Thursday, October 14, 2021

On Persuasion, Lack Thereof, and UFT Endorsing a Bought-and-paid-for Charter Shill

 Last night's DA was remarkable on multiple levels. There was talk about NYCH, a bill that would provide health care for all New Yorkers. We heard that we would lose money if it were enabled, but no particulars were offered. If that were to be the case, it would behoove us to modify the bill so that it ceased to be the case. Then, we should support it. Health care for all, however we go about it, is a moral imperative.

Mostly, though, was the 180-degree turnaround on Eric Adams. Just weeks ago, Michael Mulgrew was speaking as disparagingly about Adams as I would. Last night, though, judging from what was said of the resolution, you'd think he was savior of the universe, a Marvel super hero, or a national treasure of some sort.

The fact is that Adams took six million dollars from charter interests, and not just any charter interests. He took it from a PAC affiliated with Students First.  Students First was founded by Michelle Rhee, who blathered on about the perfidy of teachers, had a miracle cure to improve schools, failed by every measure, and now peddles fertilizer of a more literal sort. You can see Jenny Sedelis if you click the link, who once worked for Eva Moskowitz, and pretty much still does. I'd always see her quoted back in the Bloomberg days, and if you thought they were fun, get ready for Eric Adams.

Some of the arguments I heard last night, likely all of them, were preposterous beyond belief. One person got up on his hind legs and said that we needed to fight Sliwa because of his involvement with charters. It's certainly true that Sliwa supports charters, but just as true that Adams does. In fact, the charter interests have put their money behind Adams, quite literally, and most certainly expect a return on their investment. Not one pro-Adams speaker even mentioned Adams' support of charters, and if you didn't know better, you'd think that we were battling charter interests. We are absolutely not doing that.

Another speaker got up and spoke of how we needed to support our members, you know, the ones we've been misleading about Adams and his positions on charter schools. Were that to be a valid point, we'd need to give them a vote, or at the very least survey them. Of course, we've done neither. I'm not averse to representative democracy, but I have a real problem misrepresenting this endorsement as the will of rank and file. Any rank and file familiar with the work of Diane Ravitch would have serious issues with this endorsement, as do I.

Another speaker got up and spoke to what Adams has done. He did this. He did that. He's our great supporter. Yet weeks ago the president was telling us he was in the pocket of charter interests, to absolutely not select him, and that the charters really wanted to be a force with which to be reckoned. Whoever this speaker was had no issue ignoring that utterly, and reading a litany of incredibly wonderful things that Adams did, all the while ignoring the six million dollars he accepted from people who hate us and everything we stand for.

There was also an argument that the selection committees did a lot of work. This notwithstanding, during primary season they determined to oppose Adams. 

Now there is an argument to be made for supporting Adams, though I heard no such thing last night. That argument was made to me privately by someone in a position to understand why UFT leadership may be doing this. That is the possibility that, if we support Adams, we can counter the anti-public-education forces who have pretty much bought him. Now that may be valid, though I don't really believe it us.

I remember our good friend Hillary Clinton, who we supported before we supported Obama, telling us there were things we could learn from "public charter schools." Just by calling them that, she granted them validity I don't believe they merit. Charters are, in fact, where anti-public-school folks went when they failed to sell vouchers to the public.

And I remember our good friend Barack Obama, who we supported when Hillary lost that nomination. I also remember Arne Duncan, whom he appointed as Secretary of Education. Duncan was the one who pushed the ironically named "Race to the Top," which left us with the awful, counter-productive evaluation system we now face. It also contributed to the mountain of testing our poor students face, sometimes used to rate teachers. 

The fact is Obama was a Democrat, supposedly our supporter, but very much under the sway of Bill Gates and his merry band of reformies. Education Secretary Duncan saw Hurrican Katrina as an opportunity, He privatized the entire NOLA school system and declared that Katrina was the best thing to happen to education in NOLA. That, of course, was because hiw wealthy BFFs were finally profiting from it. Also, there was no more messy union to stand in their way. You gotta love a Democrat who kills union and calls it progress. I did not vote for Barack Obama in his second term.

I don't anticipate good things from an Adams administration. Mulgrew said Bloomberg was talking to him, and I could very easily anticipate Bloomberg mach two. Personally, I very much hope I'm wrong, and that Adams turns out to be a reasonable guy, despite the suitcases of cash he happily took from people who hate us and everything we stand for. 

However, aside from educational visionary Diane Ravitch, who isn't even a politician, I've never seen a single reformy see the light. 

All they seem to see is the cash.

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