To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.
Otto von Bismarck.
It’s in those waning hours as the crisis is immanent that great leaders negotiate that key item.
After a forty day 1968 teachers strike and months of bruising negotiations over school governance/decentralization Al Shanker negotiated Tier 1 of the pension system … that governor after governor has attempted to roll back. Lindsay wanted to be President, and Al made him “pay a price.”
How will Randi fare?
After eighteen months, borough-wide hearings with 1200 participants, dozens of committee meetings, the UFT bi-partisan Task Force on School Governance presented their Report to the Delegate Assembly in February, 2009. The Report supported the continuation of mayoral control, however, the mayor would not appoint a majority of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).
According to the NY Post Randi had an epiphany, while endorsing the Task Force recommendations, backed away from composition of the PEP position, instead averring that the mayor should continue to appoint a majority, in a May 21 op ed.
For many teacher activists Klein is the modern day Barabbas, a terrorist.
The conspiracy theorists immediately cried, “She made a deal … she traded for mayoral control for …” See here and here and here.
Some postulate: a “deal” on the contract, Klein’s “head,” an early retirement incentive, a permanent no lay off contract clause … a power hitting first baseman for the Mets …??
Ah, if life were so easy ….
For all the angst created by Klein, the Mayor has negotiated two teacher contracts with 44% in raises, a six figure salary at the top of the scale, and a 25-55 pension tier. And let’s not forget a rich health and welfare package, for active teachers and retirees. Retirement benefits are not guaranteed by contract.
In Chicago, if a teacher from a “closed” school doesn’t find a job in ten months they are placed in layoff, in Los Angeles a combination of the impact of Proposition 13 and an elected bitterly divided school board, teachers face devastating layoffs and their salaries lag well behind New York.
We rapidly forget that twelve years of Koch, four very disappointing years of Dinkins and eight years of Guiliani: twenty-four years of dismal contracts and a dysfunctional school leadership. How fast we forget District 16 (Bed-Stuy), with revolving superintendents and a corrupt school board, District 5 (Central Harlem) where everything was for sale under the protection of Charlie Rangel, District 12 (Bronx) a patronage pool for the electeds. And, Norm, remember Mario, the district union rep selected himself as superintendent and ruled as a byzantine suzerain.
Randi’s success is her greatest liability: teachers expect never ending success.
In September we will see the worst budget situation since 1975. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of teachers will be excessed, many, many thousands of oversize classes, the elimination of after school programs (per session), dire lack of supplies, and perhaps further cuts during the school year. FY 11, the 2010-11 school year will see another rounds of cuts as salaries grow and revenues lag.
In FY 12 the stimulus dollars end … will the President/Congress authorize another stimulus package? Will State revenues rebound? Or, will we face a 1975-like catastrophe?
Will it be “better” having a mayor responsible for the school system, or, an independent board with no budgetary authority?
What has happened to strong, dynamic, forward thinking union leadership? In DC, and Baltimore and Chicago and LA, participation in union elections is minimal and union leadership appears overmatched. Will Randi’s successor in NYC have her skills?
Did Randi make a deal? I hope so.
FLASH: What’s the impact of the coup d’etat in the New York State Senate? Is mayoral control in trouble? Ah … to be in those smoke filled rooms …