Before I begin, here are notes for tomorrow's events - Wednesday, June 15 - A busy day:
4PM: UFT Delegate Assembly
6PM: Leonie Haimson honors James Eterno and Julie Cavanagh at the Skinny (not Broad) Awards. Sorry, all sold out. But you can read all about it: Get the Skinny From Leonie. I will be there to tape it. And yes, I'll include the footage from the UFT honorees.
10PM: Lisa Donlan and Norm Scott on WBAI- Weds., June 15...Another big rally and march is planned today over the Brooklyn Bridge by the UFT and I and all the activists in the various groups will be there - GEM, Teachers Unite, ICE, TJC, NYCORE and the Fight Back Friday coalition. March over the bridge with other Fight Back Friday Schools!! Tuesday, 4pm
Yes, you can hear my raw Brooklyn dulcet tones on WBAI as Lisa and I borrow Gov. Christie's helicopter to head over to the radio station to talk about - what am I talking about again?
Add this to the UFT/NAACP law suit on closing schools and readers and critics of my usual stand on the UFT as Vichy might ask: Norm, what's the beef?
Well, this stuff is macro and I am still not sure they won't sell out - check out this morning's story to see where I was going on that issue. Powerful Voices of Parents and Teachers Condemn Separate and Unequal at Press Conference
But this is about micro, not macro. Sort of like the "you can reduce crime by stopping graffiti" argument. Stop the attacks on chapter leaders before doing the big stuff.
If you've been following my series of articles on the UFT abandoning the fight to protect chapter leaders under assault - Did UFT Undermine Chapter Leader at MS 216Q by Sending in Incompetent Rep to Hold SBO Vote? other than to tell them to hush it up and promising to try to parachute them out of harm's way - and what kind of message does that leave to the chapter members who had elected them and now feel that fighting an abusive principal is useless - you can tell that at at the root level the union is in trouble.
Now it is funny that when I was a Delegate in the late 90's there were stories of a principal abusing a chapter leader and I used Ed Notes to put forth a resolution calling for more protections for CLs. The leadership adamantly opposed it and the Unity clones went along - it got only a handful of votes. Maybe that will give you a clue to my pissed off attitude at Unity and the leadership. I mean, this was years before BloomKlein and the Leadership Academy.
I was recently contacted by another chapter leader who is under attack. My first question was:
Is your principal a Leadership Academy grad? Of course. The pattern is clear that there is some training going on on how to attack the union at the school level. The union is not offering any counter measures on how to fight back. My advice to many prospective chapter leaders with an unfriendly principal (even friendly principals often quickly turn unfriendly when confronted) is to tread very carefully. No matter what the union promises in terms of protection they just won't and can't do it.
The CL wrote back
Yes there is a pattern. The other pattern is the UFT doing next to nothing to protect its own soldiers -- on whom the entire union depends -- after they surrender thousands of hours of labor and put their careers and families at risk . It's unreal. It's as if the UFT are afraid to act. I don't understand this. They seem to have simply ceased fighting back and accept whatever these insane principals say and work from there -- as far as you can work from there. You know, like a boxer who lays down on the mat before the opening bell. Surely, it wasn't always like this, no ? I mean, under these conditions who would be a chapter leader ? For what ? To lose your job for a union that will not protect you ?What is my answer? Complicated and I'll try to address this further another time. But if your prime directive is to hold onto power and there is no force out there threatening your power, why do anything? The other angle is the wish to be a partner in ed deform and being too militant will endanger that. Also - if you are too militant some people might start asking more questions about the state of democracy in the UFT and how one party has held overwhelming power for a half century.
It's insane. And pathetic.
But I'm mystified. What is the benefit to UFT to do next to nothing when you see some of your hardest working CL's thrown to the dogs ? I simply don't understand. If this continues the UFT will wind up with no chapter leaders -- or worse still, plenty of chapter leaders and every single one of them working for the principal.
I am equally mystified by the entire issue of Bloomberg's Leadership Academy -- as well as the nationally based Broad's version. How are these ridiculous places accredited ? They are worse than University of Phoenix. How are they even legal ? Has any one looked into the legality of this ? Maybe it's time for a lawsuit.
To be sure, every Leadership Academy idiot is trained to divide and conquer and undermine the union.
Another issue is the number of people being denied tenure and forced into an extension - 9 out of 10 in one school, 4 out of 6 in another. Many are so distraught they are just up and leaving - that is why I think there will be many more vacancies than people expect. See this blog post by Tales of a Sweet Girl on this issue. I will blog about it soon.