Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, November 9, 2015

NYSED Commissioner Elia Looks To Bust Buffalo Teachers Union

Herein lies the endgame for "receivership":

In one of her most significant actions as state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia has granted Buffalo Superintendent Kriner Cash unprecedented power to make changes at the district’s most struggling schools, bypassing the teachers union contract.

Those changes could include a longer school day and year, required teacher training and more control over staffing – all things Cash says are essential to improve student performance.
 In a 107-page ruling released Monday, Elia largely imposes Cash’s proposals with some modifications that call for giving teachers more notice of contractual changes and preference for other jobs, should they be displaced from their position. She also recommends that a committee created to assist with staffing at the receivership schools be limited to three or five people, and consist of an odd number to prevent deadlock between union and district representatives.

Ultimately deformers want the power to bypass union contracts in every school, but they're happy for now to start with the "struggling" ones and work their way onward later.

The Buffalo Federation of Teachers plans to sue.

Helluva day - Boston mayor throws a bomb by making a secret deal to close a bunch of Boston schools and Elia gives her handpicked Buffalo superintendent the power to bypass the union contract in the "persistently struggling" schools in Buffalo.

23 comments:

  1. Looks as if we're going to find out if teachers are willing to strike. Every public school teacher in NYS should walk with them (or we'll all be either on public assistance and/or unemployed soon enough).

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    1. We will have to do it without the Weingarten Mulgrewpies of NYSUT. Just yell "strike!" in a crowded happy hour at the Fort Orange Club and watch them dive on their tapas in terror. Locals need to talk to each other and over leadership if leadership doesn't have the stones. Nobody ever got anywhere by being afraid to strike. It's why we're in this position today. I teach in Buffalo in case I forgot to mention it.

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  2. The strategy is the same in Newark.

    Abigail Shure

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  3. Have no fear,SuperPreet will soon be here!

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  4. Union leadership has sold their soul in order to become Albany insders...now they have a seat at the table. Time for members to turn over the table. A statewide strike is needed--and the impetus must come from membership and locals--leadership is a complete sellout. Rumore, the President of Buffalo Teacher local must assert leadership--not just file a legal challenge.

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  5. A ten day strike in 2006 nearly destroyed the Transit Workers Union in NYC--dues checkoff pulled for two years (yes, I know, Friedrichs might take care of that for us on its own), members fined two days pay for each day on strike (though this was mitigated by the judge) and Roger Toussaint in jail for three days (yes, we all might like to see Mighty Mike in an orange jumpsuit). Huge public backlash against the Transit Workers.

    I'm retired so have no position about a strike, personally. But there needs to be a great deal of prep work done with rank-and-file if anyone expects that a strike resolution would pass in any local. Calling for a strike may be useful talk resulting in positive action--or not--but it's not a matter to be thrown out there as casual conversation without a deep understand for the consequences.

    We have members who don't vote in union elections. We have an executive board controlled by the Unity Politboro. We have a public that might not be inclined to support a teachers strike and public support, or at least acquiescence, is important if we were to violate the Taylor Law.

    All I'm asking is that folks talk about a "strike" intelligently, knowing just how difficult it would be to organize, explain to members, maintain and what the probable consequences would be.

    Only then, pick up the pickets signs and walk out the door....

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    1. Other options:
      Work to rule or De-facto strike

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    2. Or "Informational picketing". We did that before the school day started-with flyers and signs to inform the parents and community.
      Another way to build solidarity is to all wear union t-shirts or the union color on the same day. It sends a message.

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  6. Elia is a disgusting human being, appointed during a sham process and already showing why she was fired from her last position. She is an empty suit that cares nothing about students, parents and teachers and everything about herself. She is a stooge and will never be worthy of support from any of us.

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  7. Without a leadership like Chicago which just got over 90% strike authorization, even a strike forced on the leadership by the members would be sold out like in 1975 - when we went on a week or more strike and the UFT was not destoyed - and Shanker spent a day in jail while selling us out - so he was a "hero" for his jail term. We were all fined 2 for 1 and survived - but the 15,000 laid off teachers did not fare as well. If we had a leadership that would not send us back without a better deal we could have done better.

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  8. So why did Randi Weingarten praise the appointment of MaryEllen Elia on May 16th? https://www.facebook.com/defend.public.education

    Was it because of Elia's promotion of the Gates agenda in Hillsborough, FL when she was Superintendent there?

    https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/hillsborough-county-schools-loses-both-gates-money-and-financial-reserves/

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    1. Sorry, first link is wrong.

      So why did Randi Weingarten praise the appointment of MaryEllen Elia on May 16th? http://www.aft.org/press-release/aft-leaders-maryellen-elia-next-new-york-education-commissioner

      Was it because of Elia's promotion of the Gates agenda in Hillsborough, FL when she was Superintendent there?

      https://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2015/09/23/hillsborough-county-schools-loses-both-gates-money-and-financial-reserves/

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  9. ....And people (FOOLS) were beginning to think that things were about to turn around here in NY because our side had been so smart and persistent with opt out and all. HAHAHAHA!

    Said fools couldn't have been more incorrect. The heavy stuff is just barely beginning. How could anyone think that the enormous political capital spent, the huge amounts of privatizer/reformer money invested, would result in a retreat in the face of inconsistent, not-too-forward thinking, parent-dominated push-back??

    As a commentator above noted, strikes....successful ones.....require years if not decades of real groundwork, very able, creative, and smart leadership, and a very granular and broad understanding of the social-political environment. Teachers in NY State have NOT ONE of those pre-conditions. A strike, outside of a lame local one, will not happen. NYSUT has done none of the groundwork, has a leadership that is not smart, creative, or even remotely cerebral, and has NO understanding, in breadth or depth, of the political and social currents. Any strike in NY is likely to result in yet another defeat whereas more is lost than anyone predicted.

    I have been and continue to be an advocate of a strong teachers' union, and one that takes strong, decisive action, BUT ONLY AFTER the preconditions outlined above. THAT HAS TO BE OUR WORK. Not hoping for saviors.....or crossing our fingers that the parents will have our backs.....not winning all of the intellectual arguments.....not any of that. OUR WORK MUST BECOME THE HARD WORK OF UNION BUILDING. We must win this for ourselves or not at all. There are no other alternatives. So much has been lost. So much will be lost. We need to organize now to literally keep teaching in public schools a profession. What has been lost can only be worried about at a much later date.

    Inevitably, this whole thing...the reformers agenda getting all of the traction it has....all the damage done to our careers and our futures....IS THE FAULT OF THOSE CHARGED WITH PROTECTING US. And thats our unions. And unions are inevitably a reflection of us.

    Buffalo is lost.

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    1. I don't know, remember the big pro-public school rally in Buffalo? I think the potential is there.

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    2. Yeah. That changed things.

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    3. In a way, it did. Opt out has increased. And didn't 2,500 people attend that rally? Not to disrespect NYC, but except for the big bus rallies to Albany, NYC rallies don't get those numbers. I still think the potential is there.

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  10. Wait a minute. Didn't Elia give Farina the same powers? Where's the outrage for that?

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  11. Receivership will be great, until those public schools are turned over to charters who will kick out the undesireables who will then be forced upon the suburban schools. That's where this thing will die. Sadly (as mentioned before), many careers and livelihoods will have been destroyed by then.

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  12. If the unions are working for a positive cause than it's great thing and all of us must support the union. Without good support on one can do good work.

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