Bold-Faced Headline; Bold-Faced Lie

Nov 25, 2020 by

“Parents Have Had It With UFT Bullying”. A New York Post’s bold-faced headline from last week  was also a bold-faced lie.  The piece was authored by the mother of a public school student with likely some heavily sauteed editing to taste.

Indicting the UFT in an op-ed piece does not equate to conviction.  To this misinformed parent, the teachers union was the prime mover of the decision to close down the school system again last week.
Among her more egregious fallacies:

a) “At every step of the way, the United Federation of Teachers has put the narrow interests of a vocal subset of its members over the best interests of children”.
b)  She declares that when schools were reopened earlier this school year, the mayor and chancellor “had to bring an intransigent labor union kicking and screaming along the way–a union unwilling to show even an ounce of genuine solidarity with parents…”
c) She condemns “politicians (who) pull their punches when it comes to calling out the one group that has been the central player in so much of the delays and chaos around the reopening: the teachers union”.
d) “The union has gotten everything it has demanded, and now its leaders are holding to the ridiculous and unscientific, per the World Health Organization, threshold…to force the closing of schools once again”
e) She urges “the City Council and all these candidates running for mayor”…to take on the one special-interest group most responsible for the situation”
f) The closing of schools last week was “because politicians once again caved to the UFT”.

The author’s passions are full but cognitively empty.

The teachers union did not determine at which point to close the schools. It was the City’s decision in consultation with medical experts. The union certainly has pushed for PPE, testing and deep cleaning and maintains vigilance as a collaborative partner in keeping the broad education community safer.
Not sorry for that.

The author of this Post piece has a son who suffered from the lack of in-person nurturing from his teachers, and he thrived when his school re-opened. It also provided “the light at the end of a very dark (economic) tunnel”.  Her South Bronx neighborhood is hit hard by COVID and she professes to “understand that teachers want to be safe.”
She is exasperated. But it’s one thing to be besides oneself and quite another to argue besides the facts

Although she needs to be corrected, she should not be derided for lashing out with outrage, even though it’s misdirected.  She too is a victim of these turbulent and maddening times. She merits forbearance.

But her lashing out at the teachers union is absolutely off the mark.  To be fair, it has been tough and occasionally acted in manners that have been inconvenient to disciples of easy solutions and will not placate them by playing roulette with precious lives. 

Not sorry for that either.

The UFT refuses to be bullied.  That doesn’t make it a bully.  If it is a “special interest”, then that special interest is generalized under the shared umbrella of all New Yorkers.

Ron Isaac

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