Smart TV Ads and Dumb Wars

I like the new UFT television ad. I like the beautiful mosaic of students and parents and teachers. And I like the image at the end of Michael Mulgrew surrounded by kids exhorting us all to join them. Positive, uplifting messaging.

So, I’m at a loss to explain why Mulgrew wants to pick yet another fight with charter schools, this time over a new provision in the charter law that makes it easier for our staff to send their children to the school they work in. There are so many advantages to making workplaces more family friendly (ask Google) that one would think that the president of the city’s most powerful union would, at the very least, keep a respectful silence. The concerns of most school leaders I know center around the impact of this on their school culture. And for most of them it’s seen as a potential plus in terms of teacher morale and school diversity. If charters exist as laboratories of innovation so that some of the better things we come up might be used to further all public education how can this possibly be construed as something other than an idea worth pursuing?

We should also point out that twenty of the schools in our Coalition are unionized and that some of the teachers in these schools will no doubt jump at the opportunity to put their kids into their school lottery. Perhaps Mulgrew would like to come to our unionized schools and tell these folks, for whom he purportedly advocates, why this is a bad idea. And do it in a positive, uplifting message. Like the nice TV ad.

There are plenty of bad ideas out there in school-land but this is not one of them and Mulgrew should save his scowls for the fights worth fighting.

by Steve Zimmerman


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