Saturday, February 5, 2011

Lynne Winderbaum on Michael Bloomberg’s version of democracy

“This is not democracy—letting people yell and scream," the mayor declared on his weekly radio show. "That's not freedom of expression—that's just trying to take away somebody else's rights."

How positively Orwellian hearing Mayor Bloomberg lecture us on what is or is not democracy.

  • This is the man who fired every member but one of the Panel for Educational Policy who didn’t agree with him on grade retention and replaced them with members who did—and always will.
  • This is the man who said he strongly supported term limits until he came to the end of his second term, and then forced the city council to overturn the will of the public so he could run again.
  • This is the man who dipped into his inexhaustible personal fortune to fund the most expensive campaign per voter in history, thereby creating such an uneven playing field that any challenge to him was impossible.
  • This is the man who chose a school chancellor from his circle of country club friends and denied the public any input in the selection process. In fact, there was no selection process.
  • This is the man who tolerates a “democracy” where 400 people spoke against school closings last year, only one spoke in favor, and the PEP voted with the one.

In In a nutshell, the mayor’s version of democracy and freedom of expression comes down to telling the opposition to just let him do what he wants.

-Lynne Winderbaum, retired teacher and former UFT representative for Bronx high schools


Anonymous said...

Just wondering, Leonie, and with all due respect...was Lynne this forthcoming when she was UFT rep? If so, how did the union react?

Leonie Haimson said...

Lynne was always a tiger and very outspoken, fighting for the rights of students and teachers in the Bronx high schools -- in defense of whistleblowers who revealed cheating and corruption, for keeping libraries open when co-located schools had closed them, and in a million other ways.

You can ask anyone who was around in those years. Her retirement was a huge loss to the system.

zulma villalba said...

Anon @ 5:03 p.m.

Lynne was one of the most outspoken teacher first and union activist second.

Her mission was to protect all the children from administrators trying to game the system by making sure that all children in high school get a good education. You can only do that when you go school to school to speak to the high school teachers and to listen to their concerns and issues.

She was very outspoken about the credit recovery sham. She was outspoken when learned that her chapter leaders, who were fighting to make sure that services are provided for every child, received letters in their files (LIF), or were placed in the Reassignment Center (formerly called Rubber Room). She was very outspoken when Peter Lamphere was removed from Bronx HS of Science because Peter and 20 other math teachers invoked their contractual rights of being harrassed by the AP of the math dept. She was very outspoken when she learned about
"A Bronx principal found to have sexually harassed a staffer last summer is under investigation again on similar allegations, the Daily News has learned." Richard Bost is still there at the school. Read more:

She was outspoken when Maria Colon, chapter leader, was removed from Kennedy by the corrupt, finally fired, Anthony Rotunno because she blew the whistle on Regents tapering.

I can go on and on. Her passion to fight for the rights of the students and teachers can never be expressed in few words. Her retirement is well deserved and earned, but she hasn't retired from being outspoken and to continue her fight for the rights of our children in NYC.

Steve Koss said...

The mayor also criticized those who protested at the PEP meetings of disrespect. Yet no mayor in memory has so consistently and visibly demonstrated as much condescension and disrespect for public school parents, and the public in general, as Michael Bloomberg. At this point, he is merely reaping the harvest of the disrespect he has sown for nine years.

Every teacher learns the fundamental classroom dictum that you must model the behavior you wish to see from your students. Mr. Bloomberg has been modeling this dismissive, disparaging behavior for years, and his "students" are showing that they have learned well from him how to return it.

Anonymous said...

Lynne was a wonderful district representative for the Bronx high schools. She followed the best district representatives the high schools have ever had David Shulman. Both Lynne and David were tireless in their efforts to serve and protect the Chapters that they had in the Bronx. Lynne's comments regarding the mayor are factual accounts of his actions regarding his abuse of democracy.

Anonymous said...

The reason I asked is because I, too, am a union rep. It has been somewhat discouraging the past several months to listen to the spin some DR's throw their chapter leaders. Many school reps in my district cannot understand the complacency of the UFT during a time of crisis. Mulgrew's lashing out at the PEP the other day was the first signs of life in a while. As the speech appeared encouraging, local reps wonder whether he has the backbone to deliver in the long run. I appreciate your response regarding Lynne. Thank you, Zulma, for your supportive comment. Thank you all for the great work you do.

Zhuanda said...

Nice Blog .

Anonymous said...

Does democracy include taunting the Manhattan Parent Advocate, Patrick Sullivan?

If that really happened (and since Patrick said so, I'm sure it did, the Mayor and his tiers of managers belong in jail. They have done a great disservice to our most vulnerable youth and have created toxic work environments and untenable school situations across the city.

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