"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, June 04, 2012

Attention All Teachers: Your Union Leaders Are Betraying You

Last year Paul Toner, the ostensible leader of the MA Teachers Association, surrendered his membership by capitulating without a whimper to the first step in the corporate blueprint to replace tenured and experienced teachers with a new generation of untrained neophytes who will cycle through the system after a two to three year stint.  That first step in that process was to establish a teacher evaluation scheme based on student test scores, and to link job security pay to those test scores.  Toner accomplished this feat without a vote by the rank and file--not even an opinion survey.

This kind of open contempt for the teachers he was elected to represent in 2010 signified a transparent betrayal of teachers and children for the self-aggrandizing goal of cozying up to the corporate foundations and education terrorist organizations like Stand for Children (see Jonah Edelman spill the beans on the real goals of Stand on Children).

Now we find that President Toner has surrendered Massachusetts teachers once more in Step 2 of the corporate education deformers' plan to destroy teacher tenure, job security, and due process .  From Barbara Gordon posted Saturday on Facebook:

This week the Massachusetts Teachers Association's Board of Directors voted to put forward legislation that will end the use of tenure and seniority as the primary factors to use in layoff situations. Instead, the primary criteria will be performance evaluations and "the best interests of the students" with seniority being used only for "tie-breakers."  
This was a "legislative compromise" the MTA leadership worked out with educational terrorists Stand for Children, who had a ballot question that did the same thing and more, ready for the November election. The MTA leadership negotiated this compromise without input or approval from rank and file MTA members. Their position is that there is no way we could have beaten Stand on the ballot question so it was better to compromise and lose seniority rights and involuntary transfer rights than to fight and possibly lose those things and more.  
People are shocked and furious. Does anyone have any ideas for anything we can do about this? They are pushing to get this into the legislature and passed by July 3, the deadline when Stand for Children has to submit the final paperwork for the ballot question. 
We know we might lose the ballot question, but we wanted a chance to fight. If the MTA leadership will not fight for us, where are we? What are we paying our dues for?

And this from Tim Scott:
MTA & STAND FOR CHILDREN: As we know, collective bargaining entails negotiating with our employer over our compensation, hours of work and working conditions (broadly). Under these rules, we often need to organize ourselves to take action to ensure that we strengthen our contracts, while not giving away past gains. 
The current MTA leadership has now decided to take us in a new and very different direction and bargain (secretly in the beginning) with Stand for Children - a private anti-union, corporate front group - not only over contractual issues, but fundamental union rights. Instead of organizing members and allies to fight this aggressive assault by a group notoriously hostile to teachers unions, Toner and company chose to take a pathetic and defeatist stance to enter into "negotiations" with Stand, knowing that teachers rights and the the union's integrity will be significantly damaged.
There is one solution to this problem, and it is the same solution to the problem that NEA and AFT have: the replacement of the duplicitous cowardly union leaders who have sold millions of dues paying union members down the river without a word of protest.  But even that will not be enough, for the new leaders must be chosen from those young men and women who will restore the social justice mission that unionism was once based upon, a mission that advocates for children's rights to read and learn and grow, parents rights to have a say in school matters, and workers' rights to the respect and dignity that is afforded teachers and school staff in other countries as a matter of course. 

There is no future for teachers, children, or parents in having Gates and  Broad control the voices of teacher by buying off phony leaders like Paul Toner. If the teaching profession is to be saved for now and the future, teachers must take back their unions and reclaim the mission that made them a movement of solidarity among teachers, parents, and students.  There is no other choice, and there is no greater calling.

In case you missed Jonah Edelman's confession about Stand on Children, here it is:


  1. The Broad Foundation Mission Statement 2009

    Page 11
    Teacher unions have always been a formidable voice in public
    education. We decided at the onset of our work to invest in
    smart, progressive labor leaders like Randi Weingarten, head of
    the United Federation of Teachers in New York City for more
    than a decade and now president of the American Federation
    of Teachers (AFT). We partnered with Weingarten to fund two
    union-run charter schools in Brooklyn and to fund New York
    City’s first incentive-based compensation program for schools,
    as well as the AFT’s Innovation Fund. We had previously
    helped advance pay for performance programs in Denver and
    Houston, but we were particularly encouraged to see New York
    City embrace the plan.

    Page 16
    The Broad Foundation invests $2 million in the
    Teachers Union Reform Network (TURN), a network of
    National Education Association and American Federation
    of Teachers locals.

    Page 20
    In 2005 the Broad Foundation makes a $1 million grant to
    the United Federation of Teachers in New York City to open
    two union-run charter schools in Brooklyn, the first such
    schools in the country.

    Page 21
    Caption to a picture of “Randi Weingarten getting a hug from Joel Klein, then Chancellor of New York City Schools
    Left to right in picture: Eli Broad, U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein and United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten celebrate at the announcement of the winner of the 2007 Broad Prize.”

    Page 23
    With the support of the United Federation of
    Teachers, the New York City Department of Education implements
    a school-wide bonus program in 200 of its most
    challenged schools. The Broad Foundation invests $5 million
    to help fund the bonuses.

  2. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Further recommended reading on this topic: http://www.pegwithpen.com/2012/05/sell-outs.html