Saturday, April 09, 2016

Who Should Run the United Federation of Teachers?

If you're happy with how things have been going, you can vote for Michael Mulgrew and his gang of 800 loyalty oath signers. You can let them know you love being under a microscope. You can tell them you love being judged by a rubric, and it makes no difference to you whether or not supervisors even understand it. You can tell them it's swell that you can't address supervisory fabrication in observations until and unless you receive an ineffective rating.

You can tell them you're pleased they failed not once, but twice to oppose autocratic billionaire Michael Bloomberg as he bought Gracie mansion. You can pat them on the back for supporting his mayoral control not only at its inception, but also after it was proven to be an abject disaster. You can thank them for not only supporting charter schools, but also for creating and even co-locating them.

You can let UFT Unity and Michael Mulgrew know that you have no problem with their sitting on their hands as Joel Klein established a Leadership Academy and trained a small army of administrators to paint targets on the backs of working teachers. You can tell them you approve of being judged by test scores of students you may or may not even teach. You can let them know that you think it's a great idea to be judged on what Diane Ravitch and the American Statistical Assiciation regard as junk science.

You can pat UFT Unity on the back for having handed you a contract that ushered in second tier due process for ATR teachers, the most vulnerable among us. You can tell them you're pleased to wait until 2020 for the raise that NYPD, FDNY and most city workers got in 2009. You can say, "Thank you sir, may I have another?" as they make teachers on leave wait at least two years to get the small portion of retro pay we received a few months ago.

In fact, you can thank them for their failure to actively support or promote opt-out. You can listen to Mulgrew take credit for the cosmetic changes Cuomo proposed, the ones that were actually inspired by opt-out activists like those in this video, Jia Lee, Lauren Cohen, and Kristin Taylor. You can pretend that Cuomo is afraid of Mulgrew instead of the vibrant grassroots opt-out movement that has tabloids all over the state in a frenzy.

On the other hand, you may wish to support the future, and you may wish to repudiate the reforminess that has infected and degraded not only our profession, but also the education of our children. That's what I'm going to do, and I'm going to do so by voting for not only Jia Lee for UFT President, but also the entire coalition of MORE/ New Action. I'm tired of being told that black is white, that hot is cold, that day is night.

If you are too, you will join me in demanding fundamental change in our union. MORE/ New Action has a slate of hundreds of activists who will stand up for what we know to be right. That's why I'm proud to be running with them. Vote for them, vote for me, and vote for a long-needed new direction in our union, the United Federation of Teachers. 
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