AFT REPORTS: Ed Notes Online gets tone of convention right in early reports

[Editor's note: Because I was delayed by one day getting to Detroit because of the CTU grievance arbitration on the four percent ripoff of June 2011, I missed a couple of the events before the convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the opening speech by AFT President Randi Weingarten. I arrived in time for the Peace and Justice Caucus meeting featuring Karen Lewis and other leaders on how to build a more militant local unionism. Everyone who reads Substance, as CTU President Karen Lewis noted, should also be reading New York's "Ed Notes," which Karen told the Peace and Justice Caucus she reads every morning. Below is an example of Norm Scott's reporting from yesterday's AFT convention (posted July 27, 2012 at Ed Notes). We will both be reporting on how the AFT national people and Unity (the New York caucus) has been manipulating the convention resolutions, torpedoing the Chicago resolution opposing high-stakes testing and manipulating the resolution on charter schools. More about all that later.].


@AFT 11PM UPDATE... Randi and Karen share a moment with MORE's Gloria Brandman (left)

A lot went on since Randi's speech. We got on the last bus over to the rally supporting the Detroit teachers and there was Randi. Passing by I told her I liked her speech (70% worth, but I didn't say that).

When we got off the bus, we were like with the VIP crowd. Karen Lewis, in a spectacular red dress, came over to say hello and give me one of her notorious big hugs, the kind of hug that is enveloping the entire teaching world. On the 2 block walk to the rally itself, Randi turned around thanked me for saying I liked her speech and we engaged in a friendly conversation for the 2 block walk. (I kindly turned off the video recording device, though nothing controversial was said.

As I've been reporting, I am feeling recently that the attacks are so severe and outrageous that just hammering away at the leadership over every single issue can be counterproductive. In addition, I feel the Chicago situation has put her in a situation where she must appear to be militant. So I told her she delivered the speech very well (she doesn't always do that) and I could agree with 70%. We talked about where we can agree. I said that though I don't agree with the Obama endorsement; she did a very good job selling it. She made me so pissed at Romney I was going to take the dog off my car roof.

Well, we got to the rally, which was much smaller than I thought it would be, with mostly Detroit teaches there. The idea was that Randi was going to go up and see the city manager who has imposed awful contracts on Detroit public workers.

Lots of Chicago people were there in support and not one Unity person was there as far as I could tell. And this event was pushed with fliering at every session.

The difference between CORE and Unity is obvious if you pick 10 people from each caucus at random. the level of knowledge and militancy is so high it makes you wonder what Unity people are being told. Someone left a comment on a previous @AFT post that Unity people were seen talking to CORE people, telling them they they wished the UFT could be as militant as the CTU. Frankly I don't think I saw one Unity person speaking with a CORE person all day (other than some negotiations over testing which I will report on tomorrow.) Just watch the videos of my interviews with CORE people when I put them up.

Later we went to the AFT Peace and Justice event with Karen as one of the speakers — I am processing the tape now. And then off to the CTU dessert reception at the Marriott where one could mingle with Karen and Mulgrew. I had some great conversations all night, even meeting one of my favorite anonymous bloggers.

It was hail and good cheer tonight but in close conversations the CTUers wre very pissed off at Unity tactics regarding testing and other resos coming out of the Education Committee which I will report on tomorrow.


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