Saturday, March 03, 2007


At their regularly scheduled Chapter meeting, Friday, UFT members who teach in worker education programs for several unions in the City and organized as a UFT Chapter called the Consortium for Worker Education (CWE) asked candidates for UFT President to square off and present their differing views of the way in which the leadership should run our union.

Originally set up as a debate, Chapter members sought to have the event video taped so that all of our members could see the opposing views. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Randi, uncharacteristically became camera shy and refused to address the chapter if cameras were present.

Randi, camera shy?

Obviously she is concerned that what she said might reach a large number of our members who will be able to be more informed about whether our Union is going in the proper direction.

Kit Wainer, ICE-TJC presidential candidate, laid out his vision for the Union which works to build our Union through its strong, well organized Chapters. Leaders must reflect the needs of their members and not themselves and help in this organization effort.

Randi, on the other hand, made it clear that the Chapter had to help itself. When asked by one of the Chapter members whether the Union could help raise awareness of adult education issues among the public so that they could gain salaries and benefits equal to public school teachers Randi responded that they had to find "other organizations who were willing to help like immigrant groups."

On behalf of this chapter of private sector employees, thanks. Thanks for nothing.

Finally Randi offered to provide a few minutes at a Delegate Assembly to "inform our members" about adult ed. That will really change public opinion.

We see now why Randi barred the cameras.

ICE-TJC Photog Norm Scott videotaping UFT Presidential Candidate Kit Wainer in front of UFT headquarters. He was barred from taping the "debate."


ICE photog said...

The message I got was that I was barred with or without my camera. What's Randi afraid of? If Randi is afraid of lil 'ole me (well, not so little), that goes a long way to explain why teachers are in their current situation.

Some Unity hacks actually accused US of being afraid of dealing with questions from them at the Rouge forum debate on Thursday. But none of them showed up for that either. No guts, no glory!

Anonymous said...

Randi's afraid to debate on camera? Usually, the most dangerous place to be in NY is near a camera if Randi is in her chauffeur driven SUV being driven to a photo op. She'll have anyone run over who gets in the way of her meeting with a camera. Now, she's suddenly camera shy at a debate. She is afraid of anything she can't control. That's why she is doing everything she can to wipe out ICE-TJC opposition in this election. If she's afraid of her own members with cameras, no wonder she can't stand up to Klein or Bloomberg.

Anonymous said...

The two-year contract would give Uniformed Fire Fighters union members raises totaling 8.16 percent and increase pay for starting firefighters by nearly $10,000.

They did better than the UFT by over 1% and it's for one month less. Great job Randi.

Anonymous said...

Randi is on almost every page of the UFT newspaper. All of a sudden she is camera shy? Is she afraid Kit Wainer would come off looking better and more informed? Another reason to vote ICE-TJC!

Anonymous said...

Camera shy AND suddenly unwilling to belittle her opponents in public- did you see that the next Delegate Assembly is not until March 28th- uncharacteristically late in the month? Could it be UNITY is afraid they wouldn't be able to control the floor? Could it be they didn't want to give the candidates a chance to speak before the elected representatives of all of the members? Shouldn't there be a chance to meet all the candidates and shouldn't it be at an open forum at UFT headquarters? Yesterday was a chapter meeting, why not repeat this at a larger more open meeting and invite all voting UFT members to attend. Let's have an opportunity to hear from the candidates.

Anonymous said...

UFT members should demand such an open forum.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the UFT-CWE wiki!

Wainer Clear Winner in Debate

ICE-TJC candidate Kit Wainer clearly demonstrated his clear vision for a union that represents its members instead of its leadership at a meeting held at our regular chapter meeting on March 2nd. While Weingarten came off as personable she clearly told us that raising awareness of adult education issues was "our problem."
"The work must be done by the Chapter," she stated suggesting that it was our responsiblity to get other organizations involved.

It is hard to understand why she would not help us more. She offered to allow us a few minutes at a Delegate Assembly meeting which, of course, is attended only by UFT members, hardly the group that needs to be convinced about the need for adult education.

We have not endorsed a candidate but it is clear who the winner should be. For more on Kit Wainer see his video at

Anonymous said...

Bridging Differences
Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch have found themselves at odds on policy over the years, but they share a passion for improving schools. Bridging Differences will offer their insights on what matters most in education.
March 2, 2007
Power Struggle in New York City

In your introduction, you referred to your history of engagement in political action. Unlike you, I have not been involved in political organizing or protest movements. I do what I can with my pen but generally stay arms-length from political action. So it was a departure for me when I attended a protest rally on February 28 in New York City, called "Put the Public Back into Public Education." This was an extraordinary microcosm of the groups that are outraged by the takeover of public education in the city by the mayor, lawyers, and business groups. It was the first such public event since the mayor took complete control of the public schools in 2002.

This is a big deal, because few people outside New York City really understand what mayoral control means. For that matter, not many people inside NYC do either. Few people realize that it means that there are no public boards, no central board, no local boards, no public voice whatever. The mayor controls everything. Decisions are made behind closed doors by a cadre of lawyers, with no public discussion or public review. Today, there are no educators included among the decision-makers, only lawyers. The discussion comes only after the decision is made and there is no changing the decision. With this crowd, public discussion means telling the public what was already decided.

Not knowing any of this, or perhaps not knowing why it matters that all democratic governance has been eliminated from public education in NYC, reporters and mayors come to NYC, get the Potemkin Village tour, hear the Department's claims, and go home to talk of the "miracle" in New York City.

Unfortunately there is no such miracle. The people at the protest rally—well over 1,000 parents, teachers, and students—know it. The editorial writers in NYC don't. The business community doesn't. The mayors and their helpers in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere don't.

So the rally was important, because it was the first time that the simmering public rebellion had a face. Speaker after speaker got up to talk about overcrowded classrooms; about schools that were bursting at the seams because the Department, without consultation, dumped a new small school or a charter school into an already full building; about teachers and parents who felt disrespected, excluded, marginalized by the powers that be.

Interesting how the Mayor and Chancellor Joel Klein reacted to the rally. First, they scheduled a press conference on the day of the rally at which they announced the appointment of a director in charge of family engagement. She will earn $150,000 a year. The woman they chose has apparently a good reputation among parents, but at the rally it was clear that the parent leaders saw this as a blatant attempt to buy off their discontent and they were not selling. Too many other parent leaders have been hired and silenced. Second, the Mayor said before the rally that most parents were happy with his reforms, and only "a handful" were not. This statement attracted much hooting and derision at the rally. Even his new "family engagement" person respectfully disagreed with him. Third, the New York Post wrote two vicious editorials denouncing the rally and saying that anyone who turned out was a "shill" for Randi Weingarten and the teachers' union, having been bought and paid for by them. Apparently any elected official who dares to challenge mayoral control is a shill for the teachers' union.

When the New York Post editorialized that the rally was a showcase for Randi's puppets, it insisted that the reforms have been incredibly successful. As proof, the editorial included these statements by Chancellor Klein. "Our fourth-graders have gained almost 19 percentage points in math over the past four years," he said. "In English, our fourth-graders have gained almost 12.5 points, compared to only 3.5 points by students in the rest of the state." The Post, the Daily News, and the New York Sun dutifully report such claims in their editorials without bothering to look at the website of the New York State Education Department. How hard would it be for them to check their facts? (Let it be noted that the reporters for New York City's newspapers, unlike the editorial writers, tend to have a more skeptical frame of mind.) *

I know you are opposed to testing, but here is an example where it is useful to say, "Let's look at the facts." The facts are on the state website. (You have to dig to find them, listed under archived press releases—see the bottom of this entry for links and how to access them).

Klein's program was launched in September 2003, so it is appropriate to compare the test scores for 2003 (when he started) and to the scores in 2006 (the latest available). Have our fourth-graders gained almost 19 percentage points in math? No, they have gained 4.2 percentage points over those three years of testing. In 2003, 66.7% of fourth graders met state standards, and in 2006, the percentage was up to 70.9. How did he come up with the idea that the scores have jumped by almost 19 points? He is using 2002 as his start date, when the scores were only 52.0%. But he cannot fairly use that date as his starting point, because his program was not launched until September 2003 (he announced his program in January 2003). In fact, the biggest one-year jump in fourth-grade math scores—14.7%—occurred between 2002 and 2003, the year before his program was installed. Since then, in three years, the scores have gone up only 4.2%.

In English, did our fourth-grade scores go up by 12.5%? No. The proportion of fourth-graders who met state standards increased by 6.4% from 2003 to 2006. The figure was 52.5% in 2003 and is now 58.9%. Once again, the chancellor is taking the data from 2002 and adding it to his gains; the rate in 2002 was 46.5%. But this is just plain wrong, because he can't take credit for the 6-point jump that occurred from 2002-2003. That was before he took office and before he started his programs.

Note that he does not mention the eighth-grade scores. That is because in both math and English, 60% of students don't meet state standards. Despite small upticks and downticks. the eighth grade scores have remained flat over the past three years. So the Department doesn't mention them. And this, despite the fact that the Department allegedly ended social promotion in grades 3, 5, and 7. One must wonder why scores in eighth grade remain so abysmal if social promotion was eliminated.

Why does the media allow the Mayor and the Chancellor to claim credit for the phenomenal gains that occurred the year before the Mayor's program was implemented? I don't know, but I have long believed that in the end, as the saying goes, you can't fool all the people all the time.


*For anyone wanting to check the NY State Education Department website for themselves, here is some guidance. For some reason it is not easy to find the scores. They are archived with press releases and contained in a Power Point presentation by the Commissioner of Education when he released the scores. Here are the URLs (it took me hours to find them!):

For Grade 4 English:

For Grade 8 English:

Grade 4 mathematics:

Grade 8 mathematics:

Posted by Diane Ravitch at 10:17 AM | Permalink |

Anonymous said...

Why won't Randi come out against Mayoral control?

Anonymous said...

February 28, 2007 -- The counter-revolution begins tonight. That is, the drive to defeat Mayor Bloomberg's effort to reform New York City's public schools gets underway in earnest at 6:30 at St. Vartan Cathedral on 2nd Avenue in Manhattan.

Scores of elected officials, many of whom know better, will be on hand, along with a bought-and-paid-for chorus of false reformers - all to dance to the tunes of Randi Weingarten of the teachers' union, who has been trying to derail real reform since Mayor Mike wrested control of the schools from the educrats some five years ago.

They bill themselves as part of an effort "to put the public back in public education" - but that's a base lie.

Those who are not actually members of the United Federation of Teachers are in thrall to it - financially, for the most part, but ideologically as well.

And the real public be damned.

What is their goal?

First, to kill School Chancellor Joel Klein's sweeping reorganization of the school system, due to take effect this fall.

Then, to roll back school governance to the days when they ran the show - not City Hall.

When there was no accountability.

When billions were spent every year, and everybody got a piece of the action - everybody, that is, save the children of New York City.

Klein's reorganization will shake the bureaucracy to its roots - and cost a lot of drones their jobs.

The mayoral-control law expires unless the state Legislature renews it by 2009.

Weingarten wants it to die.

And she's well positioned to see that it does.

Tonight's shill rally features a full rogue's gallery of public officials - including mayoral contenders like City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion.

Lesser lights like Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and Beeps Scott Stringer of Manhattan and Helen Marshall of Queens will also be dancing to Weingarten's ditties.

But what of the "independent" groups and "concerned" citizens that Weingarten has lined up?

You mean the ones on the UFT dole?

* A media advisory yesterday announcing the rally, for example, bore the logo of the Working Families Party.

But Weingarten's union helped pay for the notice, according to the party's director, Dan Cantor. Indeed, the UFT helped found the WFP in 1998, and has given it mountains of moolah - hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2005 alone, state campaign-finance records show.

* Similarly, the UFT has donated mightily to a radical left-wing activist group, ACORN, whose director, Bertha Lewis, is also expected tonight. Last year, ACORN and the UFT teamed up to form a new labor group, the UFT-ACORN Family Day Care Providers Union, to sign up and represent day-care workers.

* The union has also given handsomely to Thompson and to City Council Members Letitia James, David Weprin, Bill DeBlasio, Vincent Gentile and Eric Gioia - all marquee names at tonight's rally.

To be sure, Bloomberg and Klein have occasionally stumbled as reform has progressed. But much progress has been made.

And let's be clear on one fundamental point: When it comes to public-school reform, they are the only game in town.

Nobody else - least of all, Weingarten - gives a damn about New York's schoolchildren. Her loyalty is to her members.


Anonymous said...

You guys are totally out of touch. It's pathetic.

Considering the round-the-clock work of trying to stop Klein, I am surprised that Randi Weingarten even found time to meet with adult ed. Frankly, I wish she hadn’t wasted a minute on that right now, fine people though I am sure they are.

The top priority for the membership right now has to be Klein and stopping his agenda for our schools. Klein, not Bloomberg, you fools, since one aims for the target one might hit and not the pie in the sky.

Why is this site more concerned with the percents of the adult-ed raise when the membership is concerned about Klein and his stupid restructuring plots to destabilize our school?

What's your plan, boys? And don't tell me about those silly videos of yours either -- a bunch of rhetoric, and not a clue about real strategy.

How are you dealing with the Post?

How are you dealing with Corporation for the City of NY?

How are you going to deal with Spitzer?

How are you dealing with the disinformation coming out of Klein?

How come you are so stupid as to want to attack Bloomberg at the moment you want to get Klein?

Don't you know a single thing about strategizing?

This isn't a student council you want to run, it's a union of 1400 schools, over a hundred thousand members.

The union leadership is a position that has to do with becoming a political strategist, not about being Che Guevara.

You guys are totally out of touch.

Anonymous said...

So typical Unity to focus on Klein. Like if he is gone Bloomberg will put someone like Cerf in his place.

Like Klein is the problem and not that he is a representative of the Richard Daly/Paul Vallas/Anthony Alvarado/Eli Broad (who gave the UFT $1 million for the charter schools.)

The CEO non-educator model that Randi/Unity has not only not stood up against but has supported. Why didn't she complain in outrage over Klein's getting an exemption from the Bd. of Regents even though he was not qualified to run schools? Why doesn't she complain now? Want to know why? Because she never taught enough to be a licensed teacher and is still on probation getting salary and pension credit.

Too many skeletons in the closet leads to weak leaders.

Anonymous said...

We need to get rid of Klein, Randi and Bloomberg: the triumvirate that has wrecked the schools. First comes Randi in this election, then Klein and finally Bloomberg.

Anonymous said...

Go Kit!

Anonymous said...

That is wher your problem lies. Both Klein and Bloomberg are the problem. Your strategy is limited to name calling but hyperbole with no responsibility. After this election I hope you guys will still be around and really get to work in mobilizing the membership.

Anonymous said...

The idea of mobilization and actively opposing Klein is exactly what happened on Wed. night. Organizations like ACORN and CLASSSIZE Matters, some you have cited here as great grassroots community organisations, were front and center. Why don't you give credit where credit is due?

And by the way why does Norm have 2 seperate blogs from ICE?

Anonymous said...

Some of us were there on Wednesday. Why won't Randi come out and oppose Mayoral control, which is clearly the way the public is moving?

Anonymous said...

You are 2/3 right the person from 5:o6 p.m. Klein and Bloomberg are the problem and so is Randi. Add them all up and you know why we're in the situation we are in. Randi agreed to giving up so many of our rights in 2005. That is conventiently left out of anything Unity puts out.

Anonymous said...

The power of a union lies in the members solidarity. Unity? Ice? What matters most is our ability to unite as one. Our petty differences must be put behind us in order for a new day to begin. IN TOGETHERNESS THERE IS STRENGTH!!!