Wednesday, December 02, 2020

UFT Owns City, Says Post Editorial Board

I guess I should no longer be surprised when the Post cries working teachers want to "bury any hope for NYC schoolchildren." Who knew that teachers sat around and plotted ways to ruin the lives of children? Who knew we even had the time? I can barely keep up with correcting the compositions coming into my Google Classroom. 

I must be waking up in the middle of the night and marching, zombie-like, with hordes of my colleagues to hatch evil schemes. No wonder I'm so tired all the time.

Of course, it's exhausting being omnipotent. Yet, if I'm omnipotent, why does it take so much effort to get out of bed in the morning? It must be all that brain work. Remember how the pigs in Animal Farm needed to eat all the apples to support their brain work? It's the same here, except we don't actually get the apples. I learn a lot reading Post editorials:

De Blasio has served as Mulgrew’s cat’s-paw since Day 1. Notably, the union boss set the absurd “3 percent rule” the mayor cited in closing the schools last week.
Empowering though that may be, it's also absolutely false. The 3% number came from the mayor, not the UFT. It's unfortunate that the Post editorial board can't be bothered to vet its figures. They're not alone in right wing media. Sean Hannity just made the bold admission that he can't be bothered vetting stories either. I guess if you're committed to tell the truth, it's harder to get people to support demagogues like Trump, Giuliani or Bloomberg. 

De Blasio has also asked “how high?” when Mulgrew ordered him to jump on other issues: Union cries of a teachers shortage, for example, has now left the city with 4,500 teachers it doesn’t need, since virtual learning doesn’t require as many instructors, the Empire Center notes.

That's also ridiculous. The fact is, de Blasio's ridiculous hybrid plan relied on virtual learning specialists, none of whom have been actually hired. Further, de Blasio's hybrid plan, the one he paid idiots millions to come up with, simply required more teachers. A larger number of teachers is a benefit for children any way you look at it. More teachers means more attention for more children. If the Post editorial board were really advocating for children, it would applaud this addition.

Furthermore, the notion that virtual learning doesn't require as many instructors is outlandish. First of all, classes are overcrowded and have been for decades. 4500 teachers would only marginally help ameliorate that issue. More importantly, anyone who's actually experienced online education could tell you that existing class sizes are woefully too high. It's very hard to get to know 34 new students on a computer. 

Is the Empire Center, whoever they may be, assuming the higher class sizes permitted in de Blasio's crappy plan? Who knows? The Post doesn't provide a link, and I have no idea what the source even says.

Let's go back to de Blasio asking Mulgrew "how high" he should jump. It was only weeks ago that the mayor announced he was unilaterally withholding a billion dollars from UFT members. Last I looked, that's not how you trat someone from whom you take orders unquestioningly. If Mulgrew were really Al Capone, that would be a remarkable way to treat him. (not to mention us, his thugs and goons).

In fact, this is money we earned over a decade ago, money FDNY and NYPD were paid at the time. Maybe the editorial board forgot. Maybe they don't read their own paper. Who knows?

Then the Post gets to the crux of the situation, vilifying us and pitting us against the children we serve every day of our working lives:

The United Federation of Teachers isn’t the only reason New York City’s school system is so dysfunction, now or pre-pandemic. But the way it gets away, time and again, with serving its own interests at the expense of the kids is a major part of the problem.
This is disgusting. First of all, dysfunction is a noun, not an adjective. (Certainly the Post editorial board would benefit from my beginning ENL class.) More importantly, our working conditions are student learning conditions. If we didn't have a union, I'd have been fired years ago for telling a NYT columnist my school was not providing appropriate services for two students who in fact were fluent in English but illiterate. I would not have been able to advocate for these, or any students in this frequently dysfunctional system. I'm sure tens of thousands of my colleagues would have been discharged for similar reasons. Imagine a workforce full of teachers terrified to speak up for children.

We wake up every morning ready to serve the children of New York City. For better or worse, we are the only city union that supported opening buildings this year. And while the 3% number came from de Blasio, it was an effort to preclude the disaster that continues to plague much of the country.

The state’s threshold is 9 percent.
Actually, it's 5%. Of course, Cuomo may have recently stuck his finger in the air and changed his mind. It's ridiculous to attribute his low standard to his caring about children more than those of us who do it every day. Nonetheless, we in NYC schools have been to hell and back. We don't want to go back, and we don't want to drag our students there with us. The lower threshold is erring on the side of caution. This is the best, and perhaps the only good decision de Blasio has made in this crisis. 

The Post is free to shed crocodile tears over the plight of parents, but an overwhelming majority of city parents have chosen to keep their children home. Mayor de Blasio assumed that anyone who didn't fill in his survey was coming to school, but students have stayed home in droves. That's the only reason why he now says some students can come in five days a week.

Of course, this is only after he announced there would be no more opting in, and that's why he's confident he can serve those remaining. If the Post were really worried about the kids we serve, we'd be reading about how families of color, who've chosen online learning at higher rates, are being shut out. 

I advise you to sit while you wait for the Post to write about that.

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