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Bloomberg escalates war against students, teachers, public education

May 6, 2011 pm31 5:20 pm

Today’s layoff notice was shocking? Not really. We knew. We all knew it was coming.

Many of us knew, all of us should have known, that he has been destroying public education for 10 years. One day he chips, another he chisels. Today he unveiled a wrecking ball.

Testing, charters, evaluation, “Fair Student Funding,” the “Open Market,” “colocations,” overcrowding, restructuring I, restructuring II, restructuring III, school closings, “bonus” merit pay, gifted and talented – all he’s done is disorganize, delay, destroy.

But today’s layoff announcement stands out – there is no need for layoffs, money is there. Bloomberg rubs his audacity in our 8 million faces.

Our response is important. We must use the contract, to the extent we can. We must use the courts as is possible. We must mobilize public opinion as best we can.

Our greatest potential power, though, is not our lawyers or our media people. It is our ability to act collectively. This makes mobilizing next Thursday, May 12, important.

Far more important, however, is building the capacity to mobilize 100% of our membership, for whatever demonstrations or mobilizations we need. And today? We cannot do that. Building that foundation, that ability to act, is crucial.

Because the war was just escalated, and we have many battles ahead.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 6, 2011 pm31 5:32 pm 5:32 pm

    Important to pay attention to especially in the face of rising expenditures on consultants:

  2. Eric permalink
    May 6, 2011 pm31 9:17 pm 9:17 pm

    Then why isn’t the UFT doing more to organize teachers, parents and community members on this issue? It feels like they’re being incredibly passive in the face of a giant movement that is out to gut public education.

    • May 8, 2011 pm31 2:54 pm 2:54 pm

      There will be major action May 12, and onward from there. But people need to learn to mobilize, and I share your frustration, the training is not being done, the habits are not being cultivated.

  3. Zulma permalink
    May 8, 2011 pm31 2:45 pm 2:45 pm

    My concern is not only with the union taking a non-aggressive approach to the mayor’s heartless decision of layoffs but the apathy or lack of participation or involvement by our members. There are many new teachers who don’t understand the reason for solidarity and union involvement. This is a prevalent culture in many of the small schools.

    • May 8, 2011 pm31 2:58 pm 2:58 pm

      Where should they learn it? From us.

      But from day one the union should be representing those members, and you know in many schools it doesn’t. We could blame mini-schools, or Bloomberg. But my chapter pretty much ignored new members when I started. When I got on the committee and began to work with new members, senior people, good people, warned me not to “hold their hands” because they needed to learn to do things on their own. Senior members intentionally misled me about rotation, about rights…

      From our chapters on up, we need to be “recruiting” our new members. Supporting them from day one. Convincing them of the need for the union. Teaching them about solidarity, and demonstrating solidarity. Otherwise, the cost of “sign up, now leave us alone” is very very high.

  4. Zulma permalink
    May 8, 2011 pm31 4:33 pm 4:33 pm

    I was very fortunate to have knowledgeable, strong union senior teachers when I first came into teaching. Then again, I taught in large schools where 85-90% of the members were in the system for many, many years and unionism was passed on to the next generation of activists. Being involved and active in the union was not considered a burden, but the glue that held the chapter together. I have such great concerns for those schools that have no chapter leaders, and our members are left to fend for themselves. I agree with you that “teaaching them about solidarity, and demonstrating solidarity” is the ‘glue’ that ensures the union of the masses. Yet, there is so much teaching that has to be done that at times a lone chapter leader cannot do it by him/herself. Why do some feel the passion to fight for rights, while others sit in silence in the hopes that the present economic upheavel will not affect them? We must continue to educate, to organize, to take action, and to hope that more of our members finally get involved.

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