From Marjorie Stamberg:
Something bad is likely to happen at the UFT Delegate Assembly on Thursday. This is almost always the case anyway. But this time the question of teacher evaluations is posed by Gov Cuomo's diktat that there must be a deal by January 17 or NYC schools stand to lose some arbitrary amount of money from Obama's Race To the Top funds. This is blackmail -- and the linchpin of the teacher-bashing, union-busting drive brought to us by the Democratic Party and the rest of the privatizers. We need to fight it tooth-and-nail.---------
If the UFT tops sign off on a teacher eval deal, you can be sure it will be bad news. As they've done in the past, they may try to link this to some kind of pay increase or other sucker bait. Whether they throw in a "sweetener" or not, by linking teacher evaluation to student test scores (which are graded on a curve), and using this as the basis for potential firing, this guarantees that any deal will put thousands of teachers' jobs in jeopardy.
So we need to protest outside the Delegate Assembly with hard-hitting signs and leaflets opposing the whole phony-baloney teacher-eval ploy and demanding that the D.A. vote it down. Signs could be "Teacher Evals Scam Is Union Busting," "UFT Members Must Vote on Any Teacher Eval Deal," "No Teacher Evals by Political Hacks and Union-Busters," "No to High Stakes Testing," "Stop the Enemies of Public Education."
An important point --- don't call this protest an "informational picket."
A picket line means don't cross, and anyone who does is a scab. This is a fundamental principle of labor struggle that goes back to the class battles that built the unions. Do you want to tell people not to go into the D.A.? I don't think so. The phrase "informational picket line" was invented by the labor bureaucracy precisely to avoid calling a real picket or strike. This term synthesizes the degeneration of the labor movement. If you buy into this language, you are accepting the framework of the sellout bureaucracy we are fighting against. Just call it a protest or a rally.
When we as a union do call a picket, we must make sure nobody does any crossing of it. That is the history of labor's struggle.
If it so happens that Mulgrew and the UFT leadership can't find a way to cave in to Cuomo/Obama/Bloomberg's blackmail, the union as a whole has to be prepared to mobilize and stand strong. We will surely be faced with an all-sided onslaught ranging from the billionaire mayor, the sleazeball tabloids and the high-falutin' labor-haters at the Times to education czar Arne Duncan, all railing against "bad teachers." We need to tell them, to hell with their dirty money. For the likes of Bloomberg, this is chicken feed anyway. If they claim they're short of cash, they can cancel all their contracts with Pearson and high paid consultants (a lot of whom are just thieves, literally, as it turns out).
The ones who should evaluate the effectiveness of education are those involved in and committed to improving public education, not those trying to wreck it. For teacher-student-parent-worker control of the schools.
The opinions expressed on EdNotesOnline are solely those of Norm Scott and are not to be taken as official positions (though Unity Caucus/New Action slugs will try to paint them that way) of any of the groups or organizations Norm works with: ICE, GEM, MORE, Change the Stakes, NYCORE, FIRST Lego League NYC, Rockaway Theatre Co., Active Aging, The Wave, Aliens on Earth, etc.