Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Michael Mulgrew Gloats on NY1 After Dubious Teachers Union "Victory" in Election

Just as I predicted, Mulgrew is claiming a big victory in NY, but he's full of it (what else is new?).  In reality, it was a tie, which is a HUGE positive shift when compared to the last few decades, when the union ran the table with no opposition whatsoever.  We couldn't knock out their incumbents (Perkins, Montgomery and Huntley), but they couldn't knock out ours (Hoyt and Bing, who had the biggest margin of victory in any of these races).  Importantly, in one of the few races for an open seat, a big supporter of ed reform, Robert Rodriguez, won.  Here's an article (in the Village Voice no less!) about Mulgrew's delusions, with a quote from DFER's Joe Williams:

The Michael Mulgrew victory tour took an embarrassing turn on NY1 last night, when the United Federation of Teachers president gloated throughout an extended interview, overstating a very mixed primary day report card

…The other race Mulgrew doesn't want to talk about is the shellacking he took on the eastside, where Bing got 84 percent of the vote against a UFT chapter chairman, Gregg Lundahl. "I went from the union coming to my 40th birthday party to me being referred to as dead to the union," Bing said. Though Bing is also a quiet supporter of charters, it was his bill to alter lay-off policy that drove the UFT nuts. He introduced a bill last session, backed by the mayor and the chancellor, that would have set up a panel of teachers, principals and administrators to make layoff decisions, rather than let seniority be the sole standard used in deciding which teachers lose their jobs (seniority would become just one factor considered by the panel). That was all it took for Lundahl to brand Bing "anti-union" and "the notorious chief assembly sponsor" of the bill.

Ironically, Mulgrew actually claimed on NY1 that the union makes broad-based endorsement decisions. "It's never about a single issue ever," he claimed. But that's precisely what they did with Hoyt and Bing, and their all-out effort for Perkins, who's received nominal UFT support in the past, was clearly a consequence of his charter school hearing, a circus of anti-charter bluster.

Joe Williams, the head of Democrats for Education Reform and a leading backer of charter reform, told the Voice that "the strut" the union was taking now "was a little bit disingenuous."

"My experience" said Williams, "is that they make every decision with one issue in mind, amassing their power." He said the chest-thumping is all about showing that they've "regained the upper hand." Williams acknowledged that the school reform movement might have been better served by simply backing the legislators that supported charters with big bucks rather than trying to beat the opponents. "It's much easier to rev people up" and get charter backers to contribute when "you're trying to take someone out" who's opposed charters.

Williams thinks that the ultimate passage of the bill that lifted the charter cap and won the $700 million in Race to the Top funding took the steam out of the races against Perkins and others. His own organization sent thousands of "thank-you" letters into the districts of every incumbent who voted for the final charter bill, even those, like Perkins, who tried to kill the first bill in May. He said charter supporters are strongly backing John Sampson, the leader of the Democratic conference who sponsored the initial charter bill.


Michael Mulgrew Gloats on NY1 After Dubious Teachers Union "Victory" in Election



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