Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Fox And The Scorpion

It is unreal how many times the UFT makes a deal with the DOE only to be "shocked" when the DOE reneges on the agreement. Of course these broken agreements destroys the trust between the two organizations and hurts the very students that we are mandated to improve academically. Is it any wonder that student scores have remained unchanged since beginning of the Kleinberg era?

The relationship between Randi Wiengarten's UFT and Joel Klein's DOE reminds me of the story of the fox and the scorpion. In the story the scorpion could not get across the river when he encountered a fox. Knowing the fox could swim across the river the scorpion asked the fox to carry him over to the other side. The fox, a cunning animal, said "that you are a scorpion and how do I know that if I carry you over the river you won't sting me"? The scorpion replied "why would I do that? If I sting you we both die". The fox thought about it and said hop on. As the fox was halfway to the other side, the scorpion stings the fox. As the fox feels the poison moving through his body he said "why did you sting me? We both are going to die now". The scorpion's response. "I stung you because that is what I am".

Look at all the agreements the UFT have with the DOE that were either altered, changed, or reneged on.

  • The fair student funding program that according to the UFT won't penalize older and highly-paid teachers. Guess again. The DOE is already looking to eliminate that agreement. Furthermore, in anticipation of the fair student funding changes, principals are already trying to hire lower-paid newbie or young teachers.
  • The seniority transfer program. The UFT's spin mister Leo Casey in Edwize told everybody that more teachers can transfer because the principals can no longer hide the open positions in the schools. What Leo Casey failed to tell us is that only the younger and lower-paid teachers were being hired under the open market transfer program. The older and highly-paid teachers were being added to the ATR ranks.
  • The reduction of ATR's and "rubber room" teachers. The UFT has assured it's ATR's and "rubber room" teachers that she is working on a deal to reduce their ranks in the Fall of 2007. The result? There have been no apparent reduction in either group.
  • Increased paperwork mandated by the DOE. Despite assurances by Joel and Randi, the paperwork for the classroom teachers have not been reduced, if anything it is still increasing and there appears to be no end in sight.
  • The establishment of the DOE "firing squad" that the UFT knew about but didn't object to until it hit the newspapers.
  • The 27/55 retirement program for newbie teachers resulting in a de facto Tier V pension plan. This new pension plan will save the city millions of dollars on the backs of these newbie teachers. Why not 25/55 for them? Wasn't this plan supposed to be revenue neutral?
  • The 60-90 day suspension without pay for non-criminal conduct. Randi Weingarten in a delegate assembly meeting told the DA that only teachers subject to felony arrest would be subject to this provision. However, many teachers have been suspended without pay or health benefits without the police every being called.
  • The "Holy Thursday" controversy. Despite an ongoing agreement that teachers are allowed to take off for religious observance, the DOE told principals that they don't have to allow teachers to take off. While the UFT did go to court and received a stay. The mere fact that the DOE has the gall to even try this is a show in bad faith and a continuation of their anti-teacher crusade.
It's time for the UFT to stop being the fox and stay away from the DOE scorpion. Cooperating with the scorpion just results in teachers getting stung time and again.


Socrates said...

Yes, it totally makes sense that our union should fight the administration that's given us the biggest across-the-board raises in our history. Let's go back to the days when a new teacher made less than $30,000. That's so good for kids!

17 (really 15) more years said...

Chaz- a riveting and scary posting. Now relax and enjoy the break.

Soc- once again, your ignorance is showing. We gave up a great deal for those pay "raises"- and everybody, including you, seems to forget that more work for more pay is NOT a raise. If you figure it out, our total raises given the amount of additional time we work, is approximately 1.5% - and that's a generous estimate.

With so many senior teachers floating around in the ATR pool, quite frankly, I'm not worried about the newbies and how much they earn. We all (well, perhaps not you) had to pay our dues at the low end of the salary scale. We dealt with it- let them do the same.

Socrates said...

A tiny bit more work for a whole lot more pay is a pretty darn good deal in my book.

Chaz said...


You are truly clueless.

Anonymous said...

Hey Socrates:

You read like some pathetic UFT plant. Every reader of this blog knows what crap you write and where you are coming from. So the question is: why do you bother?

Socrates said...

If you've read anything I've written you'll know that I hate the UFT more than you guys do. The UFT protects bad teachers, which is bad for kids. Until they abolish tenure and seniority rules, I will consider the UFT one of the biggest reasons for the failure of our schools.

Now, some others have called me a shill for the DOE, which while that's also not true, is at least a more understandable assertion.

ed notes online said...

I agree with much of this but not the conclusion. I see the UFT as much a scorpion as the DOE. Read the Kahlenberg praise of Shanker's ed reform program where he talked about how the union should be part of the process of getting rid of bad teachers. And the wearing down of seniority rules too. The UFT/AFT has been a co-scorpion for a long time. Randi just cinched the deal.

The praise of Rod Paige and Rotherham is more important to their overall goal - to be statesmen and woman for change in education and an ultimate merger of the AFT and NEA. The key to all this is maintaining the power of Unity Caucus which is the engine driving it all. Thus every means of keeping down dmeocracy and making sure an opposition never gets started - that included buying the opposition - ala New Action - if necessary. Hmmm. How much could I get for Ed Notes?

Chaz said...


I guess I'm a little naive. I just assumed that the union cares about it's members but is always outwitted by the evil empire (DOE).

I do believe that the union (Unity) has lost touch with it's classroom teachers and that is why we had the 2005 contract disaster. However, after discovering how the UFT conspired with the DOE to put teachers offline for 90 days based on hearsay, I must admit you do have a good point.

Maybe the teachers4action lawsuit that is suing the UFT & DOE will result in some much-needed changes.

Socrates said...

The UFT is the scorpion for sure. They automatically do anything they can to ruin kids' lives. Chief among their tactics is, of course, tenure.

Chaz, a quick bit of feedback: "it's" is a contraction. It means "it is." You're looking for "its." Sorry, just a pet peeve of mine; the kids are always watching and if we teach them wrong, they learn wrong.

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Spencer Kent said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey, Soc...

"...if we teach them wrong, they learn wrong"? There's no way you're a teacher!

Socrates said...

Really, why is that? You don't think that if you model poor grammar and spelling for kids they'll become poor spellers and grammarians?

Anonymous said...

When a teacher makes a mistake and a student points it out it can be a wonderful thing. It teaches nobody's perfect. When one takes a whole paragraph to point out another blogger's grammatical mistake, one can be considered a pompous asphalt.

Is my spelling okay?

Anonymous said...

Apologies are nice.

Anonymous said...

If tenure and seniority were the problem in education, then why don't students in Texas, where there is no collective bargaining, seniority or tenure, score the highest in the country? They don't. Socrates you are full of it.

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