Thursday, January 15, 2015


Thanks to Arthur Goldstein's Tweets, we have a report from the January Delegate Assembly, the second DA in a row where I could not make it to the visitor's section because of other commitments.

The scariest part of this DA was a portion of President Michael Mulgrew's report when he discussed our strategy to fend off Governor Andrew Cuomo's full scale attack on the teaching profession and public education.  We are apparently only going to selectively fight back.  Here are a few of Arthur's Tweets covering this section.

Arthur explains our dilemma concisely in this one:

Arthur Goldstein@TeacherArthurG Jan 14
Two things-we have to engage because you know what they're trying to do. Cuomo wants all things Bloomberg in one year.

Here is most of Cuomo's wish list in a summary of his aide's letter to the Regents that Perdido Street School publicized in December along with some more indignities thrown in for good measure:

1. The evaluation system would be based 40% on a common core test or a similar student test score.
2. The 3020a disciplinary process would change so two ineffective ratings means goodbye job.
3. Making it easy to terminate some of the ATR pool in NYC
4. Teacher certification requirements would change
5. Probationary period for teachers goes to five years and then renewable tenure
6. State takeover into receivership of struggling schools and privatization of schools deemed failing.
7. Increase in charter schools, especially in NYC
8. Adding more technology to the system, including online classes
9. Merit pay based on student test scores
10. Reforming the Regents appointment process

Now for the UFT President's response that Arthur tweeted from the DA while listening to the President's Report:

Arthur Goldstein@TeacherArthurG Jan 14
Cuomo wants us to fight eval. so he can contend we don't want it.
Arthur Goldstein @TeacherArthurG  ·  Jan 14
We want to fight on issues we want to fight on. We will not be baited into a fight he thinks he can win....Cuomo doesn't want to fight on improper funding, exploding class sizes. 

Time to sum it all up defenders of public education: The UFT will battle for more public school funding because we can win there but pretty much not battle in other areas because Cuomo might beat us. Concessionary unionism at its finest.

Since there is no attack strategy on our side, it means we will lose but declare victory because Cuomo won't win everything he is asking for. (We should demand an end to common core or to scrap the entire evaluation system and more.) In the end Mulgrew will claim what we really wanted was an increase in funding and since we won that we have victory.  Just forget about what we will lose.  That's compromise folks.

Our preferred methods for this epic battle will be the media and social media including a massive Twitter campaign according to Mulgrew.  We're going to stop Cuomo's diabolical education plan by responding with a million Tweets.  The governor is probably missing some sleep tonight because he is so worried about us.

I would laugh now if I wasn't ready to start crying.
Is this the best our union leadership can come up with as the Governor tries to finish us off? 


Anonymous said...


Pogue said...

It's not the best they can do, it's the best they want to do. Mulgrew and Unity are holding fast to their CC standards - Cowardly and Compromised.

Anonymous said...

QUESTION:If tenure becomes "renewable every five years", is this just for newly hired teachers? Will teachers who already have tenure be grandfatherd in with lifetime tenure? To me, this is the most crucial question.

Paula Washington said...

I too was at last Wednesday's Delegate Assembly. This is not what I heard. Yes, the Governor wants all things Bloomberg, but of course the UFT and NYSUT will fight back. In stead of fighting among the caucuses, let's realize that we are one union. We want the CFE money the state owes us to educate our students, especially in NYC. Gov. Cuomo used the excuse that he had to stop paying the CFE money because of the recession and state budget shortfalls, but the fiscal situation has turned around and it is time to resume paying us what we are owed. There was no mention of Pres. Mulgrew driving home this point. What he did say was that we would change our strategy to make more use of social media. All UFT members should "like" the UFT website and follow the UFT on Twitter ("Twitter time"). We should use social media to alert the public to what the Governor is trying to do to shortchange their children.

Anonymous said...

Who knows? Wait to see how the law is written.

Anonymous said...

You Unity folks are loyal to your oath no matter what. We only fight for funding so we lose in other areas. Please spare us. We get a few more dollars and what do we give up?

Harris L. said...

Paula, I will leave aside my serious concern that somehow we "win" by capitulating on everything else except the CFE money that four governors now (Pataki, Spitzer, Paterson and Cuomo) have failed to accept as part of their responsibility.

What makes you, and anyone else in UFT/Unity, believe that Governor Cuomo has any reason beyond self-interest to release some small additional amount of state funding for CFE or to reduce the stranglehold of the state-mandated property tax cap on local school funding or reducing class size? More UFT Tweeting? Some side deal with Mulgrew to grease complete capitulation on everything else because the Governor thinks he needs to buy Mulgrew off?

Don't think so. And swapping any mobilization around our working conditions for some quixotic hope that we might, maybe, possibly, if the Governor is in a good mood that day, get an increase in state education funding seems fatuous and fantastical.

I don't like being called to the "one union" flag when that flag is being carried by failed leaders who are terrified that their own members might be willing to participate in some fight before they are brought to their knees.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Harry. I feel that I'm at the Alamo!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry but this is not the Alamo as we outnumber our enemies but we won't fight.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we outnumber the enemies, but the enemies are slaughtering us and they're winning.

Harry brought out a very compelling point especially since we outnumber the enemies and the union loyalists.

"I don't like being called to the "one union" flag when that flag is being carried by failed leaders who are terrified that their own members might be willing to participate in some fight before they are brought to their knees."

Francesco Portelos said...

No, we don't wait until law is written. We act now and work with local politicians.

Francesco Portelos said...

Words are cheap. What are we going to do about it?

Francesco Portelos said...

Words are cheap. What are we going to do about it?

Bronx ATR said...

Now Mulgrew wants to use social media to fight Cuomo?
The same social media he denigrated when selling this current contract! Myth #1 - Mulgrew is an effective UFT president. Myth # 2 - Chapter leaders represent their teachers and vote accordingly. Myth # 3 - the union saved ATRs' jobs and (this one's for you Paula) there's only 3- 400 hundred of them. Does the union realize how pathetic that email from Mulgrew is? Coumo must be laughing his head off.

Anonymous said...

The we are one union argument is so empty when those who represent us are basically only interested in their own perks and have rigged elections.

Raving Lunatic said...

First of all, I'd ask that commenters please refrain from criticizing the leadership. We are one union, we speak in one voice, and that voice is exclusively whatever I tell you it is. So in the interests of putting a good face on things, please shut the hell up, get on Twitter, and individually and creatively voice whatever the hell I tell you to. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Anonymous said...

Raving Lunatic, Do you know Paula Washington? Surely you can find a full time job for her down at 52 Broadway playing video games next to you. She really deserves a union gig. The woman is Unity 100%. What more does she have to do?

Raving Lunatic said...

We have hundreds of people who say that stuff. I'm afraid we wouldn't if we simply told people what they had to do to get a key to the kingdom. And you didn't hear that from me. Back to work, duespayers.

Anonymous said...

But Raving- Paula and Stuart are so good at being yes people. They deserve to be promoted.