Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Stealth Contract

special to Education Notes, author wishes to remain anonymous

We need to challenge the union leadership’s maneuvering to prevent discussions of items that they say are already in the contract that the membership voted on. The inclusion of clauses in the contract that are seemingly innocuous and buried in neutral sounding verbiage must be criticized. Any time the union says that it is opening discussions on items, or exploring the possibility, etc., we know that something terrible is down the pike. It is a stealth maneuver that allows them to give up more behind our backs.

What’s happening now is that the Union Leadership is portraying the merit pay proposal as a victory for us. A victory over what? Over the fact that the ambiguous contract language meant that the outcome could have been worse? The worse possibility was certainly hidden from the membership during the contract vote. And, just because the worst case scenario (individual merit pay) hasn’t yet occurred, it doesn’t mean it won’t. As many people have pointed out, school merit pay opens the door to individual merit pay, especially since they are leaving the method of distributing bonuses up to a principal-dominated school committee.

But even if the bonuses were distributed evenly to all UFT members within a school, we must recognize that merit pay is a significant setback for union solidarity and a huge step in the continuous attack on teacher professionalism. In the newly defined verbiage of the federal government and the DOE, “professionalism” has been equated with adherence to their “research based” educational mandates, and their criteria of success, always tied to test scores, and always used to further their political and corporate careers. But from the point of view of teachers, professionalism includes the commitment to do what’s best for the children, the right to make decisions, and to expect the kind of support necessary to succeed. Like other professionals they should be able to make use of their own education, training, talent and experience. The DOE’s carrot (bonuses) and stick (closing of schools) strategies are not only insulting but are bad for public education.

That our Union Leadership has joined the DOE and mayor in furthering an agenda of high stakes testing and its punitive consequences for students and teachers alike is shameful. When they say that this is what the members voted for, they are just proving that their role is to fool us rather than represent our interests.


  1. While this piece is accurate as far as it goes, a crucial point is being missed here.

    The truth is hideous here.

    The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond literally stealing from us part of our pathetic, insulting, inadequate salary.

    The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond using us to finance comfortable lives including double pensions, travel, jewelry, fine food, good clothes and houses.

    The United Federation of Teachers "leadership" has nothing to do with classroom teachers beyond using us to boost their own perceptions of themselves as "successful" corporate types who are living the good life by literally sucking the life out of tens of thousands of hard working human beings. They are nothing except parasites.

    They do no work, they perform no function. They lie each and every time they speak to a UFT teacher, guidance counselor, et al.

    They are lazy, treacherous and function as exemplary psychopaths possessing no conscience, honesty, decency or ability to distinguish right from wrong.

    They are 100% corrupt, utterly contemptuous of us pathetic morons who choose to remain in the classroom (their apprisal of us).

    If the rank and file UFT could figure it out, we could likely go after our "leadership" on federal racketeering charges (collaborating with the Department of Education to steal from us and destroy public education as well as the lives and health of staff, students, families, communities).

    When any of their number, be it a chapter leader or someone higher up in their hierarchy actually attempts to earn their keep and help a teacher, social worker etc., that decent chapter leader or other is then ostracized, shunned, ignored and punished.

    It is long past time to bring down every UFT "leader" who does not work fulltime in a school building.

    It is long past time to utterly destroy the "leadership" of the United Federation of Teachers and put the suits who destroy us out to live, homeless, in New York City's streets.

  2. Does "anonymous" ( above ) have an identity after all or just a self-image problem?

  3. 9:01 comment from a UFT computer. Don't you have work to do? Oh, right, you don't start till 10am. Thanks for coming in early to work to troll the blogs.

  4. One point neglected here, I think, is that the option of individual merit pay is certainly possible here. Just because it's determined on a school-to-school basis, there's nothing whatsoever to preclude it. And a committee of Unity Hacks and principal's reps is as likely to screw working teachers as, say, a committee of Klein, Bloomberg and Weingarten.

  5. Our CL screws us all the time, but no one else wants the job. Some problems are very hard to resolve, such as over sized classes, which are almost impossible to shrink since Packeminanscrewem High School is now at about 270% capacity, with the number of students hovering at 4600 in a school built for less than 2,000 kids. Anonymous #1, I've been calling Randi a racketeer for a number of months now, having grown up in a Teamster household. But how would we ever dream of getting these snakes in the grass indicted? Meanwhile they take our money and smile in our face....the backstabbers!


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