Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Failure Of Our Union To Make Life Better For Their Members - Part I, The Classroom.



























This post is the first of a six part series on the union's failure to improve the hostile working conditions that the New York City public school teachers are subject to on a daily basis.  Long gone are the days when Albert Shanker was willing to strike to ensure that the teachers were respected and protected from vindictive administrators and destructive policies from City Hall.  Now we have an unaccountable and disconnected union leadership who uses member funds for their own political ambitions and wear blinders when it comes to the abuses of the Bill de Blasio/Farina administration that continues to make teaching in the classroom a living hell.

During the Bloomberg years it was understandable that the union was ineffective in improving the classroom environment considering who was running the union (the great appeaser, Randi Weingarten) and the hostility of the Bloomberg administration, in fact, the classroom environment actually deteriorated with rising class sizes,  inadequate resources, and paperwork overload.  Moreover, every contract negotiated with the Bloomberg administration contained "givebacks" and the pitiful raises came with extra time or other significant concessions by the union.  Unfortunately, during those years the steadfastness of Albert Shanker was replaced by the wuss Randi Weingarten who, for raises that barely equaled the inflation rate saw the member due process rights eroded and the classroom environment worsen.  However, when Bill de Blasio replaced Mayor Bloomberg the union leadership under Michael Mulgrew started a love affair with the new Mayor and his Chancellor, Carmen Farina, and promised the members that there will be significant improvements in the classroom.  A new era of collaboration was to bring back the respect and cooperation between the DOE and the teachers in the trenches. Yeah right, and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

It has been two years since the Bill de Blasio administration has been in charge of the DOE and little has changed in the hostile classroom environment.  School budgets have been frozen since the Bloomberg Administration despite the economic recovery in the City and huge budget surpluses.  Large class sizes, the highest in the State, has not been reduced as promised by the new Mayor when campaigning for his position, and many of the Bloomberg policies remain in place that encourages principals to hire the "cheapest and not the best teachers" for their students.  In fact, many of the Bloomberg 300 that run the DOE and implement policy are still in there positions and further damaging education with their education deformer mandates.  Yet our disconnected union leadership will proclaim that things are improving as Michael Mulgrew continues his love affair with Chancellor Carmen Farina, while the terrible classroom environment remain unchanged.

As we start the 2015-16 school year class sizes are as large as ever, many incompetent and vindictive principals are still running their schools into the ground, and the paperwork reduction promised by our union leadership remains unfulfilled.  The school budget is frozen and resources are scarce.  In some schools teachers have to supply their own photocopy paper and materials that should be supplied by the schools.  Moreover, the punitive Chancellor regulations of the Bloomberg administration have become more stringent and student discipline relaxed.  The result is an overcrowded classroom and classroom management issues that make learning difficult and worsen the classroom environment.

Yet, the disconnected union leadership would have you believe that there is a new era of collaberation between the DOE and UFT but don't tell that to the teachers in the trenches, to us its still the same hostile classroom environment that the union refuses to see or do anything about.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you're a "friend" of the DeBlasio admin, you're taken care of as reported in the Post recently. Another Tweed big shot, and personal friend of DeBlasio is Sadie Sotomayor. She's got a beautiful position in Tweed at 6 figures. Oh, her husband is a huge power player in 32-BJ. There ya go! The Post hasn't learned about this 6 figure waste. But you have her name Chaz. She's so hidden because of her non experience that you can't even find her on the DOE homepage at Tweed. She's got one year teaching experience in the Bronx. Well, this certainly makes her perfect for a DeBlasio fake position at Tweed. Congrats Sadie!

BB said...

I dont even think class size is the biggest problem. Depending on where you work, student behavior, which has been bad for a long time, has gotten completely out of control. Every school is just about the same. High school students, simply walking aimlessly all day in the halls, hats on, cell phones in use, phone calls, texts, music, show up to school when they want, leave when they want, go to the gym all day to play basketball while cutting other classes, cursing and threatening teachers...No pen, no paper, not ability to read or write on the most basic level...A free for all. This has become accepted. Im tired of,"they are good kids, just need this or that." Yeah, right. 19 years old with 3 credits and 35 arrests. And then they relax the discipline code more and more every year.

Anonymous said...

And our yearly rating is impacted by these wonderful students. What a joke!

Arn said...

Ditto. The expectation is now that they are lousy students and people so we must put up with it. You know, we cant suspend the whole city. Instead of making them conform with basic rules and expectations, everything has been lowered, and they run the building.

Anonymous said...

The schools are 100% worse since DeBlasio and Farina came in. No more suspensions, cell phones recording and filming everything, students openly watch hardcore porn and filming themselves while having sex, the shit goes on and on.

Anonymous said...

I commend you for this series. Consider the washing post article about the seattle strike if you can. I look forward to reading...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2015/09/25/the-surprising-things-seattle-teachers-won-for-students-by-striking/

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone really cares about the quality of public education. Not the politicians, the students, the media, the public, and many of the new teachers. (Indeed, I believe the new teachers have to become detached to survive.) They will wait out the experienced high salaried ATRs until they retire. The new teachers I talk to only want to teach for a few years until they are called into the police department, fire department or some federal agency. Teaching will become what Arne Duncan wants it to become - a stepping stone for people, a rite of passage for those on their way to a real career that matters. Until teachers get to the point they want to strike and parents get to the point they start protesting, nothing will change.

Francesco Portelos said...

In the next couple of ours, we'll be posting a video of UFT Unity stories told by former NY Teacher reporter Jim Callaghan at last week's UFT Solidarity meeting.

Make sure you're sitting down when viewing it. It'll be on uftsolidarity.org

ed notes online said...

Chaz
A real misinterpretation of the Shanker leadership. In fact Randi exercised precisely the Shanker plan to support ed deform. Yes, Shanker - who opened the door to the union/corporate partnerships. Go read the Shanker bio - which is very complimentary - but one of the reasons is that Shanker was so "reasonable" in dealing away teacher rights. That book was partially funded by Eli Broad.

The Veteran State Employee said...

What do you expect when a fellow who still thought communism was the answer at a surprisingly late date (the 1980's!) becomes the leader of our city and schools. Apparently the mass murders of Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Pol Pot, Kim ll Sung, Castro and others somehow eluded his intellectual grasp.

When a flat-earther takes over an astronomy department do you expect scholarship to improve?

(Oh, and another thing, when a fellow legally changes his name not once but twice [from Warren Wilhelm Jr. to Warren de Blasio-Wilhelm to Bill de Blasio] that is a hint he is much more than a little a bit odd. Expect leadership failure at the very least.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the mass murders of Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Pol Pot, Kim ll Sung, Castro and others somehow eluded his intellectual grasp.

Apparently you have a hard time distinguishing history from state department propaganda...cold war is over your loyalty oath to be an ignorant my country right or wrong reactionary is no longer needed.

Anonymous said...

Veteran State Employee: If you knew anything whatsoever about the Sandanistas and what they were doing when DeBlasio went down there you would be ashamed of yourself for saying what you did, but I suppose know-nothing ignorance and shamelessness are part of a single whole in you...idiot

Anonymous said...

Veteran Sate Employee 11:22 AM ...

What? Tito from the Jackson-5 was assassinated? When?

The Horror!

The Veteran State Employee said...

Bill- Surprised working as a Mayor you have time to read Chaz' blog and comments. You sound upset I reminded folks of the three years you spent fund raising for communists here in the US - thanks for reminding us you actually worked on the ground in Nicaragua with the communist Sandinistas. I had forgotten the New York Times wrote about it here.
As our mayor and our school leader you are now demonstrating the same level of intelligence and judgement - with the same prospects for success - as your late 1980's endeavors.
Lighten up Bill. All is not lost. You can always resign and legally change your name... for the third (!) time. And the old lefties- in denial their side lost the Cold War - will still defend you.