Wednesday, November 14, 2007

AT DA RANDI ADOPTS ICE-LIKE POSITION ON ACTIONS TO SAVE FAILING SCHOOLS

   
 

At the November 7, 2007 Delegate Assembly Meeting, UFT President Randi Weingarten motivated two amendments to a resolution that basically criticized the report card grades that the Department of Education is giving schools.  She made a long argument about how the UFT would oppose any school being closed based on the report card data and said she would support schools who want to challenge their grade with Union actions.   She turned down a similar request  on fighting school potential school closings with Union actions just three weeks earlier. 

Specifically the first of Randi's "President's Amendments" called for alternative accountability measures that would be fair and more transparent than the report cards that came out last week that gave schools an overall grade of A to F. 

The second amendment read as follows: "That, the UFT will support any school community that believes its score on the progress reports was not a fair or accurate reflection of the school's achievement or the hard work of it's educators; that support could involve appeals, demonstrations and other actions."  This wording sounds somewhat familiar.  A few weeks earlier at the October DA, Jeff Kauffman introduced two amendments to a resolution on Absent Teacher Reserves. 

The original resolved clause in an October 18 DA resolution talked about a hiring freeze until all ATR's are placed in a regular position.  ICE added two new resolved clauses as amendments to this resolution.  The first one tried to strengthen the UFT's position on school closings so that the closing of schools would be banned until it was proven to be educationally sound.  The second ICE amendment said: "Resolved, that the UFT use all available means including a publicity campaign, a mobilization of the membership, an appeal to the City Council, the State Legislature and the State Education Department to put maximum pressure on the Department of Education to implement the above Resolved clauses."  The Unity Caucus majority turned down these amendments on October 18.  Randi gave a speech saying we have lost the fight in court on schools being closed.

Fast forward three weeks and now Randi is writing her own amendments saying that the UFT will take strong actions to protect schools that feel they are being unjustly graded.   Remember Chancellor Joel Klein has said that he would close schools based on negative report card grades. Thanks Randi, it's good to have you taking an ICE like position on fighting actively to oppose failing grades that could lead to the closing of schools. 

We would gladly welcome Randi to take the ICE position on fighting to win back all of the horrific givebacks from the 2005 punitive Contract such as ending merit pay and starting school for us after Labor Day so schools can be fully prepared to open.  In addition, we would welcome Randi's support to help us win back the right to grieve negative file letters and observations, bring back seniority and/or School Based Option Transfers and get us out of hall and cafeteria patrol as well as ending suspension without pay based on biased Office of Special Investigations Reports.

In other DA news, ICE had its own resolution to present on Merit Pay that we did not get a chance to bring forward at the November DA because Randi ran the clock out on the ten minute motion period, allowing just one motion to be brought up.

Members of ICE also pointed out that a resolution that would help mobilize UFT members to support disaster relief efforts in Haiti and the Dominican Republic left out victims of recent hurricanes in Mexico, Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean.  When this resolution was finally raised, there were very few delegates remaining in the hall and Jeff Kaufman called for a quorum (A quorum is the minimum amount of members necessary to conduct business and for UFT bodies that means 20%.)  The quorum call was ignored by Special Assistant to the President Michael Mendel who at this time was chairing the meeting as Randi had left for another engagement.  (We saw her about an hour later on NY1's Inside City Hall program.) The original resolution passed but Mendel did come to us after the meeting to assure members of ICE that he would draft a new resolution that would encompass all hurricane victims to be included in the UFT disaster relief efforts. 

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mendel is a prince

Sean Ahern said...

If Randi or Mendel adopted an "ICE-like" position shouldn't that change be welcomed by ICE, TJC and other critics of the Unity Caucus?

The sense I get from James Eterno's article is that Unity's new "ICE-like" position is suspect because neither Randi nor Mendel credited or acknowledged ICE's prior advocacy on this matter.

Furthermore, Unity doesn't acknowledge how their contractual givebacks have brought us to this place where schools can be shut down and teachers and students shuffled around like a 3 card monte game.

Has Unity taken a laudible step closer to the rank and file, parents and students or is it just another move from their playbook; 'Divide, Triangulate and Confuse. Perks Yesterday, Today and Tommorrow!'

Which is it and why? A welcome change to unite with and push forward or a feint that one would be wise to disregard or mock?

My two cents? Either Randi has received word from Bloomklein that there will not be a large number of closings based on this first report card and they have agreed to stage their 'conflict' over a limited number of schools most vulnerable to labeling as 'failures'.

Or Randi knows that the closings will be widespread, the number of ATRs will grow, parents will criticize the loss of neighborhood schools and that her collaboration with Bloomklein will become a PR liability to Unity Inc requiring damage control.

Their essential collaboration is not altered, nor has the UFT departed from their embrace of national standards, high stakes testing, NCLB, "put children first" and the corporate led reform coalition which they hope Hillary will soon head. With Bush II out of the classroom, they will be free to cuddle once again. But it may be a rocky year ahead and I think there is a real difference between these two scenarios.

The first scenario is most advantageous from Unity's point of view, but they aren't calling the shots here. Circumstances may force them to reach out to the people and that may cause some welcome splits in UFT Inc and new opportunites for rank and filers.

I think the first scenario is most likely. UFT will partner with Bloomklein to tweak the report card's most obvious deficiences. They will slice and dice the rising chorus of critics of NCLB and the top down corporate education testocracy that the UFT is, as far as I can see, still a party to.

Then the UFT leadership will tell us that they saved schools by fixing not nixing the report cards. And more schools will be closed.
Just like Shanker "saved public education" from vouchers by finding common ground on "values" with Reagan and embracing "A Nation At Risk", their remedies are as bad as the disease. Now they will be 'saving' public education by closing public schools.

I'm reminded of the game show "Let's Make a Deal". If you don't like door number one or two, what's behind door number three?

TJC raises the slogan Win Back what we gave back! Great idea. But if this is to be, wouldn't it be useful to know how and why we have been giving back for 30 years with no change in leadership? Don't we need a playbook of our own that goes beyond caucus rivalry and single issue mantras?

Sean Ahern

Anonymous said...

Business as usual at the ICE factory.

If leadership disagrees, COMPLAIN
If leadership agrees, COMPLAIN
If leadership has no opinion COMPLAIN

ICE cubed!!!

Anonymous said...

Why does anyone think we are complaining? We are happy to have Randi take a position more like our position and we were glad Mike Mendel came to us at the end of the meeting to talk about the relief effort.

James Eterno

Anonymous said...

Now Randi is ready to support the November 26 candlelight vigil. Can anyone pin Randi down?

Anonymous said...

Here's Part 4!!!
Fade into the pub. Those huggable ICEsickles are scarfing down chickenwings, it truly is a sight to behold...
James "E. Turtle" - "Guys, I'm still wondering, what's a pension?"
"Kip Winger" - "Anybody have a wetnap? I got sauce on my t-shirt."
"Salad" the Barber - "If any of you guys eat that last chicken wing they'll be hell to pay. I'll call the boys."
"Un-Norm-al" Scott - "A penison is a bad thing created by Randi Weingarten...it gives it's user the chicken pox, causes anorexia, and it promotes irritable bowel syndrome. Trust me, I know."
Petey "Bowtie" Lamphere - "You know what guys, I was just thinking, if I did get some of my building's merit pay, I could buy a lot of new bowties."
Jeff "Andy" Kaufman - "Petey...that's what makes you a TJCtard and not an ICEsickle, we buy t-shirts not ties. You should see my new Megadeath and Iron Maiden shirts...they are cool!"
"Woodhag" - "Where are those tofu chicken wings that I ordered?"
"Un-Norm-al" Scott - "I bet Randi snuck in the back and did something to them."
James "E. Turtle" - "She probably did. You know guys, I was wondering about something important...about these hot wings, you know what they say right? Hot on the way in, hot on the way out."
Jeff "Andy" Kaufman - "Let's be serious for a moment, we have a major problem coming up. What are we going to do about this candle light vigil at Tweed? That's bowling night!"
"Woodhag" - "Not for me, that's the night I work on my compost pile."
"Un-Norm-al" Scott - "Randi probably found out that that was ICE bowling night and she did it on purpose!"
"Salad" the Barber - "She definitely did, there are probably Unity hack spies in the pub right now, we should beat them to a pulp. Violence makes things right! Damn, I'm so ferocious, I'm so cool!"
Petey "Bowtie" Lamphere - "Guys it's almost Thanksgiving, let's be thankful. What are you guys thankful for? I'll start...I'm thankful that I just won that limited edition Pee Wee Herman bowtie on Ebay."
"Salad" the Barber - "I'm thankful for nuclear missles, ninja throwing stars, tasers, nunchucks, beartraps, and samurai swords."
"Un-Norm-al" Scott - "I'm thankful for turkey and stuffing. Randi better not sneak into the kitchen and put raisins in the stuffing this year."
"Woodhag" - "I'm thankful for tofu turkey, electric cars, and just being one of the ICE guys. It's fun to complain."
James "E. Turtle" - "I'm thankful for pensions. At least I think I am."
"Kip Winger" - "I'm thankful for Britney Spear's new album."

Anonymous said...

Your plays are a waste of time. Think of helping the members instead of writing non-funnay material.

NYC Educator said...

For 40 million dollars a year you'd think the Unity patronage mill could come up with an affirmative argument, rather than witless, pointedly juvenile invective. The blatant misogyny in referring to a woman as a "hag" is a clever touch indeed, and must do Ms. Weingarten proud.

I remember when we took a zero to get lunch duty once every 6 years. I remember when we took another zero to get rid of it completely.

And I remember when the UFT dumped us into the lunchroom forever for less than cost of living.

Anonymous said...

NYC Educator you are almost completely right.

It was eighteen months of zero percent raises to get cafteria duty once for every six years and two additional zeroes to get you out of the cafeteria and hall patrols for good (1995-1997). Then, Randi gave that all away in 2005.

Anonymous said...

I hope both the last annonymous and NYC Educator will be at the Nov. 26 vigil. Be sure to bring your staff you "represent" as well.

Anonymous said...

Teachers- CONTACT OTHER TEACHERS AND DEMAND THAT RANDI DO SOMETHING!

The UFT got us into this witch-hunting of teachers mess by accepting Bloomberg-Klein's description of the Union as weak- unable to fight back. Randi went along with the "Big Boys" and now the chickens are coming home to roost on her back- claws sharply extended. We gave away the store and now have to fight back without the contractual rights the Union had fought so hard to get- like protection of our job rights! The Union has accepted the myth that the TEACHERS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STATE OF THE INNER CITY EDUCATION SYSTEM. Randi's acceptance of this 50 year old lie is the cruelest cut of all. It is the teachers who have kept this system from imploding entirely- going back day after day to try to teach while society has closed its eyes to the problems that has made teaching so difficult. Randi- the "Big Boys" are finally owning up to the truth- they are bribing kids to learn. Now will you show the fighting spirit that you and 200 other UFTers had the nerve to travel to New Orleans to "teach" to that City's teachers' union.

ENOUGH and again ENOUGH!

RANDI, CALL OUT YOUR TEACHERS. NOT DURING THE SCHOOL DAY BUT AFTER SCHOOL. TAKE US TO THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE OR DOWN FIFTH AVENUE AT 5P.M. ON A BUSINESS DAY. DO SOMETHING RANDI. PICK YOUR 80,000 PLUS TEACHERS UP OFF THE FLOOR. GET THE BOOT OFF OF OUR NECKS. AND SHOW TEACHERS IN NEW ORLEANS THAT THE UFT DID NOT SELL THEM A CROCK OF _______.

Randi- You have to follow your own advice "Spit in the face of fear." Bloomberg and Klein do not have to be feared.

TAGNYC

Norm said...

Anon Unity Hack 11:26:

Where were you guys in Sept. when TAG people were on the steps of Tweed and bravely stood up and confronted Klein at the PEP?

Where have you been at all the PEP meetings? I got up at Executive Board meetings (held the same nights as PEP most of the time) telling Unity to go to these meetings every month and confront Klein and the PEP. Deaf ears.

I and others have been there almost from the beginning. Where were you?
Now that it was clear people were going to show up without the UFT, you guys move to support it. Or to take it over since almost everyone who was going to show knows we are in this position because of you.

I would rather see 50 genuine people there than the 500 Unity hacks who will show up and then go away back into their cozy relationship with Bloomberg and Klein. TAGNYC will be back at PEP the next time it is held at Tweed and the time after that while you all will do the one time "kill and deflect the militancy" deal.

And I would bet that NYC Educator represents a hell of a lot more people than you do.