Thursday, August 9, 2007

Daily Doins: Aug. 9

A fairly new chapter leader is very serious about getting a complete picture of UFT history and sharing it with the teachers in his school as a way to foment a higher level of union consciousness. He has been going over some of the old issues of Education Notes and has found them very helpful. But he doesn't have a complete set.

So I spent the morning pouring through 10 years of issues, which pretty much correspond to Randi Weingarten's tenure as UFT President. So reading them will provide some historical perspective. Now I'm the first to say that my point f view is particular and may not always reflect reality. But certainly the official UFT position is so often more about appearance that reality that if he balances mine and theirs he may come up with some point in between.

But here are some basic truths:
From the first editions class size was #1 on the agenda. I had a regular feature called Class Size Matters even before Leonie Haimson got her organization going.
Another issue from Day 1 was a call for more protections for UFT chapter leaders.
Calls for NO MERIT PAY under any circumstances.
Constant refrains on the impact of high stakes testing.

And lots of satire. Good satire. I don't know where that has gone. Maybe things aren't so funny anymore.

Other issues today

Asian Population of NYC grows...
....was the report in today's Times. obviously BloomKlein's secret plan to raise reading and math scores and improve the grad rate. Part 2 of their plan is to have the Partnership of NYC raise funds to by Level One readers condos -- in Peoria.

The AFL-CIO ...
frees member unions to endorse Democratic candidates of choice. The Times says the AFT is "leaning" towards Hillary. Leaning? With Randi Weingarten working full time to get Hillary elected, I would say more than leaning. Like how about horizontal? No simple Tower of Pisa here. The Times naively says that strong support for Obama in midwest could prevent the AFT from endorsing Clinton. A basic misunderstanding that the AFT is controlled by the UFT and will do whatever Randi wants it to. When Randi takes over the AFT in July 08 she will put the entire structure in the service of Hillary.

No End in Sight - the supposed anti war movie on Iraq
We saw it last week and I didn't find it anti war but a critique of the Bush implementation of the post-war Iraq. Talk about to hell and (not) back. Even conservative pro-war critics could like this movie. Someone sent me a hard copy of a good review from The Nation. I have no links but check it out if you can.

Go Barbara Morgan
I was one of 16,000 teachers who applied to go into space in 1985 for the Jan. '86 flight that ended in disaster. I read with jealousy about Christa and Barbara. I became big fans of theirs. Barbara was supposed to go on the flight after the Endeavor. She worked all these years to become an astronaut. The idea of a teacher in space was a real PR move on the part of NASA and many people feel the money could be spent on many more worthwhile projects. But I'm a space junkie and have a hard time taking a critical look at the space program.

I was in Antigua when the Challenger went down. A friend had sent me a post card a day or two before the flight saying "Sorry you didn't get to go." I got it the day after the crash. With Friends like these....

Just heading out for some volunteer work at the NYC International Fringe Festival. 200 plays for over 2 weeks all in the Village area and tickets are all $15 starting tomorrow (Aug. 10). Some of us are going to see Pedagogy written by a NYC teacher (Can working for the NYCDOE be worth more than just a $10 co-pay?) on Aug. 22 at 5:30 at the Center for Architecture on LaGuardia Place and then out to eat afterwards. Fringe HQ are at the corner of Varrick and Carmine St.

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