Commentary By Norman Scott
Mayor Bloomberg, the mis-education mayor, has found a solution to all educational problems that have bedeviled urban areas for decades: a city without children. If you build lots of housing without including plans for schools, they - the childless - will come. What to do when children arrive and there are no neighborhood schools to send them to? Easy. Find a private school or move to the suburbs. The Mayor's vision is to have a young, rich, childless population that will turn over as they either age or face financial difficulties.
Klein vision: me too
Bloomberg's NYC schools chancellor, Joel Klein has a similar vision for the teaching staff that dovetails perfectly with Bloomberg's - young teachers putting in 12-hour days to the point of burnout. Or to the point where they have families and must move to the suburbs and can no longer put in the 12 hour days (when they can expect to begin getting visits from their supervisors) that the BloomKlein system of education requires for success. Or just leave after five years and a new crop is trained. No high salaries, no pensions. A win-win for BloomKlein. A lose-lose-lose for teachers, parents and children. But then again there won't be any children left in the NYC schools except for the poorest areas of the city that have not been gentrified.
Manhattan high school chapter leaders want(ed) rally but fail(ed)
An attempt to get the UFT to reverse its policy and hold a rally against the current reorganization failed at the May 9th Delegate Assembly. Meredith Kolodner (the best education reporter in the city) wrote in The Chief on May 11:
"The United Federation of Teachers Manhattan high school chapter chairs will try to convince this week's delegates' assembly to hold a rally against Mayor Bloomberg's school reorganization in place of the May 9 protest it voted to cancel.
"An April 24 emergency delegates meeting voted overwhelmingly to cancel the long-planned rally in the face of an agreement that pushed back some of the provisions of Mr. Bloomberg's restructuring plan that UFT officials found most onerous.
"But the following day, the chapter chairs voted 18 to 1 to bring a resolution to the May 9 delegates assembly to call for a new protest against aspects they still find objectionable, including measures they believe will punish senior teachers and those that would privatize some school functions.
" Our view is that the delegates' vote doesn't reflect what teachers in our schools feel, " said Skip Delano, the chapter chair at Brandeis High School. "A lot of us based in the schools have seen a lot of anger about the reorganization and the attitude towards teachers, and we think people should be given the opportunity to show that anger to the powers that be and to the public."
When I posted the above story on my blog, with a note that there might be an informal picket line at the meeting, UFT leaders took exception and put out a special leaflet attacking me. Which prompted the following response on my blog:
UFT Creates Task Force
to Monitor Ed Notes
Responding to threats posed to their control of the UFT by the Education Notes blog, the Unity Caucus (Randi Weingarten's party) war room has responded by putting together a task force to monitor Ed Notes Online full-time.
An entire team of printers will be ready to put out Unity Caucus leaflets to be distributed to the schools within minutes of any posting on the Ed Notes blog that threatens the pillar of democracy established by Unity. Ed Notes' repeated violations of democracy, Unity style, will be monitored and responded to.
A post in the Ed Notes blog regarding the Manhattan high school chapter leaders call for a rally, forced the task force to rush out an extra special (in addition to the regular leaflet) to the DA on May 9th to counter it. The Unity leaflet stated, "the author of Ed. Notes, a retired teacher and one of the leaders of ICE/TJC (you remember the guys who always complain) was at it again."
The hundreds of retiree Unity delegates, joined by the hundreds of full and part time UFT staffers, joined by the hundreds of Unity chapter chair people who get to attend conventions on union dues - all of whom make up an overwhelming majority of the people who attend Delegate Assemblies, surrounded the Ed Notes editor during the meeting shouting lines from Randi Weingarten's hour and a half speech at the April special DA. (See Randi self-destruct in the April 24th post on my blog - Another Day of Surreality at the UFT).
Not being able to take it anymore, Ed Notes' editor broke down, screaming in agony, "YES, I am not democratic like you guys are. Next time Weingarten can talk for three hours and I won't complain." He was led away sobbing to the Friday's across the street where Unity spies released roaches near his table as he tried to recuperate with some sizzling fajitas. (Roaches sizzle too.)
When questioned by some Manhattan high school chapter leaders at a follow-up meeting on May 10, Weingarten said, "The Unity leaflet was a response to Norm." Hearing that, Ed Notes' editor became so distraught at the trees he was responsible for killing, he went back to Fridays.
Weingarten had originally put UFT roaches - er - staffers - Leo Casey and Jeff Zahler in charge of the task force but the threat posed by the Ed Notes blog is so great, she will be running the task force herself. The UFT has added instant time internet monitoring equipment tuned solely to the blog to her 24/7 chauffeur driven car. In an extreme demonstration of dedication, she will not give up this position even when she takes on the AFT presidency. "This undemocratic stuff must be stopped at the source," said a UFT spokesperson.
Postscript: Yes, there was a special leaflet put out at the May 9th DA and yes Weingarten did say it was a response to Norm. The rest… Truth is stanger than fiction.
Johnson nails BloomKlein
Tim Johnson, chairman of the Chancellor's Parent Advisory Council nails BloomKlein to the wall in his speech at a symposium in Staten Island on April 30, 2007.... with Chris Cerf - say this real fast - Deputy Chancellor for Organizational Strategy, Human Capital, and External Affairs - sitting just a few seats away. Also present were Randi Weingarten, Robert Jackson, Betsy Gotbaum, and Supervisor (CSA) Chief Ernie Logan. It's not the first time I've seen Johnson do this. This kind of assault on the privatization of the schools has long been missing. Especially noteworthy is the point about private agencies lining up to feed at the public trough. I taped the speech and posted it at: http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=WF1dpm263J4
I've been invited by the
… to attend a conference sponsored by the right wing think tank on the science of reading instruction and No Child Left Behind. I didn't expect to be invited again after my critical comments at the last luncheon I attended with Chris Cerf and my subsequent columns in The Wave. Sol Stern, a commentator on education who bases his expertise on his experiences navigating the NYC school system for his children, will moderate the panel. I hope he never has to go through a medical procedure with someone with the same level of expertise. Following the conference, I get to eat and listen to Margaret Spellings, the Secretary of the US Department of Education speak about the prospects of the disastrous No Child Left Behind legislation being renewed. I hope they have enough wine to dull the pain.
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