Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stop NYC Chancellor Dennis Walcott, UFT President Mike Mulgrew, and Mayor Mike Bloomberg: Roll Back The Denial of Rights

We, the people of New York City, must stop newly minted NYC CEO Dennis Walcott as he erodes the last vestiges of rights that teachers have in New York City, namely an arbitration hearing with an arbitrator only partially under the control of the NYC Board/Department of Education.

Mr. Walcott, NYC's newest CEO under Bloomberg appointed to destroy public schools in favor of online education and charters, couldn't be more wrong in his speech before the New York State Senate on the rights of children being more important than the rights of adults (teachers) and in support of moving the 3020-a arbitration hearings to OATH ("streamlining" the disciplinary process so that ALL tenured teachers are terminated, no matter what the charge.)

Rights are rights. Yes, children have rights. Do they have the right to lie cheat and steal and then fabricate claims about their teacher to get a high grade, as promised by a rogue principal? No.

But throughout New York City principals are allowed by their supervisors and by Bloomberg's police to make deals with students to get a teacher fired.

NYC Educator has a terrific post which I have re-posted below.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"The Rights of Adults Should Never Trump the Rights of Our Children"

So says Chancellor Walcott, testifying in Albany regarding a(nother) new teacher evaluation system. It's hard to argue with some of what the Chancellor proposes. It probably doesn't help anyone for 3020-a hearings to drag on for months, and we can all agree that convicted sex criminals should be removed immediately from classrooms. These are no-brainers.

But his statement referenced in the title troubles me. The rights of adults should never trump the rights of children? Be careful with absolutes, Chancellor. For while every child certainly does have the right to a quality free and public education, the adults educating that child ought to have the right to work in safety, if nothing else. And I don't mean "safety" as in "a job for life" (as some misinformed folks like to call tenure); I mean basic physical and mental safety. Teachers should not have to work under conditions of constant fear or anxiety while the inmates run the asylum, so to speak. For some adults, the rights of children certainly have trumped the rights of adults--and quite completely, such that some children's right to an education has been placed above the safety and health of their teachers. Students who have been physically violent against teachers and students are not removed from classrooms. Students who continually and willfully disrupt the educational process continue to come to class and disrupt day after day with no consequences.

This is why I feel that statements such as Chancellor Walcott's about the rights of children versus the rights of adults are, at best, presenting a false choice. And at worst, they perpetuate the pernicious stereotype that unionized public school teachers are living off the fat of the land while mindlessly crushing the dreams of children through terrible teaching and/or abject cruelty. Children have rights, and among the most important of those rights is the right to a good education. But those who would argue that that right is more important than any right of adults should ask themselves if we expect our teachers to be physically and mentally equipped at the same level as, say, SEAL Team Six. Or if they should have to be. I tend to think not.
A successful school is one in which children feel supported and respected, for sure. But in that successful school, the adults would feel the same way.

Showing 4 comments

  • Michael Fiorillo 21 hours ago
    The Chancellor conveniently and predictably ignores two points:

         - Today's children will in the not-too-distant-future be tomorrow's adults. By Walcott's logic, their rights
         are to be sacrificed.

         - As the behavior (and actual statements of corporate ed deformers) conclusivley prove, education serves
         purposes that transcend the needs of the individual children being educated. They themselves
         unintentionally admit this with their obsession with "competing globally." In other words, education is to them
         little more than a lever and vehicle in a globalized, neoliberal trade regime, but one that dare not honestly
         speak its name.

    The fact and reality is that education serves micro (child-focused) and macro (society-focused) purposes. But don't expect people like Derek Walcott (or Bloomberg, or Gates, or Broad, or...) to speak honestly about that. No, they'd much rather use children as political props to further their infinite (Bill Gates' term) greed.
  • I was going to say the same Michael did about kids becoming adults, every parent's most cherished wish. Giving them fewer opportunities hardly helps, and the implication that they should not be taken seriously once they reach adulthood is beyond offensive.

    Making teachers at-will employees will simply deprive teachers of their right to self-expression, to model it for kids, and to be anything more than cogs in a machine. Not what I want to model for my child.

    Great post, Miss Eyre!
  • A successful school has a mutual respect for students, parents, and staff.  Unfortunately, under the Bloomberg/Walcott tenure parents are ignored, student voices remain unheard, and staff, especially teachers, are disrespected.

    It takes a village not an autocratic government to improve education.
  • Akademos 9 hours ago
    It's a totally bogus choice. No one's rights are to be sacrificed before budgets and social infrastructures are reworked. And if adults are abused or burned out, how can they properly teach and manage and inspire the students?
    And look if ANYONE's rights are trampled over, it's time for officials to act or get out of office.

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  • KaiGonzGlean 13 hours ago
      From  twitter
    NYC Educator: "The Rights of Adults Should Never Trump the Rights ...
  • teachersickout 16 hours ago
      From  twitter
    RT @LearnBoost: NAKED PROPAGANDA AWARD: "The Rights of Adults Should Never Trump the Rights of Our Children" #edreform
  • LearnBoost 16 hours ago
      From  twitter
    "The Rights of Adults Should Never Trump the Rights of Our Children" from NYC Educator #edreform
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