Most teachers like leadership
Re “Teachers must vote for change,” Opinion, Jan. 29
It is lamentable that The Times chose to run an opinion article from a disgruntled teacher presenting his minority opinion as if it were widespread. The majority of us -- as this month’s United Teachers Los Angeles election should reveal -- are satisfied with current union leadership. If it were not for UTLA President A.J. Duffy and his officers, we would not have received our 8.5% raise (versus the 2% of the previous administration). This administration forced the Los Angeles Unified School District to fix the payroll debacle sooner than Supt. David L. Brewer originally proposed. Mistakes were sometimes made, but so were corrections and admissions of error when appropriate. We may at times disagree with our union, but Duffy and company have run a democratic body that reflects the opinions of the membership. The previous administration -- those running against them -- never did.
I voted for Duffy and his allies three years ago, and now I am disappointed. He promised inclusiveness in the union, diversity in the union leadership and a union in which younger teachers were welcome. Instead, we have a union in which anyone who doesn’t support the leadership is considered an enemy. Newer teachers such as me face great disillusionment with L.A. Unified, but greater disillusionment with a union leadership that is constantly calling for mobilization but never mobilizes, and speaks of democracy but exhibits the most undemocratic behavior of any organization that I have belonged to. Count me in as one of the newer teachers who will vote for a new UTLA leadership.
As a UTLA member, I agree with Alan Warhaftig’s analysis of the current union leadership. I have more often been embarrassed than excited by UTLA’s positions and actions. Our leadership has a lot of energy, but unfortunately it serves an excessively and obsessively adversarial posture. Collaboration is a big trend in the educational arena today. It is touted, taught and, in the case of UTLA and L.A. Unified, ignored in practice. My hope is that new leadership would try to collaborate on instruction issues as well as operation and compensation issues. We would better serve the goal of student learning and gain a better image and more respect, including self-respect. I hope we vote in numbers higher than the traditional, lukewarm 25% range. We have some good nominees for new leadership.