Sunday, August 29, 2010

The C Word

There are some words you just don't say in polite company, and tops among them is the C word. For some reason, that word, above all others, has achieved taboo status. I really don't know why. The word may sound a little gruff because it starts with a hard C and ends with a T, but hey...we're all adults here so let's lay it on the line. There's no good reason why the C word shouldn't be discussed. I mean, a lot of people have one, and those that don't have one want one, so we should just stop beating about the bush and start using it again. I'll start the ball rolling by saying that I haven't had any in a long, long time. Almost a year.

I'm talking, of course, about a Contract. Get your mind out of the gutter.

We have been without this particular C word since October 2009 when our last contract expired. Somewhat eerily, you just don't hear the word from Unity minions anymore. I rarely read NY Teacher because it's like Pravda, except everyone in the Soviet Union knows that Pravda is full of S word, while most teachers still believe in NY Teacher. Still, I perused the online version of the paper the other day and the C word was curiously absent, as if it had been kidnapped.

Pardon me, but I thought the primary purpose of the union was to define and defend the rights of teachers and to codify them in a contract. You'd never know that by looking at the UFT website. Reading that, you'd have to conclude that the union's mission was to boost Race to the Top, or announce the annual reduction of Teacher's Choice funds. But nothing on the site would lead you to conclude that forcing the city to sit down and negotiate a contract for teachers was anywhere near the top of the union's to-do list.

Let's not assume that the union has been doing nothing for the last year. Far from it. They have supported Race to the Top, which expands charters and promotes school closings. They have embraced a lift to the charter school cap. They have tied teacher evaluations to test scores even as those scores were shown to be largely illusory. They have agreed to an expedited firing process based on those scores.

But Mulgrew didn't give these things away for nothing. No-sir-ee. In return, we went from the pattern raise of 4%, to a reduction to 2%, all the way down to a raise of 0%. Now that is some fancy negotiating.

So maybe we should be happy that there's been no talk of the C word. Who knows what Mulgrew will agree to when C word talks really heat up. Waterboarding teachers based on value added? Teachers being forced to donate $110 per student to fund "Student's Choice"? A new 37.5/37.5 plan, where we give up 37.5 days of our summer to teach test prep in addition the the 37.5 minutes we spend at the end of each school day?

Or maybe Muglrew will surprise us and pull a great contract out of his A word. That's what my chapter leader believes; he thinks that the Mayor owes that to the union and that Mulgrew's largesse to the city was a tit for tat agreement that will lead to a fair contract. To which I can only say, he is out of his F word-ing mind.


BronxEnglish said...

This is Vintage, top-o-the-line, Mr. Talk. I am sorry to be so redundant, but you say what we all think. The truth. Thank you. Eternally.

Anonymous said...

I hope the folks who read the ed blogs start thinking about life under the new language regarding tenure and annual ratings. If they do, then start looking closely at Article 7, rotation. Unless this article is beefed up so that rotation will really be an option for teachers, the new test added component will be a death warrant for many teachers. The UFT has skirted the issue regarding article 8D, which has allowed many teachers to be ommitted from selection in their phased out schools thus, giving birth to the ATR mess. Well, if rotation is applied similarly, the academy principals and others who are lock step with Klein will cut your careers into tiny shreds. Check this out and let the teachers know.

ed notes online said...

You will only see the C word as a gift to the UFT from Bloomberg in exchange for give on the ATRs. MulGarten is trying to figure out a way they can screw them while making it look like a win.

I can see a ocntract where teachers are cut by 2% and the NY teacher proclaims it a win - the economy is tanking and Bloomie wanted to take 10%. Look for a 10,000 word incomprehensible piece by Leo Casey explaining how teachers in Outer Mongolia also took a cut.

VEGA said...

Thank you for your thoughts. Mine exactly. It is funny how after reading this I went to the Edwize blog and commented on a Leo Casey blog and mentioned the dreded "C" word. My comment apparently went into the Unity abyss. I agree with Ed notes online (Norm) about a cut in pay or a good screwing of the ATRs.