I would say the “trouble-makers” I have known, those who would give discomfort to the comfortable, have strong faith in labor and unionism and are deeply troubled by the state of the UFT. ... Fred Smith
Fred Smith reacted to a story on the Diane Ravitch blog.
Terrible. How is this episode any different or more outrageous than when UFT Pres. Mulgrew and his henchman shout down, bully or use faux procedural tactics to silence dues paying members in NYC who disagree with them at meetings or do not accept their party line?
It’s a tangential issue but, I’m curious about your opinion.
As I understand it second hand, meetings held at UFT headquarters, involved union delegates and/or chapter leaders. Among them were individuals who felt the union, which has been run forever by a self-perpetuating leadership (i.e., the Unity slate) elected under procedures that make it virtually impossible to unseat the top echelon, did not think the UFT was doing enough for the rank and file members.
These “dissidents” wanted the chance to address bread and butter issues, including the teacher’s contract and protection of members from arbitrary mistreatment; and the leadership’s heretofore ineffectiveness in fighting back against charter schools that have been taking away space and resources at the expense of traditional public schools; and perceived sell-out tendencies that sacrifice principles for “a place at the table;” and the mealy mouthed positions taken by said leadership against the misuses of student test data tied into the indefensible inclusion of test scores in convoluted, ever-changing teacher evaluation formulas. Then too, there were the overriding questions–based on past history–of union governance and the undemocratic way Unity controlled the floor at these meetings–arbitrarily denying speakers a voice, not even a discouraging word to be heard.
So, I would say the “trouble-makers” I have known, those who would give discomfort to the comfortable, have strong faith in labor and unionism and are deeply troubled by the state of the UFT. Yes, there is a certain amount of understandable self-interest in their beliefs, but I feel they are sincere when they say, “Our working conditions are our children’s learning conditions.”–which they strive to better. And I hope they grow in number and strength because one-party rule and monopolistic arrangements work against the vast majority of people kept on the outside. (The 99%?)
I hate to see the way teachers have been portrayed as bad guys. They’re not. They shouldn't be victimized by politicians who can be bought cheaply–nor by those who claim to represent them.