May 30, 2010

What's the helmsman doing?

This absolutely glorious Sunday morning has been nearly ruined for me by a UFT post I just read that the charter school legislation passed by Albany this week addresses "most of the UFT's key concerns."

I kid you not. That's the title of the UFT post:
What Mulgrew seems to be happy about is this: "We changed the conversation about charter schools." Changing the conversation, though, isn't what I thought we've been paying the union to do.

A couple of things they think this bill accomplished:
— how the state could make sure they're open to the neediest children,

— how to ensure real parent voice,

— how to get more oversight in charter school ops,

— and how to limit profiteering.
First of all, it eludes none of us that the
number of charters will now go up, so they needn't bother trying to tell us there'll be a new limit on their number. Big deal.

And no one believes for a second that there will be adequate oversight of the charters with this bill or limits to the role of profiteers in charter operations. Just look at the article Why the Charter Cap Bill Should Not Become Law posted on Gotham last Tuesday before the vote, in which Leonie Haimson and Mona Davids wrote:
Unlike the bill earlier passed by the Assembly, this bill would bar the State Comptroller from auditing the books of charter schools, despite the financial scandals that have erupted in New York and throughout the country regarding conflicts-of-interest, self-dealing and misuse of public funds. It would continue to allow for-profit management companies to try to make a buck off our children, despite the cuts that are decimating school budgets.
They also put a big quantifier on how much parent voice there'd be:
And it would deny parents from having any say in where these schools are located, intensifying bitter battles that already are ripping communities apart and leading to more overcrowding and the loss of critical cluster spaces and libraries.
They identify other objectionable stuff in the new bill as well.

Thanks go to Norm for drawing attention to Jackie Bennett's analysis of high attrition rates in charter schools. (It was posted on Unity tool, which nobody much reads.) It turns out attrition is much higher in charters, even the high-performing ones, when you compare them with public schools.

At least Mulgrew knows that Race to the Top funds can't be used to fix class size. The money is to be used for new projects, so unless more lawbreaking takes place (like moving around designated funds from one place to another as they always do), we in the public schools are still in the same boat as before. Sinking.

He needs to be reminded with megaphones in both ears that lauding a new charter bill doesn't do much for the UFT. Nor does running charters of their own, by the way.

Playing ball with the politicians on this one doesn't get our senior teachers back into classrooms and out of ATR and RR limbo. Nor does it reduce DoE lawbreaking, stop special ed violations, put an end to teacher-bashing, oust the unqualified and poorly trained supervisors that harass us, or raise the political clout of our union.

What it does is lower our faith in this union and unionism altogether.

Will someone please get down to business and throw us a lifeboat.

Postscript: Norm caught this ball and is running bases over at Ednotes.

1 comment:

  1. Good Grief!!! With a union leader like Mulgrew, who needs Bloomturd and Slime to screw us.