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Surprise Meetings

May 27, 2008 pm31 2:36 pm

Earlier this month, the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education called a meeting for principals. He was going to deliver news about the budget cuts. He gave them two days notice for a 7 AM meeting.

Principals have schools to run. And understand that being there or not being there would not change the news. Enough said, no thanks, we’re not coming, that the Chancellor canceled the meeting. And the rest of us noticed how embarrassing it was for him to reverse himself, but also how demeaning, insulting it was in the first place for him to demand “Show up, I’ll tell you why when you get here.”

…important citywide chapter leader meeting … on June 9. Please make every effort to attend… [schedule] a chapter meeting in your school on June 10, 11 or 12. Randi will explain why June 9

Fast forward to this past Friday. The school-based leaders of the United Federation of Teachers received this in their e-mail:

Important citywide chapter leader meeting on June 9

The UFT is holding an important citywide chapter leader meeting at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel on Monday, June 9. Please make every effort to attend. If you can not attend, please ask a delegate from your school to attend in your stead. Also, it would be helpful if you scheduled a chapter meeting in your school on June 10, 11 or 12. Randi will explain why at the June 9 meeting at the Marriott. The June Delegate Assembly has been rescheduled for Wednesday, June 18, at 52 Broadway.

Chapter Leaders really must go. I assume that there will be an important announcement, that it will involve us in a major way, that our presence is important. Everyone who is supposed to attend must attend.

But it is depressing that UFT Central treats us so disrespectfully. We mocked the Chancellor for demanding his principals’ presence, and then smirked when they had the guts to tell him no. So why is Central demanding our presence without telling us what is going on?

Priorities: There is dissonance between priorities from Central and priorities in the schools. Just about now, my members are looking at our raises and preparing for Regents and summer vacation (or summer school). I’m worried about ATRs and the rapidly-becoming-transparently-discriminatory “Open Market Transfer” plan, but that’s just me and a few others. Central’s priorities are stuck on the budget, the chancellor, and Hillary Clinton’s failed presidential bid.

Come back to us at the end of August, and our priorities may have realigned.

Service: I serve my members. I answer to my DR, and she answers to me and the other chapter leaders. Central doesn’t get it. Badly. As I wrote last Spring: UFT Central exists to serve the members and the Chapters, not the other way around. But sometimes Central forgets

I was generous.


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