Thursday, June 20, 2013

The UFT's Thompson Endorsement, After UFT's Lauding of Kings' Evaluations How Will Members Respond?

Late Wednesday afternoon, at the Delegate Assembly, the United Federation of Teachers endorsed Bill Thompson for New York City mayor.  That's of course the official word.

The fact is, while the UFT did have forums in every borough, with all the Democratic candidates, before Anthony Weiner flew into the race, the fact is the fix has been in for Thompson.

First, behind the scenes, the momentum of the organization moves like a dynasty. Though she is in D.C., running the American Federation of Teachers (or AFT) Randi Weingarten is still playing an outweighed role in the union, as Perdido Street captured in his citation of the Daily News blog. Whatever idea, inclination she has, gets picked up by the group. So, when the unsettling alignment of Weingarten, New York State Regent Merryl Tisch (along with Alphonse D'Amato) became apparent with the Thompson campaign, the hand-writing was on the wall that the fix was in for Thompson. (Although, it's interesting: the one time that Weingarten is progressive, stepping out of the eduform talking points, calling for a moratorium on the high-stakes use of standardized Common Core tests, the UFT is staunchly silent and ignoring her advice. Granted, she should reject the VAM tests and Common Core outright; an enthusiastic Common Core supporter, she's more likely trying to co-opt the popular uproar over the VAM use of Common Core and other tests ....)

Second, the presentation of the popular reception at the UFT boro mayoral forums was suspicious at last month's DA. Reps from the different boroughs gave thumbnail reports of the mood. Hello? The UFT has the staff and time to count the preference cards that attendees submitted. Yet, where were these tallies this month or last month?

Third, yesterday's DA was all theater. So, the Executive Board met (unusually) immediately before the DA, probably pre-empting president Michael Mulgrew's characteristic self-aggrandizing time-wasting poor imitation of an Las Vegas stand-up comic schtick. But everything else made it apparent that this was to be presented as an endorsement by acclamation. For, all of a sudden, right after they endorse, none other than Thompson himself is there; and all of a sudden they have UFT campaign placards all ready for distribution. The guest contributor at ICEUFT blog captured it best in "DA REPORT: THOMPSON CORONATION": "Peter Lamphere tried to raise a point of order that the debate was one sided. This was ruled out of order. The vote was then held. Thompson was endorsed by the Delegates and then he appeared out of nowhere and addressed the crowd."

The irony, that progressives can hope for, is that people disgusted with the UFT leadership's being out of sync with the regular rank and file teachers on evaluations, selling us the historic John King-imposed Advance teacher evaluation disaster a blessing of fairness, will figure that whomever the UFT endorses is bad news, and will vote more sensibly in the primary for John Liu or Bill de Blasio (the latter of which made headlines last night in the Daily News as, "Chris Quinn-Bill de Blasio Mayor Brawl Steals Anthony Weiner's TV-Debate Debut Thunder").

Liu and de Blasio appear more teacher-friendly, when candidate positions are compared.

UPDATE:
NYC Educator points out in Thompson Says No Raises for Teachers, to Near-Universal Acclaim of UFT Delegate Assembly that [four years ago] Thompson said flat-out that teachers did not deserve the salary increases that other city employees got. [NYC Ed cited this Daily News article.]
What happens when you publicly announce teachers don't deserve the raise all other city employees got between 2008-2010? Well, you get the UFT endorsement, of course. Now it's a little more complicated than that, of course. During the last mayoral run, it appeared that Thompson and the UFT were BFFs.
UPDATE:
The UFT, desperate for Thompson to win, is peddling in its campaign literature the mis-truth that Thompson is promising retroactive pay increases, as Perdido Street School blog has pointed out.

UPDATE:
Keep checking Perdido Street School blog. He regularly updates on the latest nonsense surrounding the UFT's unfathomable Bill Thompson endorsement for NYC mayor. The latest best stuff from PSS:
To be frank, while Thompson is talking some about changing Bloomberg's school policies, a lot of his education agenda is little different from Bloomberg's education agenda.

Thompson is not anti-charter. [Thompson has privately dined with charter school backers.]
Thompson will not charge charter schools rent for stealing space from public schools.
Thompson wants to add more days to the school year and more time to the school day.
Thompson praised Bloomberg for refusing to give teachers the 4%/4% pattern raise every other union in the city got.
Thompson wants to continue mayoral control.
Sure, there are some subtle changes Thompson says he wants to make to Bloomberg's policies, perhaps around the emphasis on testing, but I'll believe those changes will happen when I actually see them happen and not until then.
Plus, with APPR state law forcing both increased state testing and increased local testing, it's hard to see how Thompson can change the insane testing schedules we have these days anyway even if he wanted to (which I doubt he does, in any case.)