Wednesday, December 19, 2007

UFT Defends Liebman

Edwize, to its everlasting disgrace, has become an apologist for James Liebman, running two articles in one short week which defend him. Amazingly, this comes right on the heels of Samuel Freedman's devastating column.

First, "Maisie" wrote a piece about how Mr. Liebman was "smart and decent," and incredibly, defended him by explaining he was just following orders. I can recall cases where that defense proved ineffective. Most recently, they got a student to write for them, putting forth the preposterous suggestion that our supposed unwillingness to compromise was somehow setting back the issue of class size.

Actually, Mr. Liebman has blatantly tried to spin class size, the number one concern of parents (on his own survey) into a secondary issue. He has declared that reductions that do not reach 15 or less are ineffective. Anyone who has not seen him spar with Patrick Sullivan at PEP ought to. In fact, the consistent failure of this administration to act on class size more or less speaks for itself.

The student refers to the administration's "search for results." Perhaps that refers to the outright lies about class size on television. While the class size issue has certainly not been addressed, this administration takes a do-or-die view of test scores. And though NAEP results suggests they've been utterly ineffective, I've yet to notice Mr. Liebman or his bosses taking responsibility.

With all due respect to the student who wrote this, he’s sorely mistaken about the UFT’s willingness to compromise.We compromised when we supported mayoral control, and the results have been abysmal, despite expensive TV campaigns that declare otherwise.

We compromised when we allowed teachers to be placed in the absent teacher reserve rather than be assigned to new schools.We compromised when we agreed to support reorganization number three, the one that forces principals to consider salaries of incoming teachers, and almost certainly leaves even more senior teacher to languish in the absent teacher reserve. In fact, in 2005 we compromised so much that we earned the admiration of anti-union, anti-teacher zealots like Rod Paige

I'm afraid that any implication we are unwilling to compromise is sorely misplaced. If there's one thing the UFT knows, it's compromise. I realize students may be unfamiliar with our history, but I'd hope the publishers of Edwize would know something of it.

I suppose, though, I’d hope in vain.

Or maybe their priorities mirror those of Mr. Liebman.

It's hard to decide.

blog comments powered by Disqus