Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Jay Mathews, Randi, DC Teachers Update

If you've been following the Washington DC story pointing to the sellout of teachers by Randi/Rhee, we have been chronicling (Randi and Rhee in DC, A Tale of Skulduggery as Unity Caucus Tactics Go National) we received some comments worth noting:

Anonymous Jeff Canady said...

AFT is doing some very questionable things. It's not going unnoticed. Thank's for the head's up.

Anonymous Paul Moore said...

You called it Norm. Terms of the sellout are nearly settled. They are ready to roll in DC. Nathan Saunders has been kneecapped and and dissident members of the WTU are being nuetralized. Weingarten is going to get in bed with Broad and Gates. See "Rare Alliance May Signal Ebb In Union's Charter Opposition" in the Washington Post


For sheer entertainment value read the last paragraph and Jay Mathews feigned surprise at the Weingarten-Rhee Axis.

So I followed Paul's suggestion and checked out Mathews' piece. And for long-time Randi - dub us Randiologists - watchers, it was a howl. Feigned indeed, unless Mathews has been hiding in the cave with bin-Laden.

Here are some nuggets:
It isn't often you see a leading teachers union announce it is taking money from what many of its members consider the enemy: corporate billionaires who have been bankrolling the largely nonunion charter school movement.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, unveiled the first union-led, private foundation-supported effort to provide grants to AFT unions nationwide to develop and implement what she called "bold education innovations in public schools."

The news release gushed about all the research by teachers that the $2.8 million fund would support, but I was more interested in the sources of the money, particularly the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. I would have been less surprised to see President Obama receive a campaign contribution from former vice president Richard B. Cheney.

Broad and Gates people have been friendly to D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee, one of the few superintendents in the country who supports charters. Broad is thought to be one of the foundations promising to help fund Rhee's offer to give teachers big salary increases in return for surrendering tenure protections. Weingarten has much to say about how the D.C. teacher contract negotiations proceed, but she has given no sign of embracing Rhee's plan. So why is she accepting the foundations' money? Her friends and adversaries say she always thinks several moves ahead. When I asked why she was dealing with foundations whose support for charters is so unpopular with her members, she replied, "The ties that bind us are so much greater than the squabbles that divide us."

Younger teachers going into regular and charter schools, and into the AFT, appear more willing than older teachers to give up tenure for more pay and more impact on student achievement. Their friends working for Google and McKinsey and Goldman Sachs don't have tenure. Why should they?
Weingarten hears those voices. I think she wants to stay ahead of the generational shift. The GothamSchools Web site says she offered recently to stop using the word "tenure" if that will help win agreement on due process for teachers in trouble.

But is it so crazy to think that, eventually, Weingarten will join Rhee in giving D.C. teachers a new and innovative contract, just as she has joined with Rhee's foundation friends to create a new fund for teacher innovation?

Jay, Jay, Jay, Jay. Have you not learned anything? You must not be reading your Education Notes. Broad gave Randi's charter school $ 1 million and his foundation helped fund Richard Kahlenberg's Shanker book.

Paul is right. Mathews who is very clued in is playing games with his readers.

Does Jay have a clue when he thinks school teachers will look at their friends at Goldman Sachs who are making 3 times what they make and not dealing with daily teaching tasks and fending off idiot administrators and think, "Gee, they don't have tenure, why should I?" I should send Jay the emails I get from young teachers who are very worried about getting their tenure because until they do they fear telling their idiot administrators they are idiots.

I will give Jay credit for discerning some of Randi's motives in terms of what she perceives is the attitudes of the new generation of teachers. But she is wrong.

I saw plenty of young teachers at yesterday's Grassroots Movement Charter school conference at PACE U. (More on that later). Yes, Jay - and Randi- even young, idealistic teachers would like some job protection and a good health plan and actually getting paid real money - like their friends at Goldman Sachs, for all the time they put in.

Mike Antonucci at EIA and Intercepts naturally likes Mathews but is skeptical (News Flash: Al Shanker Is Dead) of Randi's motives, as usual, from the opposite direction of Ed Notes. Mike should come back to his old haunts in NYC one day and observe the state of the UFT in the schools and see then comment on whether Randi is really a sell-out or not.

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