Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blah, blah, blah.....Norm. I just want a union to protect me

This was a comment on my piece which talked about caucus history and connections to social justice union work: On ICE and Why MORE: History of 40 Years of Failures of Multiple Caucuses in the UFT
Blah, blah, blah.....Norm. I just want a union to protect me. What you are saying is part of it but we need to have the teachers believe in the union again before we can do anything.... anon
Chaz chimed in too:
Norm: You almost had me convinced but then there goes that "Social Justice" issue that muddles the message. Until all teachers are treated correctly, I don't have the ability to solve the world's problems.
My response to Chaz:
I'm not looking to solve the world's problems just try to help find solutions to the problems your students and their families face. That is not the world's problems - we're not talking about Greece here. That is the problems sitting before you every day on your job. try to tell me you don't care about them and only about your problems as a teacher, many of which are connected to the issues facing your kids. If race and poverty affects your kids it affects your working conditions - not muddling the message but making connections between working conditions and Social justice. The very idea of unions is a social justice issue - defense of worker rights is a social justice issue. You choose to define social justice in the narrowest sense as "solving the world's problems." we can't even solve the problems of toilet paper in the teacher room sometimes - as caucuses without power we can't solve much of anything - all we can do is raise the issues and try to inform our fellow workers. If you think that the attacks on teachers by ed deformers who claim these attacks are needed and turn these attacks into social justice issues by stealing the rhetoric then you are ignoring a major way of fighting back by recapturing the issues to our advantage. Opt out by parents is a social justice issue which in the long run helps teachers fight back against an unjust rating system. People don't give a crap about what happens to teachers unless we shape things in ways that link our rights to the interests of children. 
At the ICE meeting on Monday, the same social justice/trade union discussion came up - as it does time and again. Mike Schirtzer made a passionate statement that the very concept of union organizing and the protections thereof emerged from a social justice movement.

I echoed Mike in this response to the blah, blah, blah guy (or gal).

Many of the newer teachers come with an anti-union bias because they have been brainwashed. Someone at the ICE meeting told me that many new teachers in his school are Rand Paul libertarians. Then they see the UFT/Unity inaction and that only confirms what they believe. Finding the fine line of crit the union leadership and feeding into this anti-union bias is tricky. Yesterday some people came to the ICE meeting who said they had no idea about the union until they got in some trouble. They are not new. But they had no sense of union consciousness until it affected them personally. That is partly the fault of the leadership which does little work or any at the school level in raising this consciousness about the history and importance of unions. The building of unions was all about being a social justice movement for workers' rights. What was won through a social justice political movement is being lost and you want to ignore the very means by which we gained those rights in the first place by terming it blah, blah, blah. Shame on you.
The majority of people who vote apparently still believe in Unity enough to keep him in power. I find it funny how the newer activists think social media is an alternative to gut level school to school organizing. They count likes and clicks as success. I count a real body in every school who will stand up against Unity as success. New Action - the combo of TAC and New Directions in the mid-90s had enough people to help defeat the 1995 contract the first time around -- the clear advantage when the 2 leading opposition caucuses merged into 1. Soon after a self-serving meglomaniac started yet another caucus because I wanted to run for president. That caucus lasted for about 5 years before disbanding -- just as ICE came on board. Then it was ICE and TJC with their own brands from 2004-2010, which led to MORE - one caucus, with a broad enough perspective to understand the political struggle it will take to protect you, not bombast and personality cults.
Related: I headed back into the city on Tuesday to Union Square for a 2:00PM meeting with a batch of MOREs to plan our upcoming retreat. I was sort of shocked to see so many people show up on a beautiful afternoon. So many people who I love and respect. Almost everyone a leader of some sort in their school. People trusted by their colleagues. We occupied 3 small tables under an umbrella. Present was Gloria Brandman who retires officially tomorrow and will be able to join me in retiree actions next school year - like lunch on the first day of school. Some of us stayed around to chat until after 6 and I remained to read the chapters of the novels from people in my writing group which was meeting at 7 in Park Slope. Crazy -- I sat in a chair in Union Square -- rhymes and has a beat -- from 2 to 6:30. Not a bad way to spend a lovely summer day - except for the occasional drizzle.

Julio for UFT President, Bernice and Penny Lane for UFT Secretary and Treasurer

A lot of people are expressing doubt about the upcoming UFT election. Should I vote for Mulgrew? Should I vote for MORE? They haven't even proposed a candidate, and who can sit around waiting for something like that? It's always tough to make important decisions like those. That's why it's so important for us to have another alternative, someone who isn't sociopathic or megalomaniacal, somene who isn't making backdoor deals, someone who not only won't punch your face out for opposing Common Core, but also someone who wouldn't remotely consider opposing Opt-out... I wasn't going to make an endorsement so early, but I know the field, and I think it's time we broaden it. We need a leader who won't sell us out for political expedience. We need a leader who we can count on and trust. We need a leader who won't take any crap from the likes of Cuomo, Flanagan, or whatever tinhorn politician comes down the pike.
.....NYC Educator,  Julio 2016
While I'm not happy that NYC Educator endorsed his dog Julio for UFT president rather than opening things up to a democratic process where a cat would have a chance, I will defer even though I am pissed I hadn't thought of throwing one of my cats into the ring first. It makes prefect sense to me given that I consider UFT elections a basic farce and have been urging people to boycott. But now that we have as viable a candidate as I've seen I have to rethink my position. I'm adding Bernice and Penny Lane to the Julio slate for UFT officer positions.

Bernice for Secretary

Penny Lane for Treasurer
UPDATE: Lauren Cohen and Mike Schirtzer add their dogs to slate.

Lauren Cohen Emmie's candidacy has been in the works for awhile

Monday, June 29, 2015

On ICE and Why MORE: History of 40 Years of Failures of Multiple Caucuses in the UFT

Unity wants as many opposition caucuses around as possible to divide people.
Today ICE, the group founded out of Ed Notes in late 2003 is meeting. (Tomorrow I'm meeting with a group of MORE people to plan the summer
retreat.) ICE is comfortable. MORE is not always. But we bite the bullet and keep trying to build a unified opposition caucus.

ICE is an uncaucus - we have withdrawn from taking part in UFT election battles and became a founding member of MORE because we did our own caucus thing  a dozen years ago and saw ultimately how it worked out  - not great - which was why most of us decided to join with people from other groups to form MORE - and that ain't been easy after having our own little group that could function the way it wanted.

I have learned from 45 years in this business that having multiple caucuses, even if they come together every 3 years to run a unified slate but then go their separate ways leads to failure.

Unity wants as many opposition caucuses around as possible to divide people. In the old says we used to assume that if a caucus didn't get the petition signatures to get on the ballot Unity, which runs the election, would put them on anyway. And so they will again.

Randi bought out New Action. Does anyone think she and Mulgrew are unhappy to see yet another caucus out there? They knew that the merger of various groups into MORE in an attempt to forge one identity for the opposition is the real threat to them. Thus they attack only MORE in their leaflets (64 Teachers at PS8X Sign Open Letter to Mulgrew).

Thus Randi would be glad to lend moral support to anyone who wants to start yet another opposition caucus, even taking them out for coffee.


MORE is a combo of many different groups and people - a synthesis because many of us have tried it the other way - our own little caucus where we can be the big fish in the small pond - oh how heady at times when you are new to this to have the president of the UFT emailing you at midnight to get your opinion. Almost everyone in ICE has come to see that no matter how difficult it can be working with people you might disagree with at times, the only way is to forge one caucus. Bite the damn bullet.

Many of us have come down a bit from our egos and have a little more humility about things. Or maybe it's the lowering of testosterone with age.

New Action
I have even been tempering my views regarding New Action - Julie and I told them at our meeting in Nov. 2013 that we welcomed them once they publicly announce they will no longer be taking their deal with Unity -- they don't have to end New Action - keep doing what ICE is doing - but move to becoming one caucus. After all, New Action learned its lesson in 1995 when 2 caucuses, TAC (begun in 1968) and New Directions (1976) became one after 20 years of relative futility running in the NAC coalition (though they did win some victories). But they say they were marking time. Then shortly after they merged, along came the old divider, Marc Pessin (who did the same thing with New Directions in 1976) to create yet another caucus (PAC) to divide people. And of course, Marc's ego required that he run for president in the 1999 elections - he did the same thing in the 1977 and 81 elections.

When ICE became a caucus in late 2003 it was with the intention of running in the 2004 election and then disbanding. But we won the HS exec bd seats with TJC and stuck around. But it became clear by 2007 that ICE did not have a long shelf life. By 2010 it was more than obvious. TJC was around for 20 years before disbanding into MORE. ICE kept meeting but in essence did the same. And I must say that after all those years of a tenuous relationship, working with Kit Wainer is a joy - and having Kit and James Eterno, both of whom who ran for UFT president, on the same team is like putting together an all-star rock band.

Yes, multiple caucuses have been tried for ages - there are always calls for them to unite for the elections and then go back to doing their big fish in a small pond. It finally dawned on many of us that ultimately this is helping do Unity's dirty work of divide and conquer - playing one group off against another - even offering people from one group enticements.

Though mostly MORE, we still feel that ICE identity even if we will never divide the opposition - ICE stands for the Independent Community of Educators -- a true social justice group of people who also fought for teacher rights with roots going back to the community struggles of the late 60s and 70s.

Some of the newer MORE members have come to the ICE view of things - we were the only ones to go after mayoral control, ed deform, high stakes testing - all the hot button issues from today - back in 2003 when we began - and Ed Notes was touching on these before then.

How did we see that these issues were important? Through open, non-ideologically driven discussions at loooong meetings. No one at an ICE meeting has been cut off or denied the chance to speak due to time - no one every leaves an ICE meeting feeling they were shut down. Time is not a factor -- the meeting ends when one person is left talking to himself.
I have never left an ICE meeting not feeling good and not having learned something.

Not a formula for efficiency or even building an opposition - but certainly a much needed space for people to talk to each other -- and I would say the single most important thing missing in MORE. I rarely leave a MORE meeting feeling that way. The MORE - Summer Series Workshops is a way to fill this gap.

People have asked me numerous times how come Mulgrew and Unity can get away with what they do for 60 years - how come there is so little effective opposition in the UFT.

The leadership focuses a lot of energy on potential trouble spots - this is where they are truly competent and effective - controlling, defusing, obfuscating, dividing, etc. I posted an example on Ed Notes recently about PS 8x which is a school in revolt against the leadership, led by a former Unity Caucus chapter leader -- see
The district rep - the key people in how they control the membership - told the CL that Mulgrew is coming to the school to talk to them -- I've been invited to come that day too.

They track every place where there are opposing voices -- making deals with their friendly principals to keep people under control is not off the table either.

But beyond all that, there are the internal divisions in the opposition - I have seen the same issues come up since I first got involved in 1970 - and in the 70s and then again in the 90s we had another version of him doing the same thing - to me this is so deja vu.

Egos, sectarian politics, and who knows what else can lead to so much frustration and angst.

A number of people who were union critics and used to distribute Ed Notes in the 90s and early 2000's ended up joining Unity - they might as well take the free trips and other perks because there was no other place to really go.

They go to Unity because they see a divided opposition. It may not be easy, but one voice, one name is the only answer. That will not happen as long as people refuse to check their egos at the door.

MORE - Summer Series Workshops + Join Us

I am helping with the chapter leader training training on July 9th and August 20th and also working on the August 13th election event where I will make a case for MORE not running in the election and spend more time doing the real organizing we are doing below. I think if we did these throughout the school year we would be performing a real service instead of racing around with petitions for an election only Unity can win. Until there is one caucus with one message instead of multiple groups racing around trying to organize their own little groups - and thus confusing the membership who rightfully say - why can't you all get together in one opposition group - Unity always wins.

Please join MORE caucus UFT 4th Annual Summer Series.  It’s a great chance to Discuss, Debate, and Organize!

Thursdays this summer, 4pm-7pm
All are welcome!
The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYCNear City Hall, Chambers St, WTC
Drink specials: $4 domestic drafts, $6 well drinks and $7 wine.
Please click on the blue links to RSVP on Facebook
July 9th
Hardcore MORE Chapter Leader Training: The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter – Part I
Open to all newly elected or veteran chapter leaders, delegates, consultation/SLT committee members, para-reps, and anyone interested in getting more involved in their chapter. Some of the topics include: Getting members involved, Enforcing contractual rights, Planning chapter & consultation meetings, Fighting back against administration, Building allies in PTA/SLT, Filing grievances

July 23rdHow To Build an Opt-Out Movement in Your School
High Stakes Testing and the Teacher Evaluation System are suffocating public education. As Diane Ravitch states – the only way to save our schools is to starve the data beast. That is the mission of the opt out movement. Find out how teachers around the state are working together with parents to organize against high stakes testing and fight for the schools our students deserve!
Are you wondering what the teacher union is all about and what it means to you and your students? Is it something you should be active in?  Can unions be vehicles for social justice? What is a caucus? How has the UNITY Caucus kept control of the UFT for over 40 years? Why did MORE form?   Meet with new and veteran teachers to discuss these questions and more in this introduction to the inner workings of the UFT.
What should a 2016 grassroots UFT election campaign look like? Does MORE have the resources and activists to mount an effective campaign? How can we use new tools and lessons learned to ensure that organizing  for the election will build MORE? Come learn election nuts and bolts, brainstorm creative election strategies, and plan ahead for how we’ll build a campaign that builds a better union.
August 20th
Hardcore MORE Chapter Leader Training: The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter – Part II(See Part 1 Above)

Our goal is to have a mobilized, active union that can effectively fight for our rights by giving all members a voice in the UFT. We believe in building stronger chapters that connect members with others around the city who believe our working conditions are our students' learning conditions. We encourage all NYC educators to join us in challenging the UFT leadership and transforming the union into one that can lead the fight in advocating for a fair and equitable education for all our children while ending the profit-driven testing policies that harms teachers, students, and schools. Public schools are under attack, that is why we need a new union leadership that will lead the fight back. Each educator experiences the attacks on our profession differently: for some, the testing frenzy has dramatically changed their work lives for the worse. For others, the new evaluation process and life under a weak contract are the main concerns. Many of our members work under horrific and abusive administrators and that reality overshadows everything else. A strong, member-driven union that stands together with our communities is the only way to have the public schools we all deserve. The time is now to revitalize the teachers union here in New York City!
Any member of the UFT can become a member of the caucus by making a minimum annual donation of $25 ($10 for paraprofessionals and secretaries)
If you would like to make an on-going monthly donation to help sustain MORE's activities, consider becoming a MORE sustainer.

Weekend Update: Two Weddings and Avoiding a (Performing) Funeral in Guys and Dolls

People who know me understand that I generally expect things to turn into a disaster. And this weekend had the potential. Starting with opening night of Guys and Dolls and ending with a wedding on Long Island on Sunday late afternoon with potential traffic nightmares and predictions of bad weather through the weekend - and we had company Saturday for dinner as our friends came over to see the Sat night performance. So I was on edge, worried that, even though I play as minor a role in the show as possible, I would screw something up, especially in the numbers where I have to do some light dance steps in synch with others, especially the "Oldest Established Floating Crap Game" number early in the show where there are not that many guys I can hide behind.

But it all turned out exceptionally well. For the 2nd time in the past month, the second one of my wife's cousin's sons to get married - I wrote about the wedding of Jared and Margo in Turks and Caicos (Destination: Wedding in Turks and Caicos). We stayed an extra day and caught our last hour on the beach before leaving and ran into their photoshoot - right.

That (one month) old married couple were there last night for Steve and Katherine's wedding in Bayville - even though not my family they are also Scotts - Steve is the son of my wife's cousin Laurie and her husband Skip, a professional jazz drummer who played with his trio at the wedding. And note how this wedding was also on the beach. Here are a few pics. I find it fascinating that she is a divorce lawyer, leading to my endless and tasteless jokes at passover dinners.

As for the show, what a weekend. I actually hit my steps on the whole. And of course I had to miss the Sunday matinee due to the wedding, but I did go over before I left to give my replacement, Joe Hagopian -  one of the most popular and likeable young people I have met - some instruction on what he had to do. I stayed to tape the opening and Joe - who is 25 - looked so much better on stage than I do, I hope I still have my role.

Take back your mink - but not yet - Dolls with Nicely Nicely Johnson (Chazmond Peacock)
Seeing these young women dance is a major treat of the show.

Guys in Luck Be a Lady, lead by Sky (Danny Cruz) - see if you can find me
I'm writing something for The Wave - here is a draft.

Guys and Dolls played to sold out audiences for all 3 performances this past weekend. Everyone felt great about how things went, despite some of the usual snags. Due to the enormous talents vying for roles at the RTC there are two different casts for the four major roles and some other significant roles (meaning people should see the show twice - at least twice) makes this a special achievement.

It is hard to single out individual performances - something I can't judge from being backstage for most of the show. The powerful performance of 18 year old Caitlin Byrne as Miss Adelaide on Saturday night perked my ears up. Later people I knew who saw the show said Caitlin blew the place away.

Matthew Smilardi, one of my favorite actors at the RTC of all time, playing her boyfriend engaged for 14 years, Nathan Detroit, said her enormous energy fed his performance which in turn fed back to her. What a pleasure it was for the audience seeing these two RTC vets (Matt is in his early twenties and has been with the RTC since he was a teen) and Caitlin, who just finished her freshman year in college, comes out of the RTC Teen Theater Workshop. Oh what a voice - and Caitlin is also a devotee of Anita Ruderman's Hot Yoga classes on Beach 116th Street.

And here's the rub. On Friday night, the amazing duo of Nicole Mangano and John Panepinto played these same roles to perfection but for those who see both performances, with their own twist. Their voices don't take 2nd place to anyone. I'll get into the other dual cast leads, Sky (Danny Cruz/ Michael Whelan) and Sarah (Maria Edwards/Renee Steadman), played by 4 performers with exceptional voices, next time.

Matt and John as Nathan (the Frank Sinatra role in the movie) and Caitlin and Nicole as Adelaide carry immense responsibilities to make the play work and whichever cast you see you won't be disappointed. On the alternate days, they assume other roles as the drunk and as crapshooters - for veteran actors like them, like a day off.

We refer to the different casts as the Danny and Mike casts. Here are their performance dates:
Danny Cast: July 10, 12, 17, 19.
Mike Cast: July 11, 16, 18.
So if you saw one, come and see the other.

If I tried to talk about everyone who should be talked about in the cast and backstage, the Wave would have to give me the entire paper. I will try to follow up in the upcoming week with more on the awesome talent at RTC. For me, being in a play with Chazmond Peacock (Nicely Nicely), who I believed is a major talent who should be on Broadway since I first saw him in Oliver is such a special treat. He can do anything on stage, but just watch him do his stuff in "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" and try to tell me I'm not right.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Article on Social Justice Unions from The Catalyst

I reported on the growing SJ unionism around the nation - EIA Intercepts: AFT Set to Take Over Florida Local... (in Newark NEW Caucus lost the election last week.)

The Catalyst out of Chicago under Alexander Russo (who supposedly lives in Brooklyn) has been a known shill for ed deform under the guise of journalism, but this is an interesting piece on SJ unions. Some interesting points are made. Can a union go too far and begin to ignore bread and butter by focusing on the larger political messages? Has CORE in Chicago which is the caucus running the union been doing that?

I took note of this comment:
Marcia Brown-Wiliams, a former delegate and teacher who retired last year, says she worries the CTU is more concerned “not so much about protecting membership in the way they need to be protected, but in making this grand political statement.”
I think it is a mistake to ignore the larger social issues for a teacher union and focus only on bread and butter - but there is a bottom line in that the union must protect its members with every fiber as a way to solidify its base so it has the capacity to take on the bigger issues. I do hear some rumblings out of Chicago about that issue.

I've been involved in social justice oriented caucuses since the 70s - Coalition of School Workers, ICE and MORE --- I would never choose to be involved in a group that only narrowly focuses on teacher interests - as if we were making widgets. To ignore the people sitting in front of us as a factor is folly.

But always strive to maintain a balance -- when I feel MORE is tipping too far away I argue for keeping things balanced. I think the past year for MORE had some stress over trying to find that balance and there is much debate about how to merge the working conditions with the SJ aspect - the idea that our working conditions affect the learning conditions and vice versa.

Just look at how the parent led opt out movement has dovetailed with teacher interests. To ignore the parents and their main interest, their children, is folly and has allowed the ed deform movement to make hay in their campaign to destroy public ed and teacher unions.  There are so-called oppositionists in the UFT who continue to argue for narrow trade unionism- call it an attack from the right --Unity and MORE are both too SJ left.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association both note that they are shifting toward a broader approach, while still paying attention to traditional “bread and butter” issues that directly impact members, like salaries and benefits.
Yes, Randi et al has seen the growing movement and as usual jumps on the bandwagon - at least rhetorically.
Only a few of these caucus members have actually won the presidency of their union locals. But their influence is being felt both locally and nationally, which is a victory in itself, says Michelle Gunderson, a teacher at Nettelhorst Elementary and active CORE member.
“It would be really foolhardy of us to think that we can take over the [national] teachers unions, but what we can hope for is to push them in terms of raising consciousness, making arguments and framing analyses,” says Gunderson, who helped lead a panel discussion on social justice unionism at an education conference earlier this year.
We have met with Michelle a number of times as MORE is part of a national group called UCORE (we are meeting in Newark in August and I hope we can address taking a strong role at the next AFT convention in Minneapolis in July 2016.) At the NY State level, Stronger Together is also on the SJ caucus track and is also part of UCORE. So there are lots of irons in the fire. MORE tries to balance the big issues like challenging Unity on the state and national levels -- does anyone think that is not important - with addressing the local issues here in NYC. Not always an easy balancing act.


Teachers unions tackle social justice to improve schools, communities

June 22, 2015

A national movement
Since the CTU’s progressive Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE) took over the union’s leadership in 2010, CORE members have helped organize a loose network of about 20 similar teacher caucuses across the country. The caucuses share ideas and support each other on issues from encouraging parents to opt their children out of standardized tests to forming partnerships with community groups.
Only a few of these caucus members have actually won the presidency of their union locals. But their influence is being felt both locally and nationally, which is a victory in itself, says Michelle Gunderson, a teacher at Nettelhorst Elementary and active CORE member.
“It would be really foolhardy of us to think that we can take over the [national] teachers unions, but what we can hope for is to push them in terms of raising consciousness, making arguments and framing analyses,” says Gunderson, who helped lead a panel discussion on social justice unionism at an education conference earlier this year.
The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association both note that they are shifting toward a broader approach, while still paying attention to traditional “bread and butter” issues that directly impact members, like salaries and benefits.
“The NEA is participating in work that’s really redefining bargaining to be for the common good,” says NEA organizing director Secky Fascione. “We see this as a time when it’s no longer enough to be a fabulous classroom teacher. You also have to be an advocate for great public schools. And you do that as a member and partner of communities and parents.”
Fascione says young members in the NEA’s ranks are increasingly interested in social justice issues, particularly around the anti-testing movement. Meanwhile, AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed to her union’s work on community and economic development in McDowell, Va, where it has partnered with business, foundations, government and nonprofit agencies to find ways to improve educational and economic outcomes in the community. The AFT has started a similar effort in Chicago’s North Kenwood-Oakland neighborhood.
“What’s happened with the CTU was a revolution. For us it’s been more of an evolution,” Weingarten says. “There’s always been a social justice component. Sometimes it’s more vibrant, sometimes it’s less vibrant. What I love about what the CTU has done is it has actually shown that you can be about justice and economic change and professionalism at the same time.”
Union critics, however, say that unions aren’t working in the best interests of children and social justice.
In last year’s landmark Vergara vs. California court decision, a judge ruled that some of teachers’ traditional job protections such as tenure violated the constitutional rights of the state’s neediest children. The ruling won’t go into effect until appeals are settled.
The case was filed on behalf of a number of low-income students of color, who argued that they did not receive a quality education because they were stuck with bad teachers. Job protections that made these teachers difficult to fire had a disparate effect on these children, a state court found.
“This idea that social justice is something that’s owned by the teachers unions and that part of the left got blown out of the water by Vergara,” says Cynara Lilly, of the non-profit group behind the lawsuit, Students Matter.
In some ways, Lily says, the Vergara case “sort of divided the Democratic Party. For a lot of people, social justice is what drew them to the party. But the traditional left and unions don’t actually stand on the side of social justice.”

Drumming up support
In Chicago, the teachers union has gotten pushback from the district for some of its demands that are not negotiable in the contract, such as a moratorium on new charter schools and fewer standardized tests. CTU has held three community forums to explain to parents and residents what’s involved with current negotiations. The goal is to set the public framework around the issues and drum up support.
In Saint Paul, negotiations took a similar broad turn two years ago. The union went beyond seeking raises and smaller class sizes to push for more counselors, social workers and other support professionals to help students. Some of those issues were not negotiable in the contract.
Still, Denise Rodriguez says, the union successfully pressured the Board of Education to pass a resolution on staffing commitments. “It became a public document, and now we get regular updates on staffing numbers, which we didn’t get before,” she says. “We still managed to discuss things we weren’t supposed to discuss.” (Negotiations on a new contract will get under way this fall.)
In Los Angeles, a progressive caucus that won the union elections last year borrowed the CTU’s rallying cry from the 2012 strike for its own contract proposals, billing them as “The Schools L.A. Children Deserve.” The name comes from “The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve,” a report issued by the CTU that year about inequities in school resources. Other teachers unions have also adopted the idea.
This year in L.A., when the possibility of a strike was seriously raised, the Unified Teachers of Los Angeles organized a bus tour of the district so reporters and community members could see overcrowded schools and other adverse conditions. The union had been loudly pushing not only for double-digit pay raises, but also for the hiring of thousands of additional teachers and support personnel in order to reduce class sizes.
In the end, the union ratified a three-year contract that includes 10-percent raises but no promises on hiring more teachers.
In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and other public sector unions lost nearly all of their bargaining powers in 2011 with the passage of Gov. Scott Walker’s Act 10.
The law forced unions to drastically rethink how they operate and to stop seeing the enforcement of a contract as their only job, says MTEA President Bob Peterson. His union has lost membership, as educators now get to choose whether to join and pay dues. Now, Peterson says, union leaders and staff have to be “much more conscientious about whether we’re providing a value to our membership, because we have to sell membership.”
Even so, the union has recently scored wins--some with the help of public pressure on the district--that improved conditions for both children and teachers. Kindergartners now have staggered start dates, to give teachers time to establish relationships with small groups of children at the beginning of the school year.  Kindergarten students also now have 45 minutes of play time each day. Teachers have flexibility on how they can use planning time.
“It’s because of our mass actions and the threat of mass actions that we’ve been able to improve some of the teaching and working conditions,” Peterson says.

Facing a new challenge
Though Chicago’s 2012 strike sowed the seeds for stronger union influence locally and across the country, it’s not at all certain that a strike this year would garner the same support.
Many union delegates say that teachers just seem more tired now.
“I don’t know if it’s all the testing, or what,” explained one delegate who showed up to a June 9 union rally alone, unable to convince any of her coworkers to join her.
Somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 educators and supporters attended the rally; some insiders considered that a good turnout considering the slow pace of the negotiations. A May 2012 rally that had been timed to drum up energy for a strike vote had drawn between 5,000 and 10,000 attendees.
Other delegates say they wish the union leadership was less combative with the district and more focused on the traditional “bread and butter” issues.
Marcia Brown-Wiliams, a former delegate and teacher who retired last year, says she worries the CTU is more concerned “not so much about protecting membership in the way they need to be protected, but in making this grand political statement.”
There are other challenges, such as reaching and educating new members who weren’t around in 2012. A Catalyst Chicago analysis of CTU rosters indicates that about one in five current teachers and paraprofessionals were not employed by the district at the time of the 2012 strike.
Gunderson, the Nettelhorst teacher and CORE leader, says internal organizing of and messaging to rank-and-file members is a constant challenge, but an important one. It’s tough to say how many union members share CTU leaders’ vision, she adds.
“Eight hundred delegates get exposed at meetings. That’s how the message gets out,” Gunderson says. “We have to depend on the democracy we put in place. That can be messy.”
Buttons for sale at a CTU community contract forum on the North Side sponsored by Parents 4 Teachers at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church on May 19, 2015.
Photo by Grace Donnelly
Buttons promoting parent support of the CTU for sale at a May community forum held by the union and sponsored by Parents 4 Teachers.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Redux on John Dewey HS, Principal Kathleen Elvin Grade Cheating Scandal

Graduation To Go On As Grade-Fixing Investigation Continues At John Dewey H.S... CBS

Marcia Kramer is on the Elvin case, confronting a shameless Farina the other day.

We have been on the Elvin case for well over a year.

John Dewey Scandal as Farina Protects Principal and Video: Norm at the April PEP confronts Carmen Farina on double standard and describes Success Charter Schools

Fifteen months later, the schools chancellor hasn't addressed massive grade fixing at Brooklyn's John Dewey High School...

I confronted Farina about her double standard for teachers and principals like Elvin when she pulled  David Rosen out of his classroom and sent him to the rubber rooms (they still exist) because his kids protested at a city council hearing.

Farina says an investigation = lasting a lifetime - is on tap -- but actually Elvin is doing exactly what Farina wants - and needs - keeping up with the phony grad rates from the Bloomberg/Klein years. Imagine if the grad rates fell -  equivalent to the crime rate going up -- and the next thing you will see is the very same NY Post hammering de Blasio for being a failure at running the school system and therefore mayoral control should not be in effect - until a mayor like, say Eva Moskowitz, is in charge.

As for the crime rate - I still think there were way more murders under Bloomberg and he is just stashing the bodies somewhere.

NYC HS teachers: Principal gave us bad ratings as retaliation

Teachers at Brooklyn’s scandal-plagued John Dewey HS say they are being punished with bad performance evaluations for standing up to the principal, who they say lets students slide with a grade-inflation system nicknamed “Easy Pass.”
A Post analysis found that half of the teachers at the school were given failing grades from Principal Kathleen Elvin, even though the graduation rate has been soaring.
State education records show that out of 101 teachers, 16 earned “ineffective” ratings and 35 got “developing” ratings last year, a failure rate of 50 percent.
Only 8 percent of teachers citywide received marks that low, leading some Dewey teachers to claim that the game is being rigged by the administration to get back at educators who object to alleged grade inflation.
“This doesn’t make sense. Something is wrong here,” said one teacher, who was rated “ineffective.”
Part of the reason the teachers are blaming the principal is that they had been rated “effective” based on their students’ improvement on state exams.
But when subjective observations by Elvin and her fellow administrators were factored in, their grades sank.
“She has a personal vendetta,” the teacher said. “She’s using the teacher observations as a weapon against teachers. It’s her way to force teachers to leave or retire.”
He said some of the teachers who got the bad reviews were the same teachers who would not alter grades to pass failing students.
The school is under investigation for fixing grades with easy extra credit so it could post higher graduation rates. Students derisively call the system “Easy Pass.”
“I have integrity,” the teacher said. “I refused to give kids credit who didn’t deserve it.”
Only 49 percent of Dewey teachers surveyed by the city agreed that Elvin is an effective manager. She declined to comment and directed inquiries to the Department of Education.
Department spokeswoman Devora Kaye said “Principals must rate teachers fairly and accurately,” but did not address the dispute at Dewey.
United Federation of Teachers grievance director Ellen Gallin Procida called the poor ratings a “red flag.”
“This is the first year we have had this process, but the fact that one school stands out the way it does is noteworthy,” she said.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Opening night tonight of Guys and Dolls

 I've been too busy to blog very much - we've been at the theater almost every night until 11:30 for weeks. I've also been helping out during the day with stuff needing to be done. I am in 4 dance numbers, 3 of which I am in the back - trying to hide. The 4th is the issue where there are not as many guys on the stage and I have to synch with the others. Oy!. I tape the rehearsals every night and study the tape in slow -mo -- I'm always off a beat at some point(s). Tonight is it - I hope the tale of the tape comes through.

There are performances tomorrow (Sat) night and Sunday afternoon - but I won't be there Sunday due to a wedding. We skip next weekend and then there are performances on July 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19.

Here is my column in The Wave where I interviewed the 2 Japanese members of the cast.

RTC Goes International

Guys And Dolls Attracts Performers From Japan
By Norm Scott

Atsushi Edo, backstage, in the RTC dressing room. Atsushi Edo, backstage, in the RTC dressing room. 

 One of the pleasant surprises at the Rockaway Theatre Company this spring has been the arrival of two performers from Japan -- Makiko Kuri and Atsushi Eda -- who independently answered audition ads for Guys and Dolls and met for the first time at the Post Theater in Fort Tilden, travelling long distances to get there. (I love these little ironies.) Makiko Kuri, who lives in Harlem, is a wonderful dancer who joins the other gals as a Hot Box dancer and singer.
Norm Scott: How long have you been in New York? What part of Japan are you from?
Makiko Kuri: I’ve been here five years. I’m from Kobe.
NS: Why did you come here from Japan?
MK: I stayed in New York for three months in 2009, and was offered a jazz band gig. I really wanted to take it, but as I had to leave, I couldn't do it. It was such a regrettable feeling. I decided to come back and stay longer. Besides I wanted to learn many kinds of dance.

Makiko Kuri will appear in Guys and Dolls as a Hot Box dancer and singer. Makiko Kuri will appear in Guys and Dolls as a Hot Box dancer and singer. NS: What is your background in terms of education, jobs?
MK: I used to work at an office and did administration work a long time ago when I was in Japan. I had never thought of myself becoming a dancer or any performer. But after I studied tap dance, it changed my life - very nicely. After I came to New York, I danced with a jazz band. And I fell in love with the musical theater. I was in the International Student program at Steps on Broadway which I think is the best dance school in the world. I learned so much there.
NS: How did you learn to speak English so well?
MK: Harry Connick Jr. was my very beginning. I fell in love with him when I was in middle school. I tried very hard to learn his songs and I really wanted to talk to him in the future, so I worked hard on studying English by myself to prepare to talk to him.
NS: What are your main interests and hobbies?
MK: I love watching soccer.
NS: What kind of jobs do you have or have you had?
MK: I just got work permission, so I'm looking for a job now. When I was in Japan, I was performing and teaching tap.
NS: How did you end up at the RTC coming from so far away?
MK: My friend told me about the audition. And I really wanted to do Guys and Dolls so I decided.
Atsushi Eda plays a number of roles, many taking advantage of his wonderful acrobatic skills. (Don’t be surprised to see him riding a unicycle.) As one of the crap shooters he is “Tokyo Moe” and just watch him do his stuff in the Crapshooters ballet.

Atsushi, a resident of Jackson Heights who schleps to Fort Tilden almost every day by public transportation, studies ballet and other dance in Manhattan. I asked him a few question by email. I hope his delightful sense of humor comes through. [He has wonderful skills in English but did ask me to make any misusage editing corrections, which I did other than in a few instances.]
Norm Scott: How long have you been in New York?
PhotosAtsushi Eda: Since this February. I am ready to spend my first summer in New York City!
NS: Why did you come here from Japan?
AE: Actually I have been to New York 10 times. But I love this city. So, why I said ‘why can't I move here?’ So I finally decided to move from Japan.
NS: What is your background in terms of education, jobs?
AE: I had trained in musical theater at high school. After graduating high school, I started dancing at Tokyo Disneyland. That was my dream when I was a child. So I really enjoyed my job and I had great experiences. But I am not Peter Pan. So I left Neverland. Adult Atsushi’s ambition is to be in musical theater, opera, and TV show and concert tours.
NS: How did you learn to speak English so well?
AE: No way! I don't! But thanks Norm. I studied just by myself. There were many English speaking co-workers from around the world when I worked at Tokyo Disney. So I had to speak English. And my good American friend (he is in Finding Neverland on Broadway now! YAY!!) wanted to learn Japanese. So we studied together little by little.
NS: What are your main interests and hobbies?
AE: I love travel. I am a student now, so I don't have much time (and money, of course!) to travel at this moment. But I used to travel around the world. Meeting new people and having reunions. Ah! I miss that!! But I am not good at doing tourist things. I have never been to Statue of Liberty and other tall buildings.
NS: What kind of jobs do you have or have you had?
AE: Currently, I am a student. So I can't work. But I hope I can work in showbiz in America in the future. Being a great dancer or singer is not my goal. To entertain people, that is my mission.
NS: How did you end up connecting to the theater out here?
AE: I was already studying at school for only two months. And I really wanted to do a performance. Then I found the audition information. That was my first audition experience in ENGLISH. And still, cold winter. After I sang two songs and read the script, I had a dance audition with our lovely choreographer Nicola. I did a few dance combinations, and Nicola said out loud, “I want to choose you! Atsushi!” She run to room and discuss with the directors. After a few minutes, Nicola was back and she said "Welcome to the family!” That was my fastest audition experience. Since then, I would love to thank the Rockaway Theatre Company family for welcoming me and hope to learn more about American musical theater. I hope many people will come see our show!
Thank you!
Come see Makiko and Atsushi make their American theater debuts at the RTC: Evenings at 8 p.m. - June 26, 27, July 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.: June 28, July 12, 19. RTC Hotline: 718-374-6400.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Revised - The Unity 300 - UFT Retiree Chapter Sends 300 to Delegate Assembly - Why I Am Boycotting the Election

Note the weakness of this argument as a reason to vote for RA against Unity:
Voting and participating in our nation’s elections and our union’s elections are the only way we can have a voice in issues that determine the way we live. By actively participating in the process we become a vibrant force in retirement.
The only way to have a voice? Where is the call for a democratic process in the UFT that would make elections mean something?
Why don't people vote? Because Unity has so locked up the process as to make it impossible to win anything.
Here was the one opportunity every 3 years to reach every retiree in the union and expose the sham of Unity caucus.
The worst thing about this is that it doesn't even talk about what this election is really about for Unity -- packing 300 more Unity delegates into the DA. It is not enough for the general UFT election process to be rigged -- but they make sure to fill the seats at the DA with loyalists who no longer have anything to lose in the assault on teachers.

This is pablum and what we would expect from the loyal opposition - if you can call it even that. Participating in this process without attacking it is endorsing some of the most fundamental undemocratic processes in the union. I'll pass on voting until RA or any other group of retirees really takes on Unity..... Norm to ICE mail
It may seem counter-intuitive for me to sit out the current retiree election and not vote for the Retiree Advocate, which is running against Unity in the retiree chapter election. I will vote for independent Roberta Reid - I give Roberta credit for putting in the effort - and a very few candidates I know). I consider RA to be New Action light.
Catering at Unity Caucus meetings

[See NYC Educator: New Action Takes a Position on Semi-Democracy]

Think of it -- every 3 years RA can send out something to 60,000 retirees and not a word of real criticism or exposure of Unity Caucus.

What does it mean to a union when retirees no longer facing the travails of daily teaching have a major say in UFT policy bodies? A lot of people complain about retirees voting in general UFT elections, especially when 52% of the votes cast in the 2013 election came from retirees. But that doesn't bother me that much and won't until an opposition can capture the majority of votes of the working teachers. Then I would go to court. So far that is not happening.

To me the more insidious undemocratic actions are the current chapter elections going on in the functional retiree chapter for chapter leader, an exec board and for 300 delegates to the UFT DA. The UFT constitution calls for one delegate for every 60 members in a chapter. That the retiree chapter, with probably close to 60,000 members, is treated the same as a school is beyond outrage -- (I believe the max number of delegates is capped at 300.)

When I retired I attended a few retiree meetings and found them worse than the DA -- the Unity leadership is only interested in using retirees for its political campaigns - but also the Unity 300 as a force to make sure they don't lose control of the DA.

This allows old Unity loyalists to participate in the DA - and in fact pack it when needed. Let me explain. The 300 don't show up at every meeting. When there is challenge from the opposition for an upcoming DA, Unity Caucus calls a post-DA meeting - with catering - to get those retirees out to the DA -- and I believe attendance is taken too.

The DA is packed with Unity loyalists - as Arthur points out today at NYC Educator - Why Aren't People Standing for UFT Delegate?
I represent the largest high school in Queens, we have multiple delegates, but making them come would not make a dent in the pre-determined results. When Unity leadership sends the message, everyone knows and acts accordingly. It's infuriating to see the DA represented as a place where decisions are made, as opposed to a place where people are telegraphed how to vote, with virtually no subtlety whatsoever. 

I have tried to get  dissident voices heard by leadership, and the DA is just about the worst forum in which I could do it.
Arthur talks about how James Eterno was shut down at the May 2014 contract DA. Julie Cavanagh who ran against Mulgrew was next at the mic and Mulgrew shut down the debate because he was so afraid of Julie's getting a chance to speak -- even people in Unity raised their eyebrows at this -- big, bad Mulgrew - afraid of a girl.

There are over 3500 delegates and the 300 retirees are less than 10%. But rarely do more than about 800 - if even that - attend. As Arthur points out - what is the point? To his credit, he shleps in from eastern Queens every month and writes up the meetings -- and then we head to Chipotle for dinner. Next year Eterno will be back as the only ATR delegate elected from a school to add his wisdom.

Let's assume half of the Unity retirees - 150 - come to the DA - the number jumps to 15-20% of the delegates. No wonder they voted down the major MORE resolutions this year on protecting ATRs by giving them a chapter, a reso opposing high stakes testing and support for the opt-out movement.

Now back to the Retiree Advocate, which advertizes itself as an independent caucus in the UFT retiree chapter with members from various groups, including ICE and New Action. But it is overwhelmingly New Action and their literature reflects the New Action non-militancy. There is not one word of criticsm of Unity Caucus or its undemocratic process, especially in this election that puts 300 delegates in the DA. Even a minimal call for proportional representation would make sense. (Meaning if RA gets 30% of the vote they would get 90 of the 300 delegates). And there is no call for controlling the influence of retirees in the general UFT elections. They refuse to take on these issues because they are pandering for votes.

-- RA is New Action light.

New Action, which has ran Mulgrew as its presidential candidate in 2010 and 13 (and Randi in 2007) is a major force in RA with some of their key people running. Two years ago, the leaders of RA acted as a front group for New Action in pushing hard for a MORE/New Action alliance and set up a meeting - which was controversial in MORE because many did not want to meet with New Action until they renounced their deal with Unity. But in a close vote, the meeting was set up and Eterno, Julie and I were chosen to rep MORE. James had an emergency and couldn't make it. NA and RA people pushed for cooperation. Julie made eloquent statements about how we cannot work with people who support Mulgrew -- we told NA to call us when they were ready to talk about alliances when they decide to rejoin the opposition. (There is an audio tape of that Nov. 2013 meeting.)

New Action, many of whom are running on the RA slate have jobs with the UFT - and in fact they are running New Action leader Michael Shulman, who makes 15 grand a year working for the UFT, for Retiree Ex Bd.

On this issue RA is silent. Thus I can't vote for slate that echos New Action to such an extent.

By the way -- I am a forgiving soul - the second I hear New Action gets serious about abandoning the dirty deal with Unity, in the interests of uniting the opposition, I would urge MORE to open a dialogue. But my guess is that New Action has too much to gain - in terms of Ex Bd seats - to give up that deal.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

64 Teachers at PS8X Sign Open Letter to Mulgrew Protesting Attacks on Opposing Views in Unity Flier

Note how the Unity fliers only attack MORE, which the view as the only serious opposition. Internal comments from Unity people affirm how happy they are with the faux oppositionists because they feel it undercuts the real threat, MORE.

This was posted on the MORE blog earlier today as PS 8X continues to make waves, as I reported yesterday, Can Mulgrew Put Out the Fire at PS 8x?
A flier attacking UFT members that are not in President Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus was distributed at the June UFT Delegate Assembly. This is a response by the members of P.S. 8 in the Bronx.

Dear Mr. Mulgrew and His Unity Caucus:

We the undersigned read your Unity flyer that was distributed at the UFT Delegate Assembly. We take the insults contained therein as further evidence of the disconnect that exists between working teachers on the frontlines of classrooms and UFT Leadership.

You claim that those of us who are dissatisfied with our union’s representation are “detractors” categorized as either “alarmists,” “oppositional” or “Monday morning quarterbacks.” You toss in a French phrase and a George Orwell quote as if they demonstrate deep intellect that somehow lends credence to your insult—as if George Orwell wrote to warn about the rebels in society instead of those in power desperate to take any measure to retain that power. If you’re going to quote Orwell, the following Orwell quote best represents the Unity Caucus, “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.”

To claim that we “never have led the fight against our enemies” is an inaccurate and disingenuous claim. Firstly, we are not in positions of leadership. More importantly we HAVE fought and ARE fighting our enemies in ways that UFT-leadership refuses to do such as writing our elected officials and challenging the absurd notion of tying our evaluations to test scores, challenging the reasonableness of the Danielson Framework which was never meant to be used as an evaluative tool, being actively engaged in the opt-out movement in our home communities, and rejecting the AFT endorsement of Hochul because we recognized that an endorsement of her was also a back-alley endorsement of Cuomo. We would also argue that challenging the Unity-controlled UFT that continues to disenfranchise working teachers is fighting the good fight.

Your claim that you know “better than anyone” because you “have been fighting these bad guys for over sixty years” is also inaccurate. You may not have noticed, but we most certainly have noticed, that for the past twenty plus years all you have been doing is ducking and weaving in the form of appeasement and as a result we, the working teachers, have been getting our derrières kicked while you remain in your ivory tower safe from all that we have been subjected to.

Contrary to the Japanese proverb you quoted, we definitely have a vision and we are taking action to see it materialize. We want a union run by those who have felt the pain of the unreasonable NYS teacher evaluation system and are committed to dismantling it and building a reasonable system in its place (and the MATRIX is not it). We want a union leadership that cries “foul” instead of “victory” when we have, in fact, been fouled.

(64) PS 8 UFT Members
Go to MORE blog for list of names.

And by the way -- I hear a lot of people saying how they have to remain anonymous due to fear. So how about those 64 PS 8 UFT members?

Here is the snide Unity flier regarding MORE - which apparently they view as the only serious opposition --- no matter what hype you hear coming from other places.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Can Mulgrew Put Out the Fire at PS 8x?

Roseanne McCosh a dangerous threat to Unity Caucus - and they know it. If the fire spreads to other schools (MORE has been contacted by others) Mulgrew will need more than a fire extinguisher.

I imagine my Unity trolls who seem obsessed with MORE will not be happy - and make sure to check out the MORE blog tomorrow for a follow-up letter to Mulgrew from over 60 people at PS 8.
Hello Norm and Mike,

PS 8 has evidently made enough noise....our UFT district rep called our chapter leader and told her that Mulgrew wants to visit our school. I networked a bit to get a feel for staff thinking----8 or 9 people I spoke to said that whatever he says----they ain't buying his bullshit. I''ll let you know when a date/time is scheduled. If there are retired members of MORE who want to come to PS 8 on that day, I am extending an open invitation. 

I'm not sure what Mulgrew thinks he can accomplish. I will have your MORE leaflet ready to distribute prior to his arrival. If there are any questions you'd like us to pose, let me know. Also if there are any particular Unity talking points I should prepare to rebut, let me know that as well. I'll keep you posted.
Oh, give us a Roseanne McCosh (a former Unity Caucus chapter chair) at every school and Unity would be cooked.

Roseanne is a frequent commenter on Ed Notes - and she gets to the heart of the matter. Mike Schirtzer refers to her as the "voice of the classroom Sixty One Members (and counting) from PS 8X join Stronger Together Caucus).
teacher." Roseanne recently was able to get over 60 people to join Stronger Together Caucus. (

I usually don't go to the Bronx, other than Yankee games. But I think I may go up there in the fall - if  I'm in town (big trip to Japan planned) - just to observe. I think Mulgrew has ability when it comes to putting out fires by turning on a charm offensive -- and I have seen it work. But I do want to see the show if I can. (Personally, given my very limited contact with Mulgrew, I don't find as offensive as others do.) His problem is if he has to race around the city putting out hundreds of fires. A fire in a few schools, yes, but a conflagration, not so easy.

Unity has the ability, through its district and borough reps to control most of the schools and through them the membership. That is why they are trying to steal recent union elections lost by Unity people (more than they will let on - I will do a story on how the borough offices are willing to hold re-elections when a Unity loser contests.)

Thanks Roseanne for the amazing work you do.

Here are a few more links to Roseanne, who has smashed New Action and its promoters.

Sep 22, 2014
Roseanne basically defines the divide in MORE- those who aim for a center/left caucus that appeals to people like Roseanne AND social justice people who won't put MORE in an ideological straight jacket. I am as social ...
May 22, 2014
PS 8 is comprised of individuals who THINK and vote accordingly....and some of us may very well vote yes....but those of us voting NO have our reasons and our minds will not be changed by spin. Roseanne McCosh PS 8.
May 07, 2014
Roseanne has been in touch for a number of years - she follows issues very closely and shares them with her staff at PS 8 in the Bronx. She was chapter leader for a number of years before passing it on to the next gen.
May 24, 2014
Roseanne addresses the comments made by Unity Caucus supporter Paula Washington on May 23rd (UFT Contract: Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X, Urges Colleagues to Vote NO). There were other head-scratching comments ...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Principal Union Insists on Awful Principal Return, We Expect No Less from the UFT (Just joking)

The principals union insisted that Hawkins be returned, a demand the DOE did not fight, sources said.... NY Post, Principal who mishandled child abuse claim returns to school.

Greta Hawkins, Principal of PS 90. Allegations: threatening to report the parents of misbehaving students to the Administration for Children's Services; ...Don't Tread on Educators
Tell me the last time you heard the UFT insisting a railroaded teacher be returned to the classroom. Either the union has just given up, knowing full well the DOE will fight it even if the incident is trivial. Now we know that principal Hawkins has also been a tyrant to teachers, yet has the UFT intervene and protest the kowtowing to the CSA?

Note this story on the UFT web site from 2012:

Brooklyn principal a 'bully' | United Federation of Teachers

That was due to the work of District Rep Judy Gerowitz, one of the few DRs whom I would vote for. But she is only middle management.

www.uft.org › ... › News stories
United Federation of Teachers
Mar 8, 2012 - UFT District 21 Representative Judy Gerowitz (left) and Chapter Leader Vicky Giasemis outside PS 90, where Principal Greta Hawkins has ...

UFT leaders and the bosses at the principal union, the CSA, are old pals.

The UFT should lodge its own protest over the double standard.
Don't hold your breath. But you never know.

Some links to Hawkins stories.
  1. Greta Hawkins, a Principal Trampled in the Rush to Vilify ...

  2. The New York Times
    Jun 15, 2012 - Greta Hawkins, principal of a Brooklyn elementary school, has been excoriated over replacing Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." in an ...
  3. Greta Hawkins, PS 90K - Don't Tread on Educators

  4. Greta Hawkins, Principal of PS 90. Allegations: threatening to report the parents of misbehaving students to the Administration for Children's Services; ...