SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Anthony Krinsky Can Only Blame Unions

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anthony Krinsky Can Only Blame Unions

On November 11 I wrote a defense of Mona Davids related to the stunning fact free story written by intrepid New York Post reporter Carl Campanile on November 10.

The next day I get an email from Anthony Krinsky, author of the Edobserver blog telling me I had just been made famous by him. Wow, I said to myself, how did  this happen? Krinsky wrote a post debunking what I had written as well as the tenets of Mona's organization New York City Parents Union. As I was reading this I was quite curious as to how the 5-10 people that read Krinsky's blog will assist me in creating fame and was perplexed that Krinsky blames everything on the teacher's unions.

In response to one of the most important matters in education today, and #1 on the chart for NYC Parents Union is class size. Krinsky wrote;  Smaller class sizes is their hall-mark achievement.  This policy is singularly responsible for doubling education spending and teacher union membership, without budging the needle on student achievement even 1%.  Common sense, research, and the staffing policies of the best charter schools make it clear that spending more money per teacher on better teachers, is far more effective than putting more mediocre teachers in a school building.

So, you believe that this is some plot to keep teachers in their jobs and to increase the membership of unions?  There are many studies I can cite to show that reducing class size is the best way to go, but there is much anecdotal evidence nationwide to prove it. But you do contradict yourself. You decry spending more and more money yet you want teachers to be paid more. Do you really believe that teachers go into teaching for the money?

You mention student achievement not going up one percent, well who do you think makes the decision on which curriculum teachers must use?

 And please don't think charters are the giant balm that they are. Only 20% of charters do as well if not better than neighborhood schools. Plus in charters you have much less students with IEP's, ELL's, and behavior problems than you do in a traditional public school. These students are the ones that benefit the most from smaller class size.

 On more teaching, less testing Krisnky shares; No teacher accountability for performance.

Tests should be used to assess students needs, not to evaluate teachers. Their are too many variables in children and their lives for even a Noble prize scientist to use as a control. How shall we evaluate police officers? Firefighter? Please share.

Expand Pre Kindergarten and Early Intervention Programs. Krinsky got me laughing; True meaning: Create more union jobs.

 Geez, wanting children to have access to education at such a young age is appalling, eh? Reaching out to students that have disabilities that can be corrected or reduced so their education is not more expensive in the long run I guess is just plain wrong.

Krinsky's take on Qualified and Experienced Educators and Educational Leaders; Make sure that super-capable and enthusiastic Teach For America candidates cannot be placed (every year, 90% of applicants -- over 35,000 teachers are NOT placed annually)  so that under-achieving, union-brainwashed teacher ed-school grads can keep all the jobs for themselves.

Super capable? What makes a TFA'er super capable? Did you know that TFA candidates go through 50 hours of training in August? That is 2 hours a day, 10 hours a week, for five weeks. Would you this amount of training acceptable for your doctor? For police officer? For a psychiatrist? For your auto mechanic? Surely not. Besides, please share a link with us that confirms that 35,000 teachers each year are not placed.

Anthony, you are wonderful at pointing out all that what you believe is wrong. You keep on blaming the unions, but have you ever read any contracts? You claimed on my radio show that the UFT contract is over 400 pages long. You were off by 200.

What is your solution? What is it you are doing right now other than kvetching on your blog? If you feel so strongly about this why not teach. Show us all how it is done and how easy you think it is. Many will be looking to hear your take.


Anonymous said...

Anthony's been sniffing his own farts.


Anthony Krinsky said...

Teaching well is not easy and I never said it was. In fact, teaching poor kids is very hard -- one of the hardest things we ask anyone to do. It's not for the feint of heart and most teachers aren't going to cut it. Should we let failure occur? Teaching in the suburbs is easier, I think we all agree on that.

As for the UFT contract, would you like to discuss it? Eva Moskowitz held hearings on it before Randi Weingarten had her voted out of office.

With side-agreements, I'm told that it vastly exceeds 400 pages. Am I wrong? Please do clarify. Do you happen to have the collateral handed out at Eva's hearings? Anyone?

Eva Moscowitz could not run Harlem Success Academy (HSA) within the rules outlined in the UFT collective bargaining agreement. She wrote about it here:

Yes, I blame the unions for the failure of American education for many reasons.

Let's start with the fact that teacher unions believe that power belongs with teachers and reformers like me believe that management should have discretion, as in the private sector. But it's never that simple, is it?

As SBT says, there are plenty of school administrators who are not capable of fair, competent, and inspiring leadership. One of the first things that Michelle
Rhee did in Washington DC was to fire bad administrators. Did the teacher unions cheer her on?

What about charter schools, where if an administrator does a bad job, the school goes under and teachers find jobs in schools with competent leadership.
Do teacher unions support systems where failing schools get shut down?

We know that "can do" schools can't exist when teachers don't respect administrators and vice versa. Do teacher unions support mechanisms to ensure consentual matching?

We know that even an "average" teacher doesn't want to work with a slacker. Do teacher unions support streamlining the dismissal process?

We know that children learn more when their parents are involved in their education. Parents who choose the school their children attend are more likely to participate. Do teacher unions support school choice?

We know that students who spend more time in school and have relationships with teachers after hours learn more and are more committed. But do teacher unions support lengthening the school day or asking teachers to visit or speak with children or their parents after school?

You may disagree with what exactly is required to fix public schools but whatever you try to do, will require fighting and winning against teacher unions.

And by that, I mean fighting not only professional teaching staff, but activists like SBT, and front groups like NYC Parents Union, SOS, PAA, and others who are springing up to be the public face of the increasingly unpopular teacher unions.

Unfortunately, the goals and objectives of teacher unionism are bound together by the principle of solidarity. Do you agree? Unfortunately, there's not a lot of room for the principle of excellence when solidarity is the
over-riding priority.

Finally, teacher unions get what teacher unions want because they've got 10,000 staff people, a million of you teacher activists, and $2.5 billion per year to burn.

If they wanted to create great schools, they had the power to do it. In the many towns and cities, teacher unions elect the school board and mayor. What's holding them back?

You'd think that in even one large district, during the 50 years of teacher union hegemony, terrific union schools would have been created.

Anthony Krinsky said...


A long time ago, Albert Shanker tried it. The UFT once wanted to prove that smaller classes and teacher autonomy could be done well within the framework of unionism and without breaking the primacy of solidarity as an organizing principal.

It was called "More Effective Schools." They were not more effective, but they did cost a fortune: (page 186)

The failure continues today. UFT's charter schools are not a roaring success. It's not a stretch to suggest that teacher unions really aren't good at creating great schools and don't even want to.

Why? Because having disgruntled teachers like SBT is ideal for the union: it elevates the importance of the union as a protector against incompetent leadership.

There is nothing more unattractive to teacher unionists than happy teachers. Charter school teachers, by and large, aren't seeing the value. Happy schools don't need unions and for them, that's why teacher unions hate well-run charter schools and are so desperate to prove that they don't work.

Big, dysfunctional districts cause plenty of teacher anguish but the last thing teacher unions will support is fundamental restructuring -- for all of the reasons discussed above.

Anthony Krinsky said...

Since I'm a glutton for SBT punishment, let me just say one more thing about class size.

I agued that we've doubled staffing without improving outcomes and I think that's right.

It's actually easier to make the counter-argument. If you took the same number of people (a smaller number), and paid them more, you would over time and in the existence of a streamlined evaluation and dismissal policy, have a much higher-quality workforce.

But that would be bad for unionism because more teachers = more dues. Joel Klein once offered to pay starting teachers more and he was told by Mulgrew it was "anti-union."

There's probably another, better explanation and that is that public financing is cyclical and when it comes time for layoffs, the union must scream "you're raising class size" in order to keep union members on payrolls.

Teachers who would prefer more cash to more peers are sort of screwed in this instance. You can't be screaming "no to bigger classes" and then turn around and say "oh, we meant that we'd rather take the money."

So the class size drum-beating is a function of cyclical budgeting and the union promise to keep jobs. Unfortunately, good teachers who should and could be paid more, and who don't mind teaching larger classes, lose out.

As the "Lottery" movie reminded us, places like HSA have bigger classes and their teachers make more money.

Anonymous said...

krinsky, why don't you shut-up you windbag.

Angry Nog

Anonymous said...

Anthony, I have news for you: You mentioned how charter school teachers are more "happy" than regular zoned teachers and how they don't "need" teacher unions. Well, I taught in a charter school for a while and I never met a more depressed bunch of folks in my life. Charter schools are considered by many as the sweatshops of education. If charter school teachers are so "happy" why do they quit at twice the rate as regular zoned teachers?

mab said...

Keep talking Krinsky the more you talk the more you hang yourself. You must enjoy hearing yourself cause your the only one listening to yourself

Anonymous said...

Krinsky = kaka

Anonymous said...

Mr Krinsky

For starters, are you aware that the vast majority of administrators are failed teachers who nevertheless have preserved their pensions by moving on to 'management'If you don't know that, you really don't know much at all.

Anonymous said...

Krinsky, Grundfest, Rhee,Scott,Christie The names are different but the results will be the same. They will all be gone and not remembered. Today is their day they are all turkeys.

Anthony Krinsky said...

"For starters, are you aware that the vast majority of administrators are failed teachers who nevertheless have preserved their pensions by moving on to 'management'If you don't know that, you really don't know much at all."

Pretty terrible, isn't it? Why is it that they're not just fired? Why is moving a bad teacher into an administrative job sometimes the only option that a school district has available to get them out of the classroom?

When will the teacher unions stop blocking solutions to all of these problems? No teacher deserves to work in a poorly managed school.

Anonymous said...

Why is it they are not fired? Have you ever heard of due process? Cops aren't just fired. Neither are firefighters, paramedics, DPW workers, sanitation workers, etc....

How many times have you been fired? If it wasn't for the largesse of your family you would be our on the street.

Ben Austin will not even acknowledge you.

Krinsky get back on your meds or at least up the dosage.

Prediction: You are arrested and incarcerated for stalking within six months.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you understand. The administrators (for the most part failing teachers) simply applied for their administrative postitions while failing as teachers. Then they hit the hysterically named "Leadership Academy". It was a way to get out of the rigors of the classroom and the usual scrutiny therein and instead 'administer" while remaining in the same pension plan. Success in the classroom is not a prerequisite for an administrative hire in NYC - in fact it is practically a disqualifier. Get it? So the ones you seem to think can implement your brilliant ideas are actually failed teachers, have no credibility, and are essentially inept in any case. The successful teachers laugh at the failed teachers (administrators)and their dingbat plans and petty jealousies.
The fact that you did not know that the administrators here in NYC are predominantly failed teachers tells me you don't know much.

Anonymous said...

Krinsky is your belt too tight. I think someone like you should get the facts before you say some of the things you do.You like so many of the deformers will be flushed down the toilet and you will move on to something else. Why don't you spend some time really working with children not the fake stuff you said you did.You keep repeating your lies that you actually believe the crap you say.You should be ashamed of yourself for what you have done. I quess you never got over failing gym in kindergarten.
Call the doctor you need him to look over your medication again.