Sunday, July 13, 2014

#AFT14 Report - Tidbits

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Randi just said that there is some jockeying at the mics and she wants to make sure there is at least a 15 minute debate on the common core before someone calls the question -- watch the Unity crowd jockey at the mics at 14 minutes and 30 seconds... common core debate begins at 11:15AM.

But first ---
What better way to spend the day? I'm missing my brother-in-law's b-day celebration at his daughter's home in Pennsylvania - a tea-party home by the way -- and my wife is left to drive there all by herself - stay off the Jersey Turnpike today.

I just congratulated Howie Schoor on his move from Brooklyn to the Bronx UFT borough office to fix up one of the major catastrophes in the UFT organizational structure. He will be replaced by popular Brooklyn special rep Debbie Poulos. The leadership has to pay attention to basic services for members and this may be a sign -- hey, every bad situation they allow to fester only increases the move of people towards an opposition. I don't root for them to be incompetent - and maybe they are learning from Chicago where the old UPC totally fell apart, allowing CORE to get in the door.

What is AFT message on and to deformers?
Mike Honda, Congressman and public school teacher  spoke - "like voices in a crowded theater they should - 'bad teachers.' Just show deformers reports on effects of poverty and they will get it." To me this is naive and dangerous and ignores the fact that leading deformers do get it and understand the effects of poverty - they have an agenda and it ain't to redress the effects of poverty -- and not being willing to go there diverts us from the real battle.

Here is the message we need to send to reformers: We will fight you on the beaches.... (video).

Debbie Lynch move to remove Duncan not considered an "in your face" act by CTU folk.
Resolved that the AFT call for the resignation of US Secty of Ed Arne Duncan (as the NEA did) because of his anti-union, anti-teacher, anti-public school agenda.
So there is some speculation on this. That former CTU president Debbie Lynch, making a comeback as an AFT Delegate as a college teacher, surprised people by calling for a special order of business late yesterday, and given that she was in another caucus (PACT) that lost to CORE in 2010 when she ran for CTU President for the 4th time, this was somehow payback to Karen Lewis. A way for Debbie to regain the spotlight. CTU people are telling me that this is in no way true and that CORE/CTU people are supporting Debbie's reso. After all, Chicago has had to bear Arne Duncan for over a dozen years and Debbie was the one during her 3 years as CTU President (01-04) who dealt most directly with Duncan.

AFT and Arne Duncan - Where I agree with Mulgrew
Overheard yesterday during debate on improving conditions for college adjuncts: "Passing this reso will change the lives of thousands of people." Another example of magical thinking. Passing a reso at the AFT convention is pretty meaningless unless followed with action to back it up.

Which leads me to the upcoming debate in a few minutes re: Arne Duncan. When Mark Naison started a "Dump Duncan" campaign - pre-BATS - I didn't take part in it because as long as Obama is president we will get Arne clones - and most likely someone of color to sell ed deform to the communities.

At last night's SJ unionism remarkable discussion, Mulgrew said that he couldn't care less about what the convention does about Arne Duncan  because it won't mean a hill of beans (I'm paraphrasing) - and I agree with him except for the behind the scenes reasons. We know that the AFT/UFT don't really want to call for Duncan's resignation because they want their little stool at the Democratic Party table. But Mulgew, whose skills at doing this kind of thing I increasingly appreciate, gets at a germ of truth -- it is a "feel good we are doing something" point and to me a waste of time and energy since it is Obama, not Duncan and even if Duncan left Obama would appoint someone as bad. I was in a minority last night in conversations with our friends (shout-out to Robert D. Skeels of Schools Matter who I've known online for years and met for first time last night). They seem to think the political battle is a good organizing tool.

OK - so much more to report but common core debate beginning and I'm going to open another blog post for that -- interesting that Randi just said that there is some jockeying at the mics and she wants to make sure there is at least a 15 minute debate on the common core before someone calls the question -- watch the Unity crowd jockey at the mics at 14 minutes and 30 seconds.

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