Friday, March 26, 2010

NYC Educator Trashes Gotham Schools Election Coverage

I'm cross-posting this from NYC Educator. I had a conversation the other day with Anna Philips who wrote the piece. I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt as this is part of a series. But it is troubling to have her say that the UFT is in trouble of the opposition vote rises when the exact opposite is true. A rising tide will lift the UFT boat, not sink it.

GothamSchools Trashes UFT Opposition, Determines 22% Voter Turnout Not "Too Apathetic"

I was kind of amazed to go to GothamSchools yesterday and read " If the population currently teaching in the city’s classrooms starts to stray to opposition groups, or is too apathetic to vote, the union could be in trouble."

First of all, the article itself states only 22 percent of working teachers voted three years ago. Doesn't a 78% lack of participation already indicate apathy? Or is the accepted standard 79%? I haven't been to journalism school, but perhaps it's written in some highly regarded textbook somewhere.

Be that as it may, I'm also astounded by the contention that the union could be in trouble if too many working teachers stray to opposition groups. Despite what Unity sources may have told the Gotham reporter, we too are union, we believe fervently in union and we think the union is already in trouble. We think many of our troubles began when the UFT/ Unity aristocracy ignored James Eterno's advice and decided to go to PERB in 2005.

Or perhaps GothamSchools simply thinks we are trouble. Maybe Unity told them we were trouble and they're simply reporting it unattributed. Hard to say, since they didn't see fit to explain.

This piece could well have been written by the Unity propaganda team, already up to its elbows in cutesy and blatantly unfair manipulation---and this on the even of the election. ICE/ TJC presidential candidate James Eterno just commented here that today is the very last day to persuade people, and the preposterous contention masquerading as news at Gotham is neither welcome, accurate, nor helpful.

The Unity dynasty, propped up by chapter leaders who've signed away their free will for a couple of trips to conventions, does not much need Gotham's help.

Why don't members vote? Because they've given up. Because they think the election is in the bag and it doesn't matter what they do. The more I read things like that column, the better I understand why they get that feeling.

Perhaps in part two of the Gotham-Unity interview, they'll ask why high school teachers can't select their own VP. Probably they won't. In any case, taking the choice away from high school teachers is not without precedent. The technique of widening the pool to make sure no former slaves got elected by mistake was used with some success after the Civil War. Doubtless when Unity does it to unpredictable high school teachers, it's pristine and pure democracy.

I look forward to the next installment. Perhaps we'll hear not only from the Unity folks who signed the loyalty oath, but from New Action folks as well. We can learn how New Action props up the facade of democracy with fake opposition blatantly and cynically designed to divert folks from troublesome activists who stand up for what they believe, as opposed to what Unity tells them to believe. Maybe they'll express it some other way.

"We believe it's the responsibility of an opposition to support the status quo candidate so we can get jobs and political positions." Perhaps they won't say it that way either.

Whatever they say, I can't wait to see what comes next. I love hearing both sides of an issue, and it's particularly riveting when both sides are spoken out of the same mouth.

1 comment:

  1. Gotham Schools, for all the many benefits it provides as a clearinghouse for news and opinion, should have good deal of its reporting taken skeptically.

    This article, and particularly Elizabeth Green's uncritical piece in the Times validating the pseudo science (and not-so-latent Taylorism) of "Lemov's Taxonomy" should make readers question the generally pro ed deform premises upon which much of their reporting is based.


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