Monday, April 16, 2018


I read through last Friday's UFT Weekly Update for Chapter Leaders and the NYSUT Leader Update that came out the same day.

The UFT Update reads like the Oklahoma teacher strikers didn't fare that well. The headline about the end of the Oklahoma strike was: "Oklahoma teacher walkout ends in mixed results."

On the other hand, here is what the Wall Street Journal said about the end of the strike:
Most Oklahoma teachers will return to school on Friday, putting an end to a nine-day strike that resulted in pay raises and boosted state funding for education.
The demonstrations, which sent teachers by the tens of thousands to the state Capitol each day schools were closed, represented the strongest labor action the conservative state has seen in several decades.
The threat of a strike initially prompted legislators to give the teachers a $6,000 average raise this year and add nearly $500 million in education funding. During the subsequent walkout, the legislature passed several other revenue increases to benefit education, including a new tax on online sales and an expansion of the types of games permitted at casinos.
Those are some pretty decent mixed results UFT.

On the state tests given last week, the UFT says absolutely nothing, not a word, in the weekly update.

As for NYSUT, they featured the problems with the state exams as the lead story in last Friday's NYSUT Leader Update.

State's foray into computer-based grade 3-8 tests is disastrous
While SED initially tried to call it a "glitch," NYSUT called this week's rush to computer-based testing nothing short of disaster. NYSUT's strong criticism -- and accounts of a wide range of technological problems -- were widely reported in news and social media posts around the state. In many of the nearly 300 schools test-driving the new system, students were unable to log in, lost work or had to repeat entire tests. Late Friday afternoon, SED finally acknowledged what it called "an unacceptable failure."

The problems went far beyond technical breakdowns. Educators raised numerous concerns with the traditional pencil and paper tests, too. Our Twitter feed is filled with heartbreaking anecdotes from members who described student frustration, exhaustion and tears. This week's developments only added fuel to condemnation of the state's testing system. On Monday, the day before testing began, NYSUT launched an online Thunderclap calling for the state to fix the unfair benchmarks that set proficiency rates for the standardized tests. Here are NYSUT's fact sheets outlining opt out rights for parents.

The UFT has been a joke of a union for a long time now. At least NYSUT is doing the right thing on testing and on teacher evaluation for that matter where they are calling for teacher evaluation to be returned to local districts free of state mandates.

Don't forget our petition. We need to spread that word as we are now close to 800 signatures to get rid of the Danielson-Junk Science teacher evaluations. The original goal in my head was to get to 1,000 which is certainly within striking distance. We are just a little caucus and need everyone to help us out so that more teachers and concerned citizens know about the petition.


Harris L. said...

Solidarity forever!

The UFT is to member action/input as the Politboro was to democracy.

It is a profound burden to believe, as do many others, that it's important to keep the UFT operating when the thing we want to keep alive can barely pretend to care about the people who support it--here and in the rest of the country.

That said, I'm not interested in hearing back from anyone intent of gloating....

Anonymous said...

So Harris are you going to blindly follow the UFT down the dark hole it continues to dig us into? If you weren't retired would you continue to be blindly loyal? I was in that hellhole of school Rincon you taught, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Stop paying your dues and put the money in a separate acct. Should you ever need a lawyer the money is there. If you keep paying for nothing they will never get the message. You want power you need to take it or don't complain

Bronx ATR said...

Exactly right 4:43.

Anonymous said...

NYC'S "Brightest" just don't get it that the UFT is in bed with city and DOE. So, I guess they get the union they deserve.

Anonymous said...

Off topic question: UFT chapter elections are coming up. What happens if nobody wants to run for chapter leader at your school? This might actually happen at my school. (And I have no desire to do it as I have a newborn at home and don't need the extra work)

Bronx ATR said...

7:51, Just volunteer the ATR who'll be gone for good June 28th.

waitingforsupport said...

Hilarious bronx atr...that made me day

Harris L. said...

Dear 2:27,

1. I, at least, use enough of my name to identify who I am (the reason I don't use my entire name is that I prefer to be able to comment on blogs and elsewhere without having everything I say follow me around online or the rest of my life). You want to ask me a question, use part of your name....though I can guess who you are.

2. How would you have any idea why I've decided to support the existence of the UFT by continuing to pay my dues, even in retirement? That's a far cry from "blindly" doing anything, much less following the UFT into a dark hole. I don't support anything or anyone "blindly," much less the UFT.

3. You really should be ashamed of yourself for claiming to know anything about who I am yet assuming that I would respond meaningfully to some anonymous dude (1, above) who thinks he can accuse me of laying down like a dumb rabbit for a union whose existence I want to preserve but whose policies on teacher evaluation, classroom size and tolerating insane principals I have always opposed and whose city contracts and pension management stupidity I have publicly and scornfully criticized for at least the last six years (2, above).

Good luck to you. Next time, think twice before hitting me up publicly or privately without having the balls to say who you are.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Harris, none of that was my intention.

James Eterno said...

Harris, You have my respect. Bronx ATR, The comment about putting the ATR who will be gone by the end of June to be chapter leader just shows the absurdity of this union.

Kath T. said...

I always read this blog with interest though I am not a member of UFT and teach in a small, high-poverty, rural district in CNY. As I get ready to attend next week's NYSUT RA, one comment in this post stands out: "The UFT has been a joke of a union for a long time now." While this may be true, anyone who has served as a delegate at the RA knows that UFT runs the show, controls the microphones, and gets their resolutions passed or blocked as dictated by the UFT platform. I hear your frustration with your elected leaders. Believe me, those of us who don't get to vote for these folks are equally disgusted, as they end up controlling us all.

Thanks for your continued reporting.

James Eterno said...

Kath T, At least you get to vote in local elections that aren't essentially rigged the way the UFT does it. We can't get around the country to campaign to the thousands and thousands of UFT retirees who vote in large numbers. We don't have a voice in the many sch I understand your frustration. People need to shake this up as the status quo that has existed for too long has left us pretty much voiceless.