If someone were to ask me for a job description for a teacher, the answer would be obvious. "A teacher's job," I'd say, "is to educate students to the best of his or her ability." I would never answer that my job was to make the principal happy, or to make the mayor look good. Of course, if teachers work to the best of their ability, principals should be happy and the mayor will look good as a byproduct of that work.
Yet when Michael Mulgrew discussed his job for City Hall News, he said the following:
“My job is to represent the people of the union and all of the people in our communities to make sure they have good lives,” he said. (emphasis mine)
This is the same kind of crap we used to hear from Randi Weingarten. Listening to her rhetoric, you'd have to conclude that she collected dues from NYC public school children and their parents. It's disheartening to hear Mulgrew toe the same line.
Mulgrew, if you or your cronies are reading this, take note. Your job is to represent and act in the best interests of the dues paying members of the UFT. You are not here to represent all the people in all the communities of NYC and to try to make their lives better; your job is to make the lives of the people you represent better. PERIOD.
In my view, acting in the best interests of UFT members does directly benefit children in almost every case. The UFT has put a cap on class size that would have been obliterated long ago if the city had its way. Getting higher wages and better benefits for members helps attract and retain the best teachers for our kids. Protecting seniority, LIFO, and tenure keeps the profession stable and makes the teaching more attractive for future generations of teachers. In fact, I can hardly think of a way in which acting in the interests of teachers hurts students.
The general public, however, thinks that a four percent increase for teachers is an outrage, despite the pattern bargaining the city has insisted on for decades. They think teachers are being unreasonable in trying to retain tenure. They think we should give up seniority. And when Mulgrew makes moronic comments like the above, the people of this city expect him to act on their behalf rather than on the behalf of UFT members.
Let me write a new job description for you, Mr. Mulgrew, so that next time you're asked what your job is, you'll know what to say. "My job is to represent all the members of my union to the best of my ability."
The teacher in me wants to make him write it 1000 times on the chalkboard until he gets it.