Tenure is now under attack from Bloom-Klein. As the excerpt below from a 2003 Village Voice piece by respected investigative journalist Wayne Barrett illustrates, Board of Ed officials finagled the rules back in the nineties so that Randi Weingarten could obtain the permanent state certification that is needed for tenure. How can UFT President Randi Weingarten stand up for our tenure rights when she never legitimately earned state certification or tenure herself? She is at the mercy of Bloom-Klein in order to obtain a city pension on top of her UFT pension.
(The following was taken from the May 14, 2003 Village Voice in an article called "Weingarten's War." The topic was Randi Weingarten's speech at the 2003 UFT Spring Conference.)
The grandiose conclusion of the speech-a challenge to Chancellor Joel Klein and his deputies to teach a weekly class-was designed to portray them as out of touch with school realities, culminating with her snickering offer to allow UFT officers" to mentor" Klein et al. "during their internships."
Ironically, Weingarten is an attorney like Klein and represented the union until 1998, when UFT president Sandra Feldman moved up to the national presidency and installed Weingarten as her successor, handpicking her over a cadre of elected union leaders who were also career teachers.
In urging Klein "to walk in the shoes of teachers" on Saturday, she described how she'd done it, claiming that she "taught, sometimes full time, sometimes part time, at Clara Barton High School for six years." Actually, records reviewed by the Voice indicate that she taught 122 days as a per diem teacher from September 1991 through June 1994, roughly one in four days. She then did what she told the Voice was her only full-time term in the fall semester of 1994, followed by 33 days as a per diem teacher in the spring of 1995.
Strangely, while she told the Voice she was a per diem for the 1995-96 and 1996-97 school years, her records list her as a full-time teacher. Because she was credited with the required two years of full-time service she doesn't even claim she performed, she was given a permanent certificate in September 1996. She has been on union leave since 1997, accumulating a total of nine years of pensionable city time though she only did one semester of full-time teaching.
ICE is putting this piece out now not as a personal attack on President Weingarten, who we acknowledge is a hard working person. Our purpose is professional. Tenure is currently under fire from Bloom-Klein. We need to know that the teachers' union president is not beholden to our employer for his/her pedagogical position so he/she will be able to fight for us and not have to worry about his/her own status being exposed by Bloom-Klein.
Randi is building two pensions: one from the UFT and one from the city. Her city pension is based on her accruing time as a teacher on leave, working for the UFT. Since Randi never gained the necessary teaching experience to be a permanently certified teacher, she is indebted to the city to keep accumulating city time for her city pension. Don't you think the Chancellor is aware that Randi lacks proper teaching credentials? Since Randi is beholden to the city, who clearly broke the rules for her, how hard can she fight for us, particularly on the tenure issue?
To put it another way, Randi has been living in a glass house for a long time; can she throw stones at the people who are allowing her to stay in that glass house who have been trying to destroy us?