I will spend more time on the UFT's refusal to tie cases like this attack on the lifeblood of the UFT - see Peter Lamphere and others - to the LIFO fight.
We celebrate today's Delegate Assembly with this post from NYC Educator who pretty much sums it all up. I will be heading over there for to hear today's line being tossed out and the overwhelming majority of Unity Caucus members eat it up.
Over and over, we lie down with dogs, and marvel at the ensuing fleas. We invite Bill Gates to investigate what makes teachers "effective." He comes in and tests cameras in classrooms, because everyone knows those fowl teachers cannot be trusted unless you monitor them every second. We invite him to speak at our convention, and the following week he attacks the wastefulness of those bloated teacher pensions, wondering aloud why we can't eat cat food like other elderly folk who aren't Bill Gates.
We endorse mayoral control, because who knows how bad it can be, and besides this Bloomberg fellow goes to baseball games with Randi Weingarten. He must be OK. Then after it turns out to be an unmitigated disaster, we make a list of improvements we'd like before we'll accept its renewal. When we don't get them, we support its renewal anyway.
We allow them to get rid of seniority transfers, and give power to principals to have absolute veto over incoming teachers. We design an open market that allows anyone to transfer anywhere, as long as principals think it's OK. Who woulda thunk that principals preferred malleable new teachers at half salary to grizzled old opinionated veterans? After all, just because those are the only people that get hired in the suburbs, why should it apply to us? And when thousands of teachers end up rotting in the Absent Teacher Reserve, demoralized and demonized, we are shocked, and state because more teachers transferred in the new program than the old, it is an unmitigated success.
We make a deal to reduce class size. The deal is so full of holes a tank could drive through it, but we declare victory anyway. When class sizes go up anyway, despite our deal and almost a billion dollars in CFE funds, we wonder how it could've happened.
Finally, we make a deal to allow value-added be part of teacher evaluations. Sure, it has no validity, but everybody's doing it, so where's the problem? We cleverly allow it to be only 20% of our evaluation, while other states are making it 50, and declare victory yet again. When the state passes a law allowing it to be double, we say, gee, how the heck did that happen? And Governor Cuomo, our good bud, is gonna do a Race to the Top and withhold money if we choose to exercise our option to negotiate, and turn down whatever abysmal offer Tweed comes up with.
Gee, how could this be happening? I thought we'd had it all taken care of.
A commenter added the small schools story, which we in ICE started raising questions about as far back as 2005 only to be accused of being anti-small schools when in fact we were issuing warnings about what was to ensue, to deaf ears at the UFT I might add. Leo Casey even recently brought this up in relation to our critiques of charters which he defends if done "right." I have it all on tape and one day I'll take some time to put Leo's presentation together (which we will probably hear again on Sat. night at the film showing.)
Two years ago when the DoE decided to use Teacher's Data Report in grades 3-8, the union said why not. At every chapter leader meeting, the D.R.s told the chapter leaders to tell teachers that "it's okay" to use as an evaluative tool of their students' progress. In fact, they showed a video on the how to handle administration if there use the TDR abusively against a teacher. Now they want to publicize the teachers' TDR, knowing that it is fraught with errors and inaccuracies. Yet, every teacher mentioned that if it happened in California, publicizing those reports, where one teacher committed suicide, it will happen in NY. Why the heck are we in court again?
In 2002, large high schools, especially in the Bronx, were being broken into boutique/theme high schools. H.S. teachers complained that these small schools would not bring about the a higher rate of graduation because those schools would be dealing with the same population of students and the solution was to help the large, comprehensive high schools with more fundings, resources (more CBO, more attendance teachers, social workers, etc), not close them. Small schools got the creme of the crop, poor academic, special needs, and behavior difficult students were deflected from the theme schools arnd were placed in already overcrowding high schools. The results were poor performance, low graduation rate, abysmal attendance rate, high incident reports; DoE's solution is to close the school. Second result, ATR pool is drowning with senior teachers that no theme schools want because of the new "Fair Funding - Children First" budget, which Randi did not fight against.
I truly feel that teachers, not only got paddled hard, but they stuck it in good and hard, gave a strong twist, and asked us ,"how much do you like this?" because we continue to ask for it constantly. Ouch!