Monday, January 26, 2015

What is To Be Done About Cuomo's War on Teachers; the Frankenstein from Mulgrew's WFP endorsement gambit; Unity-UFT's Anemic Mobilization vs. Cuomo's War

Cuomo is at war with teachers; disingenuous is that Mulgrew is mobilizing versus him; their friendship lurks recent -- Once again, Weingarten looks a little better

Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared war on the Teachers of New York State.
This much is apparent from his statements at the opening of the 2015 political year.

And the New York Times has clearly recognized it with: "Cuomo’s Education Agenda Sets Battle Lines With Teachers’ Unions"

And to their credit the New York Times has stood up for reason for teachers in an editorial with integrity.

"The Central Crisis in New York Education"
[Postscript revision: the New York Times has challenged Cuomo's contention that the state's schools are in a particularly dire situation: "Cuomo Cites School Crisis in New York; Data Suggest Otherwise."

But Cuomo's latest salvo is only a recent chapter. For, Cuomo has long been at war with teachers. Since 2010 Cuomo has stipulated tough teacher evaluations, Annual Professional Performance Reviews (granted, it does make sense that teachers get annual professional reviews, but teacher had them previously, and the new regimen saddles cash-strapped districts with heavy costs, as this post discussed in 2013, citing this study).

Also, in 2010, and without seeing the full Common Core standards, Cuomo, with NYSED Commissioner David Steiner and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch ALONG WITH UFT PRESIDENT MICHAEL MULGREW accepted the Common Core State Standards. All of this was reported in 2013 with links at this blog in  "How Mulgrew's Responsible for Disastrous NYC Teachers' Evaluation; Gender & the Weingarten Comparisons."

It is the height of hypocrisy for Mulgrew to protest Cuomo's chicanery when he participated with Cuomo's attacks on teachers. Furthermore, as reported here last year, Mulgrew paid a five digit sum just a year ago for a table at a Cuomo fundraiser.
Mulgrew and the United Federation of Teachers leadership, in a historically cynical move, bullied the Working Families Party last May. Mulgrew and others threatened to defund the WFP if it did not endorse Cuomo. As he pushed through the WFP endorsement of Cuomo, Mulgrew gave "progressive" sheen to Cuomo in the eyes of many impressionable voters. Well, thanks a lot, Michael! Don't tell us that you did not see this coming. Read these essential posts at Perdido Street School on May 30, and May 31, 2014 for details of this fiasco.

And Mulgrew's response to this formidable attack? An anemic "emergency Delegate Assembly" this Wednesday at UFT headquarters and a stone-ages simple website.

Randi Weingarten -2005 sellout contract and all, looks more like the militant as she held a mass rally at Madison Square Garden. Just months later there was even, in many quarters of the union, talk of a strike authorization vote.

Instead of elite level caucusing at Wednesday's emergency DA, away from the rank and file, at the UFT headquarters, there should be a thorough education campaign at the school level of:
*how poverty impacts education performance
*how Common Core distorts proper teaching
*how Danielson demeans the teaching profession
*how poverty + Cuomo's new 50% high stakes test performance hurdle + Danielson-informed APPR potentially dooms the careers of thousands of teachers
*how Cuomo failed to give New York City Schools the Campaign for Fiscal Equity $5.9 billion that they are due and he promised in his WFP endorsement deal with Mulgrew and other union leaders

This campaign should be done with school level organizing, before school hours sidewalk pitches, regular community outreach, selectively door-to-door and at houses of worship, mass rallies at public squares, thorough social media usage and threats of work to rule.

Then, and only then, could Mulgrew begin to undo the damage of his political courtship of Cuomo.