Monday, November 24, 2014

How UFT Leaders Help Undermine Public Ed in NYC Through Support of New Visions

[F]rom the start, charter schools were rotten through with corruption. ...the law that created charter schools in New York State came in return for a legislative pay raise. Charter schools in New York started with a quid pro quo. You want public money for private schools? Pay us and we'll give it to you. Now of course the charter operators themselves do the quid pro quos, throwing huge amounts of cash at the politicians in both parties in order to get their agenda passed.... Reality Based Educator at Perdido Street Schools explores the roots of the 1998 charter school law (Charter Schools Started As Quid Pro Quo Deal In New York In 1998)

And of course, our UFT/NYSUT crew were up to their ears in it. But is not only charters but the partnership with groups like New Visions. Randi and Mulgrew are both on the board. Look at this map of New Visions schools - district and charters. (See entire NV board of directors below.)

In 1998 I was so frustrated with the people controlling the schools  I was in favor of teacher run schools (still am) and saw charters as a way for the UFT to help us take away power from the corrupt districts and Board of Education. Call me an early version of an ed deformer. In an early edition of Ed Notes (which began in 1997) I proposed a resolution for the Del Ass calling on the UFT to set up a division of support for teachers who wanted to start charter schools. Randi asked me to hold off on this as she had her own plan. And I didn't raise it. Months later, Michelle Bodden contacted me asking if I wanted to be on a new UFT charter committee exploring starting a school in partnership with CCNY. I did join the committee but argued this was too top down - it was not my concept. But of course the committee was packed with Unity and I was there as window-dressing as a way to shut me up - and it worked. Randi abandoned the project when CCNY pulled out - wisely it turned out.

Michelle Bodden was a rising star and I really liked her - at one point later on rumored to be Randi's successor - but something happened and Michelle ended up running - and still does run - the UFT charter which has been at times a money pit sinkhole and an embarrassment for the union.

At that time, as a lone wolf with no base of support and also viewing New Action and other opposition groups as weak and ineffectual, I felt that working with the new UFT leadership which was promising reform was the best bet in the late 90s. My sense that the only way to change was a progressive union leader (which I believed Randi to be at that time) and a Unity Caucus on board.

My break came with the coming of ed deform and Randi's support of it. That was when it became clear the UFT was complicit and a partner and the New Visions deal is only a sliver.

New Visions for Public Schools

Board of Trustees

Richard I. Beattie
Roger C. Altman
Robert L. Hughes
Calvin O. Butts, III
Lisa Caputo
Ian Cook
Blair W. Effron
Jerry E. Garcia
Gary L. Ginsberg
Jay L. Kriegel
Sue Lehmann
Beth J. Lief
Ernest Logan
Ellen Moskowitz
Michael Mulgrew
Peter R. Orszag
Ralph L. Schlosstein
Katherine J. Trager
Randi Weingarten

Honorary Board Members
Reuben Mark
J. Richard Munro

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