A Different Kind Of Union VP

A Different Kind Of Union VP

One of the stars of last week's Yale School of Management education summit was New Haven teacher and union VP Dave Low.  And I'm not just talking about the shirt.  Read all about what Low had to say here: Union VP: Let Teachers Lead. I'm some of the CORE/CTU trolls will disagree but to my ears, Low managed to sound just as firm and clear as you'd want a veteran teacher and union VP to sound (about what works in real classrooms and is fair), but at the same time clear-eyed and open-minded.  Image courtesy Melissa Bailey/New Haven Independent.

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    As a CTU and CORE member I guess I qualify as a "troll." However, I don't see that Dave Low's opinions are any different from those of the CTU leadership. Let teachers have some say in how to educate the children. If you are referring to his more low key demeanor (after getting past several lines about his shirt) I'm guessing the mayor and Superintendent of New Haven aren't out to destroy the union there like some people we know.

  • In reply to Ed Dziedzic:

    Ed, would CORE be open to some sort of differentiated pay scale for teachers to enable principals to create hybrid teaching/admin/leadership positions?

    My own experience, as a parent, is that some of the best teachers are "stuck" with the same routine and are unable to fully utilize their skill-set beyond their classrooms in a meaningful or financially beneficial way.

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    In reply to CPS Parent:

    I am not in a leadership position in the CTU or in CORE, but can only speak for myself. On the one hand teachers would like to have input as "school leaders." But in the past, whenever you step out of the classroom to take on the role of "master teacher" (what they called it last time) you will be among the first to be laid off. I would see it as only viable if I had enough years in to retire. The Board is notorious for pulling crap like that, which is why there is absolutely no trust for any of their programs.

  • "CORE/CTU trolls"? Really?

  • In reply to district299reader:

    like you don't know

  • In reply to Alexander Russo:

    I guess it depends on how you define troll.

  • Yes, this Union leadership in New Haven gave the city the right to turnaround schools and rate teachers on test scores without a fight. We already know how great turnarounds have been for Chicago teachers. There's very little about the students though in the New Haven contract. I guess when corporate shills are praising you as a union leader, you are doing a great job.

  • The only reason I come to this blog anymore is to read what Rod Estvan has to say. Ever since this went over to the Trib run ChicagoNow, someone sold out.

  • In fairness, I've seen some great blogging about CPS on Chicago Now. I don't think that has anything to do with this blog's issues.

  • As I write this I am going out the door to go to the first Trumbull school closing meeting. If David Low was a teacher "leader" at Trumbull school today would he be singing the same tune? What exactly would be the point of "mentoring five other teachers" at Trumbull if the school is going to be closed come June?

    I think the world is a little more complex than promoting teacher empowerment or teacher leadership. The current realities require teacher leaders to look at the full reality of public education including funding, the good and bad aspects of things like charter schools, vouchers, funding for education, and complex issues of social justice. I don't think teachers can retreat into perfecting their practice because one day you will look up and see you may have no school to teach in.

    Presumably Alexander is counter posing Mr. Low to the current CTU vice president. I knew Jesse Sharkey when he was a teacher and he was deeply concerned with his pedagogical practice at Senn. He wasn't naive, he had a political perspective, but he was first and foremost concerned about the students in front of him and the teachers around him. But when he saw plans being developed for his high school that he and others did not agree were in the best interests of his students he opposed them.

    I didn't fully agree with his opposition to the Naval Academy then, probably because I was myself ROTC in college.

    The US military didn't brain wash me, and in many respects gave me many of the skills I use to this day. I also didn't agree with the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many junior and senior officers active during the conflicts also didn't agree, but it is not their lot in life to express those concerns until after the reality of war. I agreed with Jesse on the war.

    But the truth be told I haven't since the Academy's creation seen very many Academy graduates admitted to USNA, Annapolis, but many have gone on to college. I don't know how many have completed a four year degree. The Academy if you can accept military like discipline has been a good thing for some lower income students.

    But Jesse's opposition to the Academy's creation too was being a teacher leader. Even if I didn't argee with him, the vice president honestly presented his perspective and showed no fear of being fired at all. The reality Mr. Low faces in New Haven is that reality. The reality CPS teachers face, charter school teachers face in Chicago with collapsing funding for k-12 education, and even private special education school teachers paid primarily with public tuition dollars face may be very different. When your throat is being cut being cooperative is let us say somewhat difficult.

    Rod Estvan

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    In reply to Rodestvan:

    Very powerful comment. Thank you for your insight.

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