2010-03-05 / Columnists

School Scope

The Joys Of Aging
By Norman Scott

This column will be a shortie (Susan Locke is doing cartwheels). The 9 a.m. Wave deadline approaches on the day I begin Medicare and social security – and the most fun of all, the day I start to use my half fare Metrocard – take that Jay Walder. My wife is waiting to take me shopping for my birthday gift, which she thinks should be an exercise ball instead of that 200-inch flat panel TV I really need. “But honey, shouldn’t we also get that TV to go with the ball so I can see the video that comes with it really well?”

That’s all I have to say about the aging process. I am hoping some extra aging is going on over at Tweed over the Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez’s exposure of the emails between Joel Klein and Harlem Success charter school queen Eva (Evil) Moskowitz (Mockowitz, Moskowitch – take your pick). The ed literati are howling with glee over the 70 pages of emails that reveal uncle Joel’s predilection for charter schools over schools he is supposed to be running. Gotham Schools’ Elizabeth Green had this tidbit:

April 16, 2009, was a hectic e-mailing day for the odd couple. First, Klein offers his frank thoughts on his new buddy Al Sharpton, after Moskowitz asks whether she should invite Sharpton to visit her school. He’s good on charters, but not on mayoral control, Klein says. But he is “working” on Sharpton. The same day, Klein lets Moskowitz know that Bill Clinton called him to say he’s upset about the teachers union attack on charter schools — “keep confi,” Klein instructs. Clinton apparently “wants to do an op ed.” Pretty sure this never materialized, though Moskowitz offered some talking points.

Always being focused on the UFT, I picked up this piece from Green’s report:

WHAT RANDI SAID: In an Oct. 8, 2008, e-mail, Moskowitz claims that former city teachers union president Randi Weingarten, and her personal enemy, suggested that the duo write a thin contract together. Presumably that would mean that Harlem Success schools would become unionized, and the resulting work contract would have very few restrictions. Moskowitz said she would but only if Weingarten also agreed to a thin contract at half of all city schools. The union’s first thin contract, with the Green Dot charter school in the Bronx, landed in June 2009. Could you just imagine the Randi/ Mulgrew qvelling and distorting if they actually got Evil to go along with this? We’ve been predicting that the UFT moves to organize charters will be all about thin contracts with “very few restrictions” on the charter operators. Which will screw the teachers, of course.

In ICE and GEM (the organizing groups I work with) we ask ourselves what to tell charter school teachers who might be interested in having the UFT organize them. My instinct is to say, “Try the exterminators union.” But seriously, do you urge them to become part of an undemocratic, narrow, sell-out union?

Last week I got a call from a former student in my sixth grade class – from 1979. I haven’t seen her since she was in high school. We’re getting together for lunch. She’s in her 40’s. Now THAT makes me feel OLD. But I will feel much better after my yearly dose of Beef Wellington tonight at One if By Land, Two if By Sea.

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