Thursday, March 3, 2011

Is Mulgrew In or Out?

If you are reading the tea leaves on where the UFT really stands on LIFO, there is a whole lot of give about to come, though of course it will be couched in terms of a big victory. We raised the question a few weeks ago in this post: Why Won't Mulgrew Defend LIFO?

It is pretty clear to us that Mulgrew won't defend LIFO because he intends to give up ground and today's events confirms it.

Now I sometimes try to look through the obfuscations of Unity Caucus shill Peter Goodman's blog Ed in the Apple for signs of where the union stands - or sits. Goodman's job is to soften people up for the kill. So here is the perfect Goodman scare tactic post: Is NYC Heading Toward a Teacher Strike? How Far Are Teachers Willing to Go to Defend Layoff Rules?

Gee, is the only way the UFT can defend LIFO is to strike? How about making the very strongest case for LIFO that we can make instead of punting? Like, instead of snow ball commercials, how about talking about Peter Lamphere's U ratings for being chapter leader of Bronx HS of Science or Iris Blige or PS 114?  See Jim Dwyer's excellent NY Times piece today: How Not to Rid New York City Schools of Bad Apples:
Over eight years, Mr. Bloomberg has said, he raised teacher salaries by 43 percent. Now he says it’s possible that he will have to cut more than 6,000 positions, and he does not want to do it on a basis of strict seniority, which the law requires — a critical statute that was not changed even when his administration was dishing out raises. (Mr. Bloomberg did win concessions to ease seniority requirements in assignments.)
Education officials spent Tuesday in Albany, arguing that the city should be allowed to lay off teachers using a rating system that currently relies heavily on the evaluation of principals. The prospect of having a principal like the one at P.S. 114 making such decisions does not make the heart leap with joy. Other principals, trying to stretch their budgets, might feel pressured to get rid of older, better-paid teachers.
On NY1, GEMers Peter Lamphere and Julie Cavanagh tonight made a better case than Mulgrew who basically made no case. Tomorrow night on NY1 ("Inside City Hall") Julie will debate another teacher (E4E?) on the LIFO issue. 8pm and 10pm.

I raised the issue of race in this piece: Ending LIFO: Another Form of Racism?

NYC Educator went to the UFT lobbying day in Albany and was also disturbed at signs of a compromise in this post:  UFT--Time to Take a Stand!
But he said something else that was very disturbing. He said there would probably be some compromise bill. He said the UFT tended to do things like that, just as they did on the evaluation system. Now here's the thing--the evaluation system, based on value-added, is crap, because there is no validity to value-added.

The official UFT rationale, that value-added is only 20-40% of the evaluation, is nonsense. The argument that some states have 50% based on value-added, and that we therefore made a better deal, is also nonsense. That we accepted less crap than some other state does not mitigate our acceptance of crap. That we accepted additional crap in 02, and a ton of it in 05, means that there simply is not room to handle much more of it.

Here is the stance we should take on this new "reform"--we refuse to discuss it until and unless we get the 4/4 raises all other city employees got.

Then, and only then, should we calmly sit down at the negotiating table and tell Mayor Bloomberg and his band of corporate goons to go to hell. After that, we can explain our positions to faux-Democrat Andy Cuomo.

There was some back and forth on the listserves that illuminates the UFT about to sell out on LIFO. Some GEM/NYCORE newer teachers who put out that letter (Petitions to Support LIFO and Seniority: Five Year and Under Teachers)  urging support for seniority were asked to attend a Mulgrew press conference on Monday. One of them made this comment:
At the press conference on Monday I was particularly struck by the overly obvious, clearly intentional avoidance of the words seniority and LIFO. The entire point of the press conference was "there is no need for layoffs" and "this is a scare tactic by the mayor." While these are important points, it's also important to say what's wrong with the plan that the mayor is trying to scare us INTO supporting. Mulgrew seemed more incensed that the mayor would go over his head to Albany to change policies rather than come talk to HIM about changing the seniority rules first. But again, his only mention of what was actually wrong with Bloomberg's proposal was when Mulgrew complained that the mayor wasn't coming to the bargaining table about it, plus a vague mention of how the bill was "bad for teaching and learning in nyc." The administrators union leader even said- "Talk to us. Nothing is off the table." Nothing?
Not bad from a third year teacher who "gets it."

Experienced political activist Marjorie Stamberg added to the debate:
On NY 1 this morning, (see link below) education reporter Lindsey Christ said that Bloomberg's layoff plan won't go anywhere because Albany democrats, Sheldon Silver in particular will stop it.

Instead, she reported, Cuomo has his own plan which says that "seniority" should only be "part" of the equation in deciding who gets laid off, and teacher eval based on the new 4-point Race to the Top criteria should be part of it too.

She reported that the UFT seems to be buying into the Cuomo plan!

As we know, if they cave on this, it will be a huge blow for the union and labor struggle. But I think it was in the works for sometime, that is why we haven't been able to get Mulgrew to come out and say he defends seniority in layoffs, only that "nobody should be laid off." All well and good, nobody should and we should fight for that. But that is only one-half of the principle.

I have also been trying to track this down all day, and my Unity chapter leader (who's also on the E Board) was not denying it.

Check out the ednotes sidebar for latest events and Norms Notes for a variety of articles of interest: And make sure to check out the side panel on right for news bits.

1 comment:

  1. Norm,

    This is a no-brainer.

    Here is the future NYTeacher blurb:

    The UFT wins. We have a new evaluation agreement with the city that is fair and objective and which makes it impossible for vindictive principals to get rid of good teachers. It's a new era. We don't need LIFO now that we have the new evaluation agreement. Thank god we signed onto that evaluation agreement first in Albany before this whole LIFO mess heated up. We are the rational visionaries. Now onto the the wine, cheese and quail at 52 Broadway.



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