Monday, February 2, 2009

The UFT Report on Mayoral Control...

... has been released to members of the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly. Tonight the EB votes and the DA votes Weds.

ICE members have a lot to say about it and will be doing so.Will the UFT reject recommendations that are much better for kids, teachers and parents? I'll leave you in suspense as I will honor the UFT request to keep the report out of the hands of the press until after tonight's pre-determined vote. Look for commentary tonight.

Here is a section of a the Education Notes handed out at last week's Delegate Assembly:

One of the major planks in the corporate agenda for education is to put large urban school systems under dictatorial mayors who are free to shut out parent and teacher input while undermining the union at the school level.

From the day Randi Weingarten announced her support for mayoral control in May 2001, Ed Notes has stood against this policy, pointing to the Chicago model which began in 1995. Indeed, the Independent Community of Educators (ICE) came together in 2003 based on people opposed to the UFT’s going along, getting along policies.

So, now as we come to the possible sun set of the law, which would force us back to the what, today, looks like the good old days of local district boards.

If a referendum were held, I bet 75% or more of the people who work in the schools would vote to end mayoral control.

The UFT leadership is in a bind. How to continue to support mayoral control in practice while giving the members the opposite impression.

Thus, the creation of a governance committee, open to all, but packed with Unity people.

Meetings were held on all boroughs, but I have always felt the positions the UFT will take is predetermined and all this is about finding the right language that will play well. Now there are ICE people on the committee but they can’t tell us what is going on because there is some kind of gag rule and they will be water boarded if they talk. Or sent to GITMO.

Abandoning seniority rules, accepting school closings as a fait accompli, joining in on the influx of charter schools, accepting the CEO model, tacit acceptance of non-educators as chancellors, supporting the Gates and other private interest onslaught on public schools, signing on to the testing mania by supporting merit pay and individual teacher report cards based on these tests – I won’t give you any more of the laundry list – has led to the worst working conditions for teachers in decades and a deterioration in learning conditions for many children, no matter what the fudged numbers might show.

For a union whose members have been so ravaged under mayoral control to in any manner to support this policy even with supposed tweaks, is to abandon any hint of support for the kinds of progressive change our schools so desperately need.

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