A reporter recently contacted me. He had seen my posts objecting to a Gradebook article that referred to legal agreements drawn up by our teacher unions as ‘side deals’ and ‘disturbing’.
Here is the Gradebook article:
I emailed the reporter this response …
I am just a teacher and a parent. I do not speak for the union, but I have followed SB6 and RTTT closely. FB has a sister page, Stop Race to the Top, that you might check out for more info on our objections to Race to the Top.
During Florida’s Memorandum of Understanding meeting, drawn only after a public outcry to be part of the process, the working group only had one day to work out a plan that would dramatically change Florida’s education of children. The plan was unfunded. Everyone knew the Race to the Top funds would not be sufficient to cover the changes. The original plan, SB6, also violated due process rights of teachers. So, our union top man, Andy Ford, worked hard to maintain our right to bargain collectively with regard to our contracts. Our local unions did the same. These are not shady side agreements; they are legal and necessary, and we thank our unions for protecting our livelihoods.
The federal Race to the Top is a carrot on a stick incentive race to reform state policies. The stimulus requires states to remove the cap off charter schools. The public education system will have to compete with charters, specifically corporate charters, who do not get held to the same rules of accountability that NCLB is requiring of public schools. This will lead to more public schools struggling and more money being moved out of the public sector and into corporate hands. Many of us object to the privatization of public education. We know that they can not do so when the employees, us teachers, are collectively protecting and bargaining, not just for our rights, but for the rights of our children. Thus, targeting our unions is an easy answer for ‘them’.
Unions are not backdoor thugs as some village idiots or our Washington reformers might make it seem … unions are collections of workers organized to protect themselves from corporate greed and unfair policies. Considering the current push to make corporate education the norm in America, we have never needed unions more.
I never heard back from the reporter … I hope the message got out.
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unions = democracy in action
don’t let them convince you otherwise
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