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Reclaiming the Promise

October 18, 2013 pm31 1:44 pm

Yesterday the AFT sent out an e-mail under Weingarten’s signature – I must have gotten five copies. They announced a “Reclaiming the Promise” campaign.

The part I liked said:

This is why we are asking you to stand with us and push back on privatization, austerity, mass schools closures, and test fixation, which have not moved the needle in the right direction. It is time we reclaim the promise of public education — not as it is today or as it was in the past, but as it can be — to fulfill our collective obligation to help all children succeed. This will be central to our work in the coming years, and the AFT executive council passed a resolution this week formalizing this as AFT policy.

But as this is the AFT, I am tempted to read between the lines. “Push back on privatization” vs “end privatization” – is that me being picky?  Are “mass school closures” bad, but single ones ok? Does “test fixation” mean the AFT still likes standardized testing, just in more measured amounts?

For some of those, I may be being unreasonably picky, for others, time will tell. But my attention was drawn somewhere else.

“Reclaiming the promise of public education is about:  Fighting for neighborhood public schools that are safe, welcoming places for teaching and learning”

This went out under the signature of Randi Weingarten, who fifteen years ago, in a series of closed-door meetings, conspired to take away every neighborhood high school in the Bronx.

This is not a question of small schools versus large – although that was certainly part of the conspiracy. Breaking up large high schools was combined with “school choice” in such a way that not a single child in the Bronx was left with a high school associated with their neighborhood or community.

Look, I want to stop privatization, end austerity, stop school closures, massively reduce high stakes testing… And I want every child to have a good neighborhood elementary school, middle school, and high school. I promise.

But I think the person nominally in charge of the effort should come clean about her own past role in disenfranchising communities.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. FMIDY permalink
    October 18, 2013 pm31 3:07 pm 3:07 pm

    This is a classic case of do what I say not what I do, Jonathan. It is that simple. We indeed need to reclaim the promise of public education as stated by Weingarten in her article/petition otherwise public education will no longer be what it used to be in America. There is hardly anything public now in higher education in America and yet until the 1970s and early 1980s CUNY was virtually free for its residents but foreign students. So was SUNY. It’s rather an exception if you graduated w/o a big student loan debt nowadays. Where does the profit motive end, if any? Weingarten wished to slow down the process of privatization for the benefit of the “have not”. Well, we, educators, need to draw a line or take a stand on public education in America since an educated citizenry remains the best asset of a democracy.
    In solidarity

  2. chaz permalink
    October 18, 2013 pm31 4:54 pm 4:54 pm

    Randi is the problem and not the solution. She is at least 50% responsible for the situation our city schools are in now.

  3. FMidy permalink
    October 19, 2013 pm31 3:33 pm 3:33 pm

    If the situation in our public schools is not that satisfactory(50%) then why has the current UFT leadership been unable to do anything about it since Weingarten left? Of course I did regret voting for the current contract in that I did not see the ATR phenomenon on the horizon. Bloomberg does not care about the excessing clauses of our current contract. Principals of emerging schools have been gaming the system with the blessings of Tweed. Waivers are being given freely to principals so that they can hire anyone they want to without any due consideration to the excessed teachers from the closing schools,never mind all the many hiring freezes put into place. The ATR number keeps growing. Demoralized excessed teachers retired or resigned in large number yearly rather working under questionable working conditions. Getting a teaching position comes down to whom do you know again? We must reclaim the promise of public education to return to the civil service principles rather than what a politician decides to do with career professionals. Key positions in the DOE should not political appointees rather career educators with a sense of the of the classroom experience and history of the system. The policy of vilifying the classroom teachers is essentially divisive.

  4. October 19, 2013 pm31 3:39 pm 3:39 pm

    Reblogged this on fsmeduwp.

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