Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Is Questioning Why Teachers Don't Fight Blaming the Victim?

I rarely disagree with my friend Arthur at NYC Educator but there is something his recent post 
(NYC Educator Sit Back or Fight Back?) that is nagging at me.
I left this comment:

Arthur - Good advice - for your school with a not terrible admin and a great CL who knows how to use the levers of power. But this is rare.

The position of the leadership is-- that it's up to members to fight back. Blame the victim -- like asking why Dr. Ford didn't say anything for 35 years. How can we support her and not think there is trauma for teachers under attack?

It seems easy when you are in a school like yours. You left John Adams and missed the assaults by admins 15-20 years ago that created a climate of fear. One good teacher I know who did fight back was hounded and fired. Others too who contacted me to help.
UFT was helpless and in fact was complicit with the admin according to reports. When the Jim Callahan with the NY Teacher wrote a story going after the principal, the Queens HS Dist Rep threatened him and said he would hurt the principal's career and she went to Randi and the story was killed. So yes do fight back but you can't do it until the UFT/Unity people have made it clear the above won't happen which it still does all too often.

And while you say sit or fight back you ignore the 3rd option which the UFT often uses --- run to another school -- which is what you did many years ago.

When Peter Lamphere was CL at Bronx HS of Sci and that awful AP who ended up as princ Townshend the UFT parachuted him out of there, leaving the chapter at her mercy when an all out assault was needed -- thus allowing the DOE to put her in another school to ruin.

I will remind everyone that it wasn't the UFT that led the fight against her at Townshend but Peter L's op ed printed on this blog that exposed her and led the students to read it and lead the fight. The union joined in later as its in their DNA to not go head to head with principals until others lead the battle. That gives them political cover with the CSA. (Check out situations at Art and Design and Fashion Ind and complaints about the UFT support - even charging complicity with the principal).

Right now that is what I would advise anyone in a school with a weak chapter and awful principal who can escape - do so.


  1. Any teacher who risks fighting an admin is going to loose in the long wrong. You will be targeted for the rest of your career in NYC. I have seen it happen over and over again during my 20+ years as a teacher in the DOE. (Things were a tad better in the 90's and up till Bloomberg but today it is a nightmare) Oh yeah, the 3 teachers that I have known who were brought up on 3020a charges in the past 3 years all used private lawyers since they did not trust the UFT/NYSUT lawyers. Sad state of affairs for sure.

  2. There are few places to which one can escape. The administrative class in this system is overwhelmingly corrupt. High schools are especially overrun with way too many administrators who spend their days counting how many strokes a week you make in skedula and other excessive paperwork. In the meantime, kids run wild around the building there being no disciplinary code to speak of any more! I often tell colleagues and my(hard working) CL that I want my union to protect me as well as it already protects my principal...
    My CL laughs knowingly. CL works hard to light fires under a less than useful DR who owes the job to Mulgrew patronage.

  3. "The position of the leadership is-- that it's up to members to fight back. Blame the victim -- like asking why Dr. Ford didn't say anything for 35 years. How can we support her and not think there is trauma for teachers under attack?"

    Actually, most folks see the Judge as the victim of various and false allegations from three women. Including Dr. Ford.

    Beyond that, we should support actual victims both in and outside of our profession..

  4. Dr Ford's 4 'witnesses', Ramirez' fellow Yale 80's partygoers, and all of Swetnick's associates are Fox viewers? LOL #Mitchellreport

  5. If you cannot see that this is an orchestrated smear you need help


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