Friday, May 25, 2012

DOE Decides to Torture New Teachers For A Change

The NYC DOE has become pretty adept at torturing teachers. Up until now, they've pretty much stuck to shoving bamboo shoots up the fingernails of veteran teachers, however. We've endured rubber rooms, ATR pools, public shaming by the puppet chancellor, and the TDR fiasco. Newer teachers have pretty much gone unscathed. They're the ones the DOE calls talented and energetic, and who the DOE tried to spare from layoffs. That looks like it's about to change.

I personally know of two new teachers who have been publicly humiliated by the DOE using an entirely new method. Even though they work in different districts, the same thing happened to them, which I have never heard happen to anyone before, so I assume it must be a new DOE strategy for making teachers miserable.

Both were up for tenure this year. Both are extremely hard workers and beloved by their principals. Both deserved tenure and both were recommended for it. Both received it, and got official letters telling them the good news. They shared their good news with their teacher friends, and there was much rejoicing, partying, and back-slapping.

Then the DOE took their tenure back.

A teacher at my school was notified that his tenure was revoked because despite having the required three years in the system, he has only spent two of those at my school. The other teacher I know, in another district, had her tenure revoked because superintendent didn't like one of the comments that a supervisor made in the teacher's observation last year, despite the fact that the teacher obviously corrected that deficiency and was recommended for tenure by the principal.

If I know of two cases of this happening, I can only imagine how many times this has happened across the city. The DOE spends a lot of time talking about how important it is to retain talented new teachers. Why is it treating them like this?

Because it can. Because if you are a teacher, you are the enemy. Because it wants to let teachers know that this isn't a job they should expect to have for very long, even if they are granted tenure.

Get used to it, new teachers. Don't expect to get through the 40 years or so you'll need under the new retirement system to call it a career. The DOE is planning ways, even now, to get you to quit or to fire you well before you've ever climbed the salary scale or become vested in the retirement system.

And expect them to humiliate you along the way, no matter how good you are.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Michael Mulgrew's Pick Up Lines

I don't know whether the NY Post's story about Michael Mulgrew's dalliance with a guidance counselor in his wood shop at William Grady HS is true. If it is, my guess is that Randi Weingarten was behind it all and set the whole thing up. You see, Mulgrew was a rising star in the UFT at the time. Randi needed to know whether Mulgrew was capable of screwing UFT members. If he couldn't screw one, he'd surely be unfit to be UFT President, where he would be called upon to screw the entire membership on a regular basis.

Now, nothing personal, but Mulgrew doesn't exactly look like a chick magnet. It got me thinking about what kind of killer line Mulgrew must have used to lure this woman into his lair. I'd like to suggest a few possibilities:

How'd you like to come over to my shop and see my wood?
Wanna ride the saw horse?
If you like those tools, I've got a surprise for you.
Weingarten isn't the only one who's randy.
I bet when we're done, you'll give me a Satisfactory.
That bird cage isn't the only thing in here I'd like to drill.
You and I could make our own union.
My head isn't the only thing I shave.
It's not the contract I want to violate.
Yes, I have my master's. Plus eight, if you get my drift.

Frankly, I hope all these allegations against Mulgrew are false. It wouldn't hurt him to find out what it's like for teachers who are wrongly charged with improper conduct. Maybe he'd understand why it's not OK for teachers who've done nothing wrong to be sent to the ATR pool for years.

Mostly I hope it's false because I want to believe he cares more for the members in his union than the one in his pants.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why a 4+4 Raise Is Still Possible

There's been a lot of buzz on the blogs about Mayor4Life Bloomberg's decree that there will be no retroactive money for teachers. While Uncle Mikey is certainly talking tough, he (or perhaps more likely, his eventual successor) may well have to cough up that 4% plus 4% that was given to all other municipal workers other than teachers.

The reason? Pattern bargaining. The city has, for a long time, used pattern bargaining (in which one union agrees to a paltry raise and the city says that the rest of the work force has to also settle for that amount) as a way to keep costs down. Even PERB has insisted that this is the way to go and forced teachers to accept contracts that have kept our salaries far below those offered in surrounding areas.

If Bloomberg keeps his promise, or if his successor sticks to it, it breaks the pattern and all bets are off in future contract negotiations for all unions throughout the city. So if DC37 (for example) accepts a piss poor raise as they have done in the past, it would not establish a ceiling for the rest of the unions. If anything, it would establish a floor for all other unions, who would all demand far more. The city would be unable to claim that all the other unions must accept whatever DC37 got because it established a pattern.

It seems to me a more likely scenario that the city agrees to give us the 4+4 for 2010/11 and asks us to accept, as a quid pro quo, a tiny increase (say, 1% a year for the next three years). That way, the city could set the pattern for all the unions going forward and keep pattern bargaining in tact. While it would be a shitty thing to do to the other unions, Mulgrew would leap at it and the city would save billions in raises with the other unions.

Remember if the city claims that it doesn't have to adhere to the pattern in bad financial times, then unions can rightly claim the they don't need to stick to the pattern when times are better. And that will, in the long run, cost the city far more.