"We have to attract and recruit and nurture teachers in order to get the best and the brightest, not only to get them to come, but stay."
Attract them and recruit them, yes. But nurture them?
When was the last time you “nurtured” a teacher, Randi?
Was it when you cut our summers a little shorter? or when you incrementally allowed a 5-period teaching day to turn into a 6-period one, which calculations showed hardly made a dent in take-home pay? (I think some actually thought it didn’t even equal what we had before.)
Was it when you agreed to enforced "Staff Development," as if teachers were still students and need to be "developed"? Did you even think of using another name for the kind of in-service sessions that keep professionals abreast of things, like "seminars," "forums," or just plain old "conferences"? I bet you didn’t insist on that terminology because you don't even think of us as professionals — unlike yourself, of course, who is in a “real” profession, like law. (Who's ever heard of a lawyer or a doctor or even a middle-manager being "staff developed"?)
Did you nurture us when you made us babysit the cafeterias?
Or supervise the halls, losing a chance to sit down for a couple of minutes and becoming the butt of all the abuse dished out by obstreporous teenagers along the way?
Was it when you weakened the grievance procedure?
Was it when you've never really showed any outrage about the flagrant and system-wide mendacity in observation reports? Some people call it harassment, and some people know it’s being done to get the senior salaries out of the system.
Was it when you didn’t protect us from the actuality or even the threat of what’s been going on all these years in the teacher detention centers, where some don’t even know why they’ve been put there, and others are told they can’t lean against the wall, or use their laptops or go to the bathroom without a security officer accompanying them? Is this is your idea of “nurturing” teachers?
Was it when you made no concerted effort to save our careers when the city was turning subjects mandated by state into mere recommendations? That meant even more music, art, drama, dance, foreign language, and library postions being closed down. (For the record, I hated being forced to teach elementary school music, on one day’s notice mind you, when my position was shut down several years ago, and I can’t tell you what I think of being an ATR now. This is most certainly not my vision of what I thought I’d be doing as a senior teacher, but it certainly was yours until we started fussing about it. In fact, it still is: your people are saying even now: "You still have your job, don't you.")
Whether Weingarten’s values are skewed or whether she's not been savvy enough to stand up to some political foes who do not care one whit about the common man, she broke this union — by maneuvering in all kinds of ways to get the votes to go her way at the delegate assemblies, by handling individual problem cases one by one and not fighting for whole categories of abuse, by manipulating Robert’s Rules more times than one can count, by forgetting altogether about building union from the ground up and taking her authority from the membership not just from her lackeys (especially the really thuggish ones), and now —
— by negotiating, in stealth, a hugely objectionable initiative, the nuanced merit pay plan, which goes contrary not only to what teachers stand for but strikes at the heart of what public education should be about.