Monday, December 02, 2013
Did Mayor Bloomberg Influence The New York Times Editorial Trashing NYC Teachers?
On Sunday I picked up the overpriced Sunday New York Times from my neighbor's stoop and read the Editorial Board's opinion page about how Mayor elect Bill de Blasio should negotiate with the teachers union on a new contract with retroactive raises. I couldn't believe what I was reading. At first I thought "did those anti-teacher New York Post and Daily News Editorial Boards hijack the Times"? Then it came to me the Times Editorial Board was really a puppet and was airing Mayor Bloomberg's looney ideas on how to destroy the teaching profession and the union that represents them. Let's look at what the opinion piece said and what's wrong with it.
Fist, the Times article recommends that the new contract should eliminate seniority rights for both raises and salary steps and don't forget layoffs. According to the Times Editorial, "newbie teachers" who are "highly effective" should get "merit pay" and kept if layoffs occur. while experienced teachers should not be increasingly compensated for time in the system and should not result in raises in their salary. Moreover, advanced degrees and increasing education credits should not come with pay raises and salary steps. On the other hand, the article wants to pay starting teachers a higher salary to keep them in the system. That's the reason that 50% leave the profession. How about the hostile environment, lack of support, or that teaching is just a stop on the road to a real job as the real reasons for abandoning teaching. I smell a whiff of E4E here.
Second, the Editorial Board wants to give a time limit to those "inactive teachers" (ATRs). Notice they make it sound like ATRs do nothing but sit all day and read a book. They ignore the fact that the ATRs are in the classroom all day as provisionals, leave replacements, and covering classes for absent teachers but that doesn't seem to count. The article also makes it sound like the ATRs don't want a job when the truth is that the ATRs do want a permanent position but are discriminated against by principals because of their age and salary and the ones that do get a job are usually younger with less than ten years in the system. How convenient that they ignore that fact that principals are encouraged to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best" teachers..
Third, the article uses the Bloomberg/Tweed idea of terminating teachers for alleged misconduct, if substantiated by an investigator. In other words, the Times Editorial Board wants to eliminate teacher "due process rights" by making some alleged misconduct automatically a termination offense, despite the very real possibility that the teacher is actually innocent of the allegations. No need for evidence or an independent Arbitrator to weigh the evidence, if an investigator believes it happened, despite no evidence showing it did, its good enough for the Editorial Board. "What country do they live in"? The Soviet Union? Maybe the Times Editorial Board works for "Pravda"?
Fourth, those clueless non-educators want teacher work rules loosened by adding more time, teacher parent conferences, and more classroom instruction that occur in those thriving charter schools. What's left unsaid is the extremely high teacher turnover rate, relentless test preparation at the expense of real learning, and the stringent discipline procedures that result in many "high needs" students to be excluded or expelled from those schools. However, I guess that doesn't count to the Times.
Finally, the article fails to point out the "City pattern" was set for the two 4% raises for fiscal 2009-10 and they included no "givebacks". Since the beginning of collective bargaining in the 70's one a "pattern is set", all unions get the same or very similar pattern. Its no different now and just because the Mayor rather use the money for other purposes does not make it right. Yet, the Editorial Board fails to address this issue as if it doesn't exist.
The Times Editorial Board's opinion piece is, as my independent Arbitrator said when he threw out a letter to my file as "unfair and inaccurate" when it comes to the truth Shame on them for their trash article.
I must say if Mayor Bloomberg admitted he influenced the Times Editorial I, for one, would not be surprised. What shocked me was how low the Times Editorial Board would take the DOE supplied information without a real "fact checking" process and then stoop so low as to trash NYC teachers and their union while getting the issues all wrong in the process.