Friday, October 21, 2016

Education Notes: Art & Design HS Staff in Revolt, Unity Tables Reso on Abusive Principals, Schirtzer on Ex Bd Experience and more

The October 2016 edition of Ed Notes, downloadable for any readers wanting to share with colleagues, was distributed at the Delegate Assembly on Weds and they were going like hot cakes.

The most pressing issue to me is the situation with bully principals. People have been coming to me for advice. The striking thing is that many of these vet UFT members who have often dealt with principals are shocked when they get one who had an agenda of wiping out the staff in a coordinated assault. They have been totally unprepared by the UFT to respond. The union doesn't look at this as a conspiracy and views each school and individual action on teachers by themselves. Last month I featured a school where this has happened with a 90% staff turnover in 2 years without a peep from the UFT. You can download the Sept. issue here.

I believe if there was a coordinated response and the UFT leadership made it clear to Farina and the CSA that they were in for a war at every school where the principal engages in these actions, much of it would stop or be curtailed. In the meantime entire careers are being destroyed, often senior teachers or untenured, and chapter leaders. 

This is the situation going on at Art and Design HS - a CTE school in Manhattan where the new principal who came in in January caused 16 people to leave the school by June. That is the focus of this edition of Ed Notes.

People seemed more receptive than when I hand out MORE lit. Interesting. I think that some people don't want to read something clearly labeled as opposition lit. I also brought back the jokes which used to be so popular. Thanks to the delegate who I didn't know who told me she was a regular reader of this blog.

I decided to republish Education Notes a couple of times this year at the UFT Delegate Assembly after a decade of absence. Why? I feel there needs to be a targeted newsletter addressing certain issues in greater depth than is done in MORE lit, which in going through a vetting process of a committee loses some style and substance. The current MORE newsletter is basically devoid of information, with a full-page ad about the upcoming social justice curriculum fair next week. With so many issues on the minds of UFT members, I felt using 50% of the ability to communicate with people for the ad was a bad decision and left the newsletter scanty (there could have been a quarter page or even a separate flyer for the conference). One MORE member on the way in offered to help me hand out Ed Notes. When I suggested handing out the MORE newsletter, the response was "It doesn't say anything."

I too felt it was just not something I felt like spending time handing out. If I am going to schlep in to the DA I want to hand out something that says something to the delegates or else it isn't worth going. I want the freedom to be critical of MORE, if necessary. At my age I'm too ornery with a libertarian tendency to get locked in to "caucus think" - loyalty to a caucus over everything which is an unofficial loyalty oath.

You can view or download the October 2016 edition here:

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