Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Solidarity Forever

Well, the results haven't been officially announced, but the pro-Andy Cuomo, Michael Mulgrew- and Randi Weingarten-backed Revive NYSUT slate has won the NYSUT election.

Given how many votes the UFT bloc of delegates had and how some smaller locals had fallen in line with the larger bloc, the results were not unexpected.

Despite her protests to the contrary, this was a Weingarten-engineered putsch from the beginning, a move to solidify her power in the NYSUT and ensure the state union remains pro-Andy Cuomo and pro-collaborationist with the forces of education reform, just as she maintains her hand on the UFT and ensures our NYC local remains Cuomo- and reform-friendly.

If you like the APPR teacher evaluation system, Race to the Top, the Common Core, Teacher Data Reports (with teachers' names named in the newspapers) - well, the same union folks who helped bring us all these "collaborationist" policies have taken back control of NYSUT just when the Iannuzzi leadership was beginning to fight against them.

The Revive slate has talked a good game about standing up to King and Tisch, not supporting Cuomo, and fighting the forces of reform that seek to destroy unionized teachers in NY State.

But even as they were talking that, the real power behind that slate, Mulgrew and Weingarten, did NOTHING of consequence to fight Andrew Cuomo as he ceded partial control of NYC schools to Eva Moskowitz and the charter school operators, gave more money to the privatized charters at the same time he starves traditional public schools of funding, and ensured charter schools in NYC will be 10% or more of total schools within just a few years by enshrining into law an absolute right of expansion with no independent entity to say no to them.

Watch what the new NYSUT leadership does rather than listen to what they say - there's a reason Weingarten engineered the NYSUT putsch just as the old leadership was getting aggressive against the state reform agenda, and you can bet it wasn't to make NYSUT even more aggressive against reform.

You'll hear lots of calls for "solidarity" from Weingarten supporters now that the election is over, but "solidarity" to these people means shut up and do what the leadership says and agree with what the leadership does no matter what.

We won't be following those calls here at Perdido Street School blog.

Instead we will be watching the new NYSUT leadership very, very closely and calling them out every time that they cave on an issue, that they take some action (or perform some inaction) that ensures Andy Cuomo remains governor, the state's reform agenda remains in place and the charter school privatizers continue to gain more power.

The solidarity I have is with my fellow teachers who toil under the burn and churn education reform policies brought to us through the "collaborationist" efforts of Randi Weingarten, Michael Mulgrew, Leo Casey and the rest of the crew at the AFT/UFT, not with the union leadership full of political expedients looking to maintain their power, privilege and "seat at the table" with Andy Cuomo so they can lap up the crumbs that fall from it.

17 comments:

  1. This is just a hunch, but I think Weingarten does more than nothing. Behind the scenes, she works to advance the Cuomo/reformer agenda.

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    1. I agree. Totally. And I think she is rewarded for that - both to her ego and with the money that flows in to the AFT via Gates, the Broadies, and other foundations.

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  2. "Calling them out"???? Gee, do you think they are scared?? I don't. I don't think they give a sh&t because the rank and file are so freaking misinformed or apathetic.

    The other day I linked your story on this election on SUPPORT PUBLIC SCHOOLS on FB as well as my own posts, and it got very little attention. Cartoons do very well though. Today's post about the results is up now and it will be interesting to see the reaction or lack of from teachers not only in NY but from all over the nation.

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    1. It's tough. People are cynical, many of them just aren't that well-informed and aren't that interested to get that way and some just don't care. We have to keep plugging away, that's all. Keep talking these issues up at school, keep bringing them up.

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  3. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)April 6, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    RBE, thanks to blogging & social media, people are more aware of what is going on, or not going on in some cases. WeinGrew can make a big first step by coming out and telling Gate$ here is the rest of your money back. Lose my number. And as for the Charter School lobbyist, here is a new set of lawsuits, from funding that the courts have said for years you owe NYC and I dare you to fire one teacher because of your phony evaluation system, which we are also taking to court to expose how rigged it is. And John King, we are going to figure out special hells to put you through.

    I know it is easy to just say sue everyone, but the people that are "leaders" are supposed to be smarter than I am. Of cours4e, if they actually were, we would not be in this mess. And if our colleagues were not so dumb, for supposedly educated people, we would not have the current leadership either.

    We'll be behind you Ms. Weingarten/Mr. Mulgrew, but our voices are going to get ready, we will eventually bring you down, if you do not start to look out for us like you are supposed to be doing.

    If you do not believe me, do so at your own risk. RBE, myself, and NYCEducator, we are all vets. If you noticed, between social media and some of the speakers, these were relative newcomers, be afraid of them, they have far more energy and time and bigger circles. You may not care about us, but I know you care about your cushy gigs. Don't say you weren't warned.

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    1. There is no way Weingarten is not aware of what she is doing. She is a neo-liberal, and they are just as dangerous as neo-conservatives if not more so because they capitalize on peoples' illusions saying what people want to hear. But behind the scenes they are working against the interests the rank and file for a privatization agenda to promote their own elite interests. As this article says, pay attention to what they do, not what they say. And that includes what they do not do. Weingarten's silence about Cuomo is deafening!

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    2. I agree, Weingarten is completely aware of the damage she is doing. It's intentional - undercut teacher protections, undercut school and district autonomy, give more power to autocrats by supporting mayoral control, don't fight the charter lobby. It's all conscious.

      As for Teach My Class, I think the thing I do find heartening at my school is how many younger teachers are more informed than some of the older teachers. I used to talk about these union issues all the time, but would get blank stares or shrugs back a few years ago. A new group of younger teachers in my department has changed that a bit. They're angrier and don't buy the reformy b.s.

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  4. Dear God: Please let me make it through my last 12 years before I retire. Thank you, -A sold out NYC teacher

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    1. That's a good nightly prayer to say. I usually add something along the lines of "May Sheriff Andy reap what he sows..."

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  5. I grew up with Karen Magee, she is tough as nails and I can tell you she is in nobody's pocket; she will do what is right. I will be keeping a close eye on her as well, and will support BUT I will take her to task if she panders to the reformers.

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    1. I'm trying to keep an open mind about Magee and the new leadership, bit given the powers that be behind er, I must admit it's difficult. And then, when I see her say stuff like this in her first week, I'm not all that heartened by her either;

      http://perdidostreetschool.blogspot.com/2014/04/karen-magee-indicates-cuomo-endorsement.html

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  6. I will keep up the refrain - social media is a supplement to not a means to organize. Without getting into the 1700 schools here in the city, very little will change. It will take a corps of organizers to do this work.

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    1. Off topic here; but their calling, and mine as well, is to teach children, not to be unionists. I therefore respectfully disagree with your conclusion. Unionism, not social media, is the supplement to these issues for a majority of teachers. If you can get them to stop thinking about their true calling long enough to organize and to come to meetings, etc. instead of grading hw in their spare time, then more power to you. Your refrain is wonderful and I too should hear it more. But I for one am glad for this, and other, social media outlets for providing a clear picture and for calling them out when needed.

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    2. Urban Ed,

      I too feel a calling to teach. Unfortunately, my day has become so cluttered with nonsensical duties that I rarely do any teaching. I am an ESL teacher and there are no longer any ESL standards. I cut and paste grade level CCSS BS to try to match my students' needs. The most recent critique of me revolves around lack of data and CFU (checks for understanding). I just read your post about "benign neglect" of allowing charter school teachers to grade their own tests. This is part of the set up to screw public school teachers and end public education. I am in my late fifties and I am living in a time warp. Everything I believe in is being destroyed. When I get fired from my job, will Walmart hire me?

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  7. TeachmyclassMrMayor(andyoutooMrMulgrew)April 6, 2014 at 8:54 PM

    Urban Ed, I understand where you are coming from, folks don't need to do the whole school. Pick a dozen folks and make them aware of what is going on. Make sure that by the time the next election rolls around they realize that they NEED to vote, preferably not for Unity, but vote none the less. Whoever wins needs to know they have to answer to the members, NOT Bill Gate$, Duct Tape Rhee, Eva's (insert insult here) in Albany.

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    1. Yes, you need 5 or 6 individuals who are respected in a school who can help with GOTV stuff. Hard to get an entire school staff primed for politics, but a few in the right place can help move the many.

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  8. I get where you are coming from Urban Ed -- but I know from the Chicago story where at least there is a union that fights - it takes a lot to make something happen. I'm not talking thousands - Chicago did it with a few hundred -- but a core of people who do the work and a support network in the schools that work with them. Everyone does what they can. But I know after years of doing Ed Notes that the blog has little impact in organizing terms -- mostly speaking to the converted. Nothing will really change until a counter organization to Unity is built -- one school at a time - take control of the Delegate Assembly because with the retiree vote winning an election is just not possible until there's a massive turnout in voting from working teachers. That takes a ground game and building the ground game is needed. Luckily, a whole bunch of relative newbies have come into MORE - not just attending meetings but doing the work of organizing and building -- classroom teachers who do all the work other teachers do -- yet see this union work as crucial to their lives as teachers.

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