The Daily News and New York Post had a ball with that one, with the Post placing it on the wood. Credit for the story, however, belongs to Elizabeth Green of the Gotham Schools, an online news outlet covering the City education issues. Green was the education reporter for the defunct New York Sun, and now is cranking out superb material for the web.
The UFT's spoon feeding of the City Council reveals a number of wider and disturbing truths.
First, the union maintains a very adversarial stance toward the City Department of Education so much so that it was determined to make them look bad just because the Department supports charter schools. You would think the UFT and the DOE would be on the same side, if you accept the UFT's claim to support charters (see #4, below).
Second, the UFT must not think too highly of the brainpower of the members of the City Council or the staff to the Council, believing it had to do their job for them. Rather than helping the Council do its job, the UFT managed to make fools of them. Nice going.
Third, passing questions to the Council reveals the spot-on truth of what Eva Moskowitz said in her presentation that same day when she described the "union-political-education complex" that exists in the City that serves one another's interests at the expense of providing better education for children. This take-off on Ike's "military-industrial complex" attack on the defense industry's selfish alliance with Defense Department bureaucrats indeed rings true with education politics in New York City.
Fourth, the UFT's passing questions puts a lie to its claim to support charter schools. Its push for the state legislature to cut next year's funding was evidence aplenty; as was its opposition to the cap lift in 2007 and its support for needless, duplicative and unconstitutional Comptroller audits of charter schools.
This all seems so unnecessary and counterproductive. The UFT runs a very good pair of charter schools in Brooklyn, serving grades K-8. They didn't have to be part of this reform effort yet chose to join in to the annoyance of its state parent, NYSUT. That took some guts and innovation on Randi Weingarten's part.
Why, then, would the UFT act in ways contrary to the interests of its own charter schools? It makes no sense until you realize that charter union teachers will always be outnumbered by district union teachers. When a conflict arises between districts and charters, UFT and NYSUT will side with a majority of its members - every time.
This reality should not be lost on charter faculty who are members of the UFT or NYSUT. Vapid assurances from Ms. Weingarten or Richard Iannuzzi are not enough. They need to join charter advocates to restore the funding that was taken from charter schools for next year. Pro-charter deeds matter; soundbites about "solidarity" don't cut it anymore.
for The Chalkboard
Disclaimer: The Chalkboard is hosted by the New York Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can view and respond to informed commentary on timely public education and charter school issues. The views expressed here are not necessarily the official views of the NYCSA, its board, or of any of its individual charter school members. Anyone who claims otherwise is violating the spirit and purpose of this blog. To comment on anything you read here, or to offer tips, advice, comments, or complaints. please contact TheChalkboard.