The fight between Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York’s teachers is a national one, Randi Weingarten said today during an education funding rally on the Capitol’s “million dollar staircase… The entire nation is looking, and A.F.T. is part of this every step of the way,” Weingarten said, explaining why she joined several hundred education advocates, teachers and students for the demonstration which focused on funding inequities between rich and poor school districts. Weingarten said Cuomo has targeted teachers with proposals for stricter performance evaluations and changes to tenure protections not to improve schools, but rather to punish teachers for not supporting him and reward pro-charter school hedge funders who are his political donors. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who expected to attend, did not make it to the rally. Advocates said he was detained because of the weather. Later, talking to reporters at the Capitol, Silver said his Democratic conference would make education funding “a top priority.” Capital’s Josefa Velasquez and Jessica Bakeman [PRO]: http://bit.ly/1y5XAlL
The union leadership puts together a rally with a message focused on the inequities between rich and poor districts.
Speaker Silver says education funding will be a "top priority" in this legislative session.
But there's little-to-no pushback on the damages of test-based evaluations or redoing the evaluation system to make tests 40% of the entire rating (and really 100%, since if you come up "ineffective" on 40%, you're ineffective overall.)
You can see how this will play out in negotiations, can't you?
If you've been a teacher and have watched these kinds of fights for a while, I bet you can.
The unions and Assembly Dems will trade Cuomo's evaluation, tenure, and 3020a "reforms" for more "education funding."
And of course Cuomo will get his increase of the cap and funding for charter schools - that goes without saying.
In fact, the unions already tipped us off that's where they're going when Unity blogger Peter Goodman wrote the following on his blog:
Next Wednesday the Governor will deliver his State of the State message, I expect he will continue to attack, and the unions will respond, the questions are whether the Governor and the unions can find some common ground, and, whether the Governor seeks changes in education governance at the state level.
In 1968 the UFT and the John Lindsay, the New York City mayor were engaged in a bitter struggle – the 40-day teacher strike, racial invective, the “white. liberal intelligentsia” traditionally pro-union viciously attacking the UFT, the growing and militant black power movement painting the union as akin to the worst of the racists of the South. A year later John Lindsay and the union negotiated a dramatic change in the teacher pension system, called Tier 1. (Read Dana Goldstein, The Teacher Wars). John Lindsay was considering running for president in 1972 and wanted to heal wounds and a spectacular increase in pension benefits was the salve.
Cuomo wants to “punish” teacher unions, to make it clear that attacking the Governor will have repercussions. A lesson for teacher unions and a lesson for other unions, the teacher unions have to fight back as well as seek avenues for reconciliation.
As a history teacher I’m reminded of “Going to Canossa (“Canossa” refers to an act of penance or submission), Henry IV, the Holy Roman Emperor, dressed in “sackcloth and ashes,” humbled himself in the snow outside of the castle of Pope Gregory seeking absolution from the threat of excommunication. Henry retained his throne.
Charter school quotas and the teacher the evaluation system are negotiable, and, the core issues are the Gap Elimination Adjustment and the property tax cap, the union has to seek absolution from Pope Andrew and move on to resolve the core issues.
Weingarten and the rest of the union leadership holding a rally yesterday and Weingarten declaring the fight between Cuomo and teachers "national" means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
It's a lot of noise meant to fool the rank and file into thinking the union leaders plan on trying to protect them in upcoming negotiations.
Make no mistake - they don't.
They plan on selling you out, giving Cuomo and the charter school entrepreneurs most (if not all) of what they want on the charter cap and charter funding, giving Cuomo and Tisch most (if not all) of what they want on the evaluation system "reforms" and 3020a changes in return for a few extra dollars in "education funding."
They will then declare victory, Peter Goodman will declare the deal a nice "avenue of reconciliation" on his blog and you and I will be dealing with an even more insane amount of compliance and fear next year in the school system while the union leaders bask in the glow of "absolution."