Tuesday, May 07, 2019

MORE Alters Petition After People Signed It

Imagine signing a contract and having someone unilaterally change it. I mean, there's your signature, and they just go back and edit the contract so it fits their revised specs. A whole lot of people signed a petition asking for December 23rd to be replaced with a school day on June 27. MORE had not bothered to consult with a calendar, and thus failed to note that June 27th fell on a Saturday.

After I read their petition, I consulted a calendar. I noticed that June 27th fell on a Saturday, and that neither MORE nor Chalkbeat, which wrote a feature around this petition, had bothered to look this up. I wrote about this a few days ago. Evidently MORE got wind of the fact they were suggesting teachers and students come in on a Saturday.

Rather than withdraw the petition, which would be the honest thing to do, they simply changed the date on it. Simple, huh? However, that's a unilateral alteration of contract. Most people probably won't go back and notice that the thing they signed had been altered. I can't be sure, though, that people who agreed to come in the day after school was set to end would be willing to wait another weekend and come back just for a Monday.

After all, one of the stupidest things about us coming in on December 23rd is the creation of a one-day week. Anyone who teaches every day is acutely aware of the sort of attendance we can expect on December 23rd. That's why this day would be a waste of time. However, a whole lot of us come for one additional attendance day in June, and we all know how ridiculous that is. I teach ELLs, who attend at higher percentages than other groups, and I'll get three or four students in a class on that day.

After all, if I were a student, and I knew that I'd taken all my tests and the grades were in, it would be highly unlikely I'd bother to show my face in school again. I could go to the beach. I could see my friends. I could stay home and play Xbox. I could play with my phone all day without some crazy teacher screaming about how he was gonna confiscate my phone.

As for convenience, or lack thereof, I'm not persuaded that exchanging one wasted Monday for another is a net gain. It's hard to have confidence in people who fail to show due diligence, as MORE did when they wrote this petition. Chalkbeat didn't bother either. In fact, Chalkbeat's story still reflects the suggestion of extending the year to June 27th. Evidently MORE hasn't bothered to inform them of their unilateral decision to revise their already signed petition.

So now if you signed the petition, thinking you'd come in on a Thursday or something, or even approving of a Saturday, you've now offered to trade a frosty winter Monday for a sunny summer one.

 I've got a little experience with MORE. They tossed all my friends out, and called them "right-wingers" in an email that was sent to me. Maybe if you support Bernie over Jill Stein, you're a right-winger. I don't know.  But if you signed their petition, you're now asking the state to extend the school year into an extra week for another wasted day. If so, I hope that was what you signed up for.

Personally, I don't believe in wasted days at all. The day ought to be eliminated, full stop. As a parent, as a teacher, and as a unionist, I have better things to do. I sincerely hope you do as well.
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