UFT Guest Post #3: Reality-Based Educator

Today we will continue our series designed to give you a look inside the leadership of the United Federation of Teachers .  On Sunday we began with James Eterno of the ICEUFT blog and yesterday we continued with Arthur Goldstein of the NYC Educator blog.  Today we will be featuring a post by a man who goes by the moniker Reality-Based Educator (RBE) on his blog Perdido Street School.  Regular readers of this blog will recognize Perdido Street School as a blog that we refer to quite a bit as Mr. RBE does an extraordinary job blogging about education and politics in New York City, New York State, and beyond.  If you are on Twitter you certainly will wanna give him a follow, @perdidostschool.

Today’s post will take a somewhat different format.  Due to a previous commitment today’s guest blogger is unable to write a full fledged post for us today.  However he shared that, “You are welcome to use anything off Perdido Street School you think would be appropriate” and later added, “You’re doing a great job educating people around the state, so I think this is a great idea to use PJSTA blog as a resource and reference for people looking to get info about the cancer that is Unity.  Thanks for asking me to be a part of it!”  So today’s post will feature parts of different blog posts RBE has written over the last several months, sharing his insights and opinions on the leadership of the local union of which he is a member of the rank and file, the UFT.

Back on August 22, 2013 RBE wrote about Mulgrew Frightened by Opposition to Common Core

From Gotham Schools:

The opposition has alarmed many who say they continue to support the idea behind the standards, which is to teach students to think more deeply and critically, even as they have criticized the state’s implementation.

“This debate about whether Common Core is good or bad … is what frightens me,” United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, another panelist, said this morning.

Why should a debate over Common Core frighten you, Mike?

Oh, right – I remember now.

You head the UFT, an organization which eschews debate, shuts down opposition within the ranks and otherwise works to quell anything and anybody that isn’t AFT- and UFT-leadership approved.

Well, get ready for a frightful year, Mikey.

Because as teachers start to deal with Common Core lessons on top of the Danielson framework on top of 4-6 observations a year on top of evals tied to state test scores on top of evals tied to city tests and/or other locally-selected measures of teacher effectiveness, there’s going to be a lot of debate within the UFT rank-and-file over the Common Core, the new Common Core tests, Danielson, APPR and all the other reforms you and your boss, Randi Weingarten, helped bring about for NYC teachers.

On April 5, 2013, when discussing MORE’s case against Mulgrew, RBE shared…

Can you imagine a UFT leadership that actually cared about its members, that actually came from the membership to rise to the union leadership positions not so they could get out of the classroom and live off the perks and double pensions but so they could protect teachers in a time of historic attacks on public education and provide a positive alternative to restore dignity to teaching and compassion to students?

If you can imagine such a leadership, you should vote for MORE.

Because the current leadership is just going to continue taking us down the path of destruction via APPR, Danielson, VAM, SLO’s, and growth models.

After all, this is leadership that has decided education corporatists John King and Andrew Cuomo can be the independent arbitrators between the union and the city on the evaluation negotiations and impose whatever system they want upon us.

That, dear reader, is a failed leadership.

On March 28, 2013, RBE wondered Why is Mulgrew Afraid to Debate?

Via ICEUFT blog, we learn that even the NY Post is wondering why UFT President Michael Mulgrew won’t debate opponent Julie Cavanagh:

Brash-talking teachers-union boss Michael Mulgrew is a chicken and a hypocrite, union critics charge.Mulgrew is ducking a debate with his United Federation of Teachers rival before next month’s union elections, The Post has learned.

Special-education teacher Julie Cavanagh is challenging Mulgrew’s re-election bid and has personally asked him to participate in a “town hall” debate.

“To this point you have ignored outreach regarding your participation in a debate or question-and-answer town hall with me,” Cavanagh said in a March 14 letter to Mulgrew.

And a top aide to Mulgrew confirmed that the incumbent would not debate Cavanagh. Instead, Mulgrew’s political handlers offered to have one of the subordinates from his Unity Caucus debate her.

The contempt with which Mulgrew and his leadership are treating Cavanagh and the MORE caucus is not new to how they treat people within the union who do not swallow the party line 100%.

What is different is that the news of that is showing up in the newspapers.

Why won’t Mulgrew debate Cavanagh?

Understand that a 90 second spot for Cavanagh at the DA does not count as a debate.

I mean a real, honest 90 minute “Here Is How I See The Future Of Public Education, Teaching And Unionism” debate between Mulgrew and Cavanagh moderated by an independent third party.

That would be a great opportunity for both candidates to explain to UFT rank and file just how they plan to handle a very dicey future for teachers, schools and the UFT.

What is Mulgrew afraid of that he won’t have that debate?

Finally, here is RBE on June 20, 2013, talking about Democracy UFT Style in Regards to the Thompson endorsement…

I called this Thompson endorsement by the UFT leadership a long time ago.It wasn’t difficult to see that this was the candidate they would eventually endorse.John Liu is tarred by scandal, so he wasn’t going to get the nod.

Bill de Blasio was seen as too lefty (as noted by one of the Unity slugs in a comment at Gotham Charter Schools a few weeks back), so he was out.

Quinn, had she still been polling strong, might have been their pick because the most important objective the UFT leadership wanted from this endorsement was to pick a winner.

But Quinn has fallen in every poll taken since February and is no longer the presumptive frontrunner in this race, so the UFT leadership could take a chance and go with somebody other than Quinn.

That somebody was Al D’amato’s, Merryl Tisch’s and Randi Weingarten’s favorite candidate, Bill Thompson.

The sham of all of this is that the decision was made weeks ago, but the UFT made believe like they were going through some “democratic process” to come to the endorsement decision.

But as with every other decision the UFT makes, from the sellout on the Common Core to the sellout on APPR, the fix was in and the decision was made by the union elites and handed down to the rank and file.

That’s why they had Thompson ready to go yesterday right after the endorsement announcement, that’s why they had the posters already printed up.

The good news in all of this is, as I noted yesterday, winning the UFT endorsement doesn’t give Bill Thompson much juice other than a day of headlines and some extra cash for the campaign.

Mulgrew can preen in the papers about the vaunted UFT GOTV machine, but the truth is, this is a paper tiger union with most of its power base residing on the golf courses in Florida.

Most members I spoke with yesterday, both in my school and at Regents grading after school, said if Mikey Mulgrew wanted them to vote for Bill Thompson, then there must be something wrong with Bill Thompson.

I think that’s EXACTLY right.

Any candidate who enjoys the support of Al D’amato, the hedge fund/charter school contingent, Merry Tisch, Randi Weingarten and the UFT is a candidate who should not be trusted.

Just like the “democracy” the UFT engaged in to anoint Bill Thompson their candidate.

By now, if you have been reading our posts this week about UFT leadership, you should have serious questions about whether or not you can support the Revive NYSUT slate of candidates.  After all, remember what they proudly display on their site…

“We support the Revive NYSUT Unity slate. We have heard the voices from locals across the state and agree with their call for change.”

Michael Mulgrew

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2 Responses to UFT Guest Post #3: Reality-Based Educator

  1. Pingback: UFT Series Post #4: Do You Want MORE From Your Union? | The official website of the PJSTA

  2. Pingback: Cuomo’s Rigged Common Core Panel | The official website of the PJSTA

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