Saturday, January 9, 2010

Michael Mulgrew vs. Mark Sanchez

I'm a long time Jets fan. Today, my team plays the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the playoffs. Jets fans know the drill. We approach the game with both hope and apprehension, knowing that the Jets have found creative ways to blow big games for the last 40 years. Despite the fact that we gave the Bengals a drubbing just six days ago, the Jets are 3 point underdogs. No one believes they can end their run of bad plays and stupid decisions.

To win today, all the Jets have to do is follow the game plan. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez needs to hand the ball off about 75% of the time, and execute a few short passes to keep the Bengals' defense off balance. Sanchez has to control his emotions and keep from getting rattled, which leads to mistakes. I think he can be a great quarterback if he learns to, in sports parlance, "stay within himself".

Rookie UFT President Michael Mulgrew faces the same challenge. He's faced with an expired contract and a mayor who wants to drive him face first into the turf. Mulgrew's first challenge is to avoid mistakes. Randi Weingarten, his predecessor, fumbled the ball on seniority, ATRs, the rubber room, extended day, the open market, and a bunch of other issues. She turned to ball over so often you had to wonder which team she was playing for.
So far, I like Mulgrew. He has the potential to be the quarterback the UFT needs. He's pleaded his case in a calm but forceful manner with the public. He's shown no sense of urgency to sign a contract at any cost. He's stood firm for ATRs and the rubber room teachers, and has kept tenure off the table.

Mulgrew also seems to realize that you can't win with just a good defense alone. He's gone on the offensive on a number of issues, including actively fighting the proposed lifting of the charter school cap and suing the city for failing to use the CFE funds to reduce class size.

Both Mulgrew and Sanchez have shown the guts and poise needed to be good leaders. Whether they can hang on to that in the face of high pressure situations remains to be seen. The Jets face their test at 4:30 this afternoon. Mulgrew's challenge is ongoing.
I hope both are up to the task. Let's go Jets! And the UFT!


reality-based educator said...

I've always been a bit lukewarm on Mulgrew ever since he told me to STFU once when he came to my school to sell the odious extension to the '03 contract. The sense I got was another Unity goon willing to sell members down the road to keep whatever perks he has.

I have to say, the way he handled the 2009 election, seemingly having a deal w/ Bloomie to sit out the election, then getting screwed right after as Bloomie and Duncan cheerfully announced their end of teacher tenure proposal before Thanksgiving, doesn't give me much confidence on him.

Have to admit, his tone is better than Randi's. She was my own union head and I found her annoying and cloying. I imagine she came across like that to people w/out ties to the UFT too (or worse, perhaps.)

Still, he needs more than tone to fight back three administrations hell-bent on destroying teachers unions - Bloomberg's Paterson's and Obama's.

And I'm not so sure he is any better at long-term strategy than Randi was.

Happy to be wrong about that though.

Chaz said...


I agree with you but it is a long season and let's hope that Mulgrew does not throw any critical interceptions that changes the ball game.
So far, so good.

Ready2RetireIn5 said...

Chaz, let's hope it is a veeeerrrryyy long season (like 4 years). I don't see Bloomberg/Klein relenting in any way. If we have to wait them out, I'm all for it. I'd love it if we finally defeat them this way. A few extra bucks in my paycheck in exchange for more givebacks (i.e.- slave labor) isn't worth it.

Mr. Talk said...

I did meet Mulgrew once, but it was a handshake opportunity. He seemed affable enough. Perhaps I'm setting the bar pretty low for him after Randi, but so far he has struck the right notes. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt at the moment--at least partly because I have no options. But at least he seems to be a lot more hard nosed than Randi ever was.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Any "extra" money is not worth the end of tenure and any other givebacks that the Union agrees to. And I am close to retiring also but my job is civil service and that is one of the cornerstones-job security.

ed notes online said...

I too am a Jets fan and loved the game Sunday. But as to Mulgrew, look for same old same old once the bloom wears off. Randi also started off with promise and a tone that seemed so much better and warmer than Feldman and Shanker too. Mulgrew was hand-picked to use that very tone to fool people. Look down the road a few years and see where things stand. Remember, Unity is the controlling force and has been for over 45 years.