Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lessons from SF: UESF Teachers Push for Strike Vote in Contract Negotiations | Classroom Struggle

Lessons from SF: UESF Teachers Push for Strike Vote in Contract Negotiations | Classroom Struggle:



Lessons from SF: UESF Teachers Push for Strike Vote in Contract Negotiations





 We repost an article below which comes to us from two members of the leftist teacher’s caucus in UESF, EDU (Educators for a Democratic Union).  They and other EDU and UESF members have been fighting for a strike authorization vote throughout the summer with quite a bit of success.

 
On Aug. 14, UESF members voted strongly in favor of a strike authorization vote.  99.3% of the 2251 members who voted were in favor of the strike vote.  Here in Oakland we should learn from the struggles of UESF and be prepared to support them when needed.
 
UESF Teachers
Like us, they are faced with an intransigent district that drags out contract processes and demobilizes union members while proposing unacceptable contract offers.
 
Teachers in UESF are seeking a reasonable wage increase even though they are living in a gentrifying Bay Area with skyrocketing housing prices.
 
A few days ago UESF released an update on negotiations writing, “we can unequivocally say that the district’s salary offer was an insult to the men and women who actually do the work of educating our students. In fact, there was so little movement by the district that it is becoming likely that the district will force us into fact-finding and potentially a labor dispute.”
 
Besides needing to fight SFUSD to sign a reasonable contract, UESF members must also struggle to push a union leadership that is waffling on standing up to the district.  The union leadership is, in fact, actively blocking the democratic decision making of the union members who are pushing for a strike vote.
 
The authors write, “We are unfortunately all too used to so-called organizing that uses members as negotiating leverage rather than genuinely allowing members to weigh in on how our union should run. And President Kelly is determined to reserve the right to decide when, and if, we have a second strike vote for himself.”
 
We, in OEA, should be equally vigilant that our contract negotiations do not become top-down affairs with no input and struggle from us rank and file teachers.  Not only would that be undemocratic but it is also a recipe for a weak contract.
 
Besides learning as much as possible from the struggles of UESF, we should also be prepared to act in solidarity with the teachers, parents, and students of SFUSD.  If they continue down the path of fighting for a strong contract, they will end up at the point of moving towards a strike.
 
This is how major teacher contract struggles which have pushed meaningful demands have recently gone in Chicago, St. Paul, and Portland.   It is an Lessons from SF: UESF Teachers Push for Strike Vote in Contract Negotiations | Classroom Struggle

Remarkable Idiocy: “Economically-driven Education” | deutsch29

Remarkable Idiocy: “Economically-driven Education” | deutsch29:



Remarkable Idiocy: “Economically-driven Education”

September 27, 2014

thinker facepalm

On October 2, 2014, I will be speaking in Indiana to an audience chiefly comprised of university students who have a passing understanding of the intentions of moneyed interests to usurp control of public education.
With a mind toward preparing for my upcoming engagement, I happened to read three pertinent (and powerful) articles: This one on September 26, 2014, in Chalkbeat on Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s plan to use workforce data to determine what schools teach in order to subjugate education to the requirements of the job market, excerpted below:
Indiana is quietly taking steps to position itself for a future where data drives much of what is learned in school. Gov. Mike Pence has made connecting education and workforce development a centerpiece of his administration’s agenda.
This year, a bill he wrote created a new state office, under Pence’s direction, with a director who has been nicknamed the state’s “data czar.” That office will manage an expanded network of K-12, higher education and workforce data, working with an outside company to identify trends and opportunities to connect what is learned now to what students will some day need to know.
Just last month, Pence named [state representative Steve] Braun as the state’s new director of the Department of Workforce Development. [Emphasis added.]
Pence wants to tailor education to serve the workforce, not the individual being educated– an important point.
Next is another article, a Living in Dialogue post by Professor Emeritus Denny Taylor, one that deals quite skillfully with the sinister push to make public education little more than the servant of the US economy. The second article refers to very-well-compensated “non-profiteer” Marc Tucker’s 1992 “Dear Hillary” letter, excerpted below. Tucker’s vision is
… to remold the entire American system” into “a seamless web that literally extends from cradle to grave and is the same system for everyone,”coordinated by “a system of labor market boards at the local, state and federal levels” where curriculum and “job matching” will be handled by counselors “accessing the integrated computer-based program[Emphasis added.]
Again with using education to create workers to serve the workforce.
Finally, in this dehumanizing, “student-as-object” vein, is a third article, from the August 1, 2014, Washington Post and written about the South Korean education system by former South Korean student and teacher, Se-Woong Koo. The entire article I find profoundly sad, but this part stuck me most:
Herded to various educational outlets and programs by parents, the average South Korean student works up to 13 hours a day, while the average high 
Remarkable Idiocy: “Economically-driven Education” | deutsch29:

Oregon Save Our Schools: OEA Needs to Follow its Members' Vote Against High-Stakes Testing

Oregon Save Our Schools: OEA Needs to Follow its Members' Vote Against High-Stakes Testing:




OEA Needs to Follow its Members' Vote Against High-Stakes Testing

On September 17, the Oregon Education Association (OEA) made a report to the Oregon Senate Committee on Education & Workforce regarding Common Core and Assessment. While OEA's report was a welcome change from its previous responses (ranging from silence to full support of the "reform" agenda) to teacher concerns, there remain areas in this report that are problematic, especially for OEA members who approved resolutions at their most recent Representative Assembly that denounced high-stakes standardized testing and the Smarter Balanced Assessment. 



The report begins by discussing the Common Core, repeating the questionable conclusions of an 2013 NEA poll:  “More than 75% of NEA members either support the Common Core wholeheartedly or with some reservations”. This writer has always found that to be an odd conclusion drawn from the actual numbers, in which 26% of members said they supported the standards wholeheartedly, 50% reported that they supported with some reservations, and 11% were strongly opposed. One could have just as easily said that 61% of OEA members strongly oppose Common Core or have some reservations. But NEA has a financial stake with Common Core. As Dr. Mercedes Schneider observes: “NEA must spread this ‘strong’ approval message, for it has accepted millions to promote this message” from Bill Gates. One is also left to wonder why a more recent poll done by EducationNext shows that while Common Core support is slipping among the general public, support has plummeted among teachers who have now met the Common Core sales package face to face in their classrooms.



The OEA report cites a more recent poll that 2 in 5 Oregon teachers oppose the Common Core (hardly a 75% “strongly support” statement). OEA then states at least half of teachers believe that implementation is taking the wrong direction, and a wide margin (80%) believe that if they had been allowed to give input at all (only 40% believe that; 60% said they were not allowed) they would not have been listened to.



The report speaks of teachers feeling that their adoption of Common Core has resulted in a huge disconnect between what they are getting and what they actually need. It goes on to express teachers’ extreme frustration with standardized testing. It then states OEA’s official recommendations regarding Common Core and high stakes testing, which are clearly resolutions that came out of the most recent Representative Assembly of OEA members:

Nite Cap 9-27-14 #BATsACT #RealEdTalk #EDCHAT


James Baldwin said it best: 

"For these are all our children, and we will profit by or pay for whatever they become."


A BIG EDUCATION APE NITE CAP




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YESTERDAY

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