Monday, December 10, 2007

Randi Weingarten's Greatest Skill

NYC Educator reports on a NY Sun article today that "one of the city's oldest independent educational watchdog groups - the Educational Priorities Panel - is closing because Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have created an environment where criticism of their educational policies is not tolerated."

The Sun has a quote from Randi Weingarten:
The president of the teachers union, Randi Weingarten, said EPP's dissolution is a punishment for speaking plainly. Reports from the group have objected to the Department of Education's new per-student funding formula, criticized its move to empower school principals as treating them too much like private contractors, and characterized claims that the city is pushing more money into classrooms as overstated. "They actually spoke truth to power, and I think they got hurt for it," Ms. Weingarten, said.

Prompting NYC to comment:
There's something ironic and sad about Randi Weingarten discussing "speaking truth to power." Isn't that supposed to be her job, at least somewhat?

and Reality-based educator to say:
No - her job is to receive kisses and hugs from Big Brother Bloomberg after conceding days, time, grievance/seniority/Circular 6R rights, merit pay, and a half dozen other work protections.


Leading to some of my thoughts about Randi's true role as a union leader:
RW has gotten away with saying one thing and doing another for 10 years. Being so closely involved since she even before she became UFT Pres., it is so obvious to me. But looking back I realize I was also snowed for a long time and believed what she was saying - I have lots of emails saying how she agreed with me and I initially felt, like, hey, people in power are actually listening. It took old naive me about 4-5 years to "get it." I was even accused by the quasi opposition, New Action, of being funded by Weingarten - Oh, Ironies of Ironies!

People who denigrate her skills as a union leader are missing the point that that is her greatest skill. Our definition of a union leader is different the people at the top. She was chosen to lead not because of her skills in defending the membership but because of her ability to misdirect, deflect and mislead the members. She has proven to be a master.

As to the motivation behind it all: the UFT with its philosophy of the place unions hold in society, is not capable of leading a militant fight, so the option is to do what RW does.

Reading the Kahlenberg book on Al Shanker - though it is totally endorsing his philosophy, still exposes the underbelly if you read through the lines. ICE is going to hold a meeting during Xmas break on the roots of UFT policy from shanker to RW and beyond to try to start untangling these root so people can see more clearly what is going on.

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