Monday, March 2, 2015

Former Chapter Leader Balks at UFT Plans

I will not participate in this sham. It is a sham because our union---the one we pay more than $100 per month to--- is fighting to restore budget cuts instead of fighting this bullshit eval system (current or proposed).... The union leadership is failing us miserably and I will not participate in a dog and pony show so the UFT can pretend it's doing something that is meaningful for us.....   Former Unity Caucus chapter leader
Many are jumping on board the UFT program because the threat from the Cuomo assault looks so real. Whenever it's over -- win, lose or draw, the UFT top-down undemocratic one-party system continues. One teacher is not buying it.
My chapter leader sent us an email informing us of the UFT's goal to get all schools involved in individual school rallies. She let us know that she will not participate but wanted to keep us informed and left it up to us if someone else wanted to organize it. I responded and replied to all members she emailed.

My response: I've marched. I've rallied. I've handed out flyers. I've volunteered to make phone calls for Election Day. But I will not participate in this sham. It is a sham because our union---the one we pay more than $100 per month to--- is fighting to restore budget cuts instead of fighting this bullshit eval system (current or proposed). Instead of collecting anecdotal evidence on the factors beyond your control that affect student progress, and hiring the best legal team in NY to file suit, Mulgrew et al are fighting for money for the schools. Money for what? Money for all those outside consultants to evaluate you? Money for the software firms to collect our data dumps? Do you really think any increase in school funds will benefit you or your class in any meaningful way? Every new teacher is mandated to pay the same amount of union dues as the rest of us so Mulgrew doesn't care if we all get fired and are replaced year after year---the union coffers will still be full of the money taken from teachers. The union leadership is failing us miserably and I will not participate in a dog and pony show so the UFT can pretend it's doing something that is meaningful for us. It would be more powerful for every teacher to let their elected officials know that if they back Cuomo on anything he wants---even if it's erecting a statue in a park---they will not have your vote next election cycle. It is also important to let NYSUT president Karen Magee know that Mulgrew does not speak for you. The UFT controls NYSUT. We are the largest local in NYSUT so Mulgrew is calling the shots for Magee. Until Mulgrew takes our concerns seriously, you shouldn't do a damn thing he asks of you.

9 comments:

  1. I have felt the same way for years! Our "leadership" is afraid to upset our "friends" in government, instead of fighting for the rank and file. Randi & her minions wait to see which way the winds blow and then choose. Then they expect us to follow blindly, even when objections are raised throughout the entire time. basically, we never fight FOR anything, just against something being worse.

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  2. This is wrong on so many levels. The March 12th demonstrations are not done in place of writing to our state legislators, but in addition to those and other actions. NYSUT is not asking for more money; we are demanding that the Campaign for Fiscal Equity money already won be released without the onerous strings Gov. Cuomo seeks to attach to them. It is clear that Gov. Cuomo does not speak for us and he does not understand what is needed to deliver quality education in this state. We educators do. This is why we are standing with parents to show that we have the public's support on issues that affect our children. Although it can be frustrating to participate in political action but not win every fight, that does not mean that it is time to give up. And remember that a union is the collective of its members, not just the leadership. WE are the union.

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    1. Paula - I'm not sure if we have met but I do respect your comments and loyalty to the union. I assume you are in Unity Caucus - because the tenure of your absolute defense of Unity positions and never a word of criticism fits that mold. I notice you do not comment on things like the UFT charter school. Or how the UFT/Unity message avoids linking testing to the attack on Cuomo -- a very limited response. Or how they support using testing to measure teachers and students. You buy whatever you are being sold without question it seems. this -- it is people like you who are the problem in the union and a reason it/teachers are in the position they are in. Do you go to NYSUT and AFT conventions and cheerlead? Did you boo the people protesting Bill Gates in 2010? Did you oppose the Chicago teacher union attempts to take a strong stand against common core in LA last summer? I think you need to look in the mirror and think about things more deeply.

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    2. Paula,

      This frustration is right on so many levels.

      You wrote, “Although it can be frustrating to participate in political action but not win every fight, that does not mean that it is time to give up.”

      I would like you to give an instance of us fighting FOR something like; lower class sizes, more rights for paraprofessionals or even the CFE prior to now.


      I have been a proud Delegate and Chapter Leader since 1998, please tell me if my workday and paperwork decreased and if my wages at least have kept pace with inflation. I have had two union officials at two separate contract talks tell me that we never beat inflation, yet we should consider these increases actual pay increases.

      I have brought up points at countless DAs and CL meetings about the problem actual classroom teachers have. I have listened to paraprofessionals tell me they are not being paid full wages after being suspended and found not guilty and being forced to grieve and still not receive full pay.

      So, I am tired of a “call to arms” that will in no way be reciprocal to the needs of the rank and file, and being cannon fodder for a leadership that does not care for it’s members

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    3. Paula,

      This frustration is right on so many levels

      You wrote, “Although it can be frustrating to participate in political action but not win every fight, that does not mean that it is time to give up.”

      I would like you to give an instance of us fighting FOR something like; lower class sizes, more rights for paraprofessionals or even the CFE prior to now. Fighting with the intensity our leaders, (who are immune to Danielson and APPR) expect.

      I have been a proud Delegate and Chapter Leader since 1998, please tell me if my workday and paperwork decreased and if my wages at least have kept pace with inflation. I have had two union officials at two separate contract talks tell me that we never beat inflation, yet we should consider these increases actual pay increases.

      I have brought up points at countless DAs and CL meetings about the problem actual classroom teachers have. I have listened to paraprofessionals tell me they are not being paid full wages after being suspended and found not guilty and being forced to grieve and still not receive full pay.

      So, I am tired and frustrated of a “call to arms” that will in no way be reciprocal to the needs of the rank and file, of being cannon fodder for a leadership that does not care for it’s members.

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  3. At a time when resilience is needed in the battle for privatization, all I read is divisive and angry comments. The Governor is owned, and our friends in Albany are dwindling, so the fight has many levels. We may not agree on Union direction, but I ,clearly, have not heard or read about any platform to replace the current direction. We have a lot of folks in this Union, so I suppose that you speak for a few, but you do not speak for me. Thank you, Dr. John Marvul.

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    1. But John -- you are in the same category as Paula -- the UFT leadership is also owned - where were your comments when we called on the UFT and NYSUT to oppose Cuomo and support Teachout? The UFT was instrumental in sinking her WFP endorsement -- you must stop being an enabler of bad policy.

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  4. Indeed. More money is not going to fix what's wrong here:

    " Mulgrew et al are fighting for money for the schools. Money for what? Money for all those outside consultants to evaluate you? Money for the software firms to collect our data dumps? Do you really think any increase in school funds will benefit you or your class in any meaningful way?"

    It runs way deeper than that. *WAY* deeper.

    Paul V. Hogan

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  5. Paula and John,
    UFT leadership and their supporters never think it’s a good time for dissent. They want blind followers and cheerleaders at all times. And I’m not advocating “giving up” but rather encouraging members to see that a change in leadership is the only way teachers can improve their lot. Norm raises some interesting questions. I too am curious if you’ve jumped through all of Mulgrew’s hoops without ever questioning him or disagreeing with him on any issue. The eval system is inherently unfair but yet Mulgrew claims it’s “not a gotchya system.” He’s wrong. Cases in point: One of my colleagues received an effective rating under a certain component. Her supervisor told her that in order to be highly effective the children would have to have developed the rubric criteria (student checklists etc…) themselves and been aware of the criteria by which they would be judged. Think of our most needy and challenging students. Is this really a reasonable or attainable standard? It’s not, but yet teachers are held to it. Another colleague had a student who was absent 2 days per week and arrived at school at 11am on the days he attended (missing 3 hours of her instruction on the days he attended). She did everything in her power to get him to get to school. She even offered to buy him an alarm clock but the alarm wasn’t the reason why he couldn’t get to school. Yet this evaluation system will judge the teacher by this student’s test score. She is expected to get this student to show growth on his test score. Reasonable? Attainable? The phys ed teachers are judged by the ELA scores. Reasonable? This is the fight that matters and this is the fight Mulgrew hides from. The unfairness of the evaluation system is what is important to the teachers in my school. A couple of years ago a Florida teachers’ union backed their teachers in a lawsuit claiming their eval system violated teachers’ 4th amendment rights. Why aren’t UFT and NYSUT lawyers pursuing something like this? The answer is because they are not given the go ahead by weak leaders who should hang their heads in shame. Roseanne

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