Tuesday, July 31, 2018

School Scope: When Political Labels Don’t Quite Fit - Norm in The WAVE

Submitted for print publication August 3, 2018 at www.rockawave.com

School Scope: When Political Labels Don’t Quite Fit
By Norm Scott

I’ve been called a leftist, a socialist, a pro-capitalist, a commie, a liberal, libertarian, a progressive, a Democrat and a general nuisance. About the only label I have not worn is that of a Republican or a right winger. Right now the overall term being used for the left is “progressive” as opposed to more centrist people. But there are so many nuances to these terms which I don’t have room for this week. That de Blasio, not exactly one of my faves, and I would be viewed as fellow “progressives” makes me squeamish.

It is funny, but I often find it easier to talk to people on the right than some of my fellow progressives. Like I don’t think I could have a conversation with the mayor or even Obama that would make me comfortable. But really, what do people mean when they use the term “left” when the NY Times gets that label from the right while being mocked as centrist and a tool of capitalists by many on the left? Confusion reigns.

This column recently has been addressing the various divides in the Democratic Party between so-called progressives and centrists while also using this space to try to sort out the many facets of the “left.”

On the surface, people view liberals as being the left when in fact the anti-capitalist left is as critical of liberals as is the right.

Since socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary for his congressional seat the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) have been getting a lot of notice. Her victory has gotten enormous nation-wide attention as the shock of someone declaring themselves a socialist and winning is reverberating around the political world. In the 1930s and 40s there were actually people getting elected who were socialists. Then came the Red Scare of the late 40s and 50s and even changes in election rules to more firmly entrench the two-party system which has left so many of us having to hold our noses when we have such limited options. Fundamental political reform is needed.

Take the election for governor. I despise Cuomo who is leading by 30 points over Cynthia Nixon. Do I love her? No, though she is one of the few people running for anything who has been a firm supporter of real education reform, while so many others run for the hills when faced with exposing the scams of education reform. Nixon was one of the few to support Ocasio-Cortez and since she won has also declared herself a member of DSA. DSA/NYC has endorsed her and her running mate for Lt. Governor, Jumaane Williams, city councilman representing East Flatbush, Flatbush, Flatlands, Marine Park and Midwood. Recently he was caught up in a campaign donation snafu where Glenwood Masonry gave him donations exceeding the legal limit. Duhhhh! I’m shocked. I don’t hold that against him since I pretty much expect all politicians to engage in fuzzy fund-raising. From what I’ve seen he lands on the side I favor most of the time. And my friends in his district like him.

Neither of them will beat Cuomo and Nixon’s recent praise for Bloomberg, who ran public housing into the ground and helped set up the homeless crisis while undermining public education, is disconcerting, I’m voting for Nixon/Williams because the higher vote totals they get the better the chance to keep the god-awful Cuomo tacking left, even if it’s phony.

Unknown Zephyr Teachout’s 37% the last time Cuomo ran was a shock, so even if you know you can’t win, so getting a decent opposition vote can be worthwhile.

Norm has so much to say about politics and education (and other stuff) he is going to ask editor Mark Healey for an entire edition of The WAVE to spew his venom. While Mark is mulling this over Norm can be found spewing at https://ednotesonline.blogspot.com.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Is it time for the Left to end third party fantisies and take over the Democratic Party from the grassroots?

Party members and fundraisers gathered for an invitation-only event to figure out how to counteract the rising progressive movement..... Where progressives see a rare opportunity to capitalize on an energized Democratic base, moderates see a better chance to win over Republicans turned off by Trump.The fact that a billionaire real estate developer, Winston Fisher, co-cohosted the event and addressed attendees twice underscored that this group is not interested in the class warfare vilifying the "millionaires and billionaires" found in Sanders' stump speech....
NBC, Alex Seitz-Wald /
I have been a mega-trasher of the Democratic Party over the years -- the New Democrats - let by the Clintons - departure from New Deal politics and its partnership with corporate elite. That gave us George Bush and new Dem and neo-liberal Obama, followed by Trump. I don't want to go back to New Dem politics but also don't want to get so far out there we keep Republicans in power forever. The hot buzz about socialism is certainly a new kid on the block.

And that scares the hell out of New Dems -- note how they are branded by the press as "moderates" in this piece from NBC, part of the corporate media elite.

Sanders' wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here's how they plan to stop it.

Make no mistake about this -- our own UFT/AFT/NYSUT wing will line up with this group over the Bernie wing --- our union was founded on the basis of anti-left ideology. Discount Randi's rhetoric. Which, given that most Dems from all wings of the party support ed deform, shows the hollowness of our union policy over the decades going back to Shanker.

Diane Ravitch just posted this as an indication of what I mean -- and she goes where Randi et al fear to tread:

Andrew Hartman on “DeVos Democrats”

by dianeravitch
Somehow I missed this article when it was published in January 2017. It is well worth reading because it explains how the mainstream of the Democratic Party paved the way for the radical rightwing DeVos agenda.
Unless the Democrats regain their pro-public education values, they will cede a significant part of their base. They cheered striking teachers in the spring of 2018, but they long ago abandoned them and their schools.
It is time for Democrats to once again be the party that fights for the common good, the party that supports public schools, not school choice, which is a mighty hoax....
While a certain segment of the left eschews the Dems and argues for a third party, that concept is not just feasible, at least at this point. I'll get into the Green party 2% solution to running for governor while attacking Cynthia Nixon and Jumanee Williams in follow-ups. No Virginia, the only solution is to throw down on the Dems at the local level and challenge them. I'm even thinking of going to local Dem club meetings.

As an often third party supporter, I had pretty much given up on reforming the Democratic Party. But the third parties like the Green, which I had voted for in the past, just seem so pathetic in their ability to make any headway. And no matter her faults, their attempts to undermine Nixon and her running mate Jumanea Williams who an take the best shot at Cuomo are, well, not going to help them with a lot of people.

So this Dem Party meeting is organized by billionaires -- imagine how nervous they are over rise of the near-dead left and brought to life by Bernie.

Look what they have to offer as their own "big ideas" which caused me to laugh out loud.
"Opportunity Agenda" unveiled here tries to equip moderates with their own big ideas. Some of the key initiatives are a massive apprenticeship program to train workers, a privatized employer-funded universal pension that would supplement Social Security and an overhaul of unemployment insurance to include skills training. Other proposals included a "small business bill of rights" and the creation of a "BoomerCorps" — like the volunteer AmericaCorps for seniors. 
And they trash the New Deal which may have save capitalism:
...they say the progressive agenda is out of date. They dismiss, for instance, a federal jobs guarantee as a rehash of the New Deal.
"Our ideas must be bold, but they must also fit the age we are in," Cowan said. "Big isn't enough. If it's bold and old — it’s simply old."
Below the fold is the full story:
Sanders' wing of the party terrifies moderate Dems. Here's how they plan to stop it.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Randi Promises Teacher Unions Will be More Poltiical, Thomas Franks asks: Can Liberals Win Back the Working Class?

All education is politics. ---Paulo Freire
OK folks, this piece may be even more confusing than usual, as I try to sort out where my own confusion between left, right and center lies --- yes Virginia, I do have some libertarian - leftarian positions. I try to see as many sides of an issue as I can -- which is why I am flipping around.

The guy who taught next to me for 20 years turned highly religious and right wing in the 1980s -- a real working class guy who grew up in Little Italy - an Italian Catholic who came to school with ashes on his forehead at Lent. When I met him in the early 70s there was no more union oriented guy who taught me a lot about union consciousness. Then he turned evangelical.

I saw first hand how religion can operate as he first stopped doing COPE and then resented paying a union that supported abortion and so many other issues. He tried repeatedly to get out of the union and stop paying dues. He articulated the very type of views we hear from the Janus crowd. I don't abandon people like him by calling him a scab or free-loader. I try to understand.

We know there are union people who want the unions to stay out of politics but how does a union do that when the right is on the attack on every institution we value, including health care? Does the union keep hands off? On the other hand we see our union supporting even anti-union candidates, so they take attacks from all sides.

Last week I was with former colleagues -- very pro-union former chapter leaders who castigated people for not paying dues. Yet, they are center and even right leaning. I think one may have voted for Trump. One of them said that she was not left-wing but pro-union and if the union was a left wing union even she might not want to pay dues to support politics she does not agree with. That made me think more deeply than usual -- my scalp is hurting -- as I try to take a variety of views into account.

Here is the problem. Our top-down union leadership is exclusive of
member opinions when making policy. I know it sounds somewhat trite but a vibrant democratic union would be inclusive, even to the views of people on the right -- by having open debates on many issues, even if you don't agree, you might be able to find middle grounds. Some reports are that 30% of UFT members didn't vote for Hillary. Here's what I know -- Randi is choosing the next candidate we will support for President and then will manufacture some phony process. So look for the same kind of results.

In this spirit, check out these 2 articles from the left and the right.
Republicans had successfully inverted their historical brand-image as the party of the highborn, remaking themselves as plain-talking pals of the forgotten people who had so spurned them during the Great Depression. Republicanism’s payload, however, was the same as it had been in 1932. And just look at what conservatism proceeded to do to those average people once they welcomed it into their lives.
Instead of doing what the moment required, Democrats chose to help the banks get back on their feet and to stand by as inequality soared; they scolded their base for wanting too much and they extended their hand instead to Silicon Valley and big pharma. The task of capturing public anger was one they regarded with distaste; they left that to Tea Party demagogues and to Donald Trump.

From Michael Fiorillo:
The photo [in the article] shows a Trump demo in West Allis (as in Allis-Chalmers, a legacy industrial giant at one time) Wisconsin, which back in the day was home to some of the most most militant, Left-led unions in the country and was a reliable Democratic base until the 80's... As Frank says, if Wisconsin is a battleground state, we're in deep shit... Trump will be gone, sooner or later, but not Trumpismo... If the Democratic Party can't be revived, a more competent, less legally-challenged Trump will come along, and then we'd better really look out !
Some have suggested that unions might temper their left-wing politics in response to the decision, in the hopes of wooing potential members put off by union politics.... Frederick Hess, National Review. --- view from the right.
Thomas Frank, from the left, asks:

Can liberals please work out how to win back the working class? | Thomas Frank | Opinion | The Guardian

Frank writes from the left, indicating that the Dem Party needs to abandon its ties to the corporate interests, which is where the center of the party hangs out. Some of the links I've posted on ed notes with cries from the center to marginalize Ocasio-Cortez are indications. I think the use of the term "liberals" is problematic since liberals are also often free marketeers and verge on neo-liberals. It was the liberals who attacked and bashed teachers and their unions.

I imagine a certain class of the left may condemn Frank since there is an assumption he means the white working class - which I don't assume, as the working class is multi-cultural.

It is also worth reading the view from the right - the National Review-

Teachers’ Unions Plan to Become ‘More Political, Not Less Political’

By &

where Randi declared: “We’re becoming more political, not less political.”

This article led to some laughs on FB about Randi.

Let's see what that means in practice.  "The NEA adopted 122 total New Business Items, including commitments to promote the Black Lives Matter Week of Action." 

How interesting when the UFT refused to endorse the BLM week of action back in January. 

Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality, warns that surveys show “many [teachers] see dues as too high” and “political activity as too leftist”; she also notes that “only half of all teachers voted for Hillary Clinton.” Internal documents from the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teachers’ union, anticipate that the union will lose a whopping 300,000 members. Things look even bleaker for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the nation’s other major teachers’ union, which has 15 of its 22 largest state affiliates in former agency-fee states — and already had fewer than half its members paying full dues.
Well, Kate Walsh from an ed deform group is not credible but the danger to the AFT is real, even more-so than the NEA. (I have a piece coming up based on Mike Antounucci reporting on this very issue.)  While Thomas Frank says the Dem party need to tack left, naturally right wingers Hess and Addison feel left politics for the AFT is a minefield.
Somehow, the AFT’s new policies leaned further left than the NEA’s. The AFT unanimously endorsed a “public investment strategy for health care and education infrastructure,” which includes: universal health care, “whether single-payer health care or MediCare for All”; free tuition at all public colleges and universities, as well as “funding for wage justice for adjuncts”; universal, full-day, free child care; doubled per-pupil spending for low-income K–12 districts; and “taxation of the rich to fully fund” a raft of education programs. AFT further resolved that they would “call on our endorsed candidates to support these priorities, and toward that end we will embed these aspirations in our questionnaires to potential candidates seeking our support.” Swing-state Democrats, beware.

For those who didn’t get quite get the message, AFT president Randi Weingarten told reporters, “We’re becoming more political, not less political.” Let educators, would-be members, and public officials be forewarned.

We had the perfect opportunity to reverse course in 2008, after a deregulatory catastrophe sent the billionaires shrieking for handouts and ruined middle America as collateral damage. That was the perfect moment for liberals to reclaim their Rooseveltian heritage by governing forcefully on behalf of ordinary people, by warring against over-powerful corporations, by demonstrating the power of the state to build a just and humane society. But they didn’t do it.

I know the excuses: those Republicans were so clever, they wouldn’t vote for Obama’s proposals, etc. But from the long-term perspective, what really mattered was the absence of Democratic will. Instead of doing what the moment required, Democrats chose to help the banks get back on their feet and to stand by as inequality soared; they scolded their base for wanting too much and they extended their hand instead to Silicon Valley and big pharma. The task of capturing public anger was one they regarded with distaste; they left that to Tea Party demagogues and to Donald Trump.

We are going to pay for that failure for a long time. The GOP should have been ruined by the financial crisis; instead the culture wars are raging all over again, with dog whistles and fights over the flag and the persecution mania of the populist right blaring from the TV screen. We’re right back where we started. The crisis went completely to waste.
For all their cunning, Republicans are a known quantity. Their motives are simple: they will do anything, say anything, profess faith in anything to get tax cuts, deregulation and a little help keeping workers in line. Nothing else is sacred to them. Rules, norms, traditions, deficits, the Bible, the constitution, whatever. They don’t care, and in this they have proven utterly predictable.

The Democrats, however, remain a mystery. We watch them hesitate at crucial moments, betray the movements that support them, and even try to suppress the leaders and ideas that generate any kind of populist electricity. Not only do they seem uninterested in doing their duty toward the middle class, but sometimes we suspect they don’t even want to win.

(This is more than just a suspicion, by the way. As none other than Tony Blair has said, “I wouldn’t want to win on an old-fashioned leftist platform. Even if I thought it was the route to victory, I wouldn’t take it.”)
Still, as we are reminded at every turn, this flawed organization is the only weapon we have against the party of Trump. And as the president’s blunders take a turn for the monumental and public alarm grows, the imperative of delivering a Democratic wave this fall grows ever more urgent.

Make no mistake: it has got to happen. Democrats simply have to take one of the houses of Congress this fall and commence holding Trump accountable. Failure at this baseline mission is unthinkable; it will mean the Democratic party has no reason for being, even on its own compromised terms.
What concerns me as I begin my leave, though, is the larger picture. Trump may be an oaf, but the vicious strain of rightwing populism he introduced is not going away. Trumpism is the future for the Republican party – it delivered Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Iowa too. Wisconsin, of all places, is now a battleground state. In the hands of a real politician, Trumpism has the potential to romp even farther.

Beating the right cannot simply be a matter of waiting for a dolt in the Oval Office to screw things up. There has to be a plan for actively challenging and reversing it, for turning around the fraction of working class voters who have been abandoning the Democratic party for decades. The time is up for happy fantasies of office-park centrism and professional-class competence.
As for me, I am off to write a few books. I’ll be back in this space in a few years and we will see how things have gone.

Thomas Frank is an American political analyst and historian. His books include What’s the Matter With Kansas?. His latest is Listen, Liberal: or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?

Saturday, July 28, 2018

The Democratic Party in Crisis: Left or Center or Gone - School Scope - Norm in The WAVE

"Socialism" in the Air

FOX News screenshot from July 2nd, 2018, "The consequences of millennials embracing socialism"
(  FOX News / screenshot )   ---- NPR On The Media

With socialism such a buzz word with even mainstream media addressing it I've been using my WAVE column to try to sort things out for the poor right wingers who might come across my column --- 75% of my neighborhood voted for Trump.

As I write this I'm waiting for a national news segment on NPR's Weekend Edition on Ocasio-Cortez. I know she's striking while the iron is hot but I also think there may be a bit of a blow back when the actual vote comes in November. She needs to be seen in her district as much as around the nation because there will be some resentment and Crowley is still on the ballot on the WFP and even a modestly good showing would burst her bubble a bit.

Check this early morning On The Media segment on NPR we hear a rational discussion of socialism and some of the right - and even Democratic center hysteria over the Ocasio-Cortez win. Like Venezuela is not exactly what socialists consider democratic socialism. I love the part where the public libraries are talked about as being a threat because they show a form of socialism and government competency -- see, things can work -- I never hear complaints about the libraries.

Here's the intro:

The right-wing media has long painted left-wing socialism as an encroaching — and existential — threat. The Democrats, they argued, were secret socialists, looking to take over the country in the name of a Soviet agenda. But what happens when Democrats start calling themselves socialists — and socialist policies turn out to poll quite well with voters?
In the wake of self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning primary victory in New York last month, the word "socialism" has been trending, appearing on op-ed pages, FOX News, ABC's The View and beyond. In this word watch, Bob speaks with another self-described socialist, Current Affairs editor-in-chief Nathan Robinson, about how an idea once relegated to the kind of far-left newspapers given out at campus conferences has become fodder for daytime talk shows and why it might prove hard to shake.
This segment is from our July 27th, 2018 episode, The Center Folds.
 Listen here:

I've been blogging about the socialist wave and how it is being dealt with in the media:
The WAVE is published weekly in Rockaway. The few people who read the column are probably involved in education so I generally write with those people in mind. But I was reminded in my writing group by a new member, a non-educator but one who has some familiarity with some top level people in the UFT through personal relationships, that I should not make assumptions as to what people know and also assume that in a general publication some non-educators might be readers. I've been trying to write for a broader audience. I should also point out that the current socialism buzz is also a threat to the UFT ideologues who founded the UFT on an anti-left agenda. The UFT/NYSUT/AFT will always land with center democrats no matter the rhetoric you hear out of Randi -- watch what they do not what they say.

Here is this week's column. I'm trying to figure this stuff out myself.

Published July 27, 2018 in The WAVE -- www.rockawave.com

School Scope: The Democratic Party in Crisis: Left or Center or Gone
By Norm Scott
“Democrats, please, please don’t lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America’s great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership,” tweeted one James Comey, who did as much to give us insensible, unbalanced and unethical leadership as anyone.

“What people call socialism these days is Eisenhower Republicanism!”... Frances Fox Priven, in The New Yorker.
Oh to dive into the depths of these statements but I have a word limit.

Last week I wrote about the election of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Queens power broker Joe Crowley, and how she is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) which has grown four-fold since the election of Donald Trump. By the amount of commentary about Alexandria who won an election that may prove to be an anomaly, she has caused people to go nuts on the right (which has gone nuts attacking her), the center – so much angst over having the first member of the House who ids as a socialist since the late 1940s – and on a fawning left. Last weekend she appeared with Bernie Sanders in red state Kansas and they attracted 4,000 people. Scary stuff even to many Democrats. As someone on the fringe of being some form of social democrat myself, but also concerned that going too far out can turn into a disaster, the debate has been fascinating. Her election has exacerbated the schism between the progressives (the Bernie) wing and the centrists (the Clinton wing) which will only grow as the race to run against Trump in 2020 heats up.

There is a lot of fuzziness between these wings and various versions of what is socialism, so I thought I’d try to clarify some of it over the next few columns as a way to get my own fuzziness cleared up a bit.

The “socialist” label is tossed around willy-nilly and those who identify themselves as socialists fume when people like Obama are branded as socialist. Anyone who views the need for government to be active is considered socialist, like Eisenhower and Nixon, I guess. Centrist Democrats like Obama, Hillary, Biden, etc. are viewed by people on the true left as neo-liberals, as far from socialist as you can get. Neo-liberals are free marketers and include both Dems and Republicans. Education is a prime example of where the neo-liberal positions of both parties align – open things up to competition like having charters and let the market decide even as we’ve seen the market manipulated. That is why both parties - until Trump – supported the free trade agreements which have devastated workers, opposed mostly by the left and some unions when they came up – again, until Trump. That is why neo-libs of both parties have been upset, though Republican neo-libs have bitten the bullet and shut up over tariffs. (Both parties generally aligned in the views on Russia – again until Trump, but more on this another time – hint: I don’t totally diverge from Trump on NATO and Russia.)

The Democrats are viewed as being pro-union since so much of their support comes from unions. In reality, the Dems have been screwing the unions as they have shifted into identify politics and downplayed class struggle (Yes, Virginia, the old 1% is screwing us all). As union influence dissipated, so did the protections workers had and it opened the way for Trumpists to gain ground – one of the main turning points in the 2016 elections – and the Dems did it to themselves. The have allowed the FDR/New Deal coalition of the working class (both white and black) and liberals to fracture.

My own UFT is knee deep in the Dem Party and the recent Janus decision allowing people to not pay union dues is a response from the right wing to chop up unions’ ability to support the Dems. Unions have generally been anti-left wing and have kept the party to the center. So their weakening might actually open up the Dems to a shift to the socialist- leaning left which is more open to supporting workers – hey, it’s socialism.

David Remnick in The New Yorker had a fascinating article on Ocasio-Cortez and the DSA, with its history – I had some commentary and the link on my blog:

Friday, July 27, 2018

John Lawhead Study Group on John Dewey - Sat Aug. 4 12:30PM

It it is always great seeing John Lawhead at ICEUFT meetings as we did yesterday. John, Sean Ahern and I sort of founded the idea of ICE in a bar back in September 2003. Michael Fiorillo who spurred the idea of organizing a meeting when I ran into him at a UFT rally in October 2003 was also there yesterday. So one of the really fun things about getting together is the chance to delve deeply into issues - which we did yesterday - and I hope to report later.)

At the end of the meeting John announced he was organizing a study group. Study groups are important for us to get an understanding of the big picture from a long range perspective. We feel you can't make rational choices without having a deeper understanding - something missing from the current institutions - both in power and in opposition in the UFT. But more on that later. Here is John's announcement. I am hoping to go. John Dewey is a good starting place. His role in union politics in the 1930s is also worth delving into.
Dear Colleagues,

Please forward this announcement to anyone you think might be interested.

The John Dewey Reading Group

Meeting of August 4, 2018

12:30-2:30 p.m.

Brooklyn Central Library, Room 6

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Will Educators Reject Democratic Party Ed Deformers? Obama, Leonhardt, Jeffries

With the Democratic Party in flux over so-called progressive and centrist wings, when it comes to education things get fuzzy. In which camp are supporters of elements of the ed deform agenda -
high stakes testing, teacher evaluations based on such tests, calls for the end of tenure and LIFO, and at the top of my list - charters - fundamentally an attack on public school teacher and their unions that will make Janus look like a picnic? (Note - if Betsy DeVos had her way there would be NO public schools and no unions.)

Note the relationship between Obama and Netflix' Reed Hastings, one of the most vicious anti-union ed deformers. So we know all about the Obama assault on us that made George Bush look like a light-weight. And Obama is a centrist. 

We also know that Cuomo is an ed deformer at heart when he thought that would play well but has backed off on some of that - but not charters. 

Rising powers, especially black politicians like Cory Booker and locally, Hakeem Jeffries, are praised to the sky. Read this piece:

Why JoCrowley's Loss Could Be Good News for Hakeem Jeffries ...https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/.../hakeem-jeffries-house-democratic-leadership.html

and see Obama redux on education. I found the article on Jeffries frightening. (And ironic in that he went up to Albany with us to stand against Cathy Black as chancellor but after that turned.)

Every time I see a piece praising a Dem Party candidate who is a known ed deformer, I figure that's another shot at the growth of a true progressive movement that would not only talk about single payer health care as a public service but also funding great neighborhood public schools and taking on the phony "choice" movement. But from the progressive wing like Bernie, Warren, and even the new darling Ocasio-Cortez, we don't see education on the agenda.

Reading super charter supporter David Leonhardt in the NY Times, who wrote "it’s worth noting that, so far, progressive activism has been much more of a positive for Democrats than a negative", I find it interesting how little progressive activists avoid the ed deform fault lines. He has been writing about the Democratic Party and its future. Does he realize the anti-union charter movement is one of the elements undermining the Party?

Yesterday the stories about how Eva's high school lost 70% of its teachers was making news, which ed deformers ignore. I mean why care about schools that can't retain teachers when you blame teachers all the time for the problems in the schools? Yes, teacher bashing looks to be as rampant in the Progressive wings as in DFER. No matter the modified rhetoric of Evan Stone and E4E - Randi writing op eds with Evan is a joke -- they are fundamentally anti-union and anti-teacher.

Read Gary Rubinstein's latest:
TFA CEO Has Three Big Ideas For New Corps Members — And Two Of Them Bash Teachers - Teach For America and the Teacher Bashing Movement are inextricably linked. Diane Ravitch also urges you to check out: "Gary Rubinstein gave a delightful talk about education reform and its distortions at his alma mater, Tufts University, in April. It is very enjoyable. Please watch."
I won't get deeper into the Eva story since our blogging buddies have taken it on:
Chaz connects the teacher sieve at Eva schools to her attempt to make it easier for her to hire teachers by reducing qualifications to fogging a mirror. 
"No wonder Eva Moskowitz had SUNY 's  Charter Board try to weaken the teacher certification system for charter schools since her network experiences extremely high teacher turnover and eventually the influx of freshly minted "newbie" teachers will dry up as fewer college students are going into teaching, especially as the economy is on an upswing and teaching salaries and lack of respect cannot compete with other professions."
Leonie Haimson took Leonhardt to task on his recent pro-charter puff pieces. He praises the New Orleans post-Katrina "miracle" where the public school system was wiped out and replaced by charters, ignoring the increase in funding that ensued based on a report by Doug Harris:
Doug Harris maintains that he doesn't even have to attempt to disentangle the differential impact of increased funding in NOLA schools on student outcomes from their charterization, since in his estimation, it was unlikely that philanthropic support or increased local spending would have occurred without privatization happening first.  Thus he posits that the political will to fund schools properly was an effect of charterization, and thus not a possible cause of their academic improvements - a speculative argument at best.
Well, I do think that the wealthy give only to charters because they are anti-public schools and anti-union. But we need to argue for full PUBLIC funding of schools not private money.

I'm reposting Leonie's full piece below the break.

More sloppy & non-fact based journalism from NY Times on charter schools - David Leonhardt David Leonhardt's latest NY Times column touting charter schools is full of bogus claims and sloppy journalism.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

YAFFED Files Federal Lawsuit Against New York Governor, NYS Education Commissioner, Board of Regents Chancellor Alleging Unconstitutional “Felder Amendment” Denies Yeshiva Students Right to Basic Education

One of the most substantive, alarming  press releases I have ever read.... Leonie Haimson
Funny how when people think of welfare they see certain people of color but not Hasidic. I wonder to what extent the demands for people on welfare to work will include them. Does public education money flow to these communities? Hell yes.

I worked in Williamsburg where the local Hasidic had effective control of the local school board with their voting block - they had 3 of the 9 seats and allied with the Greenpoint people to screw the 95% of the kids of color in the public schools in the district. They established a bi-lingual Yiddish school which is still in operation. At one point $7 million disappeared into the vapor and the District office was invaded by FBI -- the blame went to the two District Supt who both died of cancer before the judgement. The Hasidic community got off scot free. The early 70s were the earliest days of my activism and I attended all the monthly school board meetings and we raised issues at these meetings and the people running the operation were not happy -- we even worked with the community in school board elections where I learned you could not beat the machine with the Hasidic block vote.

Here are a few excerpts from the press release which you can read in full below the break.
...... the [Simcha Felder] amendment creates a carve-out that relieves ultra-Orthodox yeshivas from following the rigorous standards set in state education laws for all other non-public schools, these yeshivas continue to benefit from hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars annually.  Federal money flows to yeshivas through programs such as Title I, II, and III; Head Start and child care contracts; the E-rate telecommunications program; and food programs. For example, non-public schools in the largely Hasidic neighborhood of East Ramapo received approximately $835 per student in federal Title funding in 2016-17. In addition, state and city funding is provided to yeshivas through Academic Intervention Services (AIS), Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NPSE), Mandated Services Aid (MSA), the Comprehensive Attendance Program (CAP), EarlyLearn, Universal Pre-K, child care vouchers, and New York City Council discretionary funds.
Approximately 45% of Hasidic households in New York are poor and another 18% are near poor.  In the largely Hasidic area of Williamsburg, the median household income is $21,502, compared to the Brooklyn median of $46,958 and the city median of $52,737. Hasidic communities in Brooklyn have a greater percentage of families receiving cash assistance, food stamps, public health care coverage, and Section 8 housing vouchers, as compared to Brooklyn and New York City as a whole.  For example, 33.8% of Borough Park residents utilize Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamps; in Williamsburg, the number is an astounding 51.8%. The Brooklyn total is 23.8%, while 20.4% of all New York City residents receive SNAP food stamps.
Contact: Anat Gerstein, anat@anatgerstein.com,
             Lynsey Billet, lynsey@anatgerstein.com,

YAFFED Files Federal Lawsuit Against New York Governor, NYS Education Commissioner, Board of Regents Chancellor Alleging Unconstitutional “Felder Amendment” Denies Yeshiva Students Right to Basic Education

Hundreds of Millions of Taxpayer Dollars Support Schools that “Graduate” Students with Few Skills; Poverty Rates and Public Assistance Sky High

Monday, July 23, 2018

DOE Spends on more bureaucrats; Mulgrew Sister is a DOE Bureaucrat

James Eterno reports on the spending spree without a squeak from UFT officials.


I also received this from a contact
Mulgrew’s sister works for a DOE office I’ve never heard of, and is on advisory board of for-profit corp that just got $2.2M from Gates Foundation. Kathleen Mulgrew-Daretany: NYC DOE Time Lab

Listen, I have relatives who I do not align with so maybe it's not fair to taint  Mulgrew with his sister's job or blame the lack of UFT response on the DOE tossing more money overboard on more slugs. The UFT is a partner with the doe and will shut up. But it is interesting to speculate on what gets said at family dinners.

About Us

Unlocking Time is a national project that empowers K12 school leaders to adopt new time strategies that fuel student-centered learning. The project will gain new insights on how U.S. schools structure their time, provide a rich set of resources to help K12 school leaders align time and resources with their values, and provision administrators from eligible high-need schools with new master scheduling tools and services to implement new time-based strategies.

The project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

dvisory Board Members

Darryl Adams: Former Superintendent, Coachella Valley Unified
Karin Chenoweth: Author & Researcher, EdTrust
Marilyn Crawford: School by Design
Jackie Gran: New Leaders
Terry Grier: Former Superintendent, Houston ISD
Crystal Harden: Principal, Green Street Academy
Casey Haugner-Wrenn: Asst Commissioner, Tennessee Dept of Education
Rick Hess: American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
Bob Lenz: Buck Institute for Education
Kathleen Mulgrew-Daretany: NYC DOE Time Lab
Bev Perdue: Former Governor of North Carolina; Digital Learning Institute
Michael Rettig: School Scheduling Associates
Jeff Wetzler: Transcend Education

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Memo From the RTC: 9 to 5 The Musical – Democratizing the Workplace

My other column in this week's WAVE.

Who knew how political 9 to 5 would be when they chose it a year ago in the context of today's metoo movement? I never saw the movie or the show before. Very powerful workplace and pro-feminist story.

The show runs though August 5.

If there are no tickets online, get in touch with me or show up about an hour before the show and there are always some available at the door. A big cast with some gorgeous people (I won't be sexist here) and wonderful dancers, a few who are out of the LaGuardia HS dance program a decade ago.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Nuclear Option - Unity Caucus Trolls Be Warned - People Pulling Dues May Look to Alternatives

Unity Caucus, Reform (and Repent).

Warning to Unity trolls --- many of us are discouraging people from pulling dues - telling people to stay in the union. That may not last forever.

If the current structure of the union stays the same there will be moves to get people to not just not pay dues but to take that money and fund a move to organize an alternative. You guys will go nuts and attack the shit out of them and accuse them of dual unionism. You will say they are being funded by the Koch bros (they used to say Ed Notes was funded by Bloomberg).

But imagine even 100 people kicking in $1400 bucks to start an ad campaign to get people to join them. They would say how pro union they are but that Unity has failed some crucial tests of unionism.

I don't expect Unity to change, as the AFT convention proved when 750 slugs backed Randi all the way in everything she does -- it is going too far to compare this to Republicans backing Trump, so don't even try that.

With MORE becoming what it's become and no real viable alternative to Unity, where do people go? Initially, they will still gravitate to an opposition group, thinking Unity can be taken down - remember that was what Solidarity and Portelos was selling last time and when I tried to point out the realities I was accused of not wanting to win. Even of they have a slate this time, between them and MORE and New Action there is so little presence in the schools the election results for next year are already in --I always maintained you can judge by how many people show up to a Delegate Assembly to challenge Unity -- and it is less than ever,

With UFT elections coming in 6 months I am sitting on the hammock and doing what I can to get people to boycott -- to me it would be a joy to see Unity have no loyal opposition to point to -- people don't vote because there is so little at stake.

Even in the high schools where there is a real contest, less than 5000 out of 20,000 vote. So MORE/NA won with 2350 votes out of a potential 20,000. It will be no different this time. MORE HS Ex Bd people cannot claim to rep high school teachers in the real world -- only the 2350 who voted for them. And the 2250 who voted for Unity - well, they get rep from the other Unity people. Meanwhile, those 2350 high school people had no voice in Pittsburgh.

What about 2 thousand elementary school people who voted for the opposition or the 1300 middle school people --- no voice on the Ex Bd or at the AFT and NYSUT. In a proportional rep system they would get a few Ex bd seats and some AFT delegate positions. That would bring some political diversity to the UFT -- those disgruntled people might not be leaving so fast.

Let's see what happens over the next 3 years. The danger is if the Koch type people use e4e to do exactly this. Don't think Randi is not aware of this danger and that is why they are trying to co-opt E4e.

So, the Unity machine may be able to keep membership through threats and intimidation. But one day some people may just decide to look for an alternative.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

David Remnick on Democratic Socialism, DSA, Ocasio-Ortiz

Following up on my upcoming column in The Wave, posted a few hours ago -
There is no such thing as democratic socialist because you can't have democracy under socialism. ------ My Right wing dinner companions at, appropriately, a Russian restaurant on boardwalk at Brighton Beach (plus other comments like, we were the least worst slave nation and that Moslems were bigger slave traders -- I was drinking straight vodka and was numb anyway. (They did bring up how many nations' elections we have tampered with, thus walking the line between excusing Russian actions and denying them.)
I urge everyone to spend some time with right wing Trump supporters where you won't go 15 minutes without them talking about locking up Hillary. But have some vodka handy.
What people call socialism these days is Eisenhower Republicanism!”... Frances Fox Priven, The New Yorker
[DSA founder Michael] Harrington, in exposing the harsher realities of American life, sought to push the Democratic Party left. “Put it this way,” he once said. “I’m a radical, but, as I tell my students at Queens, I try not to soapbox. I want to be on the left wing of the possible.”  “The left wing of the possible” reflects how Ocasio-Cortez practices politics.... When I asked her about her political heroes, though, there was no mention of anyone in the Marxist pantheon. She named Robert F. Kennedy...... For many older Americans, “socialist” is bound to have a ring of the sinister or the antiquated. This is generally not the case with a generation whose most formative political experience was the economic collapse of 2008-09. In 2016, the Institute of Politics, at Harvard’s Kennedy School, polled people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, and discovered that support for capitalism was surprisingly low. Fifty-one per cent of the cohort rejected capitalism; thirty-three per cent supported socialism.... the group is “a big umbrella organization for left and leftish types, from Bernie-crats to hard-core Trotskyists.”
Come November, Ocasio-Cortez is almost certain to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Will her democratic-socialist identity push the Party to the left?
----- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Historic Win and the Future of the Democratic Party
Let's get to the task at hand -- taking about socialism as I did in this week's column in The Wave. (Talking Democratic Party Politics – Is Socialism on the rise? - Norm Scott in The Wave).

Well, clearly people on the right and even liberals are not very clear about socialism or groups like Democratic  Socialists of America (DSA) which Alexandria Ocasio-Ortiz is a member of - her election has focused attention on the DSA. (My right wing dinner companions were so dismissive last night they were ready to bet me that Joe Crowley would beat her in the general election from  third party line, pointing out that only 9% voted in the primary and so many people will be horrified at her socialist identity they would come out in force to defeat her. Since they watch FOX news or listen to Rush let's assume they got this sunny report on her demise from them.)

I'm interested in DSA and I am glad it's a big umbrella of the left though I expect some people whose DNA is splitism will forge disagreements that may fracture the organization. My recent experience with DSA ideologues in MORE has made me wary, especially when they supported an undemocratic process that makes a mockery of the word "Democracy." I guess some Democratic Socialists are not all that democratic.

There seems to be no less shock from the liberal (as opposed to left) side of the fence, as epitomized by The New Yorker editor David Remnick who did a long profile piece on Ocasio-Cortez. Remnick and most of the rest of the world runs against the wishful thinking of the right who would much prefer a powerful boss-like Crowley as a model for the Dem party than Alexandria who could galvanize millennials to vote. She seems, on the surface, to be from the DSA wing that views FDR as a model. I think that's a myth, as I've heard the left denounce FDR for saving capitalism.

Remnick included an interesting summary/history of DSA, which I'm including here below.
....how was [Ocasio-Cortez] going to own her identity as a democratic socialist.

In 1988, Edward Kennedy attended a ceremony at the Roseland Ballroom, in New York, celebrating the life and work of Michael Harrington, a founder of the Democratic Socialists of America, the author of the best-selling book “The Other America: Poverty in the United States,” and a professor of political science at Queens College. The Kennedy family, in general, admired Harrington, no matter his ideological allegiances. In 1963, John Kennedy declared himself shaken by Dwight Macdonald’s long review in The New Yorker of Harrington’s study of poverty. Shortly before J.F.K. was killed, he told aides that he wanted to wage a battle against the slums, the hunger, and the inadequate medical care that he had read about. The fight was left to his successor. And, thanks largely to the Johnson Administration’s War on Poverty—to Medicaid, Medicare, and expanded Social Security benefits—the poverty rate dropped, from 22.4 per cent in 1959 to 11.1 per cent in 1973. At the Roseland ceremony, Ted Kennedy said, “I see Michael Harrington as delivering the Sermon on the Mount to America. . . . Among veterans in the War on Poverty, no one has been a more loyal ally when the night was darkest.”

Harrington, in exposing the harsher realities of American life, sought to push the Democratic Party left. “Put it this way,” he once said. “I’m a radical, but, as I tell my students at Queens, I try not to soapbox. I want to be on the left wing of the possible.”
“The left wing of the possible” reflects how Ocasio-Cortez practices politics. Her agenda is in line with the Sanders agenda: single-payer universal health care, equal rights for women and ethnic and sexual minorities, a fifteen-dollar minimum wage, guaranteed employment. “No person should be too poor to live” is her credo. She told me that in criminal-justice reform she is sympathetic to the abolitionist movement, which calls for the closing down of many prisons.

When Ocasio-Cortez is interviewed now, particularly by the establishment outlets, she is invariably asked about “the S-word,” socialism; sometimes the question is asked with a shiver of anxiety, as if she were suggesting that schoolchildren begin the day by singing the “Internationale” under a portrait of Enver Hoxha. When I asked her about her political heroes, though, there was no mention of anyone in the Marxist pantheon. She named Robert F. Kennedy. In college, reading his speeches—“that was my jam,” she said. R.F.K., at least in the last chapter of his life, his 1968 Presidential campaign, tried to forge a party coalition of workers, minorities, and the middle class.
For many older Americans, “socialist” is bound to have a ring of the sinister or the antiquated. This is generally not the case with a generation whose most formative political experience was the economic collapse of 2008-09. In 2016, the Institute of Politics, at Harvard’s Kennedy School, polled people between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine, and discovered that support for capitalism was surprisingly low. Fifty-one per cent of the cohort rejected capitalism; thirty-three per cent supported socialism. A later edition of the survey found that fifty-one per cent were “fearful about the future,” while only about twenty per cent were hopeful. John Della Volpe, the director of polling at the institute, told me that he was so surprised about the results of the survey that he repeated it to make sure they were accurate. Based on further research derived from focus groups around the country, Della Volpe said, “these young people are thinking of Canadian health care, not the U.S.S.R.,” when they speak of socialism. What they want to see, he said, is “like a combination of Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, the Square Deal and the New Deal.” But many young people are wary of participating in politics, because the role of big money seems so decisive. Della Volpe considered it a hopeful sign that, while millennials showed a deep distrust of politicians, many were also finding sources of optimism in new figures on the scene, ranging from the student activists in Parkland, Florida, to political candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The reasons for anxiety are manifest. Broad statistical metrics back up the idea that income inequality has increased and that the middle class is languishing. Seventy-eight per cent of Americans working full time live paycheck to paycheck; nearly half do not have four hundred dollars at the ready. Raj Chetty, an economist at Harvard and a director of the Equality of Opportunity Project, points out that while ninety per cent of people born in the nineteen-forties outearned their parents—the traditional American expectation—this number has fallen to fifty per cent for people born in the nineteen-eighties. The “American dream” of social mobility, moving from the bottom fifth to the top fifth, is twice as likely to be fulfilled in Canada. In the meantime, wealthy élites insure that their children—through expensive educations and countless other privileges—retain their status. Colossal resentment is the result, and Trump, with his preternatural skills as a TV-trained populist demagogue on the right, was able to build a movement on it.

Ocasio-Cortez keeps to a minimum her denunciations of Trump, as if the critique went almost without saying. She is more voluble about her view of capitalism. “I do think we are in a crisis of late-stage capitalism, where people are working sixty, eighty hours a week and they can’t feed their families,” she said. “There is a lot that is economically dystopic in this country. So that’s why people are open to change.”

But what first appealed to her about the Democratic Socialists of America had less to do with theory or ideology than with the simple fact that she kept seeing members at rallies for every cause she cares about, from the Hurricane Maria rescue effort to Black Lives Matter. She defines her politics as a struggle for “social, economic, and racial dignity.” The distance between here and there—between establishing a set of values and policies and then finding a way to pass them into law and pay for them—is not at the core of her argument. She knows it is a long road. “I want to get there,” she said. “I want to live in that country.”

This is an old dream. In the nineteen-tens, the Socialist Party of America had more than a hundred thousand members, ranging from Lower East Side garment workers to Nevada miners, and Eugene V. Debs ran as the Party’s Presidential candidate five times. In that era, there were hundreds of Socialists in public office, two in Congress.
D.S.A., which was founded in 1982, is not a party but a dues-paying organization, and it has seen a bump in membership recently, from five thousand in 2016 to more than forty thousand today. The first co-chairs were Harrington and the author Barbara Ehrenreich. David Dinkins, the former mayor of New York, was a member of D.S.A. There’s no question that some members are Marxists in the traditional sense; some want to see the destruction of capitalism and the state ownership of factories, banks, and utilities. Jabari Brisport, a D.S.A. member from Brooklyn who recently ran, unsuccessfully, for City Council, told me that the group is “a big umbrella organization for left and leftish types, from Bernie-crats to hard-core Trotskyists.” Julia Salazar, a D.S.A. member in her mid-twenties who is running for the New York State Senate with the ardent support of Ocasio-Cortez, told Jacobin, a leftist quarterly, that a democratic socialist “recognizes the capitalist system as being inherently oppressive, and is actively working to dismantle it and to empower the working class and the marginalized in our society.”

Ocasio-Cortez and, for the most part, the people around her speak largely in the language of Sanders. Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, and yet in the most extensive speech he ever gave on the theme—at Georgetown University, in November, 2015—he did not mention Debs. Rather, he focussed almost entirely on Franklin Roosevelt and the legacy of the New Deal. He said that he shared the vision that F.D.R. set out in his 1944 State of the Union speech, what Roosevelt called the Second Bill of Rights. Sanders pointed out that universal health care was “not a radical idea” and existed in countries such as Denmark, France, Germany, and Taiwan. “I don’t believe government should own the means of production,” he said, “but I do believe that the middle class and the working families who produce the wealth of America deserve a fair deal.”

Left-of-center political terminology has long been a welter of confusion. “What’s in a name?” the American historian Sean Wilentz writes in the journal Democracy. “Franklin Delano Roosevelt called himself a Christian, a Democrat, and a liberal. . . . The only Americans who considered Franklin Roosevelt a socialist were right-wing Republicans.” Norman Thomas, who ran for President six times at the top of the Socialist Party of America ticket, was irritated by the notion that F.D.R. had carried out the Socialist platform. He hadn’t, Thomas said, “unless he carried it out on a stretcher.” For decades, liberals have sensed that “liberal” is so toxic for the broader electorate that many of them, including Hillary Clinton, adopted the term “progressive,” which has a distinct legacy. On the left, the sharpest bolt of opprobrium one can hurl is “neoliberal”—a term that makes little distinction between Bill Clinton and Augusto Pinochet.

Frances Fox Piven, a political scientist and a former D.S.A. board member, told me that, while these terms are fuzzier than they once were, “socialism,” in the practical politics of the young, describes above all a disgust with widening inequality. “When people say they are ‘socialists,’ they are reacting against unrestrained capitalism,” she said. “I don’t know that it has much meaning beyond that. There are volumes written about the historical, theoretical work by socialists and their critics, but I don’t think that that’s what’s moving these young people. They are moved by the idea of an economic system that is tempered, constrained, and restrained by democratic values. There were a lot of debates in the seventies and eighties between Maoists and theoretical socialists, some of whom were a little crazy. That has nothing to do with what’s happening now.” Michael Kazin, a co-editor of Dissent and a D.S.A. member, agreed: “The radical left’s major influence in American history is to push liberals, progressives, to the left. And that is going to be the impact. I don’t believe we are going to have a socialist transformation of America in my lifetime.”

Ocasio-Cortez and her circle focus less on the malefactions of the current Administration than on the endemic corruption of the American system, particularly the role of “dark money” in American politics and the lack of basic welfare provisions for the working classes and the poor. When they hear conservatives describe as a “socialist” Barack Obama—a man who, in their view, had failed to help the real victims of the financial crisis, while bailing out the banks—they tend to laugh ruefully. “I think the right did us a service calling Obama a socialist for eight years,” Saikat Chakrabarti, one of Ocasio-Cortez’s closest associates, said. “It inoculated us. But people focus on the labels when they are not sure what they mean. What people call socialism these days is Eisenhower Republicanism!”
Here's the link to the entire article.


Talking Democratic Party Politics – Is Socialism on the rise? - Norm Scott in The Wave

Another example of Normsplainin'

This week's column in The WAVE, July 20, 2018, www.rockawave.com

School Scope: Talking Democratic Party Politics – Is Socialism on the rise?
By Norm Scott

Have you been paying attention to the avalanche of stories about instant media star, 28 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated Queens Democratic Party boss Joe Crowley in the congressional primary in June? It seems Crowley remains in charge of the Queens organization at this point. I wonder how his defeat will affect politics in Queens since he and his machine have been a gate keeper as to which people can run for which office. How much fun would it be to see more challenges in our borough and Rockaway neighborhood to stimulate politics beyond the same old same old? But let’s leave that aside for this column and address some of the bigger issues.

Ocasio-Cortez identifies herself as a socialist and is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), a fast growing national organization that is gaining more attention. Some view this as a good thing that will turn the Democratic Party sharply to the left. Others view such a turn to the left as a disaster that will assure Trump and the Republicans control over every branch of government for the next generation. The constant yin-yang among Democrats reflects the conflict between the Bernie and Hillary wings of the Party. The popular terms are progressive and centrist wings. Bernie has not been identified as a Democrat but as an independent with a socialist label. Bernie has been called a Commie when in fact he is a social democrat (ie Scandinavian style), which has created some confusion since most of the people in this nation tend to lump all socialists and even progressives into one pile as “the left.” Almost every nation in Europe has a major party under the S-D label. Some of my conservative friends consider the NY Times as far left, which causes howls of laughter since the so-called “left” has an even wider range of political variation than we see on the right.

DSA members work inside and outside the Democratic Party and its members would be considered the far left of the Democrats. Other wings of the DSA are vehemently opposed to working with the Democrats – from what I’ve seen this would be the Marxist-Leninists (ML), some of whom support the Green Party while others believe that only a Leninist type party will do. (Good luck with that.) They call for a workers party.

There’s no way I can delve into the variations of socialism in this limited space so here are a few brief points (check my blog for more in depth analysis.) Pretty much anyone who is some form of socialist is fundamentally anti-capitalist and believes that system will one day fall apart, just as its predecessor feudalism did, as predicted by Carl Marx almost two centuries ago. He may have gotten the time frame a little wrong, (sort of like the people who believe the bible and claim the earth is 6.000 years old) but like global warming will one day raise sea levels 50 feet or more as the polar ice caps melt, capitalism will one day eat itself up. Which will come first, unstoppable global warming or the end of capitalism? Or will these events arise simultaneously since capitalism with its fundamental essence of profit above all else will prevent us from addressing global warming until it is too late?

I’m heading to the beach while it’s still there. If you are interested in some realistic science fiction, check out Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140. Where Manhattan is sort of like Venice – at least what is left of it above 34th St. I won’t scare you with what the rest of the city looks like.

When he’s not blogging at ednotesonline.com Norm is looking into beach front property – in Idaho.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

For immediate release: Parent sues City Hall for refusing to release unredacted decision memo on class size

Posted by Leonie Haimson at: https://nycpublicschoolparents.blogspot.com/2018/07/parent-sues-city-hall-for-refusing-to.html
This media release is also available here.
For immediate release: July 17, 2018
For more information contact: Leonie Haimson; leoniehaimson@gmail.com;
Parent sues City Hall for refusing to release unredacted decision memo on class size
On Monday, July 16, 2018, Brooke Parker, a NYC public school parent, filed a lawsuit against the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, challenging the almost complete redaction of a City Hall Decision Memo that contained a discussion of the reasons for the city’s rejection of several recommendations of the Blue Book Working Group, including a proposal to align the school capacity formula with smaller class sizes.  She is represented in court by Laura D. Barbieri, Special Counsel of Advocates for Justice, a pro-bono law firm.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Fuzzy Math at AFT Convention - Mike Antonucci

New York State United Teachers reported to the U.S. Department of Labor that it had 665,000 members, of whom 433,000 were currently employed. NYSUT president Andy Pallotta told the convention delegates, “I am happy to report that as of today, 85 percent of our members have re-signed a card. To give you a sense of scale, that’s over 200,000 members"
.... Mike Antonucci, EIA
Did Andy fail his math regent? Mike reports on the UFT numbers:
UFT reported almost 123,000 members to the Department of Labor. UFT told the delegates it had a 99.27% membership recommitment.
You might find that a little hard to believe, but we’ll let that slide, too. The reason is it doesn’t matter.
Interesting that the UFT is claiming almost 100% membership -- Obviously -- Jamus just took effect. I believe there are about 3000 agency fee payers -- if I remember correctly from the last election. If accurate I don't see how these numbers jive.

Let's see the numbers in 6 months to a year.

The UFT also has over 60,000 retirees, bringing the total membership to over 180,000. That's one third the membership. Will there come a day when retirees make up the bulk of the union?

The AFT reports 1.75 million members. NYSUT's 665K is about one third of the total. The UFT's Unity caucus sends 750 delegates to the NYSUT and AFT conventions, a significant total of the delegates who attend - enough to control every aspect of AFT policy and serve as an instrument of what Randi wants to do.

This is the first AFT convention I have not attended since 2008. I did go in 2006 when I sat with Mike Antonucci at the press table. I don't think Mike has attended the AFT since then but he does manage to report on some interesting aspects. 


AFT Membership Math Is Awash in Variables