Sunday, August 1, 2010

Norm Does History at the AFT Peace & Justice Meeting in Seattle

I was asked to provide some historical context to the current state of resistance in NYC at the AFT P&J committee meeting on July 9, 2010. Lisa North (ICE/GEM) chaired the meeting.

"You not only have to deal with charters, you have to deal with charters that are like a cancer in your own building."

Want more of my drivel?

I was asked to cover for a guest too chicken to appear by Bronx Teacher on his penetrating weekly internet radio show (every Tuesday night at 9pm).

"The union has consistently been giving back since 1968." Well, psychologically at least. There was one more contract with gains and then in '72 it was all downhill.

He asked some great questions and I had a chance to get into issues in terms of historical context of the UFT - the '68 strike, the '75 massive cuts to schools and other issues to help prove my point that Randi Weingarten DID NOT CHANGE DIRECTION but continued and amplified the policies set in motion by Al Shanker.


Anonymous said...

Three questions:

Why would this caucus allow a persom registered as a member of the press speak at their meeting.

Why would you give a discussion of a "politcal caucus nature" at a meeting of an "issues cacus".

Why would a good dues paying member of the Progressive caucus speak against any caucus member (like RW) outside the caucus meeting. If you want to speak against RW you should resign from the progressive caucus. we know you want your 20 bucks back.

ed notes online said...

One question:

Why does a Unity slug/hack who makes well over a 100 grand on the backs of the members plus a double pension spend valuable time listening to little ole me? Not only are there a hell of a lot of screws loose - but more importantly - when are you getting me a pair of those fabulous shorts you wore in Seattle?

Anonymous said...

Nice job, Norm. You're very good at reciting the 3-4 letter names of the various groups you belong to and making up excuses about the last UFT election.

I didn't hear you mention anything about peace or justice though.

Anonymous said...

You've got to get over your obsession with Norm. Try doing your job instead of spending so much time reading this blog.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Hey All You Anonymous Unity Caucus Snarkers,

Don't you all have something better to do, like collaborate with the Mayor, or defend fraudulent test scores, or sell off pieces of the contract, or fellate Bill Gates?

MKnotts said...


I am teacher in Staten Island. I know some of these union people who you continue to ride and deface with names like hack and slug. While I enjoy your comments when you stick to the issues and can't stand when you go on personal attacks. It is no secret that some UFT people make 100k, but 90 percent of them would be making the same amount if they were in the classroom. Would you make issue of teachers making that much? I think not. I was helped a number of times by people at the UFT. Sure...there will be a few people that aren't satisfied--but it seems to me, if it were really bad then there would have been top down turnover. To say it's not possible you would only look to our brothers and sisters in Chicago (who turned it over after 37 yrs.).
I figured at your age you would take a more reflective approach. The venom that drives you will kill you. Relax- enjoy life. Stick to the commentary of education not your personal grudges--its a turn off.

Anonymous said...

Michael Fiorillo, you end your post with such a classy comment.

John Peterson said...

That's why these crackers will never be anything in the UFT--no class.

Michael Fiorillo said...


You're right: the final question was inappropriate (although I must admit I had fun writing it).

I stand by the rest, however.

And while there are many Unity members who work hard and have the members interests at heart, their refusal/inability to break from a compromised (at best) leadership leaves them open to criticism if not attack. What kind of legacy is it to have stood by silently while a (potentially) great union allows itself and public education to be discredited and destroyed?

Norm Scott in his role of writer, gadfly and organizer has done more for teachers and public education than virtually anyone else in the city. I'm proud to have worked with him over the years, which is far more than I can say about my participation in the bogus UFT committees I've been involved with.

Anonymous said...

I'll admit, I still don't see what he does except name drop a lot of groups with cute acronym labels.

Admittedly, it's hard for me to see past being constantly called a hack and a slug as I work hard volunteering for a union I believe in. Beyond the childish name calling, as a fifth year teacher and a new chapter leader, it's tiring being chastised that I'm personally responsible for all of the union's problems over the last few decades. Particularly since I wasn't even alive for some of them.

Michael Fiorillo said...


First of all, Ednotes is only part of Norm's activism: he spends a great deal of time traveling all over the city helping to educate and mobilize opposition to the people who are attacking teachers and destroying the schools, the same people Weingarten and Mulgrew are happy to collaborate with.

I believe in the union too, and I know Norm does, but that does not absolve the leadership from its catastrophic decisions, which have hurt the members and the schools.

As a working CL, don't you find yourself hampered by policy decisions made by the leadership? Don't you think Mulgrew made your job harder by linking evaluations to test scores? You should distinguish between Norm's attacks on the leadership and its rote apologists (and let's face it, some of them are hacks, although I know most union staffers work hard and in good faith, though that good faith is placed in an impossible position by bad policy).

PS: As to fellating Bill Gates, it was inappropriate to say, but not nearly as inappropriate as inviting him to address a convention of teachers. That was akin to spitting in their faces.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Michael that there are a number of hard working people in the union. Most of them don't waste their time commenting on this blog.
Norm must be doing something to keep you coming back here again and again to make dumb comments. You must try getting a life.

ed notes online said...

Thanks Michael for the kind words, though I don't agree with them all. It is real easy for a retiree to do what I do. It is all the working teachers who have gotten active, attending meetings, writing, organizing - these are the people who we honor.

As for felating Gates - you were too kind.

ed notes online said...

Oh yes, and if it is so tiresome being insulted go read the Unity suckup handbook instead of this blog.

If you are a 5th year teacher and first year chapter leader I will send you a check for a hundred bucks.

Anonymous said...

That is just mean.