State of Politics Picks Up NYSUT Story
But there’s also chatter that what this is really all about is an effort by the UFT to wrest control of its parent union once and for all. This theory is primarily being pushed by the pro-Iannuzzi faction, which thinks Mulgrew, who has a close relationship with Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is particularly miffed that Iannuzzi is apparently unwilling to even entertain the possibility of endorsing the governor for re-election this fall.
“I will be in this until the end,” Iannuzzi replied. “I’ve been part of NYSUT for 40-plus years, and I know what NYSUT is. It’s an organization that has a really delicate balance between New York City and the rest of the state. It won’t be NYSUT if this crowd takes over.”
Well, I would hardly call Carol Burris and other praicipnls silly for exposing an unfair policy. Do you know what VAM is???? Do you know how unreliable a statistical measure it is? Many of them also do not have tenure, but that didn’t stop them. The petition was picked up by the media and now many parents across NYS are fighting against teaching to the test and the amount of testing now required every 3 months. Teachers are pretty savvy at making up their own assessments. They don’t need some expensive computer program to do it. You are right, I don’t use Twitter. But I do use Facebook and have an education page with over 6,000 supporters around the country and more than 30,000 who read my page on a weekly basis. I fight against the same things Mr. R fights against. I wanted to do something useful with my retirement, so I started a page that supports public schools and teachers. They are unjustly vilified by the press each and every day, so having someone else in the profession like yourself doing it doesn’t sit right with me. I know there are teachers out there who shouldn’t be in the classroom, but using VAM will have no effect on them. That’s why I fight for using PAR instead. I fight against using RTTT funding to pay for testing and test materials instead of going directly to the student. I fight against companies like Pearson making money off of our students. I fight against people using RTTT to line their pockets because education is now big business. I fight for parents who form grassroots movement against high-stakes testing and today celebrate with Florida parents the defeat of the Parent Trigger bill which has nothing whatsoever to do with parents. If it weren’t for people using Facebook and Twitter, we would just have people like Michelle Rhee and Bill Gates dictating our opinions through the media. btw, I taught 5th grade, and that was never a 5th-grade math problem. In fact many of the concepts now taught in math, I learned in high school. And under Common Core they are coming down to the early childhood grades, and that includes kindergarten. This is madness!! I still don’t see how you can characterize a teacher taken out of his classroom and put under investigation as whining. And then to go on to classify a group of very brave praicipnls who are standing up to the dictates of the state as silly . Again you seem to feel we should remain in the corner and not speak until spoken to, and that’s just wrong. All Mr. R did was shed light on something that needs to be addressed. And for the life of me, I don’t understand where you are coming from. I posted his story on my education page because I supported his efforts to expose a travesty upon the students of NYS and around the country. And, I am proud of any teacher who cares so deeply for his students he is willing to go public. Today most teachers are afraid to speak up, but they seem to be the teachers you admire. Our jobs is not only to teach the curriculum, but teach children how to think for themselves. It’s not only about academics. We have so many children coming to class with so many outside factors effecting them, and as teachers we have to address those concerns as well. School should also be a place where learning can also be fun and reading becomes a lifelong joy. Teaching to the test will not do that.
I can agree with all that! Although I draw the line at respecting Cuomo and King!
Maybe we can buy each other a drink at Committee of 100 or the RA. I think EVERYONE deserves respect including Beth Dimino (who I met at the Leadership Institute), Norm Scott, Karen McGee, Dick Iannuzzi, Martin Messner, Andy Palotta, Maria, Lee, Michael, Kathleen, Paul, Catalina, you, me, hell even Andrew Cuomo and John King. But we can call any of these people out for their statements, their actions, their inflammatory language, even doctored photos! In the end, what is going to bring NYSUT back to being a powerful force in the state. Again, as I stated at the outset, I don’t know yet; for me this is a choice between a team that needs 3 more years to finish what it started, and a new team that wants to try new tactics.
Micahel, I am more than happy to engage in dialogue. I use the term “shill” because virtually every Revive supporter who I have come across is exactly that. They do nothing but blurt out the same rhetoric, come up with the same excuses, and fail to acknowledge that there is anything at all questionable about the Revive slate and their motives. There is no debating with them. No dialogue.
Additionally I was enraged by the rollout of Revive NYSUT. To begin with it started ANONYMOUSLY, hurling attacks at the incumbents on social media. They did not reveal who they actually were until they were already exposed. When I initially disagreed with them and shared my displeasure of anonymous attacks as something that did no good for our union the insults started to come our way, complete with PJSTA President Beth Dimino being publicly labeled a liar. Anybody who knows Beth Dimino, a woman whose passion for public education is unmatched, knows she is anything but a liar. In addition to being an advocate for teachers and students as well as my president, Beth Dimino is as fine of a human as you will find. So forgive me if I lost all respect for Revive NYSUT then.
I know very well about E4E and they are not, in any way shape or form, the UFT members I was referring to. Quite the opposite actually. E4E stand for everything that is wrong with education reform today. E4E aside, there are serious issues related to the UFT. The UFT, dominated by the Unity Caucus, has set up a structure within their union that is wholly undemocratic. Did you know that in their election last year they had more retirees than active members vote? Did you know that only 18% of the active UFT membership voted in the election? Did you know that an opposition caucus to Unity garnered over 40% of the high school votes in that election, yet due to the “winner take all” rules ZERO members of that caucus are among the 800 NYSUT delegates who will be voting at this year’s RA? Did you know that all of those delegates belong to Unity Caucus and have taken a loyalty oath to Unity? They certainly won’t be showing up with an open mind. They are already in the bag for Pallotta, making this whole thing a sham. The results of the election are likely a foregone conclusion and it has nothing to do with how most NYSUT members feel, but more with how the UFT is structured. Does this sound democratic to you? Is this the type of “bottom up” union you are envisioning for NYSUT?
As for Norm Scott, he has been a highly respected writer about UFT politics for decades now. To suggest that everything he writes about this is straight from me is absurd and an insult to him. Norm Scott has forgotten more about union issues than a combination of what you and I know. I have been reading Ed Notes Online for several years, along with several other blogs written by UFT members. The UFT inner workings are very nuanced, yet once I grasped a firm understanding of them and then understand how they impact both NYSUT and the AFT I was appalled. I’d advise you to learn more about it.
Thank you for stopping by our blog. Any time you want to have an informed discussion I am more than happy.
-Brian St. Pierre, thepjsta.org administrator
OK I guess dialogue is not going to happen here. Just understand that if anyone who counters your opinion is a “shill,” the same labeling could be used to dismiss your thoughts too. I know there are NYC teachers (“Educators4Excellence”) who want to scrap seniority rules and make tenure more difficult to attain and I understand why they are not happy with the UFT. Are these the folks to whom you are referring? I guess I see your presentation as one sided because of the degree to which you are relying on Norm Scott whose writings you call “brilliant”. After all, much of his “reporting on the subject” is based on PJSTA postings on Twitter. Kind of a circular reference. Whatever, I think there are plenty of reasonable people in our profession, and I agree with you that our Union should be a model of democracy. If the delegates who show up at the RA have kept an open mind and made a choice based on what is best for their members, I have to believe this will work out regardless of the election outcome.
We aren’t buying into any one side. We just aren’t buying the garbage that Revive is selling. Is a change in direction needed? Absolutely. Is a change to top down, business unionism masked as “grassroots” what we need? Absolutely not. What saddens me is all the shills falling in line behind a faux grassroots movement. The people not willing to look at the very disturbing facts and connections behind Revive is disturbing. Ask the UFT rank and file how top down, un-democratic unionism has served them?
Saddens me that you would choose to buy into one side of this debate and present it to your membership as factual. With so much of this based on Iannuzzi’s (paraphrasing) “I only authorized 3 tickets not 10” it is clear to me that this is just distraction. I don’t pretend to have a clear answer yet, but I know the question is this: Does the current leadership (fractured as it is) deserve three more years or do we deserve new leadership? Of course the “revive” slate is not “new” people, but as a team, they will bring a new direction. Is that best for our 650,00 members?