Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bloomberg Front Group Uses UFT Pro-Mayoral Control Position

Tell Mayor Bloomberg's Petitioners: No Mayoral Control, Period

by Marjorie Stamberg

I just got an e-mail from our Chapter Leader alerting us that Mayor Bloomberg's funded lobbying group, Learn NY, is lurking outside the schools asking teachers to sign a petition supporting mayoral control. Even worse, they are saying that this is the UFT's position, so they're telling teachers it's ok to sign the petition.

This is outrageous. If we see these guys hanging around, we need to let the union know right away. And let the Mayor's petition people know what we think about Bloomberg's corporatizers and charterizers. Ask 'em how much they're getting paid to gather signatures. Closing schools, hundreds of ATRs, high-stakes testing, Principal's Academy clones who haven't spent a nano-second in the classroom -- this is the mayor's agenda.

But the fact of the matter is that starting in 2002 the union supported Bloomberg's power grab for control of the schools. Even today it says "the UFT's support for mayoral control was instrumental of the passage of the law" (from UFT School Governance Task Force report, February 2009).

And despite its talk of "checks and balances," the UFT's proposal says explicitly that "the mayor should retain control of the school system" by selecting the chancellor, appointing five members of an education policy council, and control of the budget.

The UFT's "modifications" are for a couple more members to the education council appointed by the city council types, and a couple less appointed by the mayor. As if that would fundamentally change anything. As for the P.E.P.--the Panel for Educational Policy, it has well earned it's nickname of "Panel for Educational Puppets."

The whole push for mayoral control is part of the drive for corporatization of public education. And as Deborah Meier, the founder of the small schools' movement, noted, even the recent New York State tests which Bloomberg and Klein touted, show that school districts with mayoral control did worse than those without it.

When the vote on the UFT's position came up at February's special delegate assembly, many delegates were deeply concerned about any form of mayoral control. Many wanted the vote put off until they could bring it back to their chapter members for discussion. People had at most a couple days to look at the UFT report. But the vote was rammed through.

So, it's no wonder Bloomberg's hacks and flacks are trying to capitalize on the glaring ambiguity in the UFT's position.

Personally, I don't think we need the mayor, or any of the suits telling us what to do. As many people have pointed out, mayoral control is inherently dictatorial. The schools should be democratically run by teachers, parents, students, and school workers working together in the best interest of the kids.

--Marjorie Stamberg

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Even more evidence of UFT complicity with the mayor.

Unity must go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!