|Is there Any Relief From the Disaster that is NYSUT?|
Over Christmas break some local teacher activist types realized Governor Cuomo was coming here to Buffalo to have himself sworn in for the second time in one day. As teachers we have come to understand Governor Cuomo is not our friend. Some of us who are slightly sensitive to the way we are treated by people like Governor Cuomo have divined that Governor Cuomo seems to hate our guts. He has declared war on teachers with his inane APPR aspirations looking to make almost half of our review based on test scores from tests that have been determined to be invalid and unreliable. Governor Cuomo wants to fast track the firing of teachers by tying these test scores into their performance review in a way that a teacher will automatically be terminated after two years worth of unsatisfactory test scores. Friends, we have never had a worse enemy in a more powerful position than we have now in Governor Cuomo.
So it makes sense that these local activist teacher types would organize a rally against the Governor when he came here to repeat his bogus claims of sexual predators teaching in classrooms all over the state and the state assembly working harder on teacher pensions than they do for students. And so they did. You can see the pictures all over Facebook and in the DailyPublic.com. What's missing though from those pics is anything depicting the presence of the largest teacher's union in this area, the one I pay my dues to, the Buffalo Teacher's Federation. Seems the biggest show in town should have been all over this event, no? Governor Cuomo was in fact invading our turf as they say. Beyond that he was talking shit on our turf about us as we all knew he would. I looked in the email account I use for BTF messages. Nothing. The last BTF email I received was dated Dec.23.
Last week some of the same local teacher activists pulled off another protest against the powers that are determined to rip this profession of ours from the public sphere and hand it over to friends who can run it privately and for a profit regardless of the product they produce. So local teacher activists gathered outside Waterfront School and made some noise against the new majority of Buffalo's Board of Education who seek to handover Buffalo schools to profiteers and privatizers. Inside the meeting they continued to upset the reform apple cart with a litany of speakers who hammered them and their phony parent front group DPCC. From what I have read and seen it was a great night for people opposed to Governor Cuomo's and the new Board's privatization and teacher firing agenda. Again I looked in my BTF email for details of the up and coming protests. Nothing there. No official involvement or participation from the largest teacher union in WNY for the second major protest in two weeks.
I did however stumble across this high priority communique from my union President, Phil Rumore:
Dear NYSUT Members:
All NYSUT members will be receiving their new membership cards this month as part of a special mailing that will include information pertaining to the core benefits that NYSUT provides to its membership. This mailing will also include a letter from Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer of NYSUT and Chairperson of the NYSUT Member Benefits Trust. I encourage you to take the time to read Martin’s letter and learn how you could potentially save significant money by participating in NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs & services. Find out how much Martin saved when he called to inquire about a number of services, including auto & homeowners insurance, life insurance, home heating oil, vacation plans, movie tickets, and much more.
Nothing about fighting Cuomo on APPR or lifting the charter cap or school funds never mind the local lunacy with charter groups circling us like sharks surrounding a leaky raft. Instead we are directed to Find out how much Martin Messner saved on his car insurance. Seems on his $200K plus NYSUT salary Martin might just be doing something for the rest of us instead of trying to get a better deductible on his PT Cruiser.
In similar fiddling while Albany burns fashion news out of New York City's UFT conclave is less than Churchillian. We will fight them with the hashtag on and the twitter. We will fight them on the Facebook and we will join the Facebook groups. We will fight the easy battles in the hills of the Adirondacks and on the swells of Lake Erie. We will huff and puff at the rallies and hand Randi the megaphone. We have already surrendered, errr I mean we will never surrender.
At the most critical juncture of our profession's history, and I hate to use phrases like that especially when they are true, it's nothing less than bizarre and nothing more than outrageous that our top union people have seemingly shit their pants and are standing flatfooted waiting for the axe to fall on us of course not them. When we need a speech like Bluto gave his frat brothers in Animal House we get hashtags and Facebook groups. When we need a Big Bill Haywood and a thundering call to arms we get a GEICO lizard proffering 15% off on our car insurance. It's enough that the other side has billionaires and governors in their corner all of whom would love to see our unions destroyed and our jobs paid out to TFA's and worse but should we have to fight 15 rounds amongst ourselves before we even get to the front lines to confront our enemies?