The Teachers' Victory

Plastrik, Stanley

New York's public school teachers, by a show of militancy, unity and determination, scored a striking victory in early September. More, their victory pushed open new doors through which the...

...The bitter, up-to-the-end resistance of the school administration was largely due to the fact that it felt its authority challenged...
...Will it have the imagination and leadership to throw a few million dollars and a few hundred organizers into a nationwide drive to organize, say 150,000 more teachers by the end of the year...
...many are completely cynical about their so-called "professional" organization, the NEA...
...For the American labor movement there's an important lesson in the victory of the New York teachers...
...Only a comparative handful 80,000 are organized into a proper union, the American Federation of Teachers to which the UFT in New York is affiliated...
...The scope of the teachers' victory ought not to be underestimated...
...If any group can make a constructive contribution to the sad mess found in the city schools, it is the teachers' union...
...An elaborate grievance setup, if properly policed by union stewards, ought to put an end once and for all to the system of petty tyranny often exercised by principals, administrators and school superintendents...
...issues of integration and segregation...
...For both the communty and the million children who attend the schools, this new relation of forces can only be to the good...
...N.Y...
...The seminars are designed for amateurs as well as for professionals...
...More important even than the substantial money package of over $25 million in salaries is the fact that henceforth the 43,000 teachers, represented by their United Federation of Teachers, are a power to be reckoned with...
...a task thus far beyond the ability of either the educational or the city administration...
...Times, June 30, 1963...
...the issue of discipline and control...
...classroom size and the attention given to students...
...what to do about the vocational high schools, the 'garbage heap" of the city system...
...New and militant union people...
...More, their victory pushed open new doors through which the declining labor movement could easily march if its leadership would have the imagination to grasp this opportunity...
...Such a contribution would have to tackle directly the multitude of problems involved in raising the educational level of the schools: recruitment of teachers and their training...
...What a fillip it would be to the stagnant labor movement in America if large numbers of classroom teachers would find a welcome place in its ranks...
...is a vital organization of teachers...
...People who, whatever their limitations, have an awareness of the modern world and its issues...
...This victory may also turn out to be a beginning in the revitalization of New York education...
...The twelve courses will be held from today to Saturday and from July 7 to 13 at the Farmers Museum and the Fenimore House in Cooperstown...
...the special problems represented by the neglected groups of Negroes and Puerto Rican children...
...STANLEY PLASTRm SEMINARS TO COVER MURDER AND COOKING "Murder in America, decorative arts, cooking, colonial history and the uses of wood will be among the new courses that are being given this summer by the New York State Historical Association at Cooperstown, N.Y...
...Now that such issues as classroom size, curriculum content and the running of the school have become at least semi-negotiable, the children and their parents will know that standing for their interests (smaller classrooms, better equipped schools, modernized curriculae, better prepared teachers, etc...
...That a school principal must now sit down once a month with the union representative will have a healthy effect in curbing injustices...
...Fresh blood...
...There are many of them in the public and private school systems...
...Using the New York success as a springboard, the labor movement has a marvelous organizing opportunity before it...
...Well, it lost the battle and it must henceforth share power with those who count most in education, the teachers themselves...
...It would bring new blood, new energy, new skills, new ideas and new independence to a movement that desperately needs them...
...Now it's up to the national AFL-CIO leadership to take the necessary steps...
...The overwhelming bulk of them are thoroughly tired of the traditional relationship with boards of education...
...Walter Reuther has given support to the New York UFT, not overwhelmingly but at least a start...

Vol. 10 • September 1963 • No. 4


 
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