Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why the Budget Agreement Doesn't Suck

Hi folks, it's me, your old pal "Punchy" Mike Mulgrew! Don't try and take my Common Core from me! I'll punch out your stinking face and push it in the dirt! But seriously, folks, let's talk turkey. First of all, don't believe anything you read on those blogs. I'll be nice, which is hard for me because I'm an ex-carpenter, a regular blue collar guy who can't help but walk around spouting obscenities for no reason. So I'll just say they're purveyors of myth, rather than call them a bunch of despicable liars.

Anyhoo, the new agreement does not suck. Cuomo wanted probation to take five years, and now it only takes four. And all due process rights remain in place, as long as you don't get rated ineffective twice in a row and need more than 90 days to prove your case, as long as you don't get rated ineffective three years in a row and need more than 30 days to prove your case, and as long as you aren't an ATR who needs more than one day. Sure tenure used to take three years, but you gotta admit four years sucks a full year less than five years. Score another victory for us!

Governor Cuomo demanded more charter schools, and whoopee! He didn't get them as part of the budget agreement! How much does that not suck? Instead, he'll negotiate it later! It would suck if they had done it now. Now, we will talk about it later and no one can say just how much it does or does not suck until then. So, in review, doesn't suck now. Another victory! Plus we've always supported charters, and we've even opened and co-located one, and the part of it that didn't suck is still open. Another feather in our cap.

As for placing schools into receivership, the Governor won't do that. Instead, local chancellors will choose receivers. How bad could it be if the city took over closing schools, or had someone take them over? That's much better than Cuomo doing it, and it sucks way less. Of course it's never happened and we have no idea what it will be like when it does, but it is our considered opinion that it will suck less. After all, what's a few thousand ATRs between friends, and who even knows if that will happen? Clearly the amount of suck cannot be quantified here, so, no suck, no foul.

As for merit pay, Cuomo wanted 20K in merit pay. But that won't happen. In NYC, we have master and model teachers, and the rat squad which goes out and determines whether the burden of proof to fire you is on the DOE or you, but that's not merit pay, just like our last failed schoolwide program wasn't merit pay either. And since merit pay sucks, that isn't merit pay, and Cuomo didn't give us merit pay, this also doesn't suck.

As for funding, Cuomo wanted to give 1.1 billion in increases if we sucked up his sucky programs, which would suck. We went out and demanded that Cuomo pay us the 5.6 billion he owed us from the CFE lawsuit, and even paid valuable lip service to the notion of taking him to court over it. But we got 1.6 billion in aid, which sucks a lot less than 1.1 billion and a bunch of sucky programs. Sure the bloggers will ask why we didn't go for the 5.6 billion, but screw them because they're a bunch of lying bastards and we will never, ever allow them to influence us in our mission to accomplish things that don't suck as much as they could otherwise.

As for evaluation, we have of late been suggesting that the 1-100 measure, the one we had Leo Casey defend passionately on Edwize, sucks, and that we're looking for something new. Of course we don't want 50% of your rating to be based on test scores, because that would suck. Instead we will have multiple measures, which we already have, which suck way less than the 50% Governor Cuomo wants. What will they be? Who knows? And sure you might get observed by strangers from the state, but who can judge your skills better than someone who doesn't know you from a hole in the wall? That doesn't suck, does it?

Like Governor Cuomo, we loved the current law when it came out, but when people started to suggest that it sucked, we listened, and dumped NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi, contending that he sucked for passing the law in the first place. And believe you me, if there are any further problems, we will step up and declare Karen Magee sucks and dump her too. We are not afraid to dispense blame for things that suck. Just bear in mind that nothing is ever our fault, and that every change is a victory in that it could have sucked even more without our valuable input.

So thank you for everything you've done. In retrospect, it sucked that we scheduled the rally for March 28th coinciding with the budget agreement. Perhaps it would have been smarter to do it a week earlier when we might have gotten massive press coverage and actually influenced someone. Believe me, I will blame someone for that, maybe the bloggers, maybe Karen Magee, but someone will pay. And maybe we should have actually endorsed someone against Cuomo when he was running for governor, rather than sitting on our hands and letting Zephyr Teachout lose twice. However, we have already decided to blame NYSUT for not making that decision, so again, it's not our fault and it doesn't suck. And those bastard bloggers won't mention this, but under my leadership we haven't had a catastrophic natural disaster in over two years.

So, in conclusion, things suck much less than they could suck, we've reduced suckiness to a bare minimum, anything that does suck is not our fault, a thousand points of light, and God bless the United Federation of Teachers.
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