Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Eva Cuts the Fat

At first blush, you look at this and ask yourself, "How is it that Eva Moskowitz is on the cutting edge, while the leaders of public schools are cutting student funding?" After all, the Chalkbeat piece leads with a headline saying she's cutting staffers.

To me, that suggests their equivalent of the people who sit around Tweed doing Whatever They Do in there. (As far as I can tell, that entails sending out directives telling us what to do and having "legal" instruct principals in more and more creative ways to deny UFT members their rights.)

And as it goes on, it looks good.

Across its 45 schools and administrative offices, the network is laying off nearly 4% of its “non-core positions” that don’t include teachers, according to Liz Baker, a Success spokesperson.

That sounds reasonable. You don't want to cut teachers, the people who do the actual work, and you don't want to cut funding to the students. While the DOE hasn't said anything about layoffs, they are cutting the absurdly-named fair student funding, the program that not only fails to provide what it deems fair, but also makes principals think twice about hiring experienced teachers by making them responsible for salaries.

Of course, Eva herself is not taking a pay cut. She paid herself a measly $782,165 in 2016, and who knows what she's making now? You can't have a Moskowitz Academy without a Moskowitz, and in fairness, you can't even buy a squat little ranch house in Fresh Meadows, Queens for $782,165 anymore. Sure, she's probably making more now, but you don't expect someone as important as Eva Moskowitz to actually live in Queens, do you?

Anyway, I was all prepped to write a blog about how Moskowitz managed to set a better example than the city did when I stumbled across this sentence:

On top of that, the network is also firing 24 teachers due to performance issues. Success Academy “regularly addresses performance issues, and there were two dozen teachers out of a system of thousands that were let go for low performance,” Baker said in a statement.

Hmmm. So despite not including teachers in their fat-trimming,  they've jettisoned two dozen teachers into space. Doubtless it's unrelated and a simple coincidence. You see, we're not cutting their jobs. We're simply firing them, which is something altogether unrelated.

Why do you get fired in April from a Moskowitz Academy? There are any number of reasons. Maybe you looked at Eva the wrong way. Perhaps you allowed a child to go to a bathroom during an urgent test prep session. You failed to go on a voluntary bus trip to Albany, or stayed out sick too long with a deadly virus. Maybe you declined to work 200 hours of overtime last week for free. Maybe someone saw you talking to a UFT member. It could be anything.

You see, when you aren't union, you are an at-will employee, and you can be fired for a bad haircut. You can even be fired for a good haircut. What if your haircut is better than Eva's? How dare you? You're fired.

There's a lot we generally take for granted. I'm grateful to be UFT. I'm grateful I can't be fired for arbitrary and capricious nonsense. I've helped protect people's jobs over the years and I've helped pull people out of the ATR pool. I'm happy to know there are others who'd do the same for me.

I'll bet you I'd be among those two dozen Eva fired, were I unfortunate enough to be under her employ. I'm happy not to work for a non-union charter, and lucky to have a choice not to.

All Americans should have that choice. Step one is to remove Trump, and step two is to start pushing the Democratic Party back to where it belongs.
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