Monday, January 12, 2015


On a weekend where someone sent out an article telling us how differentiated instruction does not work in the real world, this post is differentiated between the NYPD work slowdown and the reaction from New York State United Teachers to Governor Andrew Cuomo's anti-public education agenda.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton finally had to admit on Friday that police officers in New York City are engaging in a job action. When asked on National Public Radio if there was a police protest or job action under way, Mr. Bratton replied, “There is.”  My source here is the not so pro-union Wall Street Journal

Whether you support the police or not, I personally think former Transit Workers Union President Roger Toussaint's very nuanced analysis hits it on the mark, the reality is there has been a police job action that is costing the city financially as most officers are neglecting a part of their job responsibilities. 

However, there is no call from the right wing press for the penalties of the Taylor Law, which prohibits job actions among public employees in New York State, to be invoked against the cops.  After the police commissioner concedes something is happening and it is being addressed internally, this slowdown should be seen as a precedent by labor in New York State. The hypocritical right wing media is supporting the police protest. Their anti-labor bias is being put on hold for a while. We should file this knowledge away to be used when necessary.

Compare and contrast police tactics and how effective they are to the reaction of the leadership of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City and the New York State United Teachers to the true disrespect shown to us by Governor Cuomo who is trying to break what he calls the public school monopoly. Cuomo has recently raised the straw man issue of teacher sex offenders and also the non-problem of the state caring more about teacher pensions than the kids.  The reaction from UFT President Michael Mulgrew has been kind of soft and our state union leader Karen Magee, while starting a little slow, has become more forceful as the title of  her weekly message to members on January 9 is, "Ready for a Fight." 

Are we prepared to fight?

NYSUT is a union with 600,000 members.  I don't expect a call for a statewide slowdown or other job action but what is the membership going to be asked to do? Calling for equitable funding among New York State school districts as some of our allies are doing and sending out some strongly worded letters are nice starts but won't nearly be enough. 

How do we express our outrage over the governor's attempt to destroy our profession?

President Magee's message:

Karen's notes: Ready for a fight

The gloves are off! NYSUT is calling out Gov. Cuomo for reneging on the moratorium bill and for his completely misdirected agenda for the legislative session. On New Year's Eve, NYSUT officers and activists from across the state -- joined by parents, students and community members -- gathered outside the Executive Mansion as Exec VP Andy Pallotta led us in chants protesting Cuomo's recent attacks on public education, pensions and teachers.

This came on the heels of our scathing condemnation of a letter from a Cuomo chief aide to Commissioner King and Chancellor Tisch outlining the anti-public ed and anti-union agenda. By the way, if you expected a voice of reason from SED and the Regents, think again. Here is Tisch's 20-page response, agreeing with the governor and, actually, adding fuel to the fire. NYSUT was out front with an immediate response calling the letter from Tisch and King disingenuous and irresponsible. Here are links from The New York Times, the Democrat and Chronicle and the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).

The parent-driven Allies for Public Education echoed NYSUT, sending a strong letter to Cuomo, responding in detail to the questions posed in the Dec. 18 letter.
We responded just as forcefully when the governor, out of nowhere, criticized teacher pensions and the legislators who protect them.

Sad to note that in the midst of all this, we all took time to mourn the passing of Gov. Mario Cuomo, an extraordinary figure in the history of our great state. The union proffered sincere condolences to the governor and his family.

But now, it's that time of year when the rhetoric of extremes prompts officials to begin negotiations with outrageous claims and dangerous myths. We will not let posturing, hyperbole and outright lies shape policy. NYSUT is speaking truth to power and we will stand up to the bullies.

They are looking for a fight, and we are going to give them one they'll wish they had not started.


Bronx ATR said...

It may have felt like a strong response for those involved, but I and most teachers I've talked to knew nothing about it. The UFT needs to becomes involved. They've mombilize quickly and effectively in the past using texts and emails. That wasn't done here. It makes me wonder are they and do they want to be part of the fight? They may have a procedural vote to give the appearance of involvement, but actions speak louder than words. What makes the police slow down so effective is that it brings public attention to the issues while skirting the law - thus bringing discomforture to the city.

Anonymous said...

I guess since you have stopped rotating from school to school you also stopped your articles about ATR's. That's why the doe placed you in that school for the rest of the year. The doe wanted it that way. You have many friends from your old school still out rotating and being abused by cruz and others. Please don't forget about them. thanks

Anonymous said...

If only the public knew that Cuomo has no interest in helping children and just wants to destroy public education so that education can be privatized and profit could be made off of each student. Then we would get somewhere. He doesn't even really try to hide it that well. Take money away from schools, throw common core at them, make tests harder, all while making teachers fully responsible for the governments mistakes.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to make your readers aware of a travesty in Yonkers. A substitute teacher was beated up by a student. It was filmed. News 12 Yonkers put the Aunt on saying the beating was justified. Totally disgusting.

Anonymous said...

Did they check the security camera footage yet? All I saw was the cell cam footage which didn't show how the incident started. Some claim that the teacher grabbed the student's throat. Hopefully the security cameras caught what actually happened.

Anonymous said...

I heard it happened because he was refused a bathroom pass! They don't have security cameras inside classrooms (yet).

Anonymous said...

All you saw?! That wasn't enough? You seem to assume the teacher is at fault, even with the video. If a student grabbed my throat and I acted as that student, I'd be looking at prison time.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising the right wing media would say anything negative about the police union or job action. After all, in most societies-its the right wing and high government officials that always seems to view the police/militia as their own private army and protection against anyone who is a threat to their political agenda. So, why bother ticking off their protectors. The police were apparently had their way and seemed very comfortable for 20 years with Guiliani/Bloomberg policies and now they are dealing with a different philosophy with Deblasio.

James Eterno said...

As soon as I have an ATR story, I will post it. I experienced the ATR life firsthand for over three months so each day there were new experiences. It is different now as a regular teacher in a long term assignment. Send me stories. Jeff or I will post them.

Anonymous said...

Cuomo has our brilliant and talented UFT leader NUETERED.
Dont expect anything from Mulgrew, because if he really becomes a problem for Evil Eyes, Cuomo can just come out with what will end Mikes career in a New York minute.
I 'd like to say Cuomo has Mulgrew by the balls, but then again...
So Mulgrew will just play the game of softball and continue to collect his $250,000 paycheck.
And we UFT members will just foot the bill.

Anonymous said...

And vote for Mulgrew next year as usual.

Anonymous said...

Based upon today's newspaper articles-Post and News-two big media supporters of police--that things with Pres.Lynch and his PBA rank and file may not be so rosy after all. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect with the members and their president as the members feel they need better overall working conditions instead of just focusing on getting an apology from DeBlasio. Now --I'm not saying that Mulgrew is better than Lynch (he's not)-but Lynch has been their president since 1999 and no one has come close or even tried to unseat him as president. I'm not even sure what percent of PBA members actually vote during their elections-but a 16 year run as president- history does suggest that longevity can eventually lead to too much power and being out of touch with the members-no matter what union is under discussion.

James Eterno said...

We will post on this later.