Friday, February 18, 2011

First They Came...perhaps it is time - a chapter leader's opinion

Perhaps it is time to face reality.  The union today is not the union of old.  Teaching today is not the same job it was 5 years ago.  Between the demands of the city and the retreat of the union, there is less classroom teaching.  Daily attacks on teachers from city's administration, the bureaucracy at the Tweed courthouse, the administrators at the local schools, and the media go relatively unanswered.  With all the constant negative attacks, is it any wonder that some students and parents are starting to believe what they hear about their teachers?

Occasionally there will protestations from the union's leadership but it is often late, and ineffective.  What is left of the contract is eroded daily.  Duty free lunch?  Not when you hold faculty conferences during that time.  SBO votes?  What is that?  Security? Put a union member at the door.  And even though the union says these things should not be, they are.  Why do the district representatives sign off on things that violate the contract?

So now the city and state are in negotiations on how to remove non-classroom teachers.  Whether you call it layoffs, termination, or firing does not matter.  The reason for last in-first out is to prevent abuses by administrators.   Anyone that has been teaching during the many incarnations of the Board of Education during the Bloomberg years has certainly had the opportunity to view abusive behavior.  Can you imagine what will happen in schools if one of the last vestiges of seniority is done away with?  Get rid of last in - first out and you begin the death of a thousand cuts.  Think of Pandora's Box and you can pretty much divine what will happen.  It may start with the non-classroom teachers, but it wont end there.

First they came for the rubber-room folks,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't in a rubber-room.

Then they came for the ATR's
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't an ATR.

Then they came for the tenured people
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't tenured yet.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me

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