Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Action Supported UFT Charter Schools

This comment

Thank God for New Action. The UFT needs change. The UFT needs to start to fight for its members who are fighting with all their might, all on their own against charter schools. It is terrible the UFT, the teachers unions, is sitting back and doing NOTHING! That is what teachers pay for and the UFT does absolutely NOTHING!

at the Gotham Schools posting that made it seem New Action was an opposition caucus led to my response below:

New Action at one time used to be for change, but as partners with the UFT leadership for the past 7 years that is all over. They used to actually have a decent platform calling the UFT leadership undemocratic and calling for democratization of the union. Now that they got theirs, all that has disappeared.

How can the UFT fight charter schools when they have two of their own? And occupying space in public schools. And New Action supported them all the way, with some New Action members volunteering in the charters. ICE and TJC were opposed to the establishment of the charters because it was clear what was coming down the line and having their own charters would make a fight impossible. The UFT strategy was to "show them we can do it with a union contract," which New Action has supported. Then they sign a contract with Green Dot charter, also not opposed by New Action. Now their strategy is not to oppose charters but to try to organize them. Sort of like going back to the 1950's. The charters will remove public schools and the UFT will try to sell charter school teachers on the concept of "look how incompetent we have been in defending NYC teachers, now give us a chance to screw you too."

I know. Some say better any union contract than nothing. But the idea is so ass backwards as to make your hair hurt. The tidal wave is coming and the UFT is using a thimble to bail. And New Action will be there with them all the way.

ICE, TJC, Ed Notes and GEM have been working on positions that place the charter attack on public education in context. We have also been on the front lines supporting public school parents and teachers in their struggles over shared space. It was no accident that ICE's Lisa North's picture was on the front page of the NY Times yesterday in the story on charters. Angel Gonzalez, other GEMers and I also were there to support them. New Action has had zero presence at any of these charter school battles, even less than the bare presence the UFT leadership itself has had.

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