Friday, October 05, 2018


Remember the not too distant past when teachers were blamed for just about everything that was wrong in society. Times are changing rapidly as the red state teacher strikes of 2018 may have been a real turning point in the national public and media perception of teachers.

This is part of an Educaton Week piece called "Rotten Apples to Martyrs":
For years, teachers continually heard the message that they were the root of problems in schools. But in a matter of months, the public narrative has shifted: The nation is increasingly concerned about teachers' low salaries and challenging working conditions.

Teachers, it seems, are no longer bad actors ruining schools—they're victims of an unfair system, and the only hope for saving kids.

Before, "there seemed to be a lot of teacher blaming going on," said David Labaree, a professor emeritus at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. "You now see a surprising degree of growing sympathy for teachers."

Of course, the recent wave of teacher walkouts and protests, which were mainly driven at the grassroots level by individual teachers rather than unions, helped catalyze new feelings about the profession. But other factors played roles as well: Social media offered more visibility into teachers' lives, from the second jobs some work to make ends meet to their out-of-pocket spending for classroom supplies. Evidence emerged that teacher-quality initiatives centered on student testing—which had become unpopular—haven't worked. Even the election of President Donald Trump, which spurred a growing wave of activism across the country, has had an impact.

And while many teachers are pleased to be seen in a more sympathetic light, some warn that martyrizing teachers is a blow to their professionalism.

"We'd rather just be paid well and treated well" than deemed heroes, said David Cohen, a veteran high school teacher in Palo Alto, Calif.

In NYC, we don't make poverty wages but with the very high cost of living here in the Big Apple, we are not exactly wealthy. When it comes to the working conditions, we certainly can argue that we long to be "treated well" as our friend from California asks. We certainly can call our working conditions "challenging."

 Education Week emphasizes that the teacher walkouts and protests came from the rank and file and not the unions. Until teachers wake up and realize we have the power but must collectively use it ourselves, not much is going to change here in NYC for the better. The UFT leadership has it pretty good here and doesn't want to rock the boat at all.

I can already see the comments saying that we should withhold union dues when we get the chance in 2019 to starve the UFT beast to force them to support us in the schools. In response I can tell you that we won't have to withhold any union dues and can harness the full stength of the union if we just demand change.  It won't be easy but it will be much faster than starving the union and then hoping something better rises out of the mess.


ed notes online said...

Unity is too big to fail no matter what. And dems will prop them up.
Outcome of trying to starve them is total collapse of unionism and we head indirection of West Virginia.
There are law suits out there to open up time pereiod to leave the union. Let’s see some of the jokers who call everyone suckers sign on to a law suit. I bet not.
Can’t wait till union publishes names and schools of those who drop out.
No more anonymity.

Anonymous said...

And if they publish? What's gonna happen? I will be looked at badly?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Justice Kavanaugh!

Anonymous said...

You're right, sainthood and martyrdom is part of what got us these terrible policies. Another thing was the destruction of the economy and the destruction of good jobs with benefits. People got tired of "teachers as saints/martyrs"- especially when they looked at our (after probation) secure jobs, time off in the summer, and very good to excellent benefits that many other jobs no longer offer.
Personally, I believe that every job should be on a ten month year, we all deserve health care and a livable pension/social security. No reason that people have to work until they expire.
Another thing, education has been pushed as a way out of poverty, which it certainly can be, but students and their families with tremendous student loans are right to be disillusioned by this. And why are adjuncts who work in colleges paid so little?
There are so many questions- I'm glad teachers and other public employees aren't a target-now- but we need to be vigilant.

Anonymous said...

And those of us who never joined... Union was corrupt when I started @ DOE.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to pull my dues. How do I do it? No one seems to know.

Anonymous said...

Not a thing has changed for "teacher perception" in NYC. We are all targets and potential ATR's. Danielson hit squads are lurking around every corner. The UFT does NOTHING to help those in need. If we do not get a decent contract with a change to our evaluation system I am gonna use the nuclear option and pull dues. After a lifetime of teaching, I can no longer in good faith support a union that does not support it's very members. Mulgrew needs to get his ass back in the wood shop and deal with what we go through on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

In my 30 years of teaching in NYC, I have only experienced serious blame and shame from administrators within the DOE.

I do not take it personally when non-teachers make uninformed comments about teachers; they just don't know the reality of working for the DOE. It would be similar to me saying that football players have a great job because they only work for 3 hours on Sundays.

The stories I have told friends and family throughout the years, (mostly the last 15 years), have left them befuddled as to why I stayed in the public schools. I just never thought it would get this bad and I do think it will get worse. I will retire soon and leave with a heavy heart as to what politics and inept leadership have done to the teaching profession and personally to teachers.

I do hope that one day the reality of the corruption and disintegration of the NYC DOE is exposed. I am too afraid to speak out now as I am close to retirement. I have spoken out in the past and I have suffered retribution; it has taken a toll.

Anonymous said...

Torture and abuse i face daily...Nobody believes its possible, or that bad.

Anonymous said...

Just got this email. I am not in that district or boro. Typical uft.

You are invited to a meet-and-greet event for District 7 members in the Bronx. As your UFT district representative, I want to get to know you and find out more about your issues and concerns. I hope you will join me for informal networking with your fellow UFT members in District 7.

Date: Friday, Oct. 12
Time: 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Location: Mott Haven Bar & Grill at 1 Bruckner Blvd. in the Bronx. Directions »
register now

This month, we will raffle off prize baskets to raise money for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Tickets for the raffle will be $1 each, 6 tickets for $5 or 15 tickets for $10. Make sure to register ahead of time to be included in our door prize raffle.

The UFT will provide appetizers, and a cash bar will be available. I look forward to seeing you at our event!


Bill Woodruff, District 7 Representative

Anonymous said...

easy for ed notes to threaten while he doesnt work

Anonymous said...

Come on he’s a legend in his own mind. We shouldn’t question the courage and fortitude of such a revered public servantt. Nothing better than watching the Democratic Party implode on live tv.

Anonymous said...

What about the uft writing what the retro would be worth if we had it invested in stocks the last 10 years? 150k? 200k? Triple what we are actually getting paid?

Anonymous said...

You can't until next June

Anonymous said...

The bashing will come back as soon as the economy fails, again (which will be soon) and ANYONE can be a teacher mantra will come back.


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