Thursday, March 24, 2011

Educators 4 Excellence Update

Oh, where to start? Maybe with South Bronx School:  The Two Faced Ramblings Of E4E'S Ruben Brosbe.

I won't be as comprehensive as SBS but just look at a few of Ruben Brosbe's comments in this post on the Gotham Community:

Why Teachers Like Me Support Unions: An E4E Take on EDUSolidarity

But you know E4E is all about children - when they're not all about adults - E4Eers wanting to make sure they are not laid off - for the sake of the children, of course.

Ruben tells us:
When I think of one of the most vital roles of the union however, I think of the protections that allow me to advocate for my students. At a school with more than 33 percent of students requiring special education services and an even larger number who are considered English language learners, I understand how crucial it is that I can speak up for these students if they aren’t getting legally mandated services. This is arguably the foremost job of a teacher, to speak up for his or her students. By protecting teachers who do this, the union is protecting the city’s neediest children. The union is at its best when it is in this role.
This caused me to roll around the floor laughing - since Ruben lifted this idea word for word from GEM's Julie Cavanagh who used the exact words when she debated an E4Eer on NY1. E4E loves to tell the people on its email list about the press they are getting. In their update that week they seem to have left out the NY1 debate with Julie kicking ass. (Julie tells me Evan and Sydney were in the Green room coaching their rep and cheering her up after the debate. Bill Gates' money is being well spent.)

Here is the link to the debate so you can see exactly how well Ruben can copycat:

What the E$E spinmeisters are doing is trying to co-opt the Real Reformers' message about the union. Maybe one day they will actually mention low class size as being good for children. But that might affect their funding from Gates who doesn't believe it - unless for his own children.

But then comes this winner from Ruben:
I know I don’t see eye to eye with the UFT on every issue. I don’t agree with LIFO.
So let's follow Ruben's logic. Or illogic.

A teacher advocates for their children. Who does that teacher advocate with? Most often the principal. Who most often gets pissed off at advocating teacher- with threat of U rating to follow if teacher doesn't stop advocating for children. Ruben's answer? Fire that teacher.

Jose Vilson, one of the most highly respected ed bloggers and an organizer of EDUSolidarity comments:
from everything I've seen from E$E (appropriate because when you hit shift+4, you get $), you really want to take down the union, not actually help it progress.You and your group have made it so a discussion proliferates between younger and older teachers would rift, not amend, the tenuous relationship between younger and older teachers in our system. As a younger teacher, I'm disappointed that your group also aligns itself unabashedly with anyone willing to corrupt our (albeit not perfect) union.
To which Ruben responds:
I don't think that the relationship between senior and newer teachers is strengthened by the current layoff system. In fact, I think when newer teachers look around and see that senior teachers are protected regardless of performance, it breeds resentment, rather than respect. Meanwhile, I have nothing but respect for the veteran teachers who continue to work hard and refine their craft. I have benefited immensely from the help of veteran teachers in my short time in the classroom
Again, a misleading lack of logic on Ruben's part. In fact LIFO protects newer teachers as much as senior teachers. A third year teacher gets priority over a first year teacher. And gets called back in the order of layoff. E$E is trying to exploit the vulnerability of newer teachers through the Gates/DFER funded political, having nothing to do with education) campaign and if we give Ruben the benefit of the doubt, he is a tool.

If Ruben has such respect for vet teachers "who continue to work hard and refine their craft" he must be talking about vet teachers who do not work hard and continue to refine their craft. Where are these people? Does he know them from his own school? Or is he talking from theory - that they must exist because Bill Gates and Bloomberg tell him they exist. And where are their principals (or principles)? Where is Ruben's principal if these vets exist in his school? Here is where Ruben won't dare go - his own school because if he is a true advocate for the children he so cares about why doesn't he campaign in his own school to remove these people? Think embarrassing the principal might have repercussions for Ruben?

There's a lot of proof out there that newer teachers who have an intention of making a career out of teaching support LIFO. Witness groups like GEM, Teachers Unite and NYCORE. Check out my co-blogger MAB and GEM's Liza Campbell (Anticipating Fight Back Friday), who also blogs at Gotham Community, as examples. Plus the people like Julie and Brian Jones who are a decade+ in the system.

In fact if you attend this Saturday's NYCORE conference (Whose Schools? Our Schools) at Julia Richman HS (67th St and 2nd Ave) Campus you will see hundreds of younger teachers there who I will bet support LIFO and seniority rules.

E$E coming to your school?
I reported on Sunday night (which you may have missed- E4E Invitation to Lunch n' Learn May Violate More than Rules of Ethics) about a principal inviting E$E into school to speak during a lunch hour. It turns out it was not an L&L but voluntary. I raised the issue of whether Tweed was working behind the scenes to help E$E gain access during the school day. Wouldn't surprise me at all. E$E has paid organizers. All our teachers actually work, so only Angel and I are available to come visit.

A contact spoke to lawyers at the CSA (principals' union) and they were not happy since the CSA supports LIFO. My contact at the school said the E$E rep misrepresented herself and the organization when she came in. I sent the contacts at the school Jeff Kaufman's pieces on E$E published on the ICE blog and they were preparing a reception. (“White Paper” on a Roll: How Ed Deformers Distort the Record on Seniority Layoffs and Up Close and Personal With An Opposition.)

They are also asking the principal if I can come in and rebut but the guys at the school seemed to have the situation pretty much under control (they sent out a mass email to the staff before the meeting.)

E$E is holding happy hours - a free drink if you sign their pledge - so if you hear of any let E$E watch central know and we might send some GEMers over to join them.

Before I go, here is a comment left on Gotham on E$E:
What I am amused at by the E4E and anti-seniority based layoff crowd is their own assurance that they will not be discriminated against and verily believe they are the "best" teachers (or most effective as they say). Unions, seniority and the civil service system developed in our history to meet a very specific need in our democracy... providing a fair and equitable way to terminate employees in the face of economic crisis. Public employers also saw advantages in using seniority since they could not be accused of discrimination or arbitrariness and at the same time keep the most experienced employees... employees who have a track record of performing their job satisfactorily. The job displacement that seniority based layoffs would create is not different from E4E proposals as allegedly poorer senior teachers would still have to be replaced... replaced by less senior, less experienced teachers. Lets face it any layoff scheme would impact our students negatively. I submit that the current retention policies including hiring teachers who have no intention of becoming senior teachers has had a much greater negative impact on students than any layoff scheme. The heart of E4E anti-seniority based layoff scheme is anti-union. The agenda is driven by the belief that the (or any) union does not belong in the workplace. In their world everyone will earn what they are worth and only the best will survive. Sounds a bit social darwinistic...or maybe they think that's a good thing.
Link to comment:


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  1. I truly, fervently hope ME4ME/E$E comes to my school. The staff of nearly all senior teachers will shred them.

    Last week there was an enlargement for a ME4ME happy hour in the hallway of my school- it seemed very innocuous- the well-intentioned AP who got their email obviously had no idea what they stand for (he's one of the good guys). I pointed it out to a few colleagues and they were outraged- they knew nothing of E$E, oddly enough. They suggested posting more info about what they really want to accomplish, but the next day the poster was gone- I guess someone (rightfully) thought advertising happy hours in a middle school hallway was not a great idea.

  2. If you see one again tip us off so we can post the info for anyone who wants to go and challenge their dishonest message.

  3. After you are finished with them, send them to my school where I, too, will debate and render them helpless. I am the rock they crawled out from. How dare they imply that senior teachers, myself included, are inferior to others. You POS dirtbag. You are the scum of the earth. Let us know if you make it through this year. If so, come to my schoolyard (and not during my lunch) where I'll show you what the meaning of respect.


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