Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Ravitch Friends Randi, Fiorillo and Many Others Object

Randi is just the mirror image of Michelle Rhee.  ... Mike from Texas, comment on Ravitch blog, My Friend, Randi Weingarten

Randi Weingarten is no friend of teachers, and has been at the center of virtually every catastrophe that has befallen us and public education in the past fifteen-plus years. ...She is part of the problem, and there will be no effective opposition to the hostile takeover of the public schools until she and her disastrous policies are repudiated by working teachers. ,,,, Michael Fiorillo, comment on Ravitch blog, My Friend, Randi Weingarten.

This comment is interesting in what it doesn't say: "who would folks prefer has Randi Weingarten’s ear: Diane Ravitch or ArneRhee&Co?" Randi as head of the AFT  should be leading the fight. Why should Diane have to compete for Randi's ear over ArneRhee? The very nature of the question is a condemning one. I too trust Diane who along with people like Leonie Haimson, a parent not a teacher, have led the fight that our supposed union leaders have abdicated. ... Ed Notes, comment on Ravitch blog.
Yes I do trust Diane and I have no problem with her being friends with Randi. Even now if I see Randi I am friendly. This is not personal as I always used to tell Randi but political.

Diane's post has gotten loads of comments, almost all unfavorable to Randi, from all over the nation. And for those who mistakenly think that her chosen successor Mike Mulgrew is trying to distance himself from Randi, those are just words, not action, designed to give a false impression.

Randi is triangulating, straddling the fence between ed deform and union leader, unwilling to fight them on every front. Witness the difference from the Chicago teachers.

Here is Michael's full comment - check all of them out and leave your own.
Michael Fiorillo
July 10, 2013 at 9:20 am
With all due respect, Diane, as a NYC public school teacher who has had to live under the consequences of her leadership, local and national, I must disagree with you about Randi Weingarten.

In 2002, the UFT under Randi’s leadership agreed to mayoral control of the schools, a policy it maintains to this day. Mayoral control has been the primary vehicle for destabilizing, taking over and privatizing public education in NYC, and has provided a national media stage for the untruths and deceptions based upon it. Towards that end, Weingarten frequently appeared at dog and pony shows where Bloomberg/Klein’s spurious test scores were touted to the public.

In 2005, Weingarten negotiated a contract that eliminated seniority transfers, whereby excessed teachers or teachers at closing/reorganizing schools were guaranteed positions at other schools based on seniority. It was that contract – which also eliminated teacher’s right to grieve letters to their personnel files – that led directly to the epidemic of school closings in recent years, since Bloomberg and his DOE apparatchiks could now close a school and compel teachers to re-apply for their jobs, and which has led to an army of senior teachers, many of them racial and ethnic minorities, being professionally destroyed.

The destruction of the neighborhood public school, one of the primary objectives of so-called education reform, was enabled and accelerated by this.

In 2009, Weingarten said and did nothing while Bloomberg used his fortune to overturn a term limits law that had twice been approved by NYC voters.

Later that year, she convened a union governance committee, on which I served, to develop alternatives to mayoral dictatorship of the schools, which was scheduled to either sunset or be re-authorized that year. While I and others developed a minority plan that involved much greater community involvement in the running of the schools, the leadership-approved plan would have been a marked improvement over what we have now.

But it was not to be, because Randi Weingarten, without consulting what is nominally the Union’s highest body, its Delegate Assembly, casually threw out that plan and unilaterally endorsed the re-authorization of mayoral dictaorship of the schools virtually unchanged. She actually had the nerve to publicly state at the time that mayoral control had brought stability to the schools.

Shortly after, she and her protege Michael Mulgrew sat on their hands and made no endorsement in the mayoral election, allowing Bloomberg to be re-elected when he was vulnerable to defeat. I assume they thought that by shutting up, they’d get a contract for us. But Bloomberg correctly read their weakness, and four years later we still have no contract, despite her protege’s having enshrined VAM, Common Corporate Standards and evaluation checklists in state law. Her protege and vizier in NYC, despite his faux tough guy persona, got nothing for those concessions.

Dozens and dozens of schools have been closed since then, affecting thousands of children and teachers.

I could go on and on: her coziness with Eli Broad, AFT-sponsored seminars on for-profit opportunities in education at the Aspen Institute, helicoptering in to cities and negotiating contracts, as in Newark, that use the pseudo science of VAM in teacher evaluations, doing nothing while politically-connected charter operators cannibalize public school facilities, egging on her own apparatchiks to boo teachers who opposed having Bill Gates as the keynote speaker at the 2010 AFT convention, while Gates returned the favor the following week by attacking our pensions.

Sure, Randi will write a letter, or get special treatment when arrested at a ritualistic, photo op demonstration protesting policies that she has enabled. Alll of that is misdirection and political triangulation, permitting her to point to a few chosen sound bites when overwhelmed teachers look to her for support.

It’s obviously not my place to question your personal friendships, Diane, but Randi Weingarten is no friend of teachers, and has been at the center of virtually every catastrophe that has befallen us and public education in the past fifteen-plus years.

She is part of the problem, and there will be no effective opposition to the hostile takeover of the public schools until she and her disastrous policies are repudiated by working teachers.
Lisa North adds:
That is she has done nothing to mobilize parents, students, teachers, and community members to organize the fight back it will take to push the privatizers out of public education and really create a strong well functioning school system. The AFT and NEA do have some of the resources to help make that happen. Missing in action.
Michael Pat D:
I would choose Ravitch also and basically trust her leadership and reproach of the ed deformers. BUT we are not out from under Randi. She is as powerful as ever. She has helped to procure some very bad contracts around the country as the President of the AFT as well as the disastrous ones here in NY. She has a strong finger, still, in NYC’s pie and she makes sure she keep Mulgrew in line. She is not our friend. Friends strengthen each other. They don't stab you in the back looking for their moment in the lime light. as Randi does by courting some of the major ed deformers. A friend fights alongside you for what is right. She is not “in our court.” Damage is still being done and Weingarten, unfortunately, is a major player in the cause.

1 comment:

  1. Just for the record, the response after Lisa is from another Michael.


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).