Sunday, January 27, 2013

Jersey Jazzman and Fiorillo Blame Weingarten Over Impact of Newark Deal

In this post, Aftermath of the Newark Teachers Contract, JJ gives Randi the benefit of the doubt as negotiating the best contract she could. But he doesn't know Randi like we do here. Michael saved me the trouble of commenting as he points out why a certain segment of the UFT/AFT that we represent put the leadership squarely in the category of being on the other side of the fence -- that is when they are not straddling it as a way to try to convince the members they are on their side while the daily outrages against teachers pile up. Michael is of course just skimming the surface in this casual comment and doesn't even mention the role they played in the open support, lack of response to the charter invasion.
Blogger Michael Fiorillo said...
Giving people the benefit of the doubt is fine when there is a limited track record to judge them by.

That is hardly the case with Ms. Weingarten, who has persistently demonstrated her willingness to accept the premises of corporate education reform (empty sound bites for membership consumption and misdirection notwithstanding) and "collaborate" (her term, not mine) with those undermining the public schools and teachers.

As for evidence, look no further than

- her persistent support for mayoral control of
urban school districts, including unilateral
support for continuing it NYC in 2009, against
recommendations by her own governance
Governance Committee.

- her silence when Michael Bloomberg bought an
illegal third term, and her de facto endorsement
of that third term in 2009.

- her negotiating the catastrophic 2005 contract,
which eliminated seniority transfers and opened
the door to the epidemic of school closings
door to the epidemic that followed.

- her close relations with Eli Broad (who has
spoken of her as an "investment") and Bill Gates.

- her sponsoring of workshops featuring for-
profit opportunities in education at the oligarch-
dominated Aspen Institute.

- her successor and protege's agreeing to
teacher evaluation laws based on statistically-
unstable Value Added measures.

I'm sure many teachers who work in districts where Ms.Weingarten has helicoptered in and foisted contracts based on Broad/Gate policies could add to this list.

How many sell-outs are needed before we stop giving her the benefit of the doubt?

In fact, here is no doubt, Randi Weingarten is one of Them.

Here is a pertinent section of Jersey Jazzman's post:

There is, however, no doubt that the merit pay system will use standardized tests to determine who gets the bonuses. Which makes it even more amazing, to my mind, that the leadership of the Newark Teachers Union and their national umbrella organization, the American Federation of Teachers, supported the use of merit pay in the contract.
Because Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, has gone on record denouncing the use of tests to measure teacher effectiveness as "junk science." She's right - but she still supported its use to determine merit pay bonuses in the Newark contract. She even went so far as to tacitly agree with Chris Christie that the contract was a model for other districts - even if those districts don't have a California internet billionaire willing to drop a pile of money into their district.
So now Paterson's teachers have to reap what Weingarten has sown. What's worse is that the local - like the vast majority of locals in the state - is affiliated with the NJEA, and not the AFT. So Paterson's teachers have to live with the consequences of deal negotiated by labor leaders they didn't even elect.

I said this back when the members of the NTU were considering whether to take the deal that Weingarten and NTU's president, Joe Del Grosso, negotiated for them: despite my many misgivings, I can't blame any teacher in Newark for taking the deal. Those educators had worked without a contract for years, and a big pile of money was put in front of them, albeit with strings attached. I'm willing to give Weingarten and Del Grosso the benefit of the doubt that this was the best deal they could get, and I think it was fine to put the deal in front of the members (although a little more engagement with the teachers opposed to the deal would have gone a long way to help unity).

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