Sunday, July 20, 2014

Diane Ravitch Is Wrong. Teachers Need to Hammer So Called "Union Leadership."

When Diane Ravitch, Saint Diane as I prefer to call her, admonishes us small folk for criticizing our so called union leaders she reveals a shockingly incongruous side of her persona many of our number simply choose to ignore. That someone so tuned into the machiavellian hijinks of the ed reform class, so articulate in her dissemination of the testing fetishists and so well informed on the big picture of the assault on public education could be so deadass wrong in advising chalkboard grunts to stand behind the likes of Weingarten and Lily strains credulity. In some perfect world where the labels are correct and all the lids fit she would be correct. But here on 2014landia that idealistic advice is about as useful as citing your pedestrian's right of way in a crosswalk at 4:30 on a Friday with an empty cement mixer headed back to the batch plant bearing down you. Your loved ones will wonder what made you suspend your disbelief. The right of way you believed was yours will get washed out with a hose like some 21st century turret ball gunner. St. Diane will not criticize Rhonda Weingarten. Nor will she abide critical remarks by chalkboard grunts. It causes division, she insists.
No, Diane, division is already well established. When a woman collecting over half a million annually on the backs of teachers consistently sides with corporate ed reformers like Bill Gates and defends an anti teacher, anti union pogrom like Common Core, she has divided herself very deliberately from the dopes who keep paying her to betray them. The division has already been cast and Randi Weingarten is its architect.
When teachers criticize her corporate friendly concession based version of unionism it divides nobody, nothing. This criticism only serves to address and recognize the divisions already perpetrated by Weingarten. To remain mute out of some misplaced sense of teacher omerta is to acquiesce to Weingarten's ceaseless penchant for selling out her constituency in order to further her own interests whatever the hell those might be. To refrain from criticizing her is to give tacit approval of her supporting CCSS, negotiating merit pay in Newark and standing onstage with Arne Duncan beaming an idiotic self serving mile wide grin. And call me a mind reader but about now I don't believe a whole lot of rank and file classroom grunts are in any hurry to stamp their endorsement on that kind of behavior. The quaint bygone notion that griping about lousy union representation is akin to biting the hand that feeds us belongs to some other era. This is about slapping the hand that keeps biting us and telling us it's for our own good. Weingarten's mealy mouthed 2 cheers for Arne Duncan -- see, everyone, I withheld a cheer?-- and her frothy support of CCSS are the most recent bite marks many of us are in no mood to overlook. When Newark's teachers were bogging down in negotiations Weingarten inserted herself into the mix. Here is the result:




If you step into a deal with a car dealer to help me out since I don't seem to be getting my way and the result is the car dealer telling anyone who will listen "This is the greatest day of my career" I have to believe you just sold me the f- out. Weingarten's handiwork in Newark is scurrilous. To go along with a merit pay scheme when there are dozens of studies over decades detailing its complete failure is not only Vichy Quisling leadership it's also completely fucking stupid. Anything to get the deal right Randi? Accent on anything...

The following is a comment I left on Jim Horn's SchoolsMatter.info blog. I was honored and surprised to see he found it worthy of converting into a separate post :

I think to take on St. Diane one must truly be uninvested in the business of advancing one's career outside of the classroom as a blogger, union hanger on, teacher book writer or any of the various forms of Celebucators we now see in this desperate scramble to cash in on the time spent as a classroom teacher. We have Teachers Speaking, we have Diontes Infernoing, we have BATS flapping and Schneider Schneidering her own with the best of them. It has come to me that none of our high profile Edufrontrunners are willing to call Ravitch out because they fear she or her minions could torpedo their book deal, union gig or spot on The Daily Show. After the putrid showings of NEA and AFT, electing another President who can't get over her Gatescrush and wagging a lawyerly finger at Arne Duncan -- I know people think Weingarten was a teacher but she's never been anything but a lawyer -- these self serving, Gates adoring Vichy Quisling union "leaders" have spit in the faces of their constituency yet again. If you listen to the only surviving union leader in captivity, that rare flower blooming in the manure fields of Rahm Emanuel's Chicago, she will tell you what makes CTU work. It's member driven. It's member driven. It's member driven. Period. NEA and AFT are contemptuous of their members. At AFT's convention it was noted by another eyes-wide-open member of CTU that teachers spoke against Common Core while Union insiders and "leadership" spoke in favor of it. What exactly is Diane Ravitch waiting for before she will acknowledge the turncoat elephant in the room and admit that our two biggest unions have abandoned us and are under the sheets with Gates, Murdoch, Koch, Blooomberg and anyone else with a checkbook who can fatten it by putting the wood to rank and file teachers? Why does she insist that we support these "leaders" who have done nothing but sell teachers out and shove us under the bus at every single turn? I aspire to last until retirement. I have no hopes for a book deal and aside from my mother I think I have about 4 readers of my blog. My local union is infested with slugs looking to worm their way into any gig that will cut down on their teaching time, my President did not even know what TFA was when the local paper asked his thoughts on welcoming them to our district. I am purely disinterested as it gets and I say it's time for Diane to do something courageous and call our union leadership out for the disreputable and disgraceful collaborations they've engaged in at teacher expense. As I plan to live til retirement however I am not holding my breath. Thanks for hitting some notes nobody wants to go near.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for rembering us in Newark.

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  2. Great post. You have been courageous in calling out Ravitch for pandering and supporting Randi. Now, let's take a look at what is happening right here in Buffalo with our new Board of Education corporate overlords. Their six page "vision" is a reformist dream document. The same thing that happened in (not only) Newark but many urban districts is happening right here, right now. What is being done, how is this being adrdessed by our union leadership? Have you read anything that indicates we are opposed to merit pay, the blaming of teachers for the ills of society, etc., etc....? No. No you have not. This is the dangerous period of time, in the summer, when privatizers like Sampson, Quinn, Dumbass Pierce, and the other followers are busy doing the most damage. They no longer wait to get consensus from the Board minority. And the Board minority needs to back away from the potato salad for a few minutes and get up to speed. They look weak, uninformed, and clueless. So does our union. Sorry.

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  3. Some of us read via RSS and don't comment for fear of retribution. But we're here and we agree with you. It's nuts watching teacher union leadership serve up fresh teacher at the deform cannibal feast.
    --albany

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    1. Glad you are reading however you do it. As far as being retaliated against for one's thoughts I can't imagine what form said retaliation could take. Unless it's being kicked out of BATS or some other jr high minded circle of jerkwads I can't see how anyone could nail someone for commenting on a blog. Teachers are essentially chickenshits and this really hurts our movement. It's such a sore spot that all it took was a handful of non teachers and an addled professor from a private college to announce to the world that there was now such a thing as a badass teacher group and dozens of us went stumbling over each other to claim a little spot on the pedestal with the so called tough guy teachers. Well as we have seen, they aren't badass at all and a pathetic number of them aren't even teachers either. But to create the illusion that such a group was swaggering around kicking ass and taking names, striking fear into the hearts of, well, I can't say who exactly, but you get the idea is simply other worldly to many. The illusion of teachers as ass kicking no nonsense roughnecks was so intoxicating that they had a pretty good run of people joining up before the wheels started to come off and the leaders revealed themselves as petty control freaks with a tit for tat mentality one expects to find in a middle school home ec. class. Baby don't fear the teacher. If so many teachers are so goddamned badass then how have they allowed themselves to be bitchslapped and pushed around by ed reformers for this long? Teachers like safety, security and guaranteed pensions. None of which is promised to anyone hanging with outlaw biker gangs, corner hood thugs, wiseguys or anyone else who deserves the description "badass." We can be badass but it takes a huge effort and it will all begin with calling out these union parasites who have been bleeding us dry for years now. Randi and Lily pack your bags we don't need any more of your "unionism."

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    2. Tell it, Brother.

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    3. Dang, you nailed the Badass Teacher Association for what it is! I left after the "leadership" began censoring anyone who disagreed with their agenda. You are right on....if they are so badass why do they continue to allow the corporate ed reformers to control them?!

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  4. Parent fighting CC while teachers fight merit payJuly 21, 2014 at 11:36 PM

    This is the best blog post I have ever read. Ever. Thanks for having the guts to say what needs to be shouted from the rooftops, and in a witty way. I laughed out loud multiple times. Because it's all true.

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  5. Okay, do you have a link to Diane Ravitch's comments that you've cited? I'd like to see it for myself. Did you take things out of context, or misinterpret her remarks? Or did you just mistake pragmatism for endorsement?

    I don't know the answer to these questions I just asked: which is why I'd really like to read her comments from the source.

    One question: I agree with you about Weingarten. However, is she acting out of fear of the bad guys or heartfelt agreement with the bad guys? Is she convinced that public opinion against public school educators has been so poisoned for over 30 years that she'd lose in any "Nose To Nose" confrontation?

    Don't get me wrong: I completely disagree with her actions, regardless of her internal reasoning. And I'll concede that she could be BOTH a sellout AND acting out of fear that the entire union could be decimated if she acted too boldly.

    But here's my final question---for now, at least: Why did Ms. Weingarten just win reelection by ninety something percent of the vote of the rank and file? Any idea why this happened? (I would have voted for any good alternative if I was a member of her union. Was there one to vote for? Why did she win in such a landslide with apparently little or no opposition?)

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    1. F C White,

      Many teachers refuse to educate themselves and engage in magical thinking.

      Examples:

      I am a good teacher. Nothing bad will happen to me.
      Whatever is going on in XYZ community has no bearing on me and my welfare.

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    2. Another favorite when you engage the willingly ignorant and suggest they start paying attention before it's too late is the infamous credo " I am just going to close my door and teach."

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  6. FC White, you are exactly the type of teacher I want to make uncomfortable. You are asking rhetorical questions about the Rhonda's election whether you know it or not. Let's start here in NY state where the UFT slugs, blessed by Weingarten and led by her hand picked successor insist on a loyalty oath from anyone they allow to sit at their voter's table. Loyalty to Mulgrew/Weingarten not to your fellow members. And when it was time to elect a new state union President the UFT's delegates gave Karen McGee a huge headstart on anyone unfortunate enough to run against her. NYSUT is UFT's bitch. Predictably UFT's handpicked candidate breezed to victory. Rank and file are shut out. The voting is controlled by a plutocracy within the union. They win. Members lose. Deals and concessions abound. That's how. As for Ravitch 's remarks you must not pay her much attention if you need me to cite quotes. You love the persona, the icon she inhabits but you don't know squat about how she operates. Stay uncomfortable about her. There 's hope if you do.

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  7. F C White, here is a link for you. Go look at her blog and you will see that DR has changed her anti-CC stance to accommodate her friend Randi's position. Now the toxic CC$$ should be "rewritten" (although they have a copyright and this is impossible) and "decoupled"? What happened to just dumping the debacle? Randi took gates' dollars to support the CC and her "friend" is defending her. See how that works?

    http://dianeravitch.net/2014/01/12/why-i-defend-randi/

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  8. Michael FiorilloJuly 23, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    Tell 'em, Sean...

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