Saturday, April 20, 2019

UFT Elections: Core vs Coalition

The internal union elections are now over and some trends have not changed.  The group that dominates the union dominated this year's vote count. Less members voted this time around than last and the union's political positions, in City Hall, in Albany when faced with political progress and in schools when facing abusive administrators will not change because there is no focussed group of opposition to move them.

While there are a few aspects of this election that stand out, the most significant result of 2019 is what we all learned about the left: That this group of  "The Left" of the UFT is a very small group of teachers, indeed. We now all know that less than 2400 out of around 80,000 working classroom teachers are loyal leftists who, no matter what, will vote for the most left group. That has significance.

Politics are relatively simple to understand. Each leader or group has a core of loyal supporters, called a "base" and that core reaches out to other people or groups to form coalitions as they build toward majority. It may sound complicated but it is really quite simple: Your group joins with with other groups and stuff gets done. This isn't just how governments perform complicated tasks like developing policies. It's also how my family performs mundane tasks like deciding what to cook for dinner (and there are only three of us in the house). The core group plus a coalition gets you where you want to go. Got it?

It is rare in any political setup to get a bare unvarnished glimpse at the the size of the core of any coalition. Typically questions like "how big is this group?" "How people do they have with them?" are never fully answered.  Think about this: People say Trump's core is around 30% but that's all based on polling and so no one really knows how big is base is. Most times, folks don't know about the size of the actual core.

Yet here in the union, during this election, the MORE caucus presented all interested parties with a true gift: A clear view of how large their core really is.

You see, by purging all of their coalition partners, and moving into an election with only their core, everyone can see that their core is actually less than 2,500 teachers.

And we see glimmers of people understanding this fact.  Norm Scott noted how embrassing of a loss of support it was for MORE when he writes:

Think of it - in 3 years MORE lost 8000 votes. Someone do the % drop math -- from 10,600 to 2,600. Is 75% a rough figure or am I way off?

A 75% drop is bad anywhere. But the 25% who remained is actual the sectarian left. That's the MORE group without all of the coalition partners it threw out. That is them at their bare bones and they are less than 3% of working teachers in New York City public schools. Less than .08% of total membership of the UFT. This is not a large group. There is only one word to describe it: Small. This stigma  is going to be tough for people on the left to overcome.

There is good new for people like me, though: Less than three percent of working teachers are these extreme left sectarian socialists who have wrought so much damage everywhere they have gone (throughout history) in groups large and small. I somehow always thought that number was bigger.

But MORE has ensured that this movement of "the left", which started in 2011 with Occupy, has died on the vine. And unless they can figure out ways to rebuild coalitions, they are their tactics, and even some of their philosophies and causes, will soon die on the vine with them.

The group did far worse damage than lose just this one election. By choosing this course, they have exposed their core as an extremely small size of vocal left supporters within the UFT. NOw, every can see.  How they could have harmed the various causes of progressives with this one little bullet of theirs is beyond me. All I know for sure is that these knuckleheads performed a truly stellar act.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Poor Doenuts

From that friend again:

So, following my previous post I have discovered that we, apparently, do do that here. I have had to dig deep and dust off some proverbs in order to help me through. Here now are "Poor Doenuts' Proverbs for Early Spring Frustrations in a Toxic School Environment". I share them here because I hope you find them useful. These apply only to toxic school environments. All you "healthy climate" colleagues out there can keep it moving. If you have any you use, feel free to drop it in the comment section.


Stop working. If you're working hard, then someone else is controlling your reputation while you're not looking.

When being forced to eat horsesh__, reassure yourself that it, at least, comes from a thoroughbread of good ideas.

Always use your left hand to pull a knife out of your back. You'll need the right to defend yourself from others when things are real bad.

You're not perfect, and everyone who wants your job or classroom will remind you of that ad naseum.

Never forget your flawes. No one else will and most will want to remind you.

If you had absolutely anything at all to do with anything at all, it will be your fault.

If you don't think you'll be blamed, you'll be blamed.

Remember, no one pushes a person's buttons better than a teacher .. and all of you coworkers are teachers.

Booze will only get you through one night. Jesus, on the other hand, ain't only there on Sundays.

If there is anyway at all someone will undo your work, they will.

If they can't steal a good idea, they'll screw it until it dies. If they can't kill it, they'll come after you. It's best to just let the baby go.

Always have three places in the building where you can do your work.

Always have three places in the building where you can get some peace.

Calendars are like letting your adversaries know what you're planning. If anyone asks you to "calendar" they are looking to screw you over. Give them bad dates!

Always have three places from which to get coffee.

Practice these words: "Hello. I don't know. Goodbye" and say only them to the adults for an entire week. If that doesn't settle things down, call out sick.

When things get real tough, it's only a day out of your CAR.

If you're out of days from your CAR and things get real tough, add the cost of alcohol, a good movie and a session with your therapist. If that all comes to more than $130, take the damn day.

If nothing is worth ruining your sanity, then why didn't these people tell you two weeks ago? Think about that.

Yes I've got to get coming to work. I know I've got to keep coming to work. Stop saying I've got to keep coming to work.