Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Assaulting the Walls of Ed Deform, NYSUT June 8 "One Voice" Critiqued

"One voice" is more about drowning out  the people's voice with a droll compliant whimper in true Weingartian style.... This is not a social justice rally.  This is a 'let's make believe we care' rally. It's play acting by the AFT/NYSUT/UFT gang.  We can play along, relieved that at least they are doing something, but their "something" is really business as usual.  --- Sean Ahern (see below for full text).
NYSUT Press release: Rally in Albany June 8.
Members of the more than one dozen organizations will join other parents, teachers and educators in speaking out against the state’s over-emphasis on standardized testing and misuse of test data to improperly label students and teachers. Rally-goers will call for a moratorium on the use of standardized tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers until the State Education Department and Regents properly implement the state’s new Common Core learning standards.
Well we know all about NYSUT/AFT/UFT and their role as enablers. When the water is at the top of the wall they decide to stick their finger in the dyke.

I know many people opposed to the testing regime who are going. And people in MORE are working on organizing. The UFT has buses available.

I am on the fence -- for a number of reasons from inconvenience to doubts about jumping on a NYSUT/UFT managed event -- the very people who enabled and even helped nurture the testing movement in the first place under the "we teachers have to show our willingness to be held accountable". Which reminds me of an old joke.
 
Lone Ranger: Tonto, we are surrounded by Indians.
Tonto: What to you mean "we," white man.

Yeah. The AFT/UFT leaders are certainly willing to have teachers be accountable while they are accountable for nothing.

Sean Crowley in Buffalo who does the B-LoEdScene blog also has some doubts about the rally. He sent some of his tweets:
NYSUT takes half a mill and AFT takes 4.4 mill from Bill Gates. Is anyone still wondering why reachers are getting bent over? (https://twitter.com/rastamick/status/333712627345797121)

Thinking a big sign at the NYSUT rally: GIVE BILL GATES HIS MONEY BACK! (https://twitter.com/rastamick/status/334041383037960192)

Here's one to show on the busride to Albany for the June 8th rally. Ianuzzi has to go. youtube.com/watch?v=FwA04N…  (https://twitter.com/rastamick/status/336221653098983427)
There has been some great back and forth on the listserves. Our own Sean - Ahern - does a hard-hitting piece, followed with a comment from Change the Stakes parent activist Jane Maisel.

Sean Ahern
"One voice" is more about drowning out  the people's voice with a droll compliant whimper in true Weingartian style.

NYSUT/UFT says the tax cap issue is about the democratic principle of majority rule. What about democracy and majority rule for NYC parents and educators?  Funny how mayoral dictatorship in NYC, the polar opposite of democracy, is not even mentioned by this "one voice."  

What a pathetic farce for Weingarten to  demand that we should be better prepared to enforce this new sorting system.  The common core is more aptly  described by Susan Ohanian as the "common bore."  It fits Emerson's description:  "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.  With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do...Speak what you think to-day in words as hard as cannon-balls, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today."  But in 21st century America the common core is far worse than a "foolish consistency." "One voice" and  common core have a totalitarian stench.    

As PSC President Barbara Bowen put it plainly, "Capitalism gets the education system it wants."  Education does not reduce inequality, it reproduces it and the common bore promise to do so with greater efficiency and oversight.  The problems with "common core" go far deeper than the lack of teacher preparedness.  This is all standard Weingarten triangulation crap.  

Mandatory grade retention, school closings, charter push-ins, the disappearing of Black and Latino educators,  the exclusion of parent and educator voice, the push out of youth on to the streets and on to prison, no raises for public sector workers, the use of high stakes tests to sort by race and class, reducing the teaching staff step by step to at will employees,  all of this and more would have had push back from community controlled school boards in NYC.  Yet mayoral control,  which eliminated whatever was left of democracy in NYC schools, was enacted with the support of NYSUT/UFT, the 'one voicers." 

On these matters The "One Voice" of AFT/NYSUT/UFT is silent. For UFT members facing their fifth year without a contractual raise we cannot build a working class movement in NYC to fight for decent contracts by skirting the deeply white supremacist character of the corporate education reform.  Silence doesn't build solidarity.

This is not a social justice rally.  This is a 'let's make believe we care' rally. It's play acting by the AFT/NYSUT/UFT gang.  We can play along, relieved that at least they are doing something, but their "something" is really business as usual.  

In my opinion "One voice" means no voice.

Peace,
Sean Ahern  
Jane Maisel
Hi Sean,
Thanks for your excellent response to the call for the NYSUT rally in Albany. I would only want to go if we could surprise NYSUT by  doing a counter demonstration--a sea of red MORE t-shirts. We could take UFT's buses up there, though we might need to take an ambulance going home. This is not coalition building, this is reducing the discussion to meaningless Randi slogans, which I do not wish to support. 
Jane was urged by others on the listserve to go to Albany and march under banners saying what needs to be said. I'm waiting to see if something from MORE and other groups get something going. Otherwise I'm staying home.

NYSUT Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8 education rally wins growing list of sponsors
 
ALBANY, N.Y. May 23, 2013 — A growing list of community, education and religious organizations have signed on as co-sponsors for the One Voice United rally, which will bring thousands of New Yorkers to Albany on June 8 to enlist in the fight for the future of public education.
 
Joining the 600,000-member New York State United Teachers in co-sponsoring the rally are the New York State AFL-CIO and a host of allied organizations, including: Class Size Matters; New York State NAACP; Alliance for Quality Education; Citizen Action; New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness; New York State Labor-Religion Coalition; Strong Economy for All; Students Rising; Occupy Albany; New York Immigration Coalition; First Israel AME Church; BALCONY; Educate NY Now; SUNY Student Assembly and Save Our SUNY.
 
The rally begins at noon at the Empire State Plaza in Albany.
 
“Thousands of New Yorkers will be speaking with one voice, sending a clear message to our elected leaders, the Board of Regents and state education commissioner that education is about learning, not testing, and that New York should be investing more in the future of its students,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi.
 
Members of the more than one dozen organizations will join other parents, teachers and educators in speaking out against the state’s over-emphasis on standardized testing and misuse of test data to improperly label students and teachers. Rally-goers will call for a moratorium on the use of standardized tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers until the State Education Department and Regents properly implement the state’s new Common Core learning standards.
The rally’s focus, however, will extend far beyond the explosive growth of standardized testing. Supporters will also demand fair and equitable funding of schools, as well as greater local control of schools by fixing the tax cap, including restoring the democratic principle of majority rule. Supporters will also demand a greater investment in public higher education, enactment of the DREAM Act and legislation to help ensure a safe, secure learning environment for every student.
 
NYSUT, the state’s largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.

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