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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seattle Weekly's Take on the Alliance's Efforts

The Weekly has an article about the Alliance and its efforts to interject in the teachers contract negotiations. (For the record, I hate the photo they used - terrible idea.) It's not as well-fleshed out as I would have wanted given that Nina Shapiro doesn't mention that the Seattle Organizers Coalition existed long before the Alliance's and that the Alliance very calmly sat at that table gathering information from us before they created their own "coalition".

The Alliance's attempt to put ALL student outcomes on teachers is nothing less than disgraceful and their undermining treatment of the Seattle Organizers Coalition is shoddy. (Please note: this is my opinion. I know that many in the Seattle Organizers are not appreciative of this treatment but they tend to be less vocal than me.)

From the article:

While the group's ideas are not necessarily new, its effort to influence the negotiations is. And the coalition may have the political clout to do just that.

Among its members: City Council member Tim Burgess, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, El Centro de la Raza, and the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

Now El Centro de la Raza declined to be part of the Seattle Organizers but not this group. I'd be interested to know why. Maybe the Alliance's group looked like more heavy hitters but the Seattle Organizers, at least, is dedicated to parents and community, not the business/political community.

Also from the article:

The coalition wants to shorten the process for firing ineffective teachers and to base lay-off decisions at least in part on performance rather than just seniority.

Asked whether the she would go along with the latter suggestion, Addae declares: "Never!" Then she backtracks slightly to say that she should never say never, but adds that she'd have to see the district do a lot of other things first to "authentically show" that it wanted to close the achievement gap, like reducing class size (though why this should come before laying off weak teachers is a mystery).

I think the SEA's vise grip on seniority as the be all and end all to RIFs is going to hurt them. Why come from a place of no right from the get go? (Note: never been involved in contract negotiations - I'm sure there is an art to it.)

I'm signed up to attend next week's "Teacher Quality Town Hall" at South Lake High (small venue but apparently that's all they could get). It should be interesting.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am still not convinced that the rif's were for real but instead was a contrivance to create an environment of hostility towards the idea of seniority.

Seniority is a good thing. Most of us have it in one way or another and for teachers it provides protection when they have grievances or concerns.

Most of the teachers were called back and during the time of the rif's Brad and his department were saying that enrollment was to increase by at least 1,200 in the fall.

...or maybe it was just complete ineptitude on the part of the superintendent.

Rhee did the same thing in DC.

http://www.examiner.com/x-35275-DC-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m4d14-Teacher-firings-in-DC-are-the-result-of-budgeting-mistakes-Chancellor-Rhee-admits

It doesn't seem that she or her CFO know when to add or subtract.

Anonymous said...

And about the press in Seattle, particularly when it comes to Seattle education, they're pathetic.

Maybe that's why blogs thrive and flourish, 'cause you're not going to get the information in the press, not here in Seattle.

wseadawg said...

Olga is a terrible representative for the union. I'm sorry, but she repeatedly comes across as hot-headed, irrational, unprepared and in general, a loose cannon.

The union needs a better spokesperson with some media training or at least media savvy.

I know Olga is a good person fighting the good fight. But she's just terrible with the media.

grousefinder said...

wseadawg: I totally second your opinion on Olga. Her commentary is generally uninformed (from my personal observation) and she makes more enemies than friends with her hyperbolic monologues. I still believe that we (teachers) need to be represented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Now that's a union! SEA has gone the way of the buffalo...too inbred and docile.

dan dempsey said...

In regard to Olga....

on 3-17-10 she had members walk out because she did not know the rules for testimony ... No one gets more than 3-minutes even uninformed union presidents.

If this "Performance Management" was a big deal, where is the union's legal appeal of "Performance Management" decision? It is no where to be seen... Lawsuits against School Board decisions are filed by the public not the lazy sleeping union.

Get ready for May 27, 2010 at the Supreme Court in Olympia where the lawsuits involving School Closures, Student Assignment Plan, Math decision appealled by SPS, New Technology Contract, and Writ of Mandamus which names Seattle Schools and Superior Court Judges Doyle, Inveen, and Middaugh as failing to follow state laws etc.

reader said...

Has anyone heard Olga talk about inclusion and special education?

From what I have heard, she has her stereotypes.

udubgrad said...

Here's a shocker. The Executive Director of the SEA is on the Education Investments Task Force of the Alliance4Ed! OMG--members are in for a rude awakening regarding their leadership.

http://www.alliance4ed.org/EITF%20Roster,%2003.15.10.pdf

grousefinder said...

udubgrad...that is outrageous that the Executive Director of the SEA is on an A4E committee. Who does he work for...them or us? That guy has got to go. The SEA seems to be transforming into a think tank for the Charter School Movement. Teachers pay outrageous dues each month so these alleged leaders can work against our interests? Is it time to demand our dues back?

Are any other teachers on this blog confused by this betrayal?

Anonymous said...

I agree, this is what the union needs to be doing. Check out what they're doing in Detroit:

BAMN attorneys representing the elected Detroit Board of Education will ask Judge Wendy Baxter for a preliminary injunction to stop Emergency Financial manager of Detroit and Eli Broad Academy graduate Robert Bobb’s academic plan and school closings.

http://dailycensored.com/2010/04/15/bamn-attorneys-representing-the-elected-detroit-board-of-education-will-ask-judge-wendy-baxter-for-a-preliminary-injunction-to-stop-emergency-financial-manager-of-detroit-and-eli-broad-academy-graduat/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Dailycensored+%28Daily+Censored%29

and what happened in Florida:

Crist Vetoes Education Bill, Bucking GOP

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304510004575186280627409178.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

Miami Dade Teachers "Skip Day" by the Numbers

http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local-beat/Miami-Dade-Sick-Out-By-the-Numbers-90680984.html

Crist Meets With Teachers Days Before SB6 Signing

http://cbs4.com/politics/Governor.Charlie.Crist.2.1633886.html

It goes on and on.

But this is how you get things done if you're a union.

By the way, there is a way to allow links to be live on a blog like this one. Can someone make that happen?

dan dempsey said...

Glen Bifia is the Ex. Dir. of SEA

and the teachers are paying Glenn to do this.

Paid self-immolation.

Roast ones-self for how $$$$$ in dues?

ttln said...

no, it doesn't shock me that the union is in with the A4E. they didn't fight for us with school closures or SAP or anything else that I can recall. the only reason I became a full member is for the legal coverage it provides- I have ony been a full member for two of the ten years I have been a teacher. for eight of those years I refused to join because I didn't want my money to be used for their lame and misguided political lobbying, weak negotations, nor did i want to be part a union that couldn't -to borrow a phrase I read here- 'sack up.' this union doesn't know how to fight/strike/take action effectively. their day of action was on a teacher training day- no one felt the impact of the protest- no one was inconvienced except for teachers themselves when their school year was lengthened as a result. I was out on materity leave at the time, laughing at the stupidity of the whole thing. their self-sabotage doesn't surprise me ever. in fact, i find it predictable and expected.

udubgrad said...

Having the top union guy in bed with the Alliance explains a lot--why the total lack of defense of teachers by the union in the newspapers--no response to the corporate agenda to bash teachers.

wseadawg said...

Talk about co-dependancy! Shaysus-H-Christo!

I have to wonder how many of these union reps even comprehend why their union exists, what its supposed to stand for, and who its supposed to represent. Getting in bed with the opposition for some ridiculous notion of bi-partisanship or "can't we all get along" BS is heresy for the union. You just don't do it on principal, and to maintain a clear division of authority and interests. It's not war-like, nor against peaceful exchanges to steer clear of conflicts of interest (as if anyone anywhere in SPS understands what that is).

Do we hate Canadians? No. But we respect each others national borders, governace, and authority, don't we?

Why is it oh so hard for people not to jump in bed with folks who, when times get tough, will sell them out, stab them in the back and slit their throats?

Beyond ridiculous.

Unknown said...

The Alliance for Education is obviously not working in the best interest of students, parents or educators in Seattle Schools.

But to suggest that the SEA is in bed with them is absolute hogwash. Glen is a dedicated, hardworking man who has done a whole lot for the SEA and the district in general. There are hundreds of instances of Glen doing things for our students and teachers and very very little in support of the Alliance.

Yes, he does meet with them occasionally and discuss the issues that the SEA has, including confronting them on the toxic issues of merit pay, basing evaluations on standardized testing and much more. As an SEA member, I find this a very very good thing.

I strongly suggest all of you hating on the SEA and Glen for being "in bed" with Alliance do what most of us think the district should be doing- look at all the evidence and data and make logical conclusions. It is totally illogical to conclude that the SEA helps, collaborates or aids the Alliance.

In fact, the opposite is true- we (the SEA) are an important and powerful counterpoint to the misinformation, corporatization of education and privitization schemes promoted by the Alliance.

Maybe you should be directing your energies towards the folks actually promoting these policies.