Saturday, January 09, 2010
Its About Time That Our Union Fights Back In Stopping Bloomberg & Klein From Allocating Education Funds For Reducing Class Size To Other Uses
As many of you know I have been very critical of our union and their culture of appeasement under the failed leadership of Randi Weingarten. Every time the union gave an inch, the DOE took a mile. Every negotiated agreement between the union and the DOE were ignored by the DOE when they pleased. Examples are the ATR agreement and the "rubber room" agreement where the DOE have consistently choose to ignore the provisions that affect them. The result is that we will have over 2,000 ATRs by year end and "rubber rooms" that are bursting at the seems. I have watched as the paperwork has tripled and the classroom environment has become more hostile, how the union allowed and even approved the DOE policies that encouraged recruitment of lower paid "newbie teachers" at the expense of higher paid, experienced teachers always seemed a problem to me. It appears that maybe our union has finally cried "enough" and is ready to combat the DOE bully as it should have done eight years ago.
Finally, the union has filed a lawsuit on how the DOE misused 760 million dollars of CFE funds by New York State to reduce class size to other programs, some may not be of any educational use. Despite the increased money and declining enrollment, we have actually seen an increase in class sizes throughout the New York City Public School System since 2007. See chart. Where did the money go? To which programs? Did it even go for education? I applaud my union in taking their first concrete step in confronting the DOE in their "children last" program. However, this should only be the beginning of a more dynamic and pro-active union that flexes their collective muscles and let's their opponents and the politicians in Albany know what it is like to upset the 800 pound gorilla.
I am also impressed that the union has not agreed to any "givebacks" in the contract negotiations with the City. I understand that the union negotiators refused to put on the table any of the Bloomberg/Klein proposals about the ATRs, reassigned teachers, or tenure issues. Good for them and let's keep it that way. Rather no contract than a bad contract.
Good job Michael Mulgrew, so far you appear to be a Mensch. I hope this continues for all our sakes.