Until fairly recently, for the last 5 1/2 years, I have been a wandering vilified piñata of a teacher/ATR. I have been to 75 different Bronx high schools without a bulletproof vest. Who do I have to blame for this? My school was closed via Bloomberg. How was Bloomberg allowed to do this? Randi Weingarten sold us a bill of goods and we bought it. This is of course old news. It’s pertinent in that it is still affecting many people. There is the accounting game called Fair Student Funding that discriminates against veteran teachers based on individual salaries connected to individual school budgets. In the old days, budgets were centralized. Unity and it’s aristocracy are aware of the unfairness of the situation and have done nothing to stop it. It allows for new teachers to be hired, who will hopefully pay dues, and the wandering labeled Lemons (ATRs) to continue to pay dues as well. That’s my reason for why I will never vote for Unity.
That not withstanding, I am sure there are some good people in Unity, just as there may have been good people in the Nazi party. Could I vote for them? That’s a big NO. It’s an unbelievable rationalization that people who were deeply opposed to Unity and did great work are now for pragmatic reasons joining the ‘party’.
I had a conversation, and a minor epiphany recently with my daughter over a statue on Queens Boulevard called Civic Virtue https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/22/nyregion/civic-virtue-much-maligned-statue-may-be-moving-to-brooklyn-graveyard.html- that was quietly moved in the middle of the night to a cemetery, because it was deemed politically incorrect in its portrayal of the naked sirens of temptation. The statue was inaugurated in the 1920s. It represents civic virtue and the temptations that must be overcome. My daughter and I got into it deep conversation concerning it and it spring-boarded into American pragmatism and ethics. My contention was that pragmatism often trumps principles. We went back-and-forth from the decision to drop the bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima to rationalizing bad and/or criminal behavior from those with mitigating circumstances. We really didn’t come to a agreement, but it changed my view on voting for individuals I think are doing a good job and running with Unity. I cannot vote for them.
If we continually compromise our values and principles just because someone or some party does something good, even major, like parental leave - but also discriminate (and allow for the continued humiliation of entire portions of those they pretend to represent) we are doing a disservice, not only to ourselves, but to the larger issue of what our union is and what it should be. Unity represents everything that is wrong with the UFT. We appear to be able to have a say, but we do not. The election is rigged, loyalty oaths are expected and exacted, and all elections open to retirees to vote. Retirees are actively seduced and vote at a much higher rate than the working rank-and-file. Most rank-and-file members have become so disenchanted with the Uft and with the stranglehold Unity has on it, that they just don’t vote. This of course is fine for those in power. There are many ways that the UFT could increase voters input - from electronic voting to eliminating retiree voting, but this is not in Unity’s best interest. Therefore, the entire election is basically a done deal. As it is a done deal we should not compromise our principles by voting for a party that has been part and parcel of the demise of the teaching profession in New York City. When I say part and parcel, I don’t necessarily mean intentionally. Through Unity’s mixture of incompetence and indifference, the quality of life of most teachers in this city Is abysmal. Overcrowded classrooms, principals running amok, inexperienced young staffs, veteran teachers turned into wandering hobos, rampant student drug use, cell phones in the classroom, aberrant and violent behavior ignored, pulled metal detectors, and the constant push to reinvent the wheel via no curriculum and/or textbooks. Unity, when pushed, will voice a carefully scripted cry of outrage on behalf of all of us, but it’s part of a long running farce. Those that have taken on Unity, beat the odds and got into the inner-sanctum are now running with Unity. Do what you feel is best, but do so with open eyes.
(P.S. Unity knows many ATRs are incensed. They only care now because the election is looming. They will announce an ATR buyout this week.)