Monday, August 29, 2005

Principal's Message

Welcome back, everyone! I know you’re all energized from your well-deserved summer break, and if you’re anything like me, you just can’t wait to get out there and get started. Let me start out by saying this is gonna be a great year! What? Yes, I know I said that last year, and we all know what last year was like. But this year is gonna be really, really good. No, not like the year before that, either.

Now let’s get down to it. The Chancellor has some important new incentives and ideas, and I know you’re gonna be as thrilled as I am to hear about them. First of all, lateness. Lateness is out. We want to see the kids on time this year. What? Well, yes, we wanted them on time last year, too. Yes, I know what happened last year, and I’d rather not…no, let’s not talk about the year before that either. So, remember, lateness is out, right there with portfolios…yes, I know I said portfolios were necessary, but that was the old paradigm…what’s a paradigm?, I’m sorry there is not a contract, but…I’m sure the Chancellor is doing..okay, let’s settle down, now…

Point number two is putting the desks in circles…now we can’t require that you do that, but the custodians will be re-arranging them like that on a nightly basis, for your convenience, so please let’s….no, I don’t know when there will be a contract, can we just…no, let’s not talk about last year.

Most importantly, let’s talk about class size. Well, no, it hasn’t changed, but…yes, of course I agree that smaller classes would be better, but here’s the thing…well, yes, but let’s focus on how we can have the effect of smaller classes without actually reducing the size…yes, I know we’re overcrowded, but…well, there are four hundred new students this year and…yes, we will be breaking more classrooms in half and…no, the new walls are not soundproofed but…no, we haven’t soundproofed the old ones, either, but have you considered that maybe some of you are teaching TOO LOUDLY…and the art of pantomime is largely neglected, so…no, I told you I’d rather not talk about last year.

Finally, bulletin boards, no, the Chancellor was very clear about how many staples to use, and I don’t want a repeat of last year…yes, I know I said I wouldn’t talk about it, but…no, there’s no contract, but that doesn’t mean…Okay, I’m going to turn the floor over to Miss Pewterschmidt, who will talk about Right to Know...yes I know you’ve heard it before, but…Miss Pewterschmidt?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Teachers or Landlords?

Mayor Bloomberg’s contention that teachers need to raise productivity in order to justify raises beyond 1.33% a year is interesting.  I’d certainly like to see that concept applied to my personal expenses.

Have you noticed your car's gasoline working 150-200% better over the last few years?  Has your community improved its services 20%, to match your property tax increases?  Has Con Ed been offering you double quality gas and electric?  Has the US Government improved its services by 33%, to match its budget increase?  Do you feel more secure, now that your insurance premiums are so much higher?  Has that home you want to buy become 300% more comfortable over the last five years?

Well, those things haven’t happened to me, either.  When Mayor Bloomberg allowed apartment rents to go up 4% a year, he said renters should be glad the increases were so small.  He neglected to mention anything about their receiving 2.66% per year in better services from the supposedly struggling property owners.

Now, we already know what Mayor Bloomberg thinks.  What do you think--who's more important to this city, teachers or landlords?    

Saturday, August 20, 2005

EdWize-New UFT Blog

Thanks to School of Blog for the heads-up. This could be a good place to turn for contract updates, or perhaps debunking of anti-union, anti-teacher nonsense propogated by the News, the Post, and yes, the Times.

You'll find it at EdWize. Or use the handy link in the blogroll on your right hand side.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Contract Update

UFT President Randi Weingarten says Mayor Bloomberg's public pronouncement that teachers would receive a contract before the school year was just talk, and despite his upbeat prediction in late July, there have been no ensuing negotiations between the city and the UFT.

So welcome to year three without a contract. If there is any planned contract, the mayor may be timing it to maximize his political advantage. This ought to help clarify any lingering doubts about precisely what Bloomberg and Klein value in education...

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A Contract for Teachers?

Newsday ran an interesting piece entitled "As Mayor, teachers near contract, rhetoric tones down." According to Newsday, Randi Weingarten, UFT President, "who reportedly handed Bloomberg's staff a new financial proposal before heading to the Midwest, is ratcheting down her anti-Bloomberg rhetoric in anticipation of a deal both sides hope will be finalized before the start of the school year, according to union officials."

Well, the NY Times ran a similar story many months ago, and it turned out to be hogwash. Is this more of the same? Or is there a contract in the works for real this time? Should teachers accept the 4 percent over three years DC37 took? Should they demand the 10 percent over two years NYPD received? Should they allow reductions for beginners, as accepted by both these unions?

Any NYC teachers out there with opinions?