Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Parent/Filmmaker Comments on Ravitch and Unions

How is it possible that  the Leadership of Teachers Unions maintains this destructive control of the profession?  And how can that control be altered and in what ways, without destroying the Unions altogether.  .....parent perception is predominantly that the Unions speak for and represent the attitudes of teachers.... If the Unions don't speak for the majority of teachers and, if as you say, there's a lot of dissent in the ranks of Union Teachers, it means that all of you are negatively impacted by that burden.... in trying to get my film off I find this is one of the most intractable and negative perceptions and it's complex enough to cause parents to not trust and not act on the criticisms leveled by anti deform groups.  I've discussed this with a number of MORE teachers and it is an issue that seriously impacts all efforts to rally parents to the cause. 
 -----Michael Elliot, comment on my post on Ravitch criticisms directed at union dissidents who go "too far."
Michael is commenting in response to my recent post: The Diane Ravitch Contradiction: Educators Should Rebel, but Be Nice When Addressing Oppressive Union Leaderships

...where I made a defense for strong opposition to the union leaderships and felt Diane was downplaying the very weak position so much of the opposition occupies vis a vis the dominant leadership. Sometimes there is only way to engage in a battle inside a dictatorship - hand to hand combat.

Michael feels that the opposition inside the unions may be contributing to the negative public perception of unions. I dispute that given that our voices are barely heard by the public. In fact they are barely heard by the union members.
But his point that we are not elucidating our position as to why we oppose the leadership very clearly may be right.
they have absolutely no idea what the differences between the Unions and their members truly are, if fact after nearly a year of observing this phenomenon, neither do I.  

The reason I believe Diane speaks with two minds is precisely representative of this schism between the Unions and their members.  And I think it undermines all of your considerable efforts on behalf of one of the most important professional endeavors affecting future generations.
Michael asks:   
How is it possible that  the Leadership of Teachers Unions maintains this destructive control of the profession?  And how can that control be altered and in what ways, without destroying the Unions altogether.  

That is a valid question. MORE should produce a UFT 101 document elucidating the issues. When you talk about democracy it can be so abstract. So it is necessary to show how the lack thereof has led us to a disastrous situation.

I guess my main response on the question of how can that control be altered and in what ways, without destroying the Unions altogether?

My response would be CHICAGO, CHICAGO, WHAT A WONDERFUL TOWN.

Then there is the question: Whose side are our union leaders really on? And does exposing that hurt the union movement in general?

Michael was responding to this comment by NYC  parent activist Jeff Nichols.
Norm,

As I tell anyone who will listen, if you want to know what's really going on, listen to Norm Scott. I don't presume to judge Diane, who to her credit is willing to change her mind in public and who has used her blog to the extent of her ability to augment the voices of those of us without access to major media outlets. But clearly her knowledge isn't complete, and although she has become the unofficial spokesperson for anti-deformers and is astonishingly prolific and effective in that role, the public deeply needs the perspective, wisdom *and righteous invective* of long-time teachers and activists like you!!!! 

Too many people still believe teachers' unions actually represent teachers and have no idea how many of them have been co-opted by ed deform. 

Thank you as always, Norm, for being one bad-ass Maria!

Jeff
Here is Michael's full thought-provoking comment
Hi Norm,
I actually want to take this a step further. As I research my documentary I keep running up against the same issue over and over again.  The issue is that public and more importantly, parent perception is predominantly that the Unions speak for and represent the attitudes of teachers. 
It is not nuanced and it always proves to be an immense burden that is carried by teachers. If the Unions don't speak for the majority of teachers and, if as you say, there's a lot of dissent in the ranks of Union Teachers, it means that all of you are negatively impacted by that burden.   

I have also found that very few teachers are willing to admit that Parents actually feel this way.  But in trying to get my film off I find this is one of the most intractable and negative perceptions and it's complex enough to cause parents to not trust and not act on the criticisms leveled by anti deform groups.  I've discussed this with a number of MORE teachers and it is an issue that seriously impacts all efforts to rally parents to the cause.  

Any one of you can disclaim my point of view here, but as one who is all in with the efforts of the groups, teachers, schools and parents to message in favor of destroying the deform coup I can tell you honestly its the achillies heel of the anti-deform movement.  

In order to succeed, someone has got to publicly state what role the Union Leadership has played in contributing to the marginalization and simply awful public perception that exists about Teacher Unions.   I know this is a very public statement I'm making to this group and the reason I'm doing so is because I encounter the attitudes of parents absent being one of you.  And that is the only way people share the truth. 
When I talk to parents outside the movement the first thing they say is that the Union is corrupt. The messaging from the opposition takes this to maximum benefit. Democrats and Republicans SHARE this perception. 

Meanwhile, they have absolutely no idea what the differences between the Unions and their members truly are, if fact after nearly a year of observing this phenomenon, neither do I.  

The reason I believe Diane speaks with two minds is precisely representative of this schism between the Unions and their members.  And I think it undermines all of your considerable efforts on behalf of one of the most important professional endeavors affecting future generations.   

How is it possible that  the Leadership of Teachers Unions maintains this destructive control of the profession?  And how can that control be altered and in what ways, without destroying the Unions altogether.  

I hope anyone reading this can see it in the spirit its intended.

I'm a parent, I'm trying to make a film about your brilliant efforts and I find that I'm thwarted at a fundamental level because I cannot answer this issue effectively. 

2 comments:

  1. Points of Confict between AFT and Me

    Common Core
    VAM
    Merit Pay
    Seniority Rights
    Endless Testing
    Teachers without Assignments

    Abigail Shure

    ReplyDelete
  2. Consider this: Which Side Are You On?
    http://tinyurl.com/lbrjn5x

    ReplyDelete

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