Learning to Hear the Union
Mike at Assigned Reading is dead on that the Newsmakers head-to-head between Central Falls union representative Jim Parisi and Superintendent Frances Gallo is very revealing about the two sides’ priorities. Perhaps the most crystallized example of unions’ determination to spin rather than inform — because everything’s “negotiable” — comes at approximately 9: in the video:
Asked about the extra tasks that the administration is requesting from teachers, Parisi says:
What people aren’t informed of is that Central Falls teachers already have more common planning time and professional time than any other public school district in the state, because we were a willing partner to make that happen. How come the union and its teachers don’t get the credit for something like that?
Sounds like a reasonable statement, no? The teachers are already working hard, compromising, so that they can accomplish as much as possible for their students. Well, the spin unravels when Gallo explains:
That time is taken out of the school day — out of the instructional school day. We’re trying to add the time to the after school time so that the instructional day remains such. We actually have an instructional day of just over four hours.
In other words, that state-leading planning and sit-down time was negotiated as time away from the most difficult part of the job: interacting with the students. A union will brag about helping its clients to lower their blood pressure — leaving out, of course, that it does so with a knife.