Sunday, August 24, 2014

NYSUT Leadership. Explain Yourselves or Resign.

I hate "open letters." I almost never read them because I think they are pretentious and assume that the writer of said missive is so engaging that we should all want to peer over his shoulder and marvel at his wit and wisdom as he addresses A. a social ill B. some personal beef C. someone completely out of his umvelt who will never in a million years read the goddamned thing or respond to it. The third choice is most irritating as it posits the false scenario that writer and recipient are on some sort of equal footing and as soon as it lands in the inbox, said reader will respond to the push notice, drop whatever  he is doing and begin the fascinating journey through this open aired epistle that is certain to reconfigure every wrong thought he's ever had as delineated by our able scribe. Ahem. The only one I think I have read in recent memory that made a good impression on me was the Open Letter Bill Ayers wrote to Barack Obama about his wrong headed education policies.   The thing was dead on and best of all the two knew each other and worked together on various projects over the years. It was a white version of Cornell West's blistering observations about Obama's neoliberal proclivities. Yet, did Obama read it? Did it make one bit of difference in his thinking? Don't know and definitely not. It likely got Ayers taken off any remaining guest lists Sarah Palin hadn't already vetted him from but he made his point and in the best case scenario of the dreaded Open Letter genre it fell about as flat as the ones the BATS write to people like Arne Duncan and Jeb Bush.

A long way of explaining that this is not of that genre but in all honesty I guess it probably is. I just don't want it to be. Funny. It's a lot like my union leadership at both the state and national levels. It kind of sucks but I wish it didn't.  In a nutshell or two, I am hearing that one of the beneficiaries of NYSUT leadership's clever backroom deal on their retirement (one that was introduced by a guy they just happened to have endorsed) is trying to spin his way out of the implications of this secret deal. Word has it he's been spinning his version of events claiming it's not really all that great of a deal and it's coming out of his pocket and blah blah effing blah. I am interested in hearing any of the NYSUT officials involved in this quiet yet lightning quick backroom deal explain how it's perfectly acceptable and membership has no reason whatsoever to be upset with them or the way they do business to benefit themselves in secret. And if they were able to endorse the sponsor of this legislation Peter Abbate Jr. for whatever reasons yet refused to endorse Zephyr Teachout against Andrew Cuomo it does strain credulity. What they want counts but what we classroom grunt rank and filers want doesn't count. That's the message NYSUT is giving us. And if Karen Magoo thinks she can run around with Revive pixie dust on the campaign trail proudly denouncing CCSS with the rest of us then get up in front of Weingarten's AFT Coronation crowd and say we need CCSS or else there'd be dogs and cats sleeping together and complete bedlam across the land, I think we need to tell her we caught her lying to us and she needs to mend her ways or resign. And until I hear this retirement peach explained as yet another selfless bit of sacrifice from Palotta, Messner, Percorare and Magee, I think they need to resign. We are already up against liars and cheaters looking to feather their nests on the backs of our students. We don't need more of them running our union too. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

BUSTED!: NYSUT Leadership Caught Secretly Fattening Their Own Pensions

While we all knew the  NYSUT "Revive" party was watered down jive at best who knew the incredible balls they'd show in secretly working to fatten their own paychecks and swell their retirements but nobody else's?  This bunch is toast. Rather than waste your time and mine re-writing what Norm Scott has already exposed I'm going to pull a Norm and re-post his piece in its entirety here: 

Sellout Fever: Newly Elected Revile - er - Revise NYSUT Officers Get Special Pension Deal From Cuomo, Klein and Skelos

NYSUT is proud to announce the first pension enhancement since 2000. After a long string of pension setbacks our legislative office has finally “turned the tide” and won a remarkable benefit for some of our most needy members.... 
Despite overseeing the creation of Tier V and Tier VI NYSUT First VP Andy Pallotta was undaunted and insisted we take this fight on. When asked why he was so slow to put out a statement (it was signed by the Governor into law July, 22) regarding this huge victory he humbly pointed out that he has been remarkably busy working with Senators, Klein and Skelos on their endorsements.... 
                           (Satirical) press release....

NYSUT Sellout Fever not yet under control
Sellout Fever, running rampant through the "new" NYSUT leadership, is turning into a worse epidemic than Ebola. A team from NIH wearing hazmat suits has been called to Albany.

NYSUT officers got their pals, Klein and Skelos, to pass this law giving them leaves of absences at full pay, all of it pensionable, and get Cuomo to sign it at the speed of light - for the NY State legislature. 

Jun 9, 2014
Jun 19, 2014
Jun 20, 2014
Jul 22, 2014
A 10019
AN ACT to amend chapter 675 of the laws of 1984 relating to providing fringe benefits for certain employees of school districts and boards of cooperative educational services, in relation to leaves of absence...
Oh, who may these "certain employees" be? 
The salary paid shall be the salary the employee would have earned and received had THE EMPLOYEE remained in service in the position

A. 10019 2

1 Which THE EMPLOYEE held as a full time employee at the time 
2 THE EMPLOYEE was first elected as an elective officer, prior to the granting of the leave of absence based on the salary schedule in effect for the negotiating unit during each year of the leave of absence.
This act shall take effect immediately.
Why the newly elected NYSUT officers - of course, this is a priority matter. They will now get their full salary they from their old local (with pension credits) while they are state officers in NYSUT - the union reimburses their locals, but may not be asked too if the NYSUT state leadership sells out at a fast enough clip.

The law can be read in full here - -- if you have the stomach.

The NYSUT leaders also failed to announce this news at recent state meetings, and given passing any legislation at all would call for a victory party, there are some thoughts Karen Magee, Andy Palotta, and gang were pulling a coverup.


Some anonymous oppositionists in NYSUT took umbrage and wrote this satirical press release with this intro:
The REVIVE team has actually had some success they just have not been transparent about it. They managed to get a pension enhancement bill signed into law on July 22. The quotes and press release above are fake, but the law is real.
Press Release Press Release Press Release Press Release
August 20, 2014, 

Albany, NY: NYSUT is proud to announce the first pension enhancement since 2000. After a long string of pension setbacks our legislative office has finally “turned the tide” and won a remarkable benefit for some of our most needy members.

Despite overseeing the creation of Tier V and Tier VI NYSUT First VP Andy Pallotta was undaunted and insisted we take this fight on. When asked why he was so slow to put out a statement (it was signed by the Governor into law July, 22) regarding this huge victory he humbly pointed out that he has been remarkably busy working with Senators, Klein and Skelos on their endorsements. He additionally wanted to credit the NYSUT legislative team and all of the new Officers for how quickly they were able to get this done.

When asked for a comment NYSUT President, Karen Magee said “This is what we campaigned on. We took a tough stand with the Governor and we demanded he do the right thing for these NYSUT members. That strategy really paid off here.” The new law allows, up to four, members of NYSUT who are on leave from their teaching positions and are elected Officers of NYSUT to continue to accrue time in the NYSTRS, if NYSUT reimburses the district for the Officer’s salary. Since NYSUT has it’s own pension plan for Officers this amounts to a legislative fix to allow for “double dipping”. When asked to comment President Magee said “ As a trustee to the NYSTRS I have witnessed the benefit of great pensions. If you can gain time in two systems simultaneously, all the better”.

If you are wondering if this new pension enhancement will help you in retirement, call the NYSTRS and see if you have the following name;

Karen Magee

Paul Percorale

Martin Messner

Some serious follow-up questions with my comments in [].

-What did Jeff Klein receive to get this into the senate? [UFT Endorsement].

-What did Dean Skelos receive to get his members to vote for it? [I can't imagine - a pony?]

-What did Andrew Cuomo get to sign it? [NYSUT neutrality].

-As a matter of principle shouldn't the officers of NYSUT refuse a pension deal until the Tier v and vi members are taken care of?

-Shouldn't a NYSUT officer resign their teaching position to gain independence from their home district? They need to serve all locals equally, we should not have to check and see that their district did not get more aid in order to keep the board and Superintendent willing to extend the leave. When you are a statewide officer you cannot have two masters!

-Who authorized the legislative department to push for this (It was not done at the RA or Bd of Directors Meetings)?

-Who wrote the legislation?

-Does NYC have comparable legislation in their retirement system?

-If this is good policy why doesn't it apply to the employee's retirement system, if an SRP became an officer shouldn't they be allowed to benefit?
Some more commentary from the ether:

Much was made last year by the REVIVE campaign that NYSUT needed to make itself much more grass roots oriented and reflective of the needs of the rank and file teachers.

The REVIVE slate campaigned on:
opposition to the common core
opposition to Cuomo
the need for greater transparency in the union.

The last month has shown just how disingenuous those arguments were. We now see that the new slate of officers are running NYSUT in a way that many feared. Rather than a revival this was the old guard (Randi and Unity Leadership) reclaiming control of the union's power to do it's unique bidding, membership be damned. 

At the AFT convention we saw how Karen Magee when given a chance to oppose the common core, instead fought passionately to defend it. Including a nonsensical claim that without the common core we would have no standards at all. This absurdity flies in the face of the history that New York has had in developing standards.

The next campaign promise was to oppose Cuomo, instead all they have produced is tough talk about Cuomo when talking to NYSUT members but when it comes to actually opposing Cuomo there is silence. Twice in the last month we could have endorsed a candidate, Zephyr Teachout, that will stand against testing abuse and for school funding fairness. The REVIVE team marginalized the voice of teachers by remaining silent. 

The reasonable question would be, Why? After so many legislative and policy failures at the hands of Andrew Cuomo, why wouldn't NYSUT take a proactive stand like our brothers and sisters in PEF.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Teacher's Union President Calls on Members to Follow Al Sharpton into a Confrontation with Police

You Know You Miss this Do.

Seems the puppet master of NYUST aka Michael Mulgrew who is also Randi Weingarten's handpicked successor of the UFT in NYC is having himself quite a media misstep dance party these days. He took the mic at AFT's Randi coronation after a  Chicago teacher completely dismantled Common Core for the abusive testing machine that it is. Mulgrew was so incensed by this anti Core talk that he kind of went off the rails raving at some mysterious straw men whom he claimed tried to take his standards away from him. In the end he promised anyone who took something of his would get a punch in the face and have their head shoved in the dirt. Wow. Naturally, the union thug detectors went off for miles around and anyone with an axe to grind against teachers and or unions had a field day re-playing Mighty Mike's pugilistic threats and clucking their tongues in shocked disapproval of such talk coming from a guy who claims to have once taught English when he wasn't playing Twister on a drafting table. 

Now Iron Mike has come to the fore with another half baked proposition, this time he mentions no martians or space ships but if he had I think I'd feel a little better about his plans. Yes folks, Michael Mulgrew President of the UFT would like all of his constituents to link arms and march through the streets with none other than the famous dog turd of Wappinger Falls his own self, The Rev. Al Sharpton. The Al is going to get to the heart of these cops who kill citizens. And it's a shame that he's positioned himself here because what happened to Mr. Garner  in NYC over selling "loosies" on the corner should never have happened and that's the truth. And whatever happened in Ferguson Missouri is too serious and too flammable for the likes of Sharpton to be sniffing around it with a lighter. Teachers are people people and we'd likely agree in principle that something needs to be done to keep citizens, especially non white citizens from falling victims to cops, especially white cops. 

But to hop in bed with a shiftless lowlife of Sharpton's caliber is where many of us draw the line. I am for social justice and I am no fan of police brutality against people of any color. The sticking point is that doesn't put me in Al Sharpton's back pocket and it sure as hell would never land me in any march which is essentially an anti cop march led by a serial firestarter like this guy. Do we need to run through his rap sheet of instigating racial enmities and filing false claims? Thing is when this guy does this stuff he's gotten people killed. The Crown Heights riot in 1991. Freddie's Fashion Mart where a protestor started a fire that killed 7 people. Tawanna Brawley? Really? We need to ally ourselves with this guy and alienate ourselves from cops who, like us, belong to a union and have their own struggles?

In all of the blowback, yes, the police union isn't taking too kindly to the idea of being called out by teachers, someone made the comment that this isnt' Mulgrew's fight, that he has his own pressing issues he should be handling. And to that I say he should have been encouraging NYSUT to endorse Zephyr Teachout or Howie Hawkins in their Quixotic tilts against anti teacher, anti union Andrew Cuomo. But no, Mulgrew's leanings are exactly the opposite. He is a Cuomo supporter and if he had his way he'd have endorsed Prince Andrew on the spot. And what does that tell me about the state of union leadership in New York State? Even though he's only the President of NYC's teacher's union it's commonly understood that NYSUT does as UFT dictates. So we won't be endorsing anyone to run against Cuomo. We will be endorsing some extremely shady characters, some with mob ties, some with charter school ties and some who simply defy all basic logic.  As a union NYSUT has no plans to stand up for its members in any significant manner or gesture. And the guy who tells NYSUT what to do has decided a bottom feeder like Al Sharpton should lead us into confrontation with unionized police because... Well, just because, I guess, because maybe if you don't agree you might get punched in the face. Friends we deserve better. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

NYSED Releases Test Scores. NYSUT Pees Itself a Little.

Ahhh the test scores are out. Sort of... Well, some of them anyway. And clearly we can see that uhhh, well a lot of kids didn't take them so... And God knows they would NEVER be used as a "gotcha" against a teacher at evaluation time. Perish the thought. Well the scores are out and Lil John King's pointed head has surfaced from the rabbit hole he's been hiding in since New York State residents used him as a chewtoy on his whistle stop tour with Pretty Meryl and Regentus Flatulentus Bennett. I couldn't quite divine his message but after tweaking the data to create the most penurious of increases I assume he was able to make the claim that : Common Core is working if we can just get rid of a bunch of these bad teachers who are grit and excellence deficient. And on the other cloven hand he can also say as I am pretty sure I did hear " This means we have work to do..."  -- A favorite rhetorical red herring commonly used by failing shitheads desperate to get off the topic of their own inadequacy. So King tells us we need to grindstone up and get our Core on before we fail these kids in college, career and global readiness any further than we already have. 

Meanwhile Pretty Meryl is making her own kind of noise: "We hope that the temperatures come down, and that the rhetoric of politics, all the outside noise, comes down as these changes take effect," Tisch said.

I need to catch my breath after reading anything that issues from this Last Empress. You have to love a woman who buys up a research and lobbyist army with her own piggy bank then hands them work that should be going to government employees and when she is questioned sniffs that people should be grateful she put up the million for their salaries. Never mind that they were busily engaged in forwarding Tisch's charter interests, writing to Superintendents and Union Heads telling them how it was going to be. One dear got herself involved here in B-Lo sending terse letters to people who weren't following NYSED's dictums.  And with all of the helpful interference Tisch has enjoyed on her behalf from people like Bloomberg, Gates, Klein, Cuomo and their lackeys isn't it ironic that she refers to teachers and parents refusing to swallow her force feeding of testing and CCSS as "outside noise." No Meryl, outside noise is what you have when your servants get into a dust up or a hot dice game. What you don't want to hear is the legitimate voice of people who aren't millionaires and don't know any but who care about kids and public education. That's what you can't stand the sound of and you couldn't have made it clearer than you did on your Farewell Tour with Pinicchio and Gepetto.  And if you follow her flow chart it's pretty clear that everyone needs to simply STFU and get a life because Pretty Meryl and Lil John have everything going like clockwork. (off mic) "The changes will be made and that will be that and you can all go home and shut your rotten rabble mouths. God I wish we could boil a few of them." 

We see the same tone deaf handful of privileged know nothings blustering and blundering ahead -- reality and common sense be damned. And in that same vein it appears NYSUT has gathered its Colloquy of Eunuchs to not endorse Andrew Cuomo for Governor.  Oooooh... ballsy move that one guys. Just as the Working Family Party rolled over and went to working for Cuomo, NYSUT in refusing to endorse Howie Hawkins or Zephyr Teachout has bent over and whimpered like a bunch of jailhouse punks. Karen Mulgee promised us a courageous unionism that would distance itself from that wretched Dick Ianuzzi. Funny part is Mulgee and Co. decided Dick was wretched about the same time many of us were yelling All right Dick, it's about effing time you started talking some shit at our enemies. Just as he began to morph into that fiery union guy we love, the tentacles of UFT/Weingarten decided it was time to rip him off the stage. He was replaced with a nice lady who is completely unremarkable and has been placed in a passive role by her puppeteers Five Finger DeathPunch Mulgrew and Randi I Love CCSS Weingarten. While they all got their kabuki on and ripped up some Pearson test papers their coprophagous servility to Cuomo fools nobody and Pearson lost not a moment's sleep over their  role playing nonsense. 

In the end the rank and file are yet again shut out, barred, banned from any input into the decision making process. Remember these are our union leaders who seem to hate the democratic process as lustily as Madame Tisch's twitching eyelid would indicate she does. We can understand how the wife of the Loew's heir can put so much daylight between herself and the likes of us. But when our own elected union people do us the same way, that's hard to swallow. I saw a quote online today attributed to MLK: "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends." 

Hey Karen, Andy, Martin, it's awful goddamned quiet on your end. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

#Supporthecore is Without Supporters. Cheap Seats Go Wild!

O.k. I miss stuff sometimes. And for the record I have had a twitter account for years but I still wonder sometimes if I am missing something. Yesterday I was scrolling through the twitterage and it appeared a lot of the people I know, respect, read and follow were dropping ironic bombs about Common Core using #supportthecore as a hashtag. I didn't feel compelled to join in the fray as I didn't get what was afoot and from the look of things the good guys were landing about 9 punches to the dark side's one. 

Today I learned from my esteemed friend and colleague RBE at PerdidoSt.School Blog that the tweets were in response to a little p.r. event the reformy types were launching with some of the ten million Billy Boy and Melinda's Foundation donated a few months ago to get more of the proles to love Common Core. Sadly, friends, the reform class is not seeing any whirlwind romance between the small folk and the ejaculations of David Coleman and his merry band of unqualified standard bearers. In fact, after a disastrous first date especially in places like the Empire State, nobody is calling the standards. They pine night after night but no suitors inquire. They are annoying, they are ridiculous, they are high maintenance and you cannot change them. In short, nobody likes them or their creepy supporters who try to inflict them on everyone else's kids but keep their own kids 500 yards back.

The Gateses even had some little scripted starter tweets for the legions of pro CCSS public school teachers and pro CCSS parents they anticipated would flood the internets like factory workers rushing outside into the streets to celebrate production quotas reached and thanking Big Brother for their new happy lives. Ahem.

Turns out the tweets came hard and heavy all right but not from the #supporters. Opening Day of #supportthecore was quickly appropriated by its Fifth Column whose savagely comical ironies gave the core a good pantsing and sent its handlers running for cover only to re-emerge later sniveling that their little propaganda/astro turf party had been "hijacked" and one of them even felt "bullied." Is that fucking priceless or what? An ed reforming front man with ten million at his fingertips to pummel, browbeat and demonize public school teachers is silly enough to whimper about being bullied by a bunch of people earning 50K a year and painting houses in the summer to keep their internet on so they can tweet against his fakeass campaign. Arthur Goldstein's blog has a bunch of great tweets from the day as does PerdidoSt.School.

It's always amusing and in this case extremely gratifying as well to watch how dumb the ed reform braintrust can be. Tom Friedman would accuse them of a failure of the imagination. When the NYSED manure wagon with Tisch and Lil John and Regentus Flatulentus Bennett rolled into Spackenkill and the assembled parents and teachers there turned it into something between the Siege of Helm's Deep and The Sand Pebbles, we saw how the reform sphcintre contracted and reacted. Then they re-opened their tour with what they thought was a people-proof plan to wheedle their way through the remaining whistle stops. Until of course PJSTA President Beth Dimino went unblocked and tossed both King and Tisch for a 20 yard loss as Old Bob could only chew his cud and gape in doltish wonder. So then they really ratcheted up the restrictions to the point that by the time they reached Buffalo they'd given nearly half the tickets to a local teacher hater and hustler who doubles as the head of a non representative parent group. He gave them out to his homies and most of them stayed home due to the lake effect storm and 40 mph breeze of Lake Erie. Mission Accomplished, almost. They accepted only written and approved questions and managed to shrink the event until it was little more than Bennett and King admiring each other's full windsor tie knots and checking their watches til happy hour. The real story was outside in a near blizzard where the raucous, foot stamping people who couldn't get tickets nearly outnumbered the polite shills inside the venue. It was duly noted by most media outlets that the high spirited protest mob outside was as big as the warm and polite assemblage inside. 

Ed reformers and Common Core do not mix well with democracy. We've seen the way they manipulate situations to keep  the common folk from gaining any traction or having any input in any of their affairs. Look what happens every time reformy types think they can relax their guard and give the small folk a little token gesture of representation. As soon as they do the public clobbers them with it and rightly so. So take a bit of unfriendly advice reformy types.Keep using Twitter and Instagram. Keep putting your message out there where people who watched helplessly as their kids began to despise school can respond to you. Keep it real reformy types and stay close where we can keep telling you what we think of all your great ideas for everyone's kids but yours. 

For the record, I am using a Nokia Windows phone as my iphone4 went kayaking in 18 Mile Creek. If this thing is any indication of Bill Gates' on his best day, things are looking good for our side. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jousting with Diane Ravitch

Typical Unfunny and Unclear BATS Messaging at Work

Well once again two of my favorite clay pigeons flew across the horizon and I simply couldn't resist taking a shot at them. The insufferable BATS are banging all the pots and pans they can find and photoshopping bodies into the crowd pics they took of themselves at the Guanopalooza fest they held in Washington D.C. last week. I read a post on Diane Ravitch's blog from one of their number and responded to another member in the comments section with predictable derision and disputatiousness. The BATS had their allies to be sure among the commenters but I was amused and reassured to see no shortage of like minded souls who shared my personal view of them as lemming like and obeisant to the whims of Great Dear Leader Naison the private college prof, stern Priscilla, the home school mom and Marla, their token classroom teacher. 

I also ventured to take a run at my favorite  union phoney who also happens to be a protected species and sacred cow on the Ravitch site, you know her, you don't get her, you can't get rid of her, ... Randi Weingarten! And I guess this is where things got interesting. For a classroom grunt I guess it's kind of special to have someone of Diane Ravitch's stature respond to you by name and directly, even if it is in an attempt to call you out.  Here is a link to the whole episode.


Word has reached me that Randi is now organizing an action to protest the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. Does she think she’s the FBI now? Could she not gain access to the Malaysian Air crash site to protest that too? It’ so painfully obvious that this is a person abusing the trust of her constituents while tap dancing around the elephants in the ed reform room and searching “causes” that sound swell on a bumper sticker but have zero, squat, zilch to do with the business of running the largest teacher’s union in America. Does she think Americans will like us if she finds enough worthy causes to lose herself in? And does she think none of us notices that she continues to refuse to take on the enemies of public education mainly because she is their puppet and they are her masters? If the voting wasn’t rigged she’d be working for Pearson or Gates by now.

August 3, 2014 at 11:56 am
Sean Crowley, do you have any evidence that the voting at the AFT was rigged? Please present it. Randi was re-elected with some 97% of the delegates. Did you have other information or are you a union-buster working in disguise?re-

Saddam Only Bested Randi by 3% in the Polls. That Tell You Anything? 

I didn't respond because my esteemed  friend and colleague in NYC chimed in on my behalf (I was preoccupied at the Corn Fest Parade watching my youngest boys ride their baseball and football floats...) responding thusly: 

Michael Fiorillo 
August 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm
Diane, the AFT vote is indeed “rigged,” in the sense that it is nothing but an empty, pro forma exercise, where the results are determined ahead of time.

This is due to the fact that the union is a one-party state that is completely dominated by Unity Caucus, which has controlled the UFT/AFT for over half a century, requires the signing of a loyalty oath before joining and to maintain membership, and which has a gerrymandered vote for officers and convention delegates which gives undue power to retirees.

How much credibility do you give to the leadership of an organization where the majority of voters for President must sign a loyalty oath?

Correct: very little.

The UFT is one of the few unions in the country that allows retirees to vote for officers and convention delegates, and changed its by-laws last year to give them even more proportional weight in elections. As has often been pointed out on this site, the national union remains controlled by New York’s UFT, which with the exception of a brief caretaker administration after the death of Sandra Feldman, has always been controlled by Unity Caucus members.

It’s a bitter irony that retirees, who will be among the last to enjoy the benefits won by the UFT when it was run by Albert Shanker, who unlike Weingarten was a real trade unionist, are the effectual guarantors of the sell-out misleadership whose catastrophic collaboration with the so-called reformers will all too-likely insure that no teacher under the age of forty will receive a pension and be able to afford a comfortable retirement.

Anyone who would like some “proof” of teacher apathy, consciously cultivated powerlessness and demoralization in NYC should look no further than the fact that only 18% of active teachers voted in the UFT officer elections last year, which also determined the convention delegates who just reelected Weingarten, with the overwhelming majority of votes cast by retirees.

Weingrew are quite happy with that, as it guarantees the shamelessness with which they grovel before Bill Gates, in Randi’s case, or before our Reptilian NY Governor Cuomo, for whom Michael Mulgrew serves as a semi-official concubine.

You can pretend all you like that Randi and her pawn Mulgrew run a democratic organization, but the sad reality for working teachers is that UFT/AFT elections are far less competitive than elections in your average banana republic, and those results have absolutely nothing to do with teacher’s satisfaction with the job the misleadership is doing, but rather are a measure of their apathy, demoralization and sense of powerlessness, all of which are carefully and cleverly cultivated by Unity Caucus which, aside from the so-called reformers, is it’s chief beneficiary.

To which Diane Ravitch did not respond simply put because there was nothing she could say to rebut him.

I had to chuckle at being called a "union buster working in disguise" though. The very premise that someone hammering Randi Weingarten must be an anti union operative demonstrates how completely flummoxed Dr. Ravitch must be when it comes to making a disinterested and objective appraisal of Randi Weingarten's "solution driven" unionism. Those of us living check to check and doing the grind from 8:30 until 3:00 in front of dozens of kids are more likely to call it "concession driven" unionism. But when it doesn't affect your dinner table conversation and you don't have to download 288 page modules in order to teach a goddamned short story to a bunch of ninth graders, I guess your reality allows for such a term as "solution driven unionism" and you never give it a second thought. Some of us on this end of the spectrum do though. 

After she asked me if I was a union buster in disguise I half expected her to ask me if I taking grass too. It's hard to stay relevant when you get your daily talking points from people like Mulgrew and Weingarten. And it's a shame to be this intelligent, this articulate and this well informed on so many facets of the war but so woefully alone in left field on the topics of Randi and BATS. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Campbell Brown 25 (from Uranus) Ed Reform Variant

Ironic that a movie satire of tv called The Groove Tube, thrown together in the era of low quality homegrown and monstrous faux wooden tv sets, could so succinctly predict the outpourings of a dithering Orphean tv head 30 years into the future. I can't say for sure if Uranus is one of the corporate monsters crouching Cyrano-like behind Campbell Brown 25's podium feeding her pithy anti unionisms and drecky straw parent ejaculations. With the Kim Jong Unesque levels of secrecy surrounding her backers and scriptwriters - we all know she's an empty headed pretty face made for reading what's in front of her by now, no? - Uranus could very well be the Oz behind her curtain.

Disembodied of her network, her cameras, set and network, the lovely, vacuous Orphean head of Campbell Brown 25 goes on singing her scripted message of bad teacher unions and ill used parents, of abused children and diabolical due process to any and all who will listen. Just a caveat though dear Campbell Brown 25 from the poet Alan Dugan who writes:

Shrined as an oracle, the lovely head
went on with its talking, talking, talking
until the god, the jealous Apollo himself,
came down in a rage and shut it off.