Sunday, February 8, 2015

UFT Tries to Activate Mostly Inactive Chapters in War With Cuomo -- But Is the Leadership Willing to Supply Funding to the Schools?

We want our leaders to get up in front of the Cuomo equivalent powerful German army members intimidating everyone as they are singing German fight songs in Rick's cafe and lead everyone in the "Marseillaise".
But no guts, no glory. And so it goes.

Will the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership stop throwing millions of our bucks away on tepid commercials and useless politicians who stab us in the back and funnel some of that money back into the schools to use in establishing local campaigns? After all, there are enough public schools to be able to blanket the entire city with a grassroots campaign.

The thing to understand about the UFT is that it is a totally top-down controlled organization and doesn't have the DNA to allow the schools leeway to truly activate themselves without trying to control their message. Like how about having schools at the district level team up to go to community newspapers with ads? Or hold local community meetings? Instead of district reps holding brainstorming meetings they are there just to give schools marching orders from the top.

Michael Fiorillo pretty much has their number:
All just empty, going-through-the-motions-to make-it-look-like-we're on-top-of-this misdirection. They've already decided on what they'll settle for (on our backs, needless to say) and still think they can pull off something behind the scenes. If Shelley was still in place as Speaker, that might have "worked," somewhat, but now? With things so unsettled? They're taking a very big risk with our future...
As I pointed out in my Casablanca referenced piece last night -Louie, I Think This is the Start of a Beautiful Friendship - Will Mulgrew Join the Resistance or Vichy?-- there is not much will for being resistance fighters in our leadership, which hungers most for a seat at the table.

We want our leaders to get up in front of the Cuomo equivalent powerful German army members intimidating everyone as they are singing German fight songs in Rick's cafe and lead everyone in the "Marseillaise".

Based on this email exchange on the MORE listserve I would be they will not let go of the purse strings other than in a nominal way.
At last DA Kelly asked if we would get additional money for our school based organizing against Cuomo and I believe that Mulgrew said something like yes. Anyone remember exactly what he did say? I asked my DR and she said NO.
Followed by this:
At the "emergency" chapter leader meeting this Wednesday that all DRs were told to have with their CLs there was few concrete unified actions organized by UFT. DR gave lots of paper info and said we should organize our members. They didn't even have the petition nor did they have the postcards to get signed. I made concrete suggestions and after meeting, some of the other CLs came up to me for ideas. I also asked about getting extra money for the school campaign as per what Mulgrew said at DA but DR said no extra money. Honestly it was not hard to get my members activated and we have a bunch of actions planned. Imagine if our leadership was coordinating unified actions. No, just a petition campaign.
Below is what the District Reps are sending to teachers with talking points and a breakdown of the Cuomo threat, which as NYC Educator pointed out in his fabulous piece - Entropy -
yesterday, was ignored for so long for that mythical seat at the table. Entropy - lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.  -- maybe not the exact definition I would use since the UFT/AFT/NYSUT leadership is all about predictability as evidenced by this point NYC Educator made:

Now they want me to tweet what they tell me. Use this hashtag, or that, they say, and everything will be better. Once Cuomo sees our tweets he'll run like a doormouse. Mulgrew doesn't tweet because, like the pigs in Animal Farm, he's off doing brainwork, filling ledgers that must be meticulously filled then burned in the furnace. That's what I pay a thousand dollars a year for, while they go to conventions and fail to support people who might actually wish to help me.
I love that Animal Farm reference. We are all so Orwellian as we pointed out at the AFT Bill Gates Seattle convention in 2010 with this video.

Well, here is the message District Reps are sending to schools with the message they want out there -- all very predictable -- send some names go to Albany in March 4 when Eva will close her schools -- not call for NYC schools to hold field trips to Albany for a counter rally instead of the same old same old lobbying trips we've all been taking for 40 years -- and look where we are as a result.
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the chapter-leader meeting. I’m following up on what we discussed during the meeting.

What makes our campaign urgent is the fact that if the state budget is not passed on time (April 1), with changes made to the education policies of the governor, then Mr. Cuomo can use a political maneuver called an “executive order” to pass his own budget. The governor’s budget would include all the educational policies he introduced at the 2015 State of the State Address:

Essentially, Mr. Cuomo is trying to accomplish in one year (really 3 months), what Mayor Bloomberg tried to accomplish in twelve years. An important part of our campaign to fight Cuomo’s education agenda is to inform our political representatives, the parents of our students and the general public on how bad these policies are for public education and our students. Our representatives must hear our chorus and our message and stand up to the governor and fight these policies.

The main points of the Cuomo education agenda are as follows:

INDIVIDUAL MERIT PAY – He wants to give teachers that get a highly effective final rating an additional $20,000. This may sound good for those that recently got this rating but wait until you see how he wants to change the teacher evaluation system. Merit pay is a divisive idea that has failed everywhere it has been tried. Who is going to want to teach the neediest students with this policy?

TEACHER EVALUATION - Cuomo wants to get rid of the 20% local tests and increase the state test to be 50% of the teacher evaluation. The other 50% for measures of teacher practice would be 15% from your principal and 35% from an outside agent. How many teachers are going to come into teaching, or remain, if they are evaluated like this? And, how many teachers are going to remain in schools that have a large number of students with disabilities or other life challenges?

NEW TEACHERS BEWARE! – Mr. Cuomo wants to extend the probationary period from 3 to 5 years! That might be okay if he were proposing more support for new teachers but he’s not. What he wants in an army of “at will” employees who will have no due process rights. This policy ignores the real issue - the lack of support that drives 40% of new teachers to quit by their 5th year.

DUE PROCESS – The governor wants to take away the use of an independent arbitrator and wants the employer to decide on terminations. We say the process needs to be fair, quick and impartial. He believes it should be fast and unfair.

CHARTER SCHOOLS – The governor wants to increase the charter cap even though he knows that most charters are breaking the law by “creaming”, or unfairly selecting, the students they teach. Rather than holding charters accountable for this he wants to reward their misconduct along with the billionaires that are backing the charter movement.

RECEIVERSHIP – The governor wants to have all of the struggling schools to be run by private companies and to abolish all collective bargaining agreements. This plan punishes the neediest children and the educators who serve them.

SCHOOL FUNDING – The governor is holding this year’s inadequate school funding increase hostage to his political agenda. Since he has been in office, the governor has not met his constitutional obligation to properly fund our schools and now he is blaming us. Our schools are already owed billions of dollars from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) litigation.

What we need to do:

1. Every chapter should conduct an emergency chapter meeting. Invite everyone, even your supervisors. We’re all on the same side in this fight. Let me know when you will be doing this.

2. A committee of members should meet with the parents at each school to inform them of these disastrous policies. Recruit parents in this fight.

3. Each school community should organize a group to attend one of three regional forums that are being held next week on the 12th.

4. Each chapter and school community should plan and execute local actions. This could be letter writing, phone calls, sending post cards, informational picketing.

5. Join the social media campaigns. Join the UFT Facebook campaign and the twitter campaign.

6. Send me the names and contact information of the people you want to send to Albany on March 4th. I will need their email address.

7. There will be other large events, including rallies, in the near future . Each school community should join in these mass actions.

8. Document, photograph and record your individual actions so we can pass the word to other school communities.

We can either sit idly by and watch these things happen to us, or we can join together and fight back.

Thank you all in advance for your continued hard work, and for your assistance on this campaign!

1 comment:

  1. Merit pay is accompanied by long lists of teachers targeted for Partially Effective and Ineffective evaluations. Teachers with the highest test scores are not necessarily those rated Highly Effective. The requirements are a combination of ass kissing and political correctness.


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