Thursday, February 25, 2010
I Hope The Cartoon Is True And The Mightly Mulgrew Defeats The Chancellor Like He Should
I couldn't help but laugh when I saw this cartoon in the New York Daily News. There is no secret that Mayor Mike and Chancellor Joel Klein have declared war on the UFT and Michael Mulgrew has responded with strong rhetoric. However, to date the UFT has been losing the public relations match in the media. as the New York Daily News, New York Post, and even the New York Times has brought the propaganda that the DOE has peddled that the problems with the New York City Public Schools is the teachers' union. To date the UFT has failed to push back against the DOE and this has hurt the teachers and the union. Let's look at some of the issues that has made teaching in the New York City Public Schools a real problem and why the union must start to push back.
Lack of Educators in Tweed & Bias For Charter Schools
Chancellor Joel Klein's inner circle of eighteen consists of just one educator and it is little wonder there is a real disconnect between Tweed and the schools. Furthermore, these non-educators have been the greatest supporters of Charter Schools and the hiring of high priced consultants for their pet projects while closing existing school. Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News identified the cozy relationship between Chancellor Joel Klein and Eva Moskowitz that appears to have resulted in the closing of both PS 194 and PS 241 and to use the school buildings for Eva Mosskowitz to have as two new Harlem success Academies. In fact an astounding 88% of the readers who responded to the article believed the two actions were connected. How come it took Lonnie Haimson to expose these e-mails that showed this relationship? Where is the UFT publicity machine? Instead we just hear deafening silence. I know I would be yelling loud and clear to the media and the communities how their neighborhood schools are being shut down and replaced by elitist schools in their community that many of the children would not be welcomed in. Where are the full page ads in the newspapers and the commercials on the networks showing Tweed's "children last" program?
The ATR Crises & Overcrowded "Rubber Rooms" / Age Discrimination
The ATR crises was solely Chancellor Joel Klein's doing as he told principals they did not have to hire excessed teachers and to ensure the principals got the message made the schools subject to the "fair student funding" formula that penalized principals that hired experienced teachers. This is consistent with the DOE's "education on the cheap" program and Tweed's "children last" program. As of next year the ATR crises may by worse than now as there are 19 schools closing and many of the teachers will be excessed, increasing the ATR ranks to over 2,000. A waste of $160 million dollars annually.
Under Chancellor Joel Klein, the number of teachers reassigned to the "rubber rooms" range from 550 to 850 annually. This is a sixfold increase from the pre Klein days. Approximately 90% of the teachers end up back in the classroom. Therefore, why is there such an increase in reassigned teachers if they are only going to be back in the classroom? Simple, because the Chancellor uses the reassigned teachers as a pawn and calls them "bad" teachers which the media picks up on. Presently, the union has failed to push back and show the reasons that the DOE reassigns a teacher. These reasons range from ageism, budget, Principal dislikes & control and union activities. Further, the fact that a reassigned teacher is removed from the school payroll after only 60 days makes it easier for a Principal to reassign a teacher. Include the corrupt investigations that are done against teachers and it is little wonder for the massive increase in reassigned teachers. Another $35 million dollars wasted by the DOE.
Lack of Teacher Control Of The Classroom/ Increased Paperwork
What ever happened to the union's "let teachers teach" campaign? Now as our union silently sits back, many teachers are subject to a one size fits all "workshop model" which only works with a target population and makes it easier for principals to file incompetence charges against teachers they do not like or want. Furthermore, the data accountability and evaluation programs has increased teacher paperwork threefold and the administrators do not allow the teachers school time to do the paperwork. Finally, the micromanaging by administrators has made classroom teaching an increasingly unpleasant occupation.
It is time for Mike (call me Michael) Mulgrew to match his rhetoric with action and really be the "Mighty Mulgrew" in the cartoon that we really need as the leader of our union. Mayor Mike and Chancellor Joel keeps on pushing and it is time for our union to push back. Hear that Mike?