I would like to believe in the UFT. I would really love to feel in my heart that they stand behind me and all other New York City teachers with all their strength. Alas, I find myself feeling like Winston Smith in Orwell's 1984--I desperately want to believe that a man holding up four fingers is really holding up five, but I can't deny the reality in front of my eyes.
On November 9, the UFT posted on its website a resolution regarding the teachers of the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR). It included the following:
RESOLVED that the New York Teacher will run an article on teachers in the Absent Teacher Reserve, including how teachers became part of the ATR.
Has the UFT kept its promise? Only in the measliest sense of the word. Yes, an article was published, on page 3 of the November 24th edition of the New York Teacher. It consisted of a very brief summary of the resolution mentioned above, including the promise to publish an article about the ATR in the New York Teacher. In other words, the UFT is keeping its promise to publish an article about the ATR by publishing its promise to publish an article about the ATR. Does that sound like Orwellian doublespeak? You bet it does.
I'll bet I know the answer to a few other questions, too:
* Why was this article on page 3, and not on page 1 or 2?
* Why did this little four-inch report on the ATR have to share space with news about four other UFT resolutions, none of which relate to the ATR issue?
* Why did this article get the headline "ATR measure breezes through," as if the ATR is not a contentious issue that has inspired hundreds of teachers to attend raucous meetings and has inspired one UFT official to deliver a "demagogic rant" in opposition to a resolution that was proposed on behalf of ATR teachers?
* And, finally, why didn't this article contain--as promised previously by the UFT--any information on "how teachers became part of the ATR"?
Could it be that the UFT wants this little ATR nuisance to quietly fade away? Could it be that the UFT has nothing meaningful to say to a group of over 1,000 teachers who were sold like a mess of pottage so that King Bloomberg wouldn't lay off any teachers? Could it really be that the UFT leadership believes that their job begins and ends with saving jobs, but the quality of those jobs is none of their business?
What do you say, dear readers?
Picture credits: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-iRFu3iXYD2Y/Tf4rOpxma3I/AAAAAAAAAaQ/0EfTJo4ohzE/s320/vlcsnap-2011-06-19-10h01m16s168.png