Sunday, September 05, 2021

Remote MOA--The Good, the Bad, and the Probable

Like a lot of people, I got to see the UFT-DOE MOA the day before it was released. Perhaps some genius at the DOE leaked it. There's a lot to process there. I've seen a lot of commentary on the agreement. It's forced overtime, rank and file should have voted on it, it's not enough money, and so forth. 

Personally, I'm happy to take $225 to set up a digital classroom. It's not very time-consuming, for me at least, and in the long run it will save me quite a bit more time. For example, with the exception of tests, I'm not making class sets of copies anymore. My classroom will be almost entirely digital. Look at it on your laptop, your iPad, or print it out yourself. 

Also, I don't expect to do a whole lot in terms of asynchronous instruction. All of my homework assignments will be online, and as far as asynchronous instruction, it will be another homework assignment. I don't really expect my students to accomplish online what we do in a live class, and anyone who does is laboring under a misconception.

As for the one or two weekly office hours, there are options. You can work them out as you wish. Do you want those extra hours? Then do them. I don't, so I'll place them sometime during my prep periods if I can. As for overtime, the fact is it only kicks in after 40 hours, and we don't work 40 hours. If that's not enough, I've never heard of a teacher being paid overtime, and I've never been forced to work beyond my hours. I doubt that will happen this year either. This agreement is something you can tailor to your schedule and inclinations. I'm gonna make the best of it.

I think all the people parsing the details of this agreement are missing the big picture, though. The issue is not how the world is going to end if we work a few extra hours a week during a worldwide emergency. This agreement, though, seems to anticipate the potential shitshow of continuing COVID infection. If this many people quarantine, do this. If that many quarantine, do that. If you quarantine, do this. 

How on earth are we going to populate schools with students, most of whom do not even qualify for the vaccine, and not massively spread the infection? I can't begin to imagine. The only good thing Mayor de Blasio has going for him is his ridiculous testing policy. If we only test 10% of the unvaccinated, and only test those who've given permission to be tested, we've got a hole so big you could drive a Mac truck through it.  

So it's possible, given the preposterous system we have, that we won't catch the COVID wave until it's too late. While de Blasio may think that buys him time, and congratulate himself on how clever he is, the fact is when the shit hits the fan there will be massive closings. They will, in fact, be far worse than they would if he'd initiated a robust and sensible testing system. 

How long will this take? I can't say. But I see teachers on Facebook betting we'll be entirely remote by Thanksgiving. That doesn't sound unreasonable to me. 

Brace yourself, everyone. The city has decided, with almost everyone in attendance, that it only needs a fraction of the testing it did when it only had a fraction of the students. If you can't see what that spells, you may just be hard of reading.

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