be Unity. It won't much matter in the long run, since Unity has cross-endorsed the only seats New Action can possibly win. If you believe the editorials stating there is a plague of zombie bad teachers and the only way to eradicate it is a voodoo-based evaluation system, vote Unity.

If, on the other hand, you deem this system an abomination, your only choice is upstart MORE.
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