Thursday, May 16, 2013

Critic Endorses CORE and Lewis in CTU Elections While Trashing AFT and Randi-like Opposition

It's called the inside game - the American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has worked it well while signing away teachers rights and jobs throughout the recent years of massive education privatization.... CORE came to power doing the exact opposite - to fight the business - political establishment to stop school closings and its massive attack on teachers' union rights.    
The current AFT and old UPC deals were only a slow, painful downward slide for unions.. Jim Vail, Second City Teacher
The caucus running against CORE is frighteningly Unity Caucus like. Read
Jim Vail who has been an internal critic inside CORE and in fact is not running with them in this election. So his endorsement and comments, both admiring and critical, are worth considering, especially in relation to the Randi Weingarten-like crew running against Karen Lewis. Vail picks them apart with a scalpel.

If you read some of the Unity Caucus trolls' comments on the MORE, ICE and Ed Notes blogs you will see how much they follow the line of CORE's opponents.

Below are some select quotes from Vail's last 3 posts which you can read in full at these links (really well worth reading - he also lobs some criticisms at CORE which you can read if you click the links.)


CORE has shown it is willing to fight the privatization of public education - namely charter schools.  Vice presidential candidate Mark Ochoa, who served as financial secretary of the old United Progressive Caucus, said it loud and clear in the debate last week - it seems CORE is against charter schools. Really Mark?  Are we supposed to follow the American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten and continue to support charter schools because that is what the ruling class wants?  That is what the machine democrats want? Does it matter that charter schools are merely privatized services to oust unionized teachers so they can pay teachers less, and give banks and others more public monies? That is the whole reason behind the so-called "under-utilization" lie. Bill Gates and others are giving Chicago and other cities lots of money to open charter schools and destroy the teachers union.

Now, here is what the opposition caucus tried to get across in their message. We are going to make deals at the top and save jobs.  We have proven that getting along with the mayor will translate into a world of far less pain than what is in store for you with another three years of CORE.

Presidential candidate Tanya Saunders Wolffe did say she can negotiate better in the "suits" than the streets. But it was fighting in the streets that gave us unions and worker protections in the first place. The current AFT and old UPC deals were only a slow, painful downward slide for unions.


 ----
Wolffe (Lewis' opponent) said the solution is to work more closely with politicians (former CTU president Marilyn Stewart once boasted she consulted Mayor Richard Daley before agreeing on the contract), and work more closely with the Chicago Public Schools to develop programs like fresh start with a CTU - CPS turnaround that prevents firing the entire staff (an initiative started by former CTU president Debbie Lynch).

It's called the inside game - the American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten has worked it well while signing away teachers rights and jobs throughout the recent years of massive education privatization.  

(Weingarten doesn't even see a problem with working hand in hand with the enemy, inviting Bill Gates to be a keynote speaker at the AFT convention in Seattle.  Gates is currently putting up millions of dollars for more charter schools to destroy union jobs and is actively promoting the end of teachers pension system!)

CORE came to power doing the exact opposite - to fight the business - political establishment to stop school closings and its massive attack on teachers' union rights.  
Here is an interesting section on standardized testing regarding teachers refusing to give the tests from the report on the Vice-Presidential debate between CORE's Jesse Sharkey and opponent and former union official in the old guard UPC, which given their history of sell-outs, makes Ochoa an example of the height of chutzpah.
The first question for the VP candidates was should the teachers boycott the standardized tests? Ochoa was cautious in his response, stressing any resistance should be decided by the union as a group and first negotiated at the table. Sharkey, on the other hand, said unequivocally that the union should organize a boycott of the high stakes testing (Sharkey once noted his kindergarten son had to take over a dozen standardized tests). While Sharkey won points with the crowd with his clear and forceful answer, the current CTU leadership has actually taken the route Ochoa preferred. Rather than organize a testing boycott, Sharkey and the CTU have been gathering information in the testing committee.
Given the realities of having to run for re-election, I would think trying to get teachers to organize a boycott of the tests would need to wait to see the level of support Lewis has. A resounding victory would be a sign that Chicago teachers are ready for more action.

The CTU has jumped in with full support for the teachers in Seattle boycotting the test, so look for something to start brewing on that end. There is a fine line between political realities and purism and walking that line is not easy. But as Vail points out repeatedly, there are enough victories to provide hope in fighting for public ed that doesn't exist elsewhere. People like Jim Vail won't get everything they want but maybe just enough.

1 comment:

  1. If the size of the turnout after the Chicago Teachers Union elections debate was any indication, Karen Lewis and CORE are going to be swept back into office for a second term in a week.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome. Irrelevant and abusive comments will be deleted, as will all commercial links. Comment moderation is on, so if your comment does not appear it is because I have not been at my computer (I do not do cell phone moderating).