Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Truly Sleepless in Seattle

July 7, 2010

Diane Ravitch, who received the NEA Friend of Education award, electrified the Representative Assembly Tuesday with an impassioned call for the defense of public education and the teaching profession.
There is a video but it didn't run for me.

The NEA strong stand on Obama/Duncan and RTTT will put pressure on the AFT this week. They passed some very good resos which I will link to later. Don't forget- Ravitch was at the NEA and won't be at the AFT. Not a rift but there may be some tension there. See NEA press release about Ravitch. Diane Ravitch receives NEA’s Friend of Education Award.

Here is my report from last night.

July 6, 2010

Jeez, this place is beginning to crawl with teachers. "What's going on," asked a pretty hip guy who runs an very interesting and eclectic bookstore on the lower level of the Pike Place Market? "Everyone who's been coming in here seems to be a teacher." I told him about the AFT convention. He went on to tell me how he hated school and most of his teachers were awful. "But you run a book store," I said. "Yeah, funny, my mom always says that it is strange given by history with school." We had a nice chat about the Seattle schools, most of which he seemed to have attended - unwillingly - at one time or another.

I intend to stop by a few times to browse and if you're in town give him the business instead of the big chains. Wait a minute, I am getting my Nora Ephron/Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks films mixed up. The battle of the small bookstore vs big chain didn't take place in Seattle while the sleepless houseboat thingy did. (By the way, if you are a fan of "The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo" read Ephron's wonderful takeoff in last week's New Yorker.)

I took an early morning flight out on Tuesday and we arrived an hour early at 10:30am local time. I saw a bunch of UFT people on the flight (I recognized Maureen Salter and Betty Zohar), along with retired John F. Kennedy teacher Carolyn Eubanks, here with a contingent from Progressive Labor. She experienced the wonderful Anthony Rotunno (A DOE Favored Principal Takes A Hit - Way too Late) at Kennedy so there was joy in her Mudville over his recent travails.

I had a little time to settle in, grab my new video camera and check out the scene - which meant eating my way through the city. I must have eaten 5 times yesterday. Lisa North (GEM/ICE) came in last night and Gloria Brandman is due tonight. George Schmidt and the Chicago crew are due today. Gloria, Lisa and I are staying at the Homewood Suites a short distance from the convention center and it is very impressive - a full kitchen and free breakfast and a dinner reception almost every night - I think I may be able to eat 10 times a day. I hope no one is sitting next to me on the way home on the Monday night red eye.

There will be some activity from the AFT Peace and Justice group which is where Lisa and Gloria will be putting their efforts.

Given the NEA "no confidence" vote in RTTT this past weekend I imagine the Randi rhetoric will fly showing just how tough she will be. I expect lots of people to break out in gales of laughter. Even some Unity people might have to hide their faces. This is going to be pretty funny considering how just about everyone you talk to in Unity trashes Randi as they gush, "Mulgrew is so different. He is a real teacher." Sure. A year ago they would be telling you how smart Randi was. If Jack the Ripper ran the union they would talk about how clean and shiny he keeps his knives.

One retired Unity person was throwing this at a friend who told her about the teacher evaluation based on test score agreement Mulgrew agreed to. "Terrible they would do that," she responded. By "they" she meant BloomKlein. Somehow Unity people have the ability to make their leader disappear from anything bad that they agree too. Or maybe they think BloomKlein are using water boarding.

By the way, we heard Arne Duncan will be in town on Friday afternoon for another event. Would Randi dare to bring him in to address convention? I am betting not as there is so much teacher anger out there his reception would not be pretty.

Here is one place you WON'T find me this week.


  1. I’ve scouted things out in case a few teachers want to pay a visit to Arne Duncan. Duncan’s calendar says he will be at Aviation High School on Friday, July 9, from 2:10 to 3:20 p.m. “to meet with community partners, education stakeholders, as well as students at Aviation High School, for a discussion on innovation in education. Sen. Patty Murray will join him.”

    1. AFT convention schedule for the afternoon of July 9th
    • Noon Human Rights luncheon
    • 2:30 p.m. General session

    2. Aviation High School is ONLY 14 miles south of the Convention Center, just past the airport. Its address is 615 South 200th St., Des Moines, WA.

    3. Public transportation (Fare is $ 2.00 cash):
    • Walk 0.4 mile SW from WA STATE CONVENTION - TRADE CENTER to 2nd Ave & Pike St
    • Depart at 11:26 AM on Route MT 132 (Des Moines). Weekday schedule for Route 132:
    • Arrive at 8th Ave S & S 200th St at 12:34 PM (it's a residential area)
    • Walk 0.1 mile W to AVIATION HIGH SCHOOL

    4. Aviation High School is a high-scoring, aviation- and aerospace- themed small school that serves ~400 students. Its demographics are:
    • AA 6.7%
    • Asian/PI 19.4%
    • Hispanic 10.3%
    • White 61.2%
    • FRPL 21.3%
    • SpEd 1.3%
    • Transitional Bilingual 1.3%

    5. Washington is one of the few remaining states with NO charter schools!!! The others are Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia, Vermont, and Maine.

    6. U.S. Senator Patty Murray (WA) serves on the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee
    7. Alternatively, you could take a stroll from the convention center to the headquarters for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It’s less than two miles north of the convention center at 1551 Eastlake Avenue East.

    If you can’t get away to do any of the above, I still wish you happy networking and a really good time!

  2. Thanks for the work Sharon. I will post it on sidebar so people can jump in. Will keep you all posted. Right now working on leaflet for gates appearance.

  3. We here in Seattle would love to host a get-together.

    Contact me at



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