Friday, July 9, 2010

Randi is Shocked

"My past and present right in front of me." — Randi Weingarten upon seeing me as a reporter at her post-speech press conference today.

She must think I'm a stalker following my appearance at the Progressive Caucus meeting the other night when she stopped by to tell me how overjoyed she was that I joined the caucus — I told her she had finally convinced me and it was really the best 20 bucks I've spent so far.

People are still hounding me for the story of how they tried to throw me out but I can't get to it now.
A UFT VP really got a kick out of my being there and wanted to know if I now had reciprocity to attend Unity Caucus meetings. "Only if I can tape them," I said. A high level union official told me to see him when I was ready to join Unity. Bye-bye ICE. I really want to be told how to vote and learn how to manipulate Roberts Rules. Today Randi asked at the press availability, "When did you get your press pass?" "10 years ago when I started covering you," I said. Actually more like 15 years. I'm a Randiologist specializing in deciphering her lingo as PR. George Schmidt and I got to ask her some questions and I taped the whole thing.

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Just back from a Chicago party. Did they get a lesson in Unity control in their committee meetings. I had been telling them about Unity control and today they saw it first hand.

Today was a busy day. We worked on some leaflets all morning for the AFT Peace and Justice caucus. My assignment was to handle the flier for the Gates appearance on Saturday. As usual I had diarrhea of the pen and filled up 2 sides. I sent it to Sharon Higgins in Oakland this morning and she chopped off 500 words. Wish I can send her my belly. Sharon did a great job and with just a little more modification we just finished it. And yes we are going with the Trojan Horse theme. Funny how many other people are also doing stuff with that idea though some think Randi is the real Trojan Horse.

Being backed up with the leaflet this morning I got to the convention hall just as Antonia Cortese was introducing Randi. George Schmidt had staked out a good end spot at the press table and I just got my video camera set up as Randi began. But I didn't tape it all. Now, if you read my previous post you know what I was expecting with some embellishments. While the speech before the Progressive Caucus was about 15 minutes, this one was about an hour. There are lot of comments on the speech both nationally and locally. To some it was very impressive. To those of us used to the rhetoric it was just more of the same.

I'll give you one brief example. Randi talked about 360 degree accountability. For a second I thought she was talking about global warming. OK, let's everyone be accountable, even that slime of a Leadership Academy principal you have. Now here is where she made a good point — theoretically. She said part of a principal's evaluation should be based on teacher turnover. Well, isn't that interesting since in her decade of running the UFT that never once came up. I mean that is so obvious that one would think the NY Teacher would post those schools that had large turnover on a consistent basis. But they didn't. And they won't do much more now. I see the speech as the a PR opportunity and nothing more.

One of the guys working on the P&J committee is also running a convention web site and he has some good stuff up there. Here are a few comments on the speech:

Like the Vichy policeman in "Casablanca" who was "shocked, shocked" at gambling going on in the casino, AFT President Randi Weingarten can't believe that a U.S. President that the AFT supported could applaud the mass firing of 89 teachers. She starts four paragraphs "I never thought ..."

Who is she kidding? She knew what Arne Duncan did in Chicago. Did she think he would change his spots. Why doesn't she demand Duncan go? Labor poured enough money and sweat into the Obama campaign to make the demand.

He has the speech up at Randi is Shocked or you can get it and weep at:

The complete text of Weingarten's speech will be available at http://www.aft.org/convention2010speech.

Coming up tomorrow are a few Duncan demos as he breezes into town and the P&J session at 4:40 where I am supposed to speak. I want to get video of Dunkin Donuts but may miss one of the demos. The Detroit crew from BAMN has chartered a bus to get people to the demo furthest away. The early one is near here. At the Chicago party tonight some people from Seattle were there and donated a bunch of oaktag and markers and some people had a ball making signs.

Off to bed. More in the AM. Wait a minute. It is the am. 1am. snore.

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After burn: More analysis of the speech

http://socialistworker.org/2010/07/09/teachers-at-a-crossroads

Teachers unions at the crossroads

Lee Sustar reports from the American Federation of Teachers convention in Seattle.

I finally met Lee at the Chi party and at the press conf with Randi. Lots for us to talk about.

10 comments:

  1. Great stuff Norm. But forget about teacher turnover and principal evaluation. It won't mean a thing and that's why Randi threw that bone out. How about making the case that principals need to have a minimum of seven years teaching experience before first becoming an AP and then a principal? How about requiring principals to teach a lesson in front of teachers to show how something needs to be done? Why has Unity/AFT allowed "no nothings" to come in and rate teachers?

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  2. Let's go further - we elect our principals. I don't know that the union can stop them as long as it is run the way it is. You need an active membership to put pressure on the powers that be to stop the crap. In parts of Europe they actually do elect.

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  3. I don't want to be critical, what with you having joined the caucus and all, but don't you think Randi and Bill ought not to put their faces on the Trojan horses? Is that a tactical error or am I just not with the new thinking?

    Fascinating coverage, Norm. Now I really wish I'd gone.

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  4. Hey Norm, Dudley

    Yes, ARNE SHOULD GO!!! But I'm so thoroughly disgusted with this country's pathetic handling of education for decades on end. The fundamental problem is and has been a lack of respect and interest in primary and secondary education, especially in regard to the public schools, which brings in all sorts of issues of race, politics, and bureaucracy. However, I think there has almost always existed a generalized suspicion and disrespect of education in this country of pioneers and prodigies and dreams. It was probably warranted. Long ago education was all about memorization. Learn a dead language, and you're an educated fella, a scholar. Well, the nature of the 'attention' ('abuse') that education is receiving now belies these deep-rooted dispositions. The people in power don't really learn, and the public remains ignorant about one of the most important factors in the lives of their children and their children's children. It literally takes a court order to make people think twice, but then they still don't know how to think properly. Ultimately, though, the truth does come out, because even the most twisted and muddled arguments wind up touching on it as they are forced to comply with facets of reality over time, unless things take on Kool-Aid-induced spiritual proportions. Then all bets are off. People aren't really that stupid or naïve, though; that's just greed and hubris, which, again, eventually fades by exposure to the elements of reality.

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  5. Great stuff. I have been thinking for years about the environmental surveys. If the staff expresses that they " do not trust the leadership" of their school overwhelmingly, then why the hell are we answering that question on the survey?? If the leaders of a school get poor ratings year after year and they do nothing to analyze the DATA! Then again , WHY THE HELL ARE WE PRESSURED TO TAKE THE SURVEYS? It makes no sense. I am all for rating principals on teacher turn-over. We have to hire at least ten new teachers a year! DA Nile ain't just a river in Africa!

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  6. Pathetic. Norm, pick up a new hobby like collecting stamps. You are retired.

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  7. What's pathetic is the implication that people who no longer have to report to a workplace each day should no longer be active. Actually, that's the wrong word. I think the word is "disgraceful."

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  8. INSIDE THE UNITY CAUCUS:

    1--RANDI AND HER CABANA BOY MULGREW ARE SHOCKED THAT THE CAUCUS MEMBERS NO LONG BELIEVE HER FAKE STORY THAT SHE AND THE MAYOR HAD A DEAL FOR TWO FOUR PERCENT RAISES SO THE UFT COULD SCREW THOMPSON AND GIVE THE MAYOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS TO SEW UP REAL ESTATE DEALS FOR HIS FRIENDS.
    2-RANDI IS SHOCKED THAT THE MAYOR IS TRASHING TEACHERS. MULGREW AND HIS TEAM ARE STILL SLEEPING-FILING RIDICICLOUS LAW SUITS.
    3-RANDI AND MULGREW ARE SHOCKED THAT CAUCUS MEMBERS KNOW THEY SOLD OUT THE RUBBER ROOMERS. SO WHAT IF THE ROOMS ARE CLOSED? THE HARASSMENT CONTINUES.
    4- MULGREW IS SHOCKED THAT HIS PRIVATE CHAT WITH THE MAYOR- THEY SHOOK HANDS ON A TWO PERCENT DEAL- WOUND UP IN THE NEWSPAPERS.
    IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET SELL OUT LIKE RANDI WAS FAMOUS FOR.
    5-MULGREW IS SHOCKED THAT PEOPLE WHO READ HIS DOPEY COLUMN IN THE LAST NY TEACHER CANT BELIEVE THIS GUY HAS AN ENGLISH DEGREE- FROM CLARA BARTON?
    HOW MANY CLICHE'S CAN YOU COUNT?
    -STILL SHOCKED IN SEATTLE.
    THE BARR BLUNDER SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE NEW YORK POST- HE SENT IT TO 800 AFT DELEGATES USING UFT STAFF AND UFT WEBSITE.
    CANT DO IT LEROY- CANT DO IT.

    ReplyDelete
  9. INSIDE THE UNITY CAUCUS:
    1--RANDI AND HER CABANA BOY MULGREW ARE SHOCKED THAT THE CAUCUS MEMBERS NO LONG BELIEVE HER FAKE STORY THAT SHE AND THE MAYOR HAD A DEAL FOR TWO FOUR PERCENT RAISES SO THE UFT COULD SCREW THOMPSON AND GIVE THE MAYOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS TO SEW UP REAL ESTATE DEALS FOR HIS FRIENDS.
    2-RANDI IS SHOCKED THAT THE MAYOR IS TRASHING TEACHERS. MULGREW AND HIS TEAM ARE STILL SLEEPING-FILING RIDICICLOUS LAW SUITS.
    3-RANDI AND MULGREW ARE SHOCKED THAT CAUCUS MEMBERS KNOW THEY SOLD OUT THE RUBBER ROOMERS. SO WHAT IF THE ROOMS ARE CLOSED? THE HARASSMENT CONTINUES.
    4- MULGREW IS SHOCKED THAT HIS PRIVATE CHAT WITH THE MAYOR- THEY SHOOK HANDS ON A TWO PERCENT DEAL- WOUND UP IN THE NEWSPAPERS.
    IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A SECRET SELL OUT LIKE RANDI WAS FAMOUS FOR.
    5-MULGREW IS SHOCKED THAT PEOPLE WHO READ HIS DOPEY COLUMN IN THE LAST NY TEACHER CANT BELIEVE THIS GUY HAS AN ENGLISH DEGREE- FROM CLARA BARTON?
    HOW MANY CLICHE'S CAN YOU COUNT?
    -STILL SHOCKED IN SEATTLE.
    THE BARR BLUNDER SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE NEW YORK POST- HE SENT IT TO 800 AFT DELEGATES USING UFT STAFF AND UFT WEBSITE.
    CANT DO IT LEROY- CANT DO IT.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ARE THE NON-UFT AND AFT DUES PAYING MEMBERS (UFT STAFFERS) WHO ARE RANDI/MULGREW FLUNKIES- ALLOWED IN CAUCUS MEETINGS?

    ReplyDelete

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