Tuesday, February 9, 2016

UFT Elections, the 2014 Contract and The NYC Teacher Healthcare Crisis

One thing is for sure. Among the 99%, no one in this nation has health insurance as good as we have. Given that costs have been rising for three decades now and given the implications the Cadillac Tax brings, that party is about to come to an end.  And the next party will be BYO penicillin.... DOENUTS Blog
The DOENUTS blog has a 3 part series on healthcare that is worth taking a look at.
One of the things we pointed out in the 2014 contract was that a health care crunch was set to come after Mulgrew gets re-elected in May. So I looked through these posts for signs of what is to come.

In part I DOENUTS says:
...someone has to pay for all that health insurance. And that someone is our employer, the City of New York.
Since 2010, since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act became the law of the land, the city has been required to note the amount they spend each year on all of our healthcare costs. (This includes GHI, as well hospitalization and, I'm sure, other coverage). For the past six years, this amount has been counted as deferred wages on our W2 form. This allows us, and Obama, to see how much the city has paid for our benefits.

Now this amount has outraged some people and media outlets capitalize on that outrage (see here for example or here ($) for another) but it is a fact that, if you select the top rate GHI-CBP as your health insurance, the city pays the cost of the premium and we pay nothing.

Nothing, that is, unless the cost of your plan goes up over $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. If that happens, if the amount increases over those prices (and if city actuaries count our aggregate insurance as one), then we pay a tax of 40% of that amount (here). This is the famous Cadillac Tax and it goes into effect for those plans in two years -2018.
Nothing, that is, unless the mayor exclusively decides that we must now coin up and contribute from our paychecks. The unions quietly gave him this power almost three years ago.
In part 2 he talks about how Obamacare screws us and the Cadillac tax. Check it out - Part 2: Toward the Tipping Point

He addresses the contract in Part 3; The Road Ahead

On May 6, 2013, Michael Mulgrew announced to his UFT Executive Board that the union and city reached an agreement on a new contract.  Teachers would receive wages and back pay (albeit through a gradual arrangement where teachers didn't actually receive it for six more years) and the city would not be hit with over $3 billion in up-front costs. Both entities would now be 100% committed to keeping city spending under control. The city leaders, who wanted to show responsible fiscal policy and the union leaders, who wanted to ensure that there was money in the budget for the lump sum payments their member would receive for years to come were now all in it together.

Among the terms of the deal, the city would be able to withdraw $1 billion dollars from the Health Insurance Premium Stabilization Fund, an account funded by 81 unions and the city to help defer healthcare costs during times of need. This withdrawal would be what covered the initial costs of the contract(s). According to Mulgrew that evening, every single union leader in the city was on board with the withdrawal expect for one -the union that represents Sanitation workers- but that would soon change.
I smell trouble coming.
The ultimate agreement did indeed withdrawal $1 billion from the Health Insurance Stabilization Fund. That money was, in fact, used to cover our cash wage increases the following September (here or the IBO (p. 13)):
"...a one-time $1.0 billion transfer from the Health Insurance Stabilization fund, which was a product of the agreement between the city and the municipal labor committee on ways to help fund the current round of collective bargaining agreements..."
Since the mid-80s, the fund has covered Welfare Fund premiums (for the UFT and other unions) and city budgetary shortfalls as well. In order to help cover the cost of not laying off employees in 2011 (FDY and UFT employees were both on the chopping block), the unions and the city agreed to dip into the fund to cover the city budget prevent the layoffs (here).

And now they've dipped into the fund to pay employee salaries.

This is supposed to be the fund that relieves us from paying (or paying greater) health insurance premiums. Instead, it is being used to cover our paychecks.

And now, as part of a larger effort to reduce the city's health insurance costs, the city will be paying even less into the fund than it already does (here)

The largest projected savings [in healthcare] this fiscal year—$153 million—would result from an agreement labor relations commissioner Bob Linn and the municipal unions recently struck to allow the city to pay less into a fund jointly controlled by both parties and known as the "Health Insurance Premium Stabilization Fund."
You can only draw one conclusion from this: They are tapping the fund. It is no longer a fund to ensure our health insurance costs are not passed on to workers. It has become a source of income which supports city level governmental policy. And while those policies are admirable (over the past five years, they have included balancing the city budget during the Great Recession, enabling union contracts to be settled and reducing the long term costs of healthcare) they are still policies wrought by politicians who are leading a government. They no longer see the fund as a way to avoid having workers pay into their healthcare plans. That's an important distinction to make.
He closes with:
One thing is for sure. Among the 99%, no one in this nation has health insurance as good as we have. Given that costs have been rising for three decades now and given the implications the Cadillac Tax brings, that party is about to come to an end.  And the next party will be BYO penicillin

If doom does come and people are taking a big cut in salaray that wipes out the retro pay, doesn't Mulgrew have to run again in 2019?
Mulgrew will just channel good ole Scarlett Ohara: I'll think about it tomorrow.

Especially if he can escape to the AFT and leave someone else holding the bag.

Monday, February 8, 2016

EIA: NEA, AFT Spin in Opposite Directions

The Hillary-Bernie rancor is growing and it is bound to affect - and infect - the teacher unions and their leaderships which jumped on the Hillary bandwagon early while claiming that was what the membership wanted. They are about to find out just how far they were off. I'm always interested in checking out the view from the right.

I reported on the EIA pre-Iowa election analysis in

AFT/NEA, Randi/Lily Big Losers in Iowa and Troubles Ahead

but I missed Antonucci's post-Iowa take. Bitterness grows between the camps and will be visiting a local union near you sooner than you think.

NEA, AFT Spin in Opposite Directions

Written By: Mike Antonucci - Feb• 02•16
The presidents of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, eh, emphasized different aspects of last night’s Iowa results.

First, NEA’s Lily Eskelsen García:
“Last night, the people of Iowa sent a message to the rest of the country: Hillary Clinton is the best choice for president of the United States.”

Then, AFT’s Randi Weingarten:
“I know the early four states love being the early four states, and every four years you hear more and more about them. But 60 percent of the delegates actually get decided in March.”

I’m also a bit mystified by the touting of this bit of exit poll news.

CONFIRMED: households were 21% of total turnout. Thanks to members, won by 9pts in union households.

 It’s an odd thing to brag about. The unions have not only dropped millions in support of the Clinton campaign, but assured everyone that their endorsements of Hillary reflected the democratic will of their membership.

They acknowledged there was some rank-and-file support for Sanders, but those union members had no SuperPAC money to draw on, no staff to airlift into Iowa, no pre-existing organizational structure, and no communications professionals disseminating their message to the press and the public.
And the unions beat them by 9 points.

Vermont NEA retweeted this sentiment:

National NEA and AFT wasted no time in hopping a plane to Nashua, so I’m reminded of my concerns about a civil war in Lebanon.

MORE Co-Sponsors: Lois Weiner at CUNY Tuesday 5-7PM

Unions must act on the principle that if it's a social justice issue, it's a labor issue.

Join Dr. Lois Weiner in her presentation of New Jersey City University’s

Tuesday, February 9th
5pm - 7pm
Room 6304.01 at the CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Avenue in Manhattan
(Please bring ID to enter the Graduate Center)

Unions must act on the principle that if it's a social justice issue, it's a labor issue.

The aim of the New Jersey City University's Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project is to apply research, explained in accessible language, to address those very hard issues that divide teacher unions from communities of color and support strong alliances.

Dr. Lois Weiner, Project Director of the Urban Education and Teacher Unionism Policy Project, is an internationally-known scholar in urban teacher education and teacher unionism.

This event is sponsored by the GC Urban Education Program, GC Critical Psychology Program, Public Science Project, Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies, Professional Staff Congress (PSC) Graduate Center Chapter, Teachers Unite, and the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE)

Flyer attached.
Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/138552853189425/

From the MORE CL Discussion List: The Tax Man is Coming: What Are You Paying in Tax Deductable UFT Dues?

Ahhh, the current convoluted UFT dues structure as people try to calculate the exact amount for their tax deduction as discussed on the MORE chapter leader listserve. Let me get in my little piece first. Dues increases are automatic and not voted on by the DA which used to vote on it before Unity changed the constitution so people won't take note of dues increases. (I'll get to some of the substance of the MORE meeting discussion on Friedrichs on Saturday.)

From The MORE platform:
Create a sliding scale for union dues based on salary and require dues increases to be voted on at the Delegate’s Assembly.

Here are the comments on the listserve.

Thought people would be interested in this... from my Dist Rep:
I have received a number of requests for the dues total for 2015. Unfortunately, the amount for fiscal year 2015 is not the same for every member as it includes the retroactive payment/dues we all received/paid in October. In order to compile the exact amount of individual dues, each member will have to add up the amount deducted on each stub (actually, they should all be the same except for October). They can find their stubs in the Payroll Portal on the DOE website if they have direct deposit.
How annoying is this?!

You've got to be kidding. This is outrageous. With all their minions at 52 Broadway, they can't calculate this and send it to the members?

Is there a baseline dues rate that I can direct members to as a starting point, and then have them add on their individual retro dues?

There's an insert in this issue of NY teacher.
From p.38 NY Teacher (Unity rag)
Teachers: x 8 for each (24 pay periods)
1/15-4/15 $53.14
5/15-8/15 $54.17
9/15-12/15 $54.87
Why they don't give us a total? Maybe it would astonish members how much they pay (with after tax income) for what little service they may get.

So for teachers, it is $1297.44, Please send this info to your staff. You would be surprised how few teachers know dues are deductible. I don't think I knew until 2 years ago!

You also need to add your retro pay dues too.

Does anyone know the approximate amount from paras?
26.57 27.09 27.43
8 pay checks each
From p.38

Why UFT Dues for Your Tax Return is Complicated This Year-and for the Next Five Years
Very complicated!
Everybody has a different retro amount, from which dues were taken. Members have to add up the UFT deductions from their 24 2015 stubs to get their dues amount, remembering that the October contributions are higher. Again, the answer is different for everyone.

According to NY Teacher (page 38)
Teacher - $1,297.44
Guidance Counselors - $1,321.04
School Secretaries - $1,006.64
Paraprofessionals - $648.72
Psychologist - $1,339.44

You have to add what was taken out of retro check to get a grand total.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

My Proposal@MORE Today: UFT After Friedrichs -

I heard from Roseanne McCosh on my recent Friedrichs post:

MORE to Talk Friedrichs at Saturday Meeting, Roseanne Sends Mulgrew a Message

I agree with you.  I will not ask people to support a union that hamstrings its membership every chance they get.  Their abuse of power is no less sinful than Cuomo's, Gates', Koch brothers', Christie's etc... Calling for automatic support sends them the message that they can continue to treat us like shit and we'll happily pay them to do so. And it sends a message to the membership that Leadership's management style can't be that bad if even their critics are asking us to support them.  That is absolutely the wrong message to send at this time.   Leverage given away can never be regained---make them earn the support. 
And ATRs seemed to like my proposal on putting dues in an escrow account pending a reform package from Unity:

Dues to Escrow Accounts, ATRs and Friedrichs: Should ATRs Keep Paying Union Dues?

When I get a chance to speak at the discussion at the MORE meeting today I will offer the following proposal for future post-election post-Friedrichs ruling - maybe for a MORE Summer2016 workshop:
I will propose that more take a position that we will support the leadership call to stay in the union for one-two years pending some package of reforms. Not promises but real constitutional change. Like voting on dues increases. Scaled dues depending on salary (both in the MORE recently amended platform thanks to Jeff Kaufman). Proportional rep on ex bd and aft/nysut delegates so more voices get heard. Reduce power of retirees. If no signs after a year we look to organize all those who left and want to leave into an alt uft challenging for bargaining rights. 
There will be arguments that the only way to change the UFT is to stay in and fight Unity. But when there is so little chance to win more than a sliver of control and say there comes a point where you have to pull the plug.
To those out there who just want to pull their dues and do nothing - that is worse than even Unity because that kills any hope of unionism. Stay and fight or leave and fight but fight.

Saturday 2/6 12:00-3:00pm: UFT After Friedrichs
Join us for a lively discussion on the future of our union after the Supreme Court's decision. What can UFT leadership do to better engage our members? How will the decision impact rank and file members?
Workshops on how to petition in your chapter to get signatures so that MORE/New Action slate can appear on the UFT officers ballot in May.
We will also meet in local groups by districts/boroughs to organize our campaign, distribution network, and mutual support.

Pizza, soft drinks, and snacks will be served
Free Childcare will be available available
CUNY Graduate Center
34th st and 5th ave Midtown NYC
Childcare will be available

Friday, February 5, 2016

Norm in The Wave: No Excuses Success Charter Network Under Fire, The Case for Humane Teaching

With Eva supposedly coming to Rockaway I thought I'd get ahead of the curve with this column in the Feb. 5 Wave.

No Excuses Success Charter Network Under Fire, The Case for Humane Teaching
By Norm Scott

Educational historian and blogger Diane Ravitch posted a letter from a teacher who couldn’t bear working any longer at the Evil Eva Moskowitz-run Success charter chain, known for its high suspension rate and pushing children they don’t want back into the public schools. Here is an excerpt:

    I spent much of my time at school crying in the bathroom and the stairwell. I cried from the emotional harassment I faced from my leaders, I cried from simply watching my scholars go through such grueling days and intense ridicule, and I cried because I was exhausted, stressed, and anxious, constantly feeling like I wasn’t enough and that I couldn’t be enough. When I helped my own scholars work through their tears, I would often ask them what they were feeling, and they would say “scared.”... Former Success Academy Teacher. The entire letter is posted at: (http://tinyurl.com/h5vumnl)

Ravitch commented: “When they start calling them children, I will know that they are completely de-programmed.” I get the woolies when I hear them using the term “scholars.” They are touching on the edges of being a cult.

Moskowitz has also been sued by parents whose children were pushed out in a federal civil rights complaint for systematic violation of disabled students' rights. And SUNY, the charter chain's authorizer, is investigating the Success Network's disciplinary and suspension practices, including the infamous "Got to Go" list first reported by the NY Times (tinyurl.com/psz2rlg).

Should Eva Moskowitz be investigated for child abuse and teacher bullying? Is it time to call 911 on Evil Eva's operation, which is rumored to be coming soon to Rockaway?

Now, some parents want this rigid and punishing atmosphere for their children. In my professional judgment as a teacher, I believe even for children who do well in this environment, there are long-term effects that infect their learning for life. So far not one Success Academy grad has made it into any of the high-end specialty schools. As for creativity, how does that flourish in an environment where children are marched with arms at their sides with mouths sealed shut?

Success and many other charters have high teacher turnover and are constantly funneling in new and inexperienced people who haven’t had enough time to deal with the complexities of child behavior, especially with children who are having some difficulty. It takes years to make a teacher and these schools with new people need to create a straight jacket of discipline because they haven’t learned any other way.

I know there are some people out there who believe we need more no excuse schools like Success. As a 35-year elementary school teacher in one of the poorest areas of the city (Williansburg/Bushwick) I categorically reject this philosophy. I saw so much peripheral learning going on in the fairly open environment I encouraged.

Teachers don’t often have the chance to see how their students grow up in later years. Recently I had this treat when a whole batch of former students from my 6th grade class of 1979 connected to each other and me in Facebook. They are now in their late 40s. (I also had many of them in my 5th grade class.) Their memories from 36 years ago focus on the fun things we did. I tried to make my classroom as humane a space as possible given that with 30 students there was a need for some discipline. But I tried to keep that aspect as light as possible as long as I could keep order. I had been teaching for about a decade by the time I had this class and had learned a lot, not from professional development but from the kids themselves. They gave me the best child psychology courses. What worked and what didn’t? I adjusted to each child and tried to develop some individual relationship with each of them so discipline was pretty easy. I tried to treat them well and expected them to do the same to me and each other. I wasn’t always successful and it still bothers me in cases where I feel I could have done something different. But reading some of their positive comments over 3 decades later gives me pride as a teacher. We are planning a reunion on February 28.

Norm blogs at ednotesonline.org

Dues to Escrow Accounts, ATRs and Friedrichs: Should ATRs Keep Paying Union Dues?

Should ATRS Stop Paying Dues to the UFT Which Taxes Them Without Representation?

The comment below got me to thinking. Are there any people more likely to stop paying union dues? I think that Unity might be happy to be rid of them because then they would have absolutely not ability to complain to anyone in the UFT. But I was thinking of a what if: they with hold a portion of dues and pool the money in an escrow account of sorts to possibly hire someone to rep them?

Just a another crazy norm idea on a snowy day. Gotta go shovel out and clear my head of this crazy shit.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MORE to Talk Friedrichs at Saturday Meeting, Rosea...":

The ATRs have been at their current schools for many weeks now just getting use to the kids, school, staff, parking procedures and now what happens....the DOE takes us to another school....wow....I really cannot believe Farina continues to implement this Mike Bloomberg torture program. I work as a social worker and have been working with many kids for the past several weeks implementing programs and the like. So what does the DOE do? THey are sending me to ANOTHER school next week to start all over again. WHy?? This system is so dysfunctional it is beyond belief. The notion that they are trying to get rid of the ATRs is bull shit. The notion that the DOE is "concerned" about the social well being of the students is bull shit. The schools have one and two year counselors and social workers who are no nothings and still believe the system runs like they were taught in grad school!! This is a story for television and most people cannot believe this when you tell them what is going on. Get the ATRs in the CLASSROOMS idiots. Stop this ridiculous shit!!!!!! Paying people over one hundred thousand dollars to rotate from school a to school b?? Really?? No wonder we have all these reformies flying over our heads because there are so many jerks in the education field it is quite astonishing. The UFT continues to do nada and more and more I am looking at Freidrichs as maybe a blessing for the ATR crew because this madness must stop.

MORE to Talk Friedrichs at Saturday Meeting, Roseanne Sends Mulgrew a Message

Teacher apathy that has worked in your favor thus far may now ironically be a nail in the UFT coffin... Roseanne McCosh in letter to Mulgrew
Most MORE people are very loyal unionists despite the Unity hack attacks that they are tools of anti-unionists for daring to run in a union election. The Unity leadership wants to talk Frierichs at the membership, not with it.

Unity talks Friedrichs
As MORE talks Friedrichs at tomorrow's meeting I think I will be in the minority when I call for reservations to be put on unlimited support for people to stay in the union and continue paying dues without some quid quo pro from Unity towards democratizing the union.
I say this in the context of Roseanne McCosh's letter to Mulgrew below where she lists a litany of failures of the UFT leadership.

Now I tie these fundamental failures to this very lack of having broad areas of opinion in the UFT represented at the top of the pyramid so decisions are not made within the top-down Unity bubble. Having produced Ed Notes since 1997 as a means to create a forum for the very discussions not taking place I know I have pretty much warned the leadership about what was clearly to come when they ignored class size when money was available, when they supported so much of ed deform Roseanne points to below, allowed their principal pals in the CSA to run rampant, killed the seniority provisions that would have protected teachers and schools from the BloomKlein assault.

I'm looking forward to an intense discussion of Frierichs at CUNY on 5th Ave between 34th and 35th (Rm 5409- bring id) starting at noon in case you want to chip in your 2 cents.

Sean Crowley at B-LoEdScene (Union Members -- Who Do You Love?)
touched on the Friedrichs theme related to the AFT Hillary endorsement and the Mulgrew punching himself in his own face for taking away his beloved common core from himself:
this two-tiered sleight of hand used by so called "leadership" has no place in our current modus operandi and will be even more outrageous in the coming landscape of Post-Friedrichs unionism. We all witnessed the disgust and outrage of our colleagues when we learned that Weingarten had slid the AFT endorsement to Hillary when none of us were paying attention.
Here is Roseanne's letter to Mulgrew:
Dear Mr. Mulgrew,
I received your mass email about Friedrich. I am fully informed on Friedrich. Teacher apathy that has worked in your favor thus far may now ironically be a nail in the UFT coffin. You can't continue to protect the testing moguls, the billionaires who want to use tests as a weapon against teachers in order to destroy public education, the DOE and Mayor DeBlasio at the expense of teachers and then expect us to support you. You have done nothing to untie teachers to test scores (that 4 yr moratorium on state tests simply means teachers will sit on death row a little longer before being executed). You have done nothing about abusive administrators who torment teachers and ruin lives and careers. You have done nothing to expose credit recovery schemes and other misdeeds swept under the rug by the DOE. You have done nothing to lower class size. You have done nothing to expose the unreasonableness of Danielson. You have done nothing to highlight the factors beyond a teacher's control that affect students' academic success. You have done nothing to expose the invalidity of the tests being used to harm us (MOSL, State tests etc... ) And yet you have the gall to ask us to save you from the axe looming over the head of UFT/NYSUT and the AFT leadership. 

I wrote the below to Karen Magee and it applies to UFT leadership as well.
Friedrich may offer the disenfranchised an opportunity to starve the unions that refuse to be accountable to their membership. We'll all know soon enough is those chickens do indeed come home to roost. And if they do, you have no one to blame but yourselves.

Roseanne McCosh

Thursday, February 4, 2016

UFT Elections/#MORE2016 - You Have the Right to Distribute

With the UFT elections at hand we want to remind people that all UFT members have the right to distribute material
in school mail boxes even if they don't work in that school and the UFT has asked that a memo be sent to all principals informing them of that fact. Now you will find that some principals don't read and you may be stopped. In other cases you may face a Unity CL who tells you you don't have the right or tells you he or she will put them in and most likely toss them away. Get CL name and serial number.

MORE has a rep on the election committee who will call the school info to Amy Arundell.

MORE has some excellent advice on how to deal with gaining entry into the schools: http://morecaucusnyc.org/2016/02/04/distribute-union-election-literature/
  1. You have the right to place union literature in the mailboxes within your school or within any other school, as long as you don’t do it while you are on duty. You can do it before or after school, or during your lunch period.

  1. When going to other schools make sure to sign in with security (bring photo ID), go to the office where the mailboxes are, and introduce yourself to the secretary. Show the secretary, or any administrator who asks, the Department of Education memorandum which allows you to place election literature in the mailboxes. Attached Here

  1. Do not agree to leave the stack with the secretary, the UFT chapter leader, or anyone else. You have a right to put them directly in the mailboxes.

  1. Do not get into fights or arguments! Speak confidently but not aggressively. Getting into a battle will do you no good. If after you have shown everyone the Department of Education memorandum they still won’t let you leaflet, contact Kit Wainer (KitWainer@yahoo.com,). Kit will contact the UFT and the UFT will get the Department of Education to tell the principal to let you in. You will then be allowed to return on another day.
   5. The right to distribute is based on the Baizerman decision, which is still in effect, formally established the right of UFT members to distribute union   material, including caucus election materials, in mailboxes of NYC public schools on their own time. If you are distributing MORE material in school mailboxes, consider printing out this decision and having it ready in case your right to place MORE materials in mailboxes is challenged.
Tomorrow Mike Schirtzer and I hit the road to stuff mailboxes in some schools. If a Unity slug shows up to try to stop us Mike will talk him/her to death.

The Ira Goldfine files
Ira Goldfine who has archives from the 70s - the 1770s - gives us some background on the various grievances and decisions over the years. Note that our group - the Coalition of School Workers and its subsidiaries in the districts were behind all of these challenges that were won. My late pal Loretta Prisco and I did one school in the morning and she remained to watch the mailboxes to see that they weren't pulled out and was arrested for trespassing which led to NYCLU taking her case and forcing our district to agree to allow access to mailboxes, though we were sure we would wake up to find a horse's head in our beds one day.

You'll note that in no case did the UFT actually represent us but just was there as observers.

And note the mention of the NYSUT big wig Alan Lubin who preceded Andy P. as VP for spending cope money on whatever - back in the 1972 district 16 case.

Summary of the Various Teacher Mailbox Cases

District 16 Step 2 Hearing:_October 27, 1972:

This I believe was the first teacher mailbox case and it arose when Paul Baizerman and I received letters in our files for distributing the first issue of The Brooklyn Bridge in the mailboxes.

At the step 2 hearing we based our case on the UFT Contract Article X A2 which states “ that he has been treated unfairly or inequitably by reason of any act or condition which is contrary to established policy or practice…”. 

The policy that we used was the Chancellors General Circular #4 from 1962-63 which stated: “The Board of Education, at its meeting on Wednesday, August 22, 1962 has clarified the nature of its current relationship with all teacher organizations other than the duly recognized exclusive bargaining agent (United Federation of Teachers for the teacher unit). All such organizations, including the Teachers Union, now have equal rights to disseminate their views in relation to educational matters through the bulletin boards and teachers’ letter boxes, through meetings on school premises and through other authorized procedures”

The UFT  was represented at the Step 2 hearing by Alan Lubin, then District 16 UFT Rep – he played the role as an observer not a defender of our position which we argued ourselves.

The decision was totally in our favor and granted us full rights before or after school ours to distribute material in our school.

Baizerman VS. The Board of Education:

Step 2 Hearing: February 6, 1974:

Principal argues that the  UFT Chapter Chair handbook specifically states that only the UFT chapter chair and delegate in the school can use the mailboxes without the principals permission and further that Teachers Action Caucus is not a recognized Teacher Organization. Harriet although not a member of TAC was distributing a TAC leaflet.

Step 3 Hearing: May 2, 1974:

The case was heard by Irving Anker, Chancellor of the Board of Education. Harriet was represented by Eve Cary of the NYCLU and the UFT was there again to observe not defend and in fact that is stated in the decision.

Eve Cary argued that Article 2 of the Contract bars the board from discriminating against any employee participating in the  in the activities of any employee organization. She cited in this regard a court case NLRB Vs. Magnavox.

Although she mentioned the Chancellors circular which still existed at the time I always believed that the reason she didn’t base the whole case on it was that the Board could just eliminate that any time they wanted and that would leave no leg to stand on.

The case was an unequivocal victory.
Read the entire decision: https://morecaucusnyc.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/baizermancompressed.pdf

Letter from Eve Cary, NYCLU to Chancellor Anker: August 8, 1975

In this letter Eve requested that the chancellor issue a directive that the first amendment grants teachers the right without prior permission of the principals and Anker said he already granted this in the Step 3 decision but he would confer with counsel about establishing it as a constitution right. He never got back as far as I know.

District Step 2 Hearing: January 19, 1976:

Paul and I started distributing The Brooklyn Bridge at all schools in the District and of course were stopped from doing so. At the Step 2 hearing we again represented ourselves and Ron Mailman, the District Rep was again an observer. The superintendent Adolph Dembo, merely quoted from Harriet’s Step 3 decision and granted us full rights before or after school to distribute in all District 16 schools as long as we notify the principals in advance and sign in.

Chancellor Anker Circular: March 25, 1977

After a group of us took a day off during the 1977 UFT election campaign to distribute election literature in hundreds of schools all in one day, the Chancellor issued a  circular which basically said that teachers could not use personal business days to distribute literature in school mailboxes.

Unity Caucus Hacks: Union elections are divisive, especially now with Friedrichs

Well that's the line you will hear and I will say that should work, just as it did for Giuliani when he wanted to cancel the 2001 mayoral election due to 9/11. But that gave us Bloomberg so, hmmmm.

Anyway - that is what you will be hearing in the schools from Unity over the next few months. In their ideal world there will never be elections. But then there is the embarrassment of a one party system. So they like to have a loyal opposition if possible.

When Ed Notes went rogue around 2001 they used to claim Bloomberg was funding me.

In 2013 I caught a Unity official leaving anon comments attacking a few MORE candidates. You might hear all kind of rumors spread by Unity and their quasi-allies about MORE and its candidates.

Like they serve fetal body parts at their meetings.

The Unity pals in Philly running on the Jerry Jordan slate are facing opposition for the first time in ages - from Working Educators (WE) and are pushing the same kind of crap against them.

A precursor of what is to come here:


Dispelling Rumors, Correcting Misinformation

Because it's been so long since the last PFT election, many rank and file members are unfamiliar with the process of choosing their union leadership. As a result, we've encountered a lot of questions and points of confusion that deserve a response. Read on to find out what people are saying, and whether it's true or not.

Should I hand my ballot over to my Building Rep or Political Liaison? They're asking me to.
We respect the efforts that people are making to ensure that voter turnout is good. However, we find it straight-up disturbing that somebody would come between you and the secure delivery of your ballot. And letting somebody fill out your ballot for you is just crazy. Why would you hand your democratic right to vote over to somebody else? Arrange a ballot fill-out and mailing party at your building, come to one of our happy hour events on Friday Feb. 5th, and feel free to show people your sealed envelope. But send it off personally, please.
The bottom line: putting your ballot anywhere else but inside a USPS mailbox means it might not get delivered. Don't let anyone come between you and your vote.

Will the PFT know how I voted? 
Screenshot_2016-01-31_at_12.42.32_PM.pngThe answer here is an absolute NO. When you send back your ballot, you will be placing it in two envelopes: first in an anonymous ballot envelope, and then in the prepaid mailing envelope. This second, outer envelope gets scanned upon delivery. This ensures that the ballot mailbox isn't being stuffed. That envelope is then removed and discarded, leaving only your anonymous ballot. AAA will have a record of who sent in a ballot, but NOT how you voted.
Unfortunately, we have had several reports of PFT members trying to intimidate voters by telling them "the PFT is watching you and how you vote." If you hear that in person, please let the offender know that they are both a bully and a liar.

If WE win, will everybody in the PFT offices get fired?
Again, the answer here is an absolute NO. We are interested in retaining as much of the current staff as possible, especially the administrators and secretaries who have kept things running "behind the scenes" all these years. Think of it this way: when we elect a new President of the United States, do all government workers get the axe? Certainly not.
Unfortunately, several PFT staffers have explicitly stated, even threatened, that they will quit if WE wins the election. We are troubled to think that partisan loyalties would overrule whatever sense of duty and service staffers might have to the membership.

Where did the caucus get the money for this campaign? 
The answer: from the rank and file of the PFT, and the friends and family who care about them. Seriously -- hats off to our fundraising team, but they didn't have to go sell their souls or make a single handshake deal to secure the funds we needed. Most of it was raised in tens and twenties at the dozens of house parties, happy hours, and other events we have had. We've raised about $30,000 total, the bulk of which is being spent on our citywide mailers.
Craziest rumor to dispel: No, we did not accept, nor were we offered, any donations from PSP. There is no version of the universe where that would happen.

How did the caucus get my home mailing address?
According to PFT election procedures, any caucus running a slate may pay to send out campaign materials to the membership, though a third party. So technically, we didn't get everybody's address -- we sent our materials to a company that mailed it for us. CB team has to do the same thing.

If you haven't received a campaign mailing from WE yet, call AAA as soon as possible to confirm you are on their ballot list: 215-731-2280People who have called were able to get immediate confirmation. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jia Lee Live on South Bronx School Radio Thursday Night, 9:30PM

Peter Zucker is back with his radio show. MORE/New Action UFT Presidential candidate Jia Lee will take calls.


It's back, the Internet radio show you all loved.

This Thursday night, February 4, 2016 at 9:30 PM I will be interviewing Jia Lee as she shares her vision for the UFT, teachers, and education.

Listen Here!!

The call in # is (646) 716-9956

#MORE2016 - UFT Election Season is At Hand - Petitoning Begins Today Through End of May

I've been pretty busy helping MORE prep for the UFT elections by handling the overall planning and management of the 6-week petition campaign which begins today at the Delegate Assembly. Without the petitions a caucus or an individual cannot get on the ballot.

For Unity's cast of patronage thousands and 800 candidates it is easy.

For caucuses made up of working teachers and support staff it is an often tedious and time-consuming process. I've been involved in handing the process over the past 4 election cycles (2004, 07, 10, 13).

You know in the NFL and NBA they have experts to deal with the salary cap who are known as 'Capologists"?

I am a Petitionologist, along side Ellen Fox, who has been doing this stuff even longer than I am since she was in New Action from the 80s on.

We have evolved a system we hope will be the least taxing on the MOREs out there doing the hard work of going around their schools getting people to sign for the officer slate (900 sigs needed) and all the other people - 100 needed.

When you consider that there are 42 Exec Bd divisional candidates broken down into Elem (11), MS (5), HS (7) and Functional/Retirees (19) who can only get sigs from their particular divisions this process turns into somewhat of a military operation.

All the At-large - 48 Exec Bd, 750 AFT/NYSUT Delegates can have anyone sign but explaining this to people every 3 years is wrenching. So I no longer bother - here are your petitions and who can sign and go to it.

The more candidates we have the more petitions have to be signed. And since many people are not in schools big enough to get 100 signatures, the caucus has to set up events where people can gather to sign masses of petitions to cover the petition gap - call it closing the petition gap.

Unity has a meeting tonight right after the DA with food and people dancing on tables to entice the Unity faithful into a giant signing party. MORE will retire to the Blarney Stone post DA to hold a mini-signing party and to distribute the petitions and will follow up at its meeting on Saturday. 

Since I also manage the candidate info spreadsheet and do some recruiting of candidates, I see the MORE portion of the slate is over 150 people with more coming in every day. [NOTE: YOU TOO CAN STILL SIGN UP TO RUN WITH MORE FOR AFT/NYSUT DELEGATE SINCE WE CAN RUN 750].

This is without all the New Action people added in.

So there is a lot more work ahead over the next 6 weeks for the MOREs while I sit back and watch it all unfold until the petitions are collected and organized when I spring back into action. This can be a distraction from going out and doing any heavy campaigning but our philosophy has morphed - the heavy lifting in terms of building a ground game is in the schools where MORE has people and people are going in with an attitude of using the petition campaign as a way to engage people in the election at this  early stage and the prep them to vote when ballots go out May 6.

In the meantime I will help get out the 20,000 copies of the initial MORE Literature since starting today any UFT member can go into any school and stuff the mailboxes.
The Baizerman Decision -
Twisted sisters
The naked fact is that the election is so stacked that MORE can't win the entire election but can win somethings. Some idiots are out there spinning this into "MORE doesn't want to win."  But these same people are proven liars, so discount what they say.

Fact is MORE can win a the high school 7 Exec Bd seats by getting MORE votes than Unity in the high schools. MORE can also "win" by closing the gap in the MS, Elem Schs and Functional chapters. The irony is that those people putting out distorted lies about MORE have an agenda. Not to challenge Unity but to help Unity by trying to siphon enough votes from MORE in the high schools so as to give Unity 100% control of the Executive Board.

Anyone who believes MORE is putting all this effort into the petitioning campaign and doesn't want to win has been frolicking in a field of shrooms.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AFT/NEA, Randi/Lily Big Losers in Iowa and Troubles Ahead

...tonight’s results will resonate throughout the National Education Association and American Federation of Teachers, because they will reveal the current correlation of political forces within those unions. The winners, and their margins of victory, will tell us which way the wind blows when it comes to the Democratic mainstream, services-oriented unionists vs. the socialist, movement-oriented unionists.
......EIA Intercepts, Teacher Unionists Will Be Victorious Tonight, But Which Ones?

Pre-election Commentary from Mike Antonucci pretty much nailed the disaster for Randi and Lily last night in the 50-50 split between Bernie and Hillary. Mike is one of the only commentators who actually delves into the internal differences in teacher unions between Unity and MORE types.
NEA and AFT endorsed Clinton early, even though there was substantial opposition within both unions. NEA polled a random sampling of members, who preferred Clinton by a wide margin over Sanders. But Clinton couldn’t crack 50 percent. Even worse, Sanders supporters were much more vocal and enthusiastic than Clinton supporters... 
And here comes the kicker:
The unions pressed ahead with Hillary, and they have unleashed the full power of their dues money, campaign expertise and professional advocates. Both NEA president Lily Eskelsen Garcia and AFT president Randi Weingarten are in Iowa, personally directing the effort.
Now I get it why Hillary ended up in a virtual tie with Bernie. Blame Randi.
These things are never decided on education or labor issues, but a vote is a vote regardless of why. If Hillary wins by more than a whisker, it will validate NEA/AFT’s traditional approach in a notably non-traditional election cycle. The inevitability factor will re-emerge, both for Clinton and for the status quo in union leadership. 
If Sanders wins, the whole conversation changes, especially since he’s a virtual lock in New Hampshire next week. Sanders’ threat to Clinton’s national campaign is probably overstated, but it will require her to rely on the Southern primaries and her advantages with African-Americans to carry the day.
That’s good news for Clinton, but not necessarily for the teachers’ unions. They are weakest in the very states Clinton would need to carry, diminishing their value to her. NEA and AFT officers will be subjected to at least a month of internal second-guessing and criticism, even more pointed than what we saw last week in The Intercept (no relation) and Mother Jones.
I guess there was no validation. Another reason to vote #MORE2016. There are few outright Hillary supporters I know of in MORE - from the pragmatic end - Bernie can never win and the Republican alternative is a horror show - and I admit that argument is somewhat appealing, especially since my wife is supporting Hillary while I lean toward Bernie.

There is a significant Bernie core in MORE and then there are the left "Bernie is not a real socialist" crew and then there is the - "a plague on all their houses, politics sucks but is like watching a game show."

Hillary's weakness is actually scary as it opens up the possibility of a President Cruz, Trump or Rubio - sort of like a meteor hitting the unions and wiping out the dinosaurs running them.

What if Hillary wins? Isn't that good for the unions?
A subsequent Clinton victory in the November election, achieved without a special and strategically significant contribution of the teachers’ unions, leaves them with a friend in the White House, for sure, but a friend almost exactly like the one they had in Barack Obama in 2008. I’m certain that isn’t the scenario NEA and AFT had in mind when they endorsed Clinton.
 Mike touches on the Trump factor within the unions.
I don’t put much stock in the importance of reported union member support for Donald Trump. Oh, it’s real enough at this stage, as evidenced by this bizarre press release from Working America, “the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.” Most of this will return to the Democratic nominee, within historical bounds, but it does emphasize the disaffection within the unions that liberal media outlets have noticed.
There have always been grumblings in the rank-and-file about union policies, and political campaigns tend to bring them out into the open. But the grumblings have never been this loud before. If NEA and AFT want to quiet them and proceed with business as usual, they better hope for a big Clinton win tonight.
Oy! In the midst of the Friedrichs mess about to come and the Bernie faction saying ---Hmmmm - when it comes time to pay dues to an organization that certainly didn't endorse Hillary with any member input.
Just wait till the Bernie-Hillary show reaches us in the NY Primary and watch some fur fly as Unity/UFT does an all out full court press and in the midst of the UFT election campaign.

Internally in MORE we might see the Bernie crew try to get MORE to endorse him but I will resist -- keep the eye on the prize - the target is Mulgew and Unity Caucus and falling into the Bernie/Hillary battle is a distraction from focusing on the UFT election and the issues of concern to teachers -  MORE should avoid that trap and FOCUS.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mary Porter Comments on Roots of Undemocratic UFT, Tying to Gates, AFT. Unions Etc.

I came across an interesting comment from Mary Porter on FB adding flavor and context to my recent commentary and posting of an 18 year old Lois Weiner piece, ALBERT SHANKER'S LEGACY.

Mary has been extremely critical of Diane Ravitch and Deb Meier, especially over their recent support for the new federal ed law, ESSA and over giving cover to Randi, AFT, Lilly, NEA for their general cooperation with ed deform.  Jim Horn, Schools Matter, and Emily Talmage have also been charging the Ravitch inspired NPE and Fairtest as verging on sellouts.

For that is going too far and I tend to give the Ravitch crew, which includes the always amazing Leonie Haimson, the benefit of the doubt.

Diane published today a piece called:

My Views about ESSA: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

And Debbie Meier has always been for small schools for decades but soured on the Gates led crap.

I do have some interesting parent views from our change the stakes group on this internal conflict in the anti-ed deform movement but will get to that another time. I am by the way registered for this April's NPE conference, the past 2 which I did not attend. It is hard to accuse NPE which emerged out of a national anti-ed deform bloggers network where I was one of the initial members and did a lot of recruiting for. Just read  core-member Mercedes Schneider, deutsch29,  on Randi (An Open Exchange With AFT President Randi Weingarten).

The Roots of an Undemocratic UFT - Lois Weiner Oldie But Goodie: ALBERT SHANKER'S LEGACY - Mary Porter
This is my own commentary on Norm Scott's commentary on Lois Weiner's commentary on Al Shanker. It should be a blog, and I would be glad of an opportunity to expand it into one, with links. I'll tell the story we older teachers have just lived through, to explain how Bill Gates got entangled in our teacher union elections.

Some younger activists might not know this "ancient" history, so many are confused by and surprised by a rift in the movement to stop corporate education reform. The Shanker Institute, the Teacher Union Reform Network, Deborah Meier's Coalition of Essential Schools, and Randi Weingarten's Progressive and Unity Caucuses of the AFT loosely constitute one side of today's struggle for the teachers unions.

These groups cooperated with the Gates Foundation's original project of public education reform. Gates observed the success of Deborah Meier's Central Park East High School, and thought he could capture a set of best practices from it, "bring it to scale" under his corporate control, and produce his own network.

At the same time he also undertook a drive to capture the public school marketplace by legislating accountability to testable outcomes, and forcing underperforming schools (by his measurement) to be brought under his control. 

Breaking up public schools into smaller schools under his authoritarian, hierarchical model produced something different from Meier's progressive, student centered, democratically governed open classrooms, though. He funded them lavishly, but they produced poor testing outcomes. This was possibly a surprise to Gates. He continued to support the "performance based assessment" movement, and used their work to claim his digital assessment products are student centered. Linda Darling Hammond, of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium sits on their boards of the Essential schools and the Shanker institute. They provide the source documents for the Orwellian vocabulary of his digital data driven personalized scripted learning. 

Gates shifted his attention to forcing states to give control of underperforming public schools over to his privatized turnaround partners and Education Management Organizations. They tested poorly also.
As teachers became aware of Gates' role in the destruction of their schools, Randi Weingarten has used the antidemocratic union practices described in this paper to crush opposition within the AFT affiliates, especially the UFT in New York City. Members have formed opposition caucuses without loyalty oaths, using member driven governance to challenge Randi in many cities and some states. The Chicago Teachers Union is their most prominent representative. Many challenges are underway this winter in other cities.

Friday, January 29, 2016

RBE at Perdido Street School Blog Endorses MORE in, Sadly, Final Blog Post

On the union side, there are many great folks pushing back against the union leaders in the AFT, NEA, NYSUT and UFT, trying to end top-down unionism and make the unions more representative of the views of the rank and file.
In NYC, that movement is led by the people at MORE and before I go from the blogging scene, I want to say that I fully support the MORE candidates in the coming UFT elections and hope that we can finally get some people into the UFT leadership who fight for teachers and the teaching profession rather than sell us and it out piece by piece.... RBE
Say it ain't so.
A Blogging Hero Says Goodbye -

It is a sad day in the blogging world as Reality-Based Educator, one of the most read and respected bloggers coming from the NYC teaching ranks and beyond, hangs up his spikes (Goodbye And Good Luck) - and they are some set of spikes, offering some of the best in-depth writing and analysis of the ed scene. And RBE has been on top of everything - I used to try to post important news on ed notes but he always seems to beat me to it, thereby freeing me to stay on the couch. Shit - I'm really going to miss all the hard work he did. And what about the music tributes? Come on RBE, at the very least keep doing that.

I've known RBE for many years even though I only met him 2 or 3 times - he grew up in Rockaway - we hung out one day and I found out his music knowledge goes deep.

He has helped circulate MORE lit in his school along with another great guy who transferred there a few years ago, who, when I found out he was going there I told him to look RBE up and they have both been wonderful assets to their school, along with others I know who are working there, forming a core of progressive teachers that are so important to keeping a school alive spiritually. RBE is not hanging up his spikes when it comes to that work.

Before Perdido RBE often co-blogged with Arthur Goldstein at NYC Educator.

In his final post RBE very well sums up where we are at in the struggle:
The battles in education these past ten years have been brutal and we have seen our profession transformed into something barely recognizable from when I first started teaching fifteen years ago.

Common Core, teacher evaluations tied to test scores, EngageNY scripts and drive-by Danielson observations have ensured that many of us are teaching by numbers if wish to remain in our jobs for any period of time.

If you're a reader of this blog, you know that all the "change" we hear that is happening in education - from Cuomo's Common Core Task Force "reforms" to the changes NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia says we'll see out of the State Education Department, is just so much window dressing.

The instructional focus of the Common Core remains.

The bludgeon of the Endless Testing regime on individual schools remains.

For many teachers, teacher evaluations tied to test scores remain.

The unions have run ads lately touting change, but quite frankly, there is no change  - just more of the same with minor tweaks.

Despite the media narrative of the "powerful teachers unions," the unions never really tried to counter the reformers - they instead  collaborated with them on teacher evaluations, Common Core, Danielson, streamlined contracts and the like.

But the Opt Out movement has become that pushback and therein lies the hope I have for the future of public education - that parents, along with teachers, will take back their schools from the corporate reformers, the educrats, the consultants, the edu-entrepreneurs and the bought-off politicians.

If there is any bright light in the maelstrom of deform that we inhabit these days, it is the advent of a parent-led movement against the powers that be and their corporate backers to transform schools into one size fits all factories and children into interchangeable widgets.

On the union side, there are many great folks pushing back against the union leaders in the AFT, NEA, NYSUT and UFT, trying to end top-down unionism and make the unions more representative of the views of the rank and file.

In NYC, that movement is led by the people at MORE and before I go from the blogging scene, I want to say that I fully support the MORE candidates in the coming UFT elections and hope that we can finally get some people into the UFT leadership who fight for teachers and the teaching profession rather than sell us and it out piece by piece.

And with that, I say goodbye and good luck.
I still have hope that one day RBE will return, as he has in the past. I do share a lot of his despair over the future and keep being involved in MORE and Change the Stakes because there really is no other option. So RBE's endorsement of MORE and opt-out means a lot.

Almost every teacher blogger in NYC is not only backing MORE, but many are running with MORE. I'm still working on RBE to join the slate that will total 2-300 people so anonymity will still be assured.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Roots of an Undemocratic UFT - Lois Weiner Oldie But Goodie: ALBERT SHANKER'S LEGACY

There has been a lot of discussion over the Unity Caucus "loyalty oath" or a version of democratic centralism used by most socialist parties even today. I have come to see that if an organization engages in spirited democratic debate and then comes to a decision on an issue I can see the case for the entire org adhering to the decision. "Democratically" is the key word. Unity is not a democratic organization in practice so as someone pointed out it engages in undemocratic centralism. The big problem is that Unity has basically turned the UFT into a branch of Unity Caucus and whatever Unity decides becomes city, state and national policy due to rigid, controlled election process.

A prime example is the 750 AFT/NYSUT winner take all delegates who will be elected in May to represent the entire UFT membership at the AFT2016 convention this summer. Even if MORE/New Action got 49% of the vote the people who voted for them would get no representation - disenfranchising them and taxing them with union dues without representation. Can anyone spell Friedrichs? [MORE will debate Friedrichs at its Feb 6 meeting - all are welcome - and I will be raising this as a call for the UFT to change its constitution.] Another example is that in the retiree chapter election, Retiree Advocate got 22% of the vote but Unity gets all 300 delegates to our delegate assembly.

The roots of this system comes from Al Shanker and his cohorts. You can't really understand what is behind the system without studying its roots. Lois Weiner in a 1997 article upon the death of Al Shanker:
Borrowing a strategy more commonly used by political activists than union leaders, Shanker exercised authority through the mechanism of political caucuses, the "Unity Caucus" in the UFT, and the "Progressive Caucus" in the AFT. As is still true, these were "disciplined" caucuses, meaning that if members disagree with a position taken by the group, they may not express their opposition outside of the caucus in a public forum (Lieberman, 1997.) In the Unity Caucus, discipline extends to votes as well; to vote or speak against a caucus position carries the risk of exclusion from the caucus and the many jobs the union leadership controls (Weiner, 1976). Analyzing Shanker's mechanisms for controlling debate and decision making in the AFT, one critic compared Shanker's exercise of authority to the Leninist concept of "democratic centralism" (Lieberman, 1997). However, comparison of accounts of organizational life in both the UFT and AFT suggests that Lenin's Bolshevik party, at least until the Russian revolution, was less tightly-controlled than was the Unity Caucus under Shanker (Deutscher, 1954; Weiner & Markens, 1990).... Lois Weiner
I was emailed a link to Lois' 1997 piece elucidating some of the roots of the undemocratic legacy in the UFT going back to the early 60s. There have been some recent articles floating around delving into the roots of UFT history of lack of democracy and there has been some push back on aspects of one particular analysis coming from the International Socialists. Some people from MORE and ICE will be getting together during the mid-winter break to drill down deeper on this issue, focusing on the ideology and right wing social democracy behind Shankerism and his connections to his mentor Max Shachtman, which I delved into on ednotes.

Lois delves into this point:
As the nation's political climate became more conservative in the 1980s and '90s, Shanker's opposition to progressive political causes and his public rejection of the militant unionism that had earned him his early prominence enabled him to win the support of conservative authors and politicians with whom he had previously locked horns (Lieberman, 1995). Like Reagan and his appointees, Shanker opposed bilingual education, mainstreaming of handicapped students, and efforts to make the curriculum more multicultural. However, it is essential to note that what changed was the political temper of the period, not Shanker's ideology, which remained essentially the same as it had been since he became UFT President. Herein lies the element that connects all of the seemingly diverse aspects of Shanker's legacy, his political ideology, which requires explanation of events that one author has described as "Byzantine" (Mahler, 1997).
Shanker was a political co-thinker of a small group of former socialists, organized into Social Democrats-USA, commonly known by the acronym SD-USA. The intellectual mentor of this group, Max Shachtman, was well known in left-wing circles up until the mid-1950s as a socialist, a left-wing opponent of communism.
However, as the cold war intensified, Shachtman viewed American capitalism in an increasingly favorable light that called for forgiving many of the practices that he had previously contested. In an obituary, the theme of which was Shachtman's two deaths, one moral, the other corporeal, a critic of Shachtman' s "turn to the right" noted, "Shachtman had become an apologist for American imperialism's filthy war in Vietnam, aligned himself with the ugliest elements in the unions, rationalized the racist practices of the construction unions" (Jacobson, 1973, p. 99). 

I posted Lois article with some commentary on Norms Notes, October 11, 2007

This is an old but very valuable piece by Lois Weiner, a former NYC teacher and UFT delegate. Lois recruited us to review the Kahlenberg book for New Politics. (Bold was added by me in some places to highlight points we are looking at.) Lois wrote a wonderful piece on neoliberalism and education which illuminates many connections between the actions of the Democrats, BloomKlein, Gates, Broad, Weingarten (posted here on this blog recently.)

The original is posted at:



by Lois Weiner