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?


Michael Fiorillo said...

The UFT has remained silent because they support charter schools: they run two of their own, and, in spite of some triangulating sound bites they throw out there for a dissatisfied membership, they support them in principal.

In fact, the Moskowitz/Klein emails also show that Moskowitz and Weingarten, depite their apparent public enmity, had backchannel communications.

Incredibly, in an email dated 3/25/09, in the run-up to the re-authorization of mayoral control, Moskowitz says, "In certain ways, Randi is the most reliable..." This was said in relation to the closed negotiations taking place while the UFT Governance Committee, chumps that we were, was actually working to come up with a governance policy for the school system. Silly us.

NYC Educator said...

I too wonder why the UFT, with all its resources, is apparently unable to counter the PR of Tweed. I hear various excuses but I'm convinced it has the resources to do better. That cartoon ad was pathetic and ineffectual against the very real things that are happening. And the support, from the top, of mayoral control has done nothing whatsoever to help teachers--or kids, when you get right down to it.

The Librarian said...

The lack of a REAL P.R. campaign from the UFT indicates more of the same in the future . . . more slippage and weakness regarding experienced teacher's plight.

How long will it be until Mulgrew (once elected) offers his consituency yet another debilitating contract vote?

Let's pray not since there is nothing left to give up.

Chaz said...

I believe it is time for the UFT to publish full page ads in the newspapers and commercials on the networks to show why Tweed only cares about themselves and their friends and not the kids or schools.

Stop with the excuses and push back.

NYC Educator said...

Sounds like a good idea to me.

grammar police said...

"..As he should." not "like he should"

don't let little things like this compromise your work, duh!

Anonymous said...

I uploaded link to Evil's emails, and google warned me that my acct was being hacked. DoE works in mysterious ways.

Anonymous said...

Links to "Evil's emails" being the Daily News-exposed, FOIL-obtained emails of Moskowitz.

Anonymous said...

Hello i'm new on your board but i cant read correctly a message. Bug in you site ? Thanks you

Anonymous said...

what do you think the uft's position is on atrs in regards to klein wanting to get rid them after 4, 12, ??? months?

Anonymous said...

what is going to happen to atrs?

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Invictus said...

Atrs or their "extinction" not due to natural causes but brought about by the campaigns of Bloom and Klein INC and the lack of action by the UFT while improbable is not necessarily impossible.

The DoE and their two Puppet Masters have pushed the nego tactics so much to the deep end of the right that when the PERB comes with a suggestion, it will attempt to strike a balance, which will obviously be way more to the right of what the UfT wants.

Negating the PERB findings in front of the media might bring more ire from the misunderstanding and senselessly angry public that loves to ride on the lynching mode, further incensed by the Propaganda machine of Bloom and Klein INC.

So, how does the UFT fight for its core set of beliefs, protecting seniority and also permanency while fending off the dynamic duo is something to be wondered about.

If they bulge on seniority and permanency, then, the union fire and flame will slowly and decidedly decline in the decade ahead.

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