Sunday, March 10, 2019

NY Post Editorial Board Giveth With One Hand, and Stabbeth in Back With the Other

Now that mayoral control is an issue, the NY Post is on a rampage standing up for us poor teachers and the terrible discipline issues we have.

“If I had a dime for every time I was told to suck something, I’d be a millionaire,” said a female Jamaica, Queens, high school teacher.
“They know the system. They can say whatever they want to us and get away with it, but we can’t say a thing to them.

There is indeed truth to that. If you read Chancellor's Regulation A-421, you'll see that teachers may not say anything that:
Has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being; 
This means, essentially, if you say, "Good morning," and the student doesn't like your tone, you could be sitting at a disciplinary hearing. If "reasonable" is determined by a Leadership Academy-style principal, or some other DOE hack, they could certainly rule against you and your nasty old "Good morning."

And it's absolutely true that it's tougher to take action, with the movement against suspension. I'm always surprised when I see columns suggesting that students who get suspended are less likely to graduate. Of course they're less likely to graduate. But is that because they were suspended, or is it due to the behavior that caused the suspension?

Anyway, it seems like the NY Post editorial staff is our bestest buddy when they write stuff like that. On the other hand, they also write stuff like this, saying that Mulgrew betrayed the mayor on mayoral control by admitting our current discipline system was broken. I'm a little hard-pressed to see how wanting better discipline equates to betraying the mayor, or even opposing mayoral control. (I oppose mayoral control, but I express it by saying, "I oppose mayoral control," not by criticizing school discipline.) And here's the Post's take:

We don’t doubt that Mulgrew’s been hearing plenty from his members for years. But this mayor has been generous with pay increases for teachers, and done his best to crush the charter schools that the union hates. So the UFT boss speaks up about discipline only when he’d look ridiculous staying quiet.
For my money, we don't hate charters remotely enough. The Post loves them because they're non-union. They love seeing someone like Moskowitz, who meets with their Dear Leader Trump and says she'll work with him. They love Eva, because she can't be bothered with inconvenient nonsense like teacher certification, and is fine with letting her college student son teach economics for minimum wage. There's no student coddling over there. Instead, Eva makes them do test prep until they pee their pants.

Aside from that, charters don't take the same kids we do. There's a reason why most of the students who start with Eva don't graduate with her. There's a reason why you won't see a beginning ELL, a SIFE student, or an alternative assessment student in any Moskowitz Academy. It's not much of a miracle to get higher test scores when you don't take a cross section of the community, and when you dump everyone who doesn't perform. Where do you think students who make trouble in Moskowitz Academies end up? Certainly in front of you and me in public schools. Maybe they're the ones the Post is writing about.

I'm not exactly sure how generous this mayor has been with us. In fact, the mayor still owes me around twenty thousand dollars that I earned a decade ago. I've never seen that acknowledged in the Post, and the clear implication here is that we're making too much money to criticize the mayor. That's ridiculous. I'm not exactly sitting around lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills. Also, I'm sure the Post board would be overjoyed with adult teachers making minimum wage like Eva's kid.

Here's what Mulgrew says:

“We need the resources and training necessary to change school climate.”

The Post determines that to mean that he wants more "restorative justice." Where it's appropriate, I want more too. But "resources and training" aren't restricted to that. Suspension is an important option , as well. Every situation is different, and I'd argue options are resources too.

As for de Blasio and mayoral control, while UFT has and seems to still support it, I don't even know why he wants it. We all know Bloomberg used it to close schools and give carte blanche to Eva Moskowitz. As soon as de Blasio denied Eva, Governor Cuomo and the Heavy Hearted Assembly passed a resolution that he had to pay rent for charters if he denied them space.

As far as I can see, mayoral control only applies if you're a reformy charter school supporter. Michael Bloomberg could do Any Damn Thing he wanted, and I never saw the Post editorial board fretting over school safety when he was mayor. The Post wants to deny de Blasio mayoral control. If pretending to care about our working conditions advances that narrative, then that's exactly what they'll do.

This doesn't make them our supporters by any stretch of the imagination.
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