There are few unions in North America which has as proud a tradition of struggle as the Federación de Maestros de Puerto Rico. The FMPR, after battling for autonomy from the AFT, lead a 2008 strike that, among other things, kept the island free of charter schools.

FMPR marchaThis week, the FMPR (along with other teacher organizations) helped lead a massive one day strike, protesting austerity and privatization and the territory’s education “reform” plan in the context of its debt crisis.  They are in the course of rebuilding their organization after a series of attacks, including government decertification, raids by SEIU, and firing of its executive committee from their jobs as teachers.  MORE is proud to announce that we are supporting the FMPR in its fundraising drive with a $200 contribution, even though we are in the midst of our own fundraising campaign for the UFT elections.

Please consider making your own contribution and circulating this fundraising letter to your coworkers and fellow unionists.  This is an important effort to build concrete solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are examples of the kind of struggles that we need to wage in order to win.

FMPR viejo san juanCheck can be sent to:

Federación de Maestros de PR
Urb. El Caribe
1572 Ave. Ponce de León
San Juan, P.R. 00926-2710

¡La Lucha Sigue!











Join us at our general meeting this Saturday 11/21 from 12-3pm to help us plan our election campaign and organize chapters near you to fight back for a better union.

Yaya Network 224 West 29th St midtown NYC (14th floor)

Sign up to run with MORE in the Spring 2016 elections as a state (NYSUT) and national union (AFT/NEA) delegate.
What do you have to do to run for AFT/NYSUT representative on the MORE/NewAction slate:
download form here, Scan the form, complete it, take photo/scan, send back
  • Get UFT members  to sign your petition.
  • Help distribute MORE election literature in your school

100 signatures are needed on the petition to get on the ballot as an AFT/NYSUT representative to national and state conventions. The process of getting signatures in the schools is a way to engage members about the UFT election and MORE. It is understood that it is not always easy to get 100 signatures in smaller schools. MORE and New Action (another opposition caucus that we will be running with as a joint slate) will hold signing parties to help make up any shortfall. Petitions will be made available in January or February  and you will have 3 weeks to gather the signatures.

You don’t have to join MORE to run for AFT/NYSUT delegate, although joining would give you voting rights in MORE for the next year and help our campaign efforts. Even a small donation to the election cause is welcome.

What do you have to do if you win?

Don’t worry – you can’t win! The way the UFT election process was set up by Unity caucus is to ensure they remain in power.
In the UFT oligarchy it’s winner take all. Unity’s Winner-take-all disenfranchises UFT members not in Unity caucus. 

In a democratic union, MORE’s percentage of the vote in the 2013 election would have given us a share of these 750 delegates. But the more than 5,000 people who voted for MORE in the election have no representation at the AFT and NYSUT representative assemblies. Our dues are used for delegates to attend these union conventions that Mulgrew and his Unity caucus dominate.

We Still Need Your Vote

MORE will be putting forth some proposals in the election to  change how these representatives are elected to remove the “Unity is the sole option” process. There is a good chance that the MORE/New Action slate can win the 7 high school executive board seats which will allow us to advocate for making our union more democratic, but Unity will still have a majority of the executive board. Every vote for MORE/New Action is a message to UFT leadership that we want more member voice in our union.

Why run?

The MORE members that run the better. By running in the election you are helping us build the kind of bottom-up movement that we will need to change the UFT. You will help us spread the word that there is an alternative to the UFT status quo. It will send a message to Unity that the undemocratic system must change. It will allow MORE to advocate for change by showing that hundreds of UFT members ran with us and need to have representation. This will also help you get members in your school interested in the election and more involved in the UFT.

Download form here
Scan the form, complete it, take photo/scan, send back to



At the November Delegate Assembly, Unity and MORE both had separate resolutions supporting Buffalo public school teachers who could be terminated without any due process, because of the new state receivership law.  MORE’s Mindy Rosier, delegate from PS 811M, suggested that we withdraw our motion so we can work together with Unity Caucus to come up with a bipartisan resolution. Unity agreed to this.

Resolution in Opposition to Receivership

November 12, 2015


WHEREAS, New York law establishes Receivership for schools that have been or will be categorized as persistently failing and struggling and that these schools are identified as the schools in the lowest 5% state-wide on NY Common Core assessments will mean there will always be failing schools and schools in Receivership; and


WHEREAS, Receivership uses developmentally inappropriate and unreliable Common Core aligned test and punish and evaluation regimes to categorize failing schools; and

WHEREAS, certain New York State United Teachers Locals have taken strong positions against the Common Core Standards, and are encouraging parents and members to refuse the Common Core Tests used to place schools in Receivership; and

WHEREAS, 144 public schools serving mostly low income students from Buffalo to Albany, Utica to New York City, Yonkers to Rochester have fallen into Receivership; and


WHEREAS, Receivership law states that the Receiver “may abolish the positions of all teachers and pedagogical support staff, administrators and pupil personnel service providers” of any or all Receivership schools and can do so without cause, and require them to reapply if they choose; and


WHEREAS, Receivership requires a “Staffing Committee” to determine whether senior former staff at Receivership schools are qualified to return to the school and those who are not rehired from their school are denied “bumping/seniority rights” and must be placed on a preferred eligibility list regardless of their teaching experience; and


WHEREAS, Receivership further undermines collective bargaining by granting a Receiver broad power over budget, curriculum and programs, discipline, testing, class size, teaching conditions, length of the school day and year for each individual Receivership school; and


WHEREAS, Receivership denies due process and other forms of fair employment practices for educators and administrators by allowing the law and commissioner’s regulations to set up a timeframe and process for different agreements with each Receivership school that ensures these “agreements” give expression to the will of the commissioner without ever having to prove how imposed agreements will improve the quality of education; and

WHEREAS, Receivership law requires “failing/struggling” schools to improve in two years but provides ZERO/NO additional resources or funding to those schools; and


WHEREAS, Receivership does not address the great inequality in funding for urban schools, but rather Receivership doubles down on impacted districts by de-funding them year after year, labeling them failures and giving them one or two years to “improve” without additional resources in most cases; and


WHEREAS, UFT Vice President Janella Hinds testified strongly against receivership in Albany on October 14, 2015 stating in part, “What our schools need to make them better is the investment of proper resources—not receivers;” be it therefore


RESOLVED, that the United Federation of Teachers strongly opposes Receivership and encourages NYSUT affiliates to pass similar resolutions demonstrating solidarity against New York’s Receivership law; and be it further


RESOLVED, that the UFT will exhaust all legal means to change and to challenge in court any attacks on due process, collective bargaining and other fair labor practices that are a consequence of Receivership and urge NYSUT to do the same; and be it further


RESOLVED, that the UFT will develop a plan/outline to advise members on how they should respond to the demands of Receivership and educate and activate members about said plan while encouraging other impacted NYSUT affiliates to do the same throughout the state; and be it further


RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to all NYSUT Members and the entire New York delegation in the State Legislature.


Please join us as we work together to build a better, stronger union.

Thursday 11/12 6:00-7:00pm Post-Delegate Assembly Happy Hour

Blarney Stone

11 Trinity Place

Downtown, NYC (one block south of UFT HQ)

Friday 11/13 4:00-5:30pm South Brooklyn Meet-up

Local Diner in Bensonhurst Brooklyn

MORE’s Chapter Leaders and Delegates meet with members of nearby chapters to discuss common issues and organizing to deal with abusive administrators, micro-management, and other contract violations.

Email for exact location

Friday 11/13 3:00-6:00pm Bronx Happy Hour and Live Music

An Beal Bocht

445 West 238th st at Greystone Ave, Bronx NY 10463

Hosted by UFT Chapter and MORE members Michael Flanagan + Nate Schiavo. Become more informed union members. meet colleagues from nearby schools, and enjoy an after-school drink.

Facebook Link Here

Saturday 11/21 12:00-3:00pm MORE General Meeting UFT Elections

Yaya Center

224 West 29th st (Btwn 7th and 8th ave)

14th Floor

Midtown, NYC

All NYC educators and supporters are invited to participate. Let’s send a strong and clear message to the current UNITY leadership that we are not settling for the status quo. We want MORE from our union and as MORE’s membership continues to grow, we come closer to achieving our goals.

Agenda will include: Formation of election platform, nominations for divisional and VP slates, report back from State of the Union/State of our Schools Conference, help with our Get Out the Vote Campaign and more!

Please rsvp no later than November 16 if you need childcare.

Facebook link here







Thank you to everyone who attended the State of our Union / State of our Schools conference on Saturday, October 24th. 

More than 170 UFT members, parents, and students attended the conference which launched the candidacy of Jia Lee for President of the UFT. Jia will top the MORE/NA slate in the 2016 union elections.


Please consider piloting our survey on the “State of our Schools” and attending one of these followup meetings
  • November MORE General Meeting – Saturday 11/21 12pm-3pm – YaYa Network (224 w. 29th)
  • Platform Committee Meeting – Wednesday 11/11 6pm (CUNY Grad Center, 365 5th Ave.)
  • Divisional Committee Meetings to shape our slate (RSVP to for location):
    • High School – Wednesday, 11/11, Time TBA
    • Middle School – Wednesday, 11/11, 10am
    • Elementary School – Sunday, 11/8, 10am
Fed up with overcrowding, underfunding, and overtesting, educators are coming together with the community to take back their union and bring change to their schools.

“Our schools are in crisis, in large part part because our current union leadership is complicit in bad policy and continues to tell us that this is the best they can do….

It’s not the time for us to re-negotiate what has already proven to be disastrous. It’s time for teachers to come together with the community and chart a new course for our union. We are going to take back our union and lead a fight for the schools our children deserve,” said Jia.

Saturday’s conference was the first step in defining a platform for the upcoming UFT election. Look at your emails in the coming days to see a summary of the suggestions generated at conference discussions ranging from “Bringing Democracy to the UFT” to “Making Black Lives Matter in Education.”  Also, check out the video of Lauren Cohen’s powerful plenary speech on our blog.

Conference participants debated important issues facing education at 18 different workshops
Lunchtime meetups amongst local organizers led to important conversations about how to change the future of our union

Jia Lee talks about defending public education to a parent and student at her school who were pushed out of the Moskowitz Success Academy

Continue Reading…


By Norm Scott

MORE’s Lauren Cohen told this incredible tale at MORE’s State of the Union event on October 24, 2015 of her years spent under the rule of one of the worst and abusive and bullying principals in this city and how she emerged from the depths after meeting up with people from MORE at the first MORE State of the Union in March 2012.

This is a lesson for every union leader and people who work at the DOE – how a top-level teacher can almost be destroyed when a lunatic principal is allowed to run rampant. (That same Leadership Academy Principal rubber-roomed one of our older ICE leaders who was the chapter leader).

We’ve witnessed Lauren’s remarkable growth as a leader (don’t be surprised to see her run for UFT president one day). She is now chapter leader at her school.

MORE current presidential candidate Jia Lee came out of the same cauldron of horror at that school and took on the dangerous job of chapter leader when the ICE Chapter Leaders was forced out  – and a lesson — many younger teachers facing these bully principals and remain in the system can find their way – and one of the first lessons is to get away from these awful principals as soon as you can to live so you can live to fight another day.

Lauren is  one of many next-gen union leaders who have found strength and support in a group of like-minded people like those in MORE.

In April 2014 Lauren Cohen got up in front of thousands of delegates at the NYSUT representative assembly and stood up to the bullying of Unity Caucus who booed her vociferously for mentioning the loyalty oath.

See this video of Lauren Cohen’s speech at NYSUT RA, April 2014 and think of that young woman practically broken not too long before — and also think that Unity Caucus/UFT leaders have done nothing to protect the teachers at this school:

Jia Lee For UFT President

October 25, 2015 — 2 Comments

Jia Lee for UFT President

Jia Lee voted in as MORE/New Action’s Presidential Challenger to Michael Mulgrew and his Passive Unity Caucus

As NYC School Crisis Continues, Jia Lee Leads Teachers and Community to Challenge Unaccountable Union Leadership and Defend Public Education


NEW YORK: Educators, parents, and community members cheered the announcement of Jia Lee as their choice for UFT presidential nominee at the State of Our Union, State of Our Schools Conference on Saturday. Fed up with overcrowding, underfunding, and overtesting, educators are coming together with the community to take back their union, and bring change to their schools through the 2016 UFT elections.


“Our schools are in crisis, in large part part because our current union leadership is complicit in bad policy and continues to tell us that this is the best they can do. It’s not the time for us to re-negotiate what has already proven to be disastrous. It’s time for teachers to come together with the community and chart a new course for our union. We are going to take back our union and lead a fight for the schools our children deserve,” said Ms. Lee.


Saturday’s conference, organized by the Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) in coalition with a host of community organizations, was the first step in defining a platform for the upcoming UFT election and 2018 contract negotiations to defend and enhance New York City’s public schools. The conference  featured discussions ranging from “Bringing Democracy to the UFT” to “Making Black Lives Matter in Education.”


In the upcoming UFT election, Lee will head a joint slate of teachers representing a united front of MORE and the New Action caucus. As a parent and a teacher since 2001, Jia Lee is at the forefront of the growing movement to opt-out of high stakes testing. She has served as a UFT Chapter Leader for the past 8 years, and is a conscientious objector who has steadfastly refused to administer tests that reduce her students to test score. Last year, she brought this testimony to the U.S. senate hearing on ESEA.

Educators have lost patience with Michael Mulgrew and the Unity caucus’ leadership of the United Federation of Teachers and are joining the community to continue building a movement for change– in their union and in our schools. Mulgrew has been president of the UFT since 2009 but has been unable and unwilling to effectively challenge the corporate onslaught against public education. He has agreed to high stakes-test based teacher evaluations and a contract that delayed earned pay raises for teachers.


In the last union election, in which 75% of working educators did not vote and the majority of ballots came from retirees, the MORE caucus earned 40% of the vote in the high school division and 23% of the active teacher vote overall. This year, in partnership with the New Action caucus, MORE seeks to increase voter turnout as active teachers reclaim their union.


ABOUT MORE: The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE), is the social justice caucus of the UFT and largest force for change within the teachers union. In the upcoming elections, MORE has formed a united front with New Action Caucus  to challenge Unity Caucus, the bureaucratic political machine that has dominated New York’s teachers’ union for the past 50 years. Over the past decade, Unity has led the UFT into crisis, signing off on harmful policies such as overuse of standardized testing and pay increases that fail to keep pace with inflation, while using union funds to pay UFT President Michael Mulgrew over $260,000 per year and dole out salaries of over $100,000 per year to over 100 Unity Caucus political operatives on UFT staff.



The Movement of Rank and File Educators is the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers.  To learn MORE, visit


SOU Conference Schedule

As NYC School Crisis Continues, Teachers Unite with Community to Challenge Unaccountable Union Leadership and Defend Public Education

Movement of Rank-and-File Educators to announce UFT Presidential candidate in bid to unseat union President Michael Mulgrew and his Unity Caucus


WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2015


RSVP for interviews during the day


WHERE: P.S. 58, The Carroll School

330 Smith Street, Brooklyn, NY


WHAT: Fed up with classroom overcrowding, overuse of standardized testing, and understaffing, New York’s hardworking educators have lost patience with the leadership of the United Federation of Teachers and are coming together with the community to continue building a broad-based movement for change– in their union and in our schools.


The State of our Union, State of our Schools Conference will gather rank-and-file educators, community allies, parents, and students to shape a new vision for high-quality public education and craft a platform for the upcoming UFT elections. The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE) will announce its candidate for union president at the conference.


For a complete list of speakers and workshops, view the attached flier, or visit the event page.


WHO: The Movement of Rank-and-File Educators (MORE), is the social justice caucus of the UFT and largest force for change in the union. In the upcoming elections, MORE will challenge Unity Caucus, the bureaucratic political machine that has dominated New York’s teachers’ union for the past 50 years. Over the past decade, Unity has led the UFT into crisis, signing off on harmful policies such as overuse of standardized testing and pay increases that fail to keep pace with inflation, while using union funds to pay UFT President Michael Mulgrew over $260,000 per year and dole out salaries of over $100,000 per year to over 100 Unity Caucus political operatives on UFT staff.


Other conference endorsers are NYCORE- The New York Collaborative of Radical Educators, Change the Stakes, NYC OPTOUT, The Teacher Diversity Committee of New York, The Coalition for Public Education, NYS Stronger Together Caucus, and the Badass Teachers Association.


COMPELLING VISUALS:  Cheering crowds, workshop discussions, conversation. Interviews can be arranged with our presidential candidate, parents, teachers, students, and activists upon request.


RSVP: E-mail



The Movement of Rank and File Educators is the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers.  To learn MORE, visit

It’s not too late to REGISTER @!

Take a look at the completed final schedule for the conference below.

Distribute the single sided or double sided flyers to your coworkers and forward the updated conference announcement below.

There is no substitute for one-to-one conversations encouraging people to register

State of our Union

State of our Schools

How can the UFT become a force for change in our schools?

Register here →

Saturday, Oct. 24

10 am – 6pm

at PS 58 The Carroll School

330 Smith St, Brooklyn – F/G to Carroll St. – Everyone Welcome – Suggested Donation $10

Childcare available (email TODAY to reserve a spot)

SOU Conference Schedule

Featured Speakers:

Liza Campbell, Seattle teacher with an participant’s report on recent strike
Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of the Earth School, high stakes testing conscientious objector
Lauren Cohen, Chapter Leader at PS321K
Leonie Haimson, Class Size Matters
Ismael Jimenez, WE Caucus, Philadelphia Teachers Union
Joe Burns, Author of Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor’s Past to Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today
Alan Singer, Hofstra University, Social Studies Educator
Charmaine Dixon, Parent, Change the Stakes
Benita Rivera, The Many
Akinlabi McCall, Coalition for Public Education

Endorsing Organizations:

NYCORE, Change the Stakes, NYCOPTOUT, The Teacher Diversity Committee of New York, NYS Stronger Together Caucus, Bad Ass Teachers Association, Coalition for Public Education.

Our schools are under assault by corporate reform efforts, standardized testing, and a governor who is eager to fire teachers and close schools. As working and learning conditions deteriorate, our union leadership has neither put up an effective resistance nor been a force for change for better schools.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) invites all UFT members, parents, students, and friends to help develop a strategy to create a more democratic and more proactive UFT that can be a force for change in education in New York City.

Let’s use this year’s upcoming union elections to transform the UFT by bringing together our voices, finding common ground, and increasing our participation from the chapter level up.

Unlike the UFT leadership, MORE is asking your input for shaping our union’s program! The workshops at this conference will help define the language of our election platform.

Continue Reading…

Mulgrew Against Moms

October 14, 2015 — 4 Comments


Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of The Earth School, raised a resolution (see below) at tonight’s UFT Delegate Assembly calling for the city or UFT to provide a no-interest loan for those UFT members who are on unpaid maternity, family, or medical leave and did not receive their first lump sum payment this week. Because they are not on active payroll the members who most need this money will not get it until 2017 at the earliest. If they never return they may never see their own hard-earned money. UFT President Michael Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus which dominated the DA voted the motion down. They voted against our members who are mothers, caregivers, or who are sick and need to be out on leave.

Ms. Lee said “in my school we have moms who are on leave to take care of their children and we, as a union, need to find a way to get them the money we all got. If you read the resolution we are asking for no interest loans to the members who need it the most.”

“Medical distress should not be financial distress.” Mulgrew said earlier in the evening in regards to the skyrocketing costs of prescriptions for our members. Ms. Lee referred back to that sentiment and said “I feel the same and that should apply to retro for our members on leave.”

A Unity Caucus member, who is the Maternity/Child Care Leave Liaison for the Queens UFT office, spoke against our resolution. “I explain to those going out on maternity leave they need to be on payroll  to get retro — eventually they will be made whole. You decided to take your leave, you got to handle your own business, you have to consider things before taking leave”.

Male dominated unions got their retroactive money up front and better raises. Make no mistake, the number crunchers from the UFT and DOE figured on many of our own being out on maternity or child care leave, because we are predominately women. Those on unpaid leave for childcare or health issues received nothing, although they worked during the 2008-2015 period.  This is gender discrimination at its worst.

This is not what unionism looks like. There needs to come a time when we all work together for the good of us all. That moment is now.

DA Resolution on Immediate Retroactive Money for UFT Members on Unpaid Leave for Maternity, Child Care and/or Restoration of Health

October 14, 2015

WHEREAS, the United Federation of Teachers has a long history of supporting members in need, and

WHEREAS, the 2014 contract did not cover members on unpaid leave for lump sum payments stemming from the 2009-2011 round (arrears) until they are back on payroll or retire, and

WHEREAS, the City of New York ended the 2015 fiscal year with a $5.9 billion surplus, and

WHEREAS, the first 12.5% of the arrears is scheduled to be paid on October 15, 2015, and

WHEREAS, many of our sisters and brothers on unpaid leaves who will not be receiving the arrears for at least two years are having financial hardships as they are not on payroll, be it therefore

RESOLVED, that the union will immediately petition the city to make no interest loans available to UFT members on unpaid leaves who are not receiving their arrears, and be it further

RESOLVED, that if the city refuses to make these loans available, that the UFT will provide immediate, interest free loans to any member on unpaid leave who applies for one up to the amount of arrears the member on unpaid leave is owed as of October 1, 2015, and be it further

RESOLVED, that if the city refuses to make these loans available and the union does not have the means to provide the loans, the Union will arrange with Amalgamated Bank or another labor friendly institution to make low interest loans available to UFT members on unpaid leave who are not receiving their arrears and the UFT, not the borrowers, will pay the interest.

Please Join Us at Our Upcoming State Of The Union conference to discuss further actions we can take together:
Register here



UFT members will be receiving only 12.5% of what is owed to us from 2009. We will not receive our full retro until 2020. Our fellow UFT members who are on maternity leave, family leave, or medical leave will be getting zero. This is nothing to celebrate, yet Mulgrew and his unity caucus leadership sent out a happy message with the piggy bank image you see above. We were told in 2014 that it was necessary to delay retro payments to avoid a city financial crisis, a budget shortfall that has since evaporated. We deserve what every other union received, we deserve the full back pay that is owed to us.

When your own union has to sell you on the deal, you know it’s not good. Our friends in other city unions look at us and shake their heads. Look at our brothers and sisters who are Firefighters, they received 8% raises from 2008-2010 that we did not and will be receiving their full retroactive upon ratifying their contract. They don’t have to wait for 5 installments of money that is rightfully ours.  We constantly settle for less than others and then are told by Mulgrew to be thankful for what we have. New York City will have a 6 billion dollar surplus. but we were told they were broke. It was a lie. Our members are educated professionals and deserve to be treated as such. It is time to tell the truth.

Just to add one more layer of complexity: The numbers 12.5%, 12.5%, 25%, 25%, 25% are also not accurate because in reality they don’t add up to 100%. Consider the fact that we are still accruing arrears from the city and will continue to do so until 2018 because the 8% raises will not be fully phased in until then. That means that the total lump sum owed to us will be higher in 2017 than it is in 2015 (especially considering that teachers will continue to go up steps, accrue longevities, and earn differentials). That means that the 2017 12.5% payment will not be equal to the 12.5% we get in 2015. The final, 2020, payment will not actually be 25% of all the arrears. It will be whatever we are still owed. For most of us that will be somewhat more than 25%.

Let’s be clear this money is ours, we worked for it, including those who are on leave to raise a child or because of health issues. Mulgrew should not have sent out celebratory letters, instead they should be using the full force of our union to demand that ALL members who are owed money get that money now. If you believe like we do that it is time for new union leadership, one that negotiates on behalf of all members, and ensures that we get treated with the respect we deserve, please join MORE now 

State of our Union

State of our Schools

How can the UFT become a force for change in our schools?

Register here →

Download the flyer to distribute here

Saturday, Oct. 24

10 am – 6pm

at PS58 The Carroll School – 330 Smith St, Brooklyn – F/G to Carroll St.

Everyone Welcome Suggested Donation $10

Childcare available (email to reserve a spot)

Featured Speakers:

Liza Campbell, Seattle teacher with an participant’s report on recent strike

Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of the Earth School, high stakes testing conscientious objector

Lauren Cohen, Chapter Leader at PS321K

Leonie Haimison, Class Size Matters

Ismael Jimenez, WE Caucus, Philadelphia Teachers Union

Joe Burns, Author of Strike Back: Using the Militant Tactics of Labor’s Past to

Reignite Public Sector Unionism Today

Alan Singer, Hofstra University, Social Studies Educator

Charmaine Dixon, Parent, Change the Stakes

Benita Rivera, The Many

Akinlabi McCall, Coalition for Public Education

Endorsing Organizations:

NYCORE, Change the Stakes, NYCOPTOUT, The Teacher Diversity Committee of New York, Coalition for Public Education, NYS Stronger Together Caucus, Bad Ass Teachers Association

Our schools are under assault by corporate reform efforts, standardized testing, and a governor who is eager to fire teachers and close schools. As working and learning conditions deteriorate, our union leadership has neither put up an effective resistance nor been a force for change for better schools.

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE) invites all UFT members, parents, students, and friends to help develop a strategy to create a more democratic and more proactive UFT that can be a force for change in education in New York City.

Let’s use this year’s upcoming union elections to transform the UFT by bringing together our voices, finding common ground, and increasing our participation from the chapter level up.

Unlike the UFT leadership, MORE is asking your input for shaping our union’s program! The workshops at this conference will help define the language of our election platform.


  • Bringing Democracy to the UFT: Why Our Union Is So Undemocratic, and Why it Matters

  • High Stakes Testing: How to Build an Opt-out Campaign in Your School

  • Planning a UFT Election Campaign within your School Chapter

  • Class Size Matters: The history of UFT and the battle for smaller classes

  • The Contract NYC Teachers and Students Deserve

  • Making Black Lives Matter in School: Racism and Racial Justice in Education

  • How Can you Activate your UFT Chapter, Enforce the Contract and Defeat Bully Principals?

  • Special Educators and Paperwork: Beyond SESIS

  • Welcome to the Matrix: How does the new teacher evaluation system work and what can we do about it?

  • Stopping and Reversing the Disappearing of Black and Latino educators.

  • Children, Poverty and Trauma: Impact on Teaching and Learning

  • Mapping Homelessness: The Impact on School Communities

  • Job Security and Tenure: How Do We Defend Untenured Colleagues?

  • The Ongoing Struggle for School Integration

  • What’s Behind the Attack on Veteran Teachers?

  • The Battle for Culturally Relevant & Developmentally Appropriate Curriculum, and the Fight Against the Common Core

  • Why Should We Oppose Mayoral Control?


Registration opens

9:00 AM

Opening Session

10:00 AM-10:45 AM

Workshops Slot I

11:00 AM-12:30 PM


12:30 PM -1:30 PM

Workshops Slot II

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Workshops Slot III

3:15 PM – 4:45 PM

Final Plenary

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Evening Entertainment

7:00 PM  – 9:00 PM


UFT elections, Spring 2016.

Join MORE-UFT (Movement of Rank and File Educators) to chart a new course for the UFT. A MORE leadership of the UFT will mobilize members, parents and allies to defend our working conditions and stop the transformation of schools into test-prep factories.


A fair contract in 2018. Under Mulgrew/Unity, our salaries don’t keep up with inflation. We won’t even get our 2009 raises until 2020. A MORE-UFT leadership will mobilize members and allies to put real pressure on the city for a better, fair contract in 2018.

Support Opt Out! Mulgrew and Unity refuse to support the movement of parents who are “opting out” of the use of standardized tests to evaluate students and teachers.  MORE Chapter Leaders and members are already working with parents to spread the word about “opting out.” A MORE-UFT leadership will offer full support to “Opt Out.”  

Rebuild our union from the bottom up! Under Mulgrew/Unity, members often face abusive administrators and violations of the contract alone. Some schools don’t even have functioning chapters. MORE already brings UFT members together across the city to provide mutual support, training, and education to address these issues. A MORE-UFT leadership will help members transform the union into a force in every school that can oppose abusive supervisors and contract violations.

What can I do?

  • Become a dues-paying MORE-UFT member for only $10 for the year.
  • Distribute MORE-UFT literature in your school.
  • Contact us to have a happy hour near your school or come to one of the ones we already have planned (see below.)
  • Become part of a flyering team in your school’s neighborhood.
  • Promote MORE-UFT by following and sharing us on Facebook and Twitter.
  • If you agree with our Mission, run for union office on our slate! There are literally hundreds of positions, large and small.
  • Join our social media, membership, literature, or organizing committees

For more info contact

Upcoming Events

Brooklyn Happy Hour

Friday 9/25

Bay Ridge 3:30-7:00pm

Harp Bar

7710 3rd ave (btwn 77-78th st.)

Facebook link here
Bronx Happy Hour

Friday 9/25


Mott Haven Bar

1 Bruckner Blvd.

Facebook link here
Leafleting Outside the UFT’s City-Wide Chapter Leader Meeting

Tuesday 9/29


Outside 52 Broadway, the UFT Headquarters.
Post Chapter Leader Happy Hour -one block away from UFT HQ

Tuesday 9/29


Blarney Stone

11 Trinity Pl

Downtown, NYC

open to all UFT members

Facebook Link here

Leafleting the First Delegate’s Assembly

Wed 10/14


Outside 52 Broadway, the UFT Headquarters.
Save the Date for our

“State of Our Union,

State of Our Schools”


Sat 10/24, 

P.S. 58

330 Smith St.

Brooklyn, NY

Details and Registration Here

What do we need to improve working and learning conditions? How do we build a better union? Come out to discuss and  shape our platform!



At our July summer meeting MORE decided to send a message to New Action/UFT indicating a willingness to work together in the upcoming UFT officer elections, provided that NA/UFT was no longer planning on endorsing Michael Mulgrew for President or other Unity candidates. New Action’s initial response was positive. The MORE steering committee then designated Lauren Cohen, James Eterno, and Kit Wainer to negotiate with New Action on MORE’s behalf. At the joint meetings a formal proposal was agreed upon. New Action ratified it at its September 10 meeting. The MORE steering committee unanimously recommends that MORE members ratify it as well. The proposal will be discussed at the September 19 MORE general meeting and voted on by MORE members via online ballot the following week.

 This primary proposal is for a joint, full MORE/New Action slate in the Spring 2016 UFT election. Full text will be released if and when our members ratify.

MORE pledges to all UFT members and the communities we serve that our goal continues to be; to have a mobilized, active union that can effectively fight for our rights by giving all members a voice in the UFT. We encourage all NYC educators to join us in challenging the UFT leadership and transforming the union into one that can lead the fight in advocating for a fair and equitable education for all our children while ending the profit-driven testing policies that harms teachers, students, and schools. Public schools are under attack, that is why we need a new union leadership that will lead the fight back. Each educator experiences the attacks on our profession differently: for some, the testing frenzy has dramatically changed their work lives for the worse. For others, the new evaluation process and life under a weak contract are the main concerns. Many of our members work under horrific and abusive administrators and that reality overshadows everything else. A strong, member-driven union that stands together with our communities is the only way to have the public schools we all deserve. The time is now to revitalize the teachers union here in New York City!

Any member of the UFT can become a member of the caucus by making a minimum annual donation of the reduced amount of $10 because of our current Membership Drive! And for only $20, you will also receive a MORE T-Shirt! Act now while supplies last.

If you would like to make an on-going monthly donation to help sustain MORE’s activities, consider becoming a MORE sustainer.

We also accept the support of community members and parents who are not UFT members.

MORE-UFT supports the efforts of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and other unions to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sister educators on strike in Seattle. MORE-UFT chapters are showing support in their own ways.

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Below is the resolution passed by the PJSTA:

At today’s Representative Council meeting the PJSTA’s governing body passed a resolution in support of the Seattle Education Association who are currently on strike in Seattle as they fight for the schools Seattle’s students deserve.  Additionally the PJSTA pledged to launch a solidarity campaign in our schools and asked NYSUT to similarly support the SEA while encouraging it’s locals to issue their own resolutions in support of the SEA.  Details on the solidarity campaign will hit the buildings tomorrow.

Here is the text of the resolution…

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is locked in a contract battle that has important consequences for educators everywhere; and

Whereas Seattle teachers have worked diligently to build coalitions within their communities and have won the support of parents, and mobilized for a contract that includes not only fair compensation and secure working conditions, but a decrease in high stakes testing, and increased services for their students; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is seeking to install site based teams in each school to address structural inequities and institutional racism that plague their school district; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is seeking caseload caps for school psychologists and counselors to better meet the needs of the students that they serve; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association has not had a cost of living adjustment in 6 years and the district has $50 million in reserves and has recently received $40 million in new monies from Washington State; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association went on a one day strike last spring in protest of the current reform movement that is damaging public education and, therefore stood tall for all public school teachers across the country facing similar reforms, including members of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association is a fellow affiliate of the National Education Association; and

Whereas a victory for Seattle teachers would greatly encourage teachers everywhere, including members of the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association and the New York State United Teachers, to continue in our increasingly stronger efforts to combat damaging and abusive public education reforms in our own communities; and

Whereas a victory for the Seattle Education Association would be a victory for public-sector employees across the country who continue to oppose the privatization of public resources and the plundering of public assets; and

Whereas the Seattle Education Association membership has voted unanimously to authorize the strike; therefore be it

Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association supports the Seattle Education Association in its fight to negotiate a contract that meets the needs of its members, their students, and their communities; and be it further

Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association will launch a solidarity campaign, to be shared via social media, in its schools and encourage all of its members to participate in the campaign as a show of support and solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Seattle; and be it further
Resolved that the Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association urges NYSUT and its affiliates to adopt a similar resolution.


The following is from a UFT Chapter Leader to the members with important and useful information regarding the “Advance” ratings that NYC teachers received in their NYC DOE email. 

Dear Colleagues,

I hope you had a restful and fulfilling summer away from Danielsons and MOSLs and Common Core.

The coming school year will present many unique challenges for us. We will start the school year most likely not even knowing how we will be evaluated. The city has until October to decide if it wants to implement the state’s new evaluation plan passed last school year or delay it. (

Furthermore, an expected spate of teachers rated “ineffective” and “developing” around the city ensures we will be hearing stories about appeals and Teacher Improvement Plans for the next 12 months.

If you do not know what your rating is yet for the year, it was sent to your DOE email.

Continue Reading…

MORE has sent the following letter of solidarity along with a monetary donation to support the Dyett hunger strikers in Chicago.

Please post black and white pictures to twitter under the hashtag #FightForDyett to show your solidarity (or email to and we can tweet for you) – below see a few of the MORE members who have done so…

August 28, 2015

The Movement of Rank and File Educators, of the United Federation of Teachers, stand in solidarity with the Dyett Hunger Strikers: Jitu Brown, Prudence Brown, Anna Jones, Jeanette Taylor-Ramaan, Monique Redeaux-Smith, Aisha Wade-Bey, Nelson Soza, Cathy Dale, Robert Jones, Irene Robinson, April Stogner, Marc Kaplan and their entire community. Dyett is all of us.

We support the notion that the Dyett school community has a vision and solutions to preserving their public schools. We support the highest moral and ethical stand of putting their basic needs at the same place as their need for democratic decision making. The action of denying themselves basic sustenance to support life is the height to which they’ve reached in protecting their right to public schools their children deserve.

As we send our solidarity, we call on those elected to represent their constituents to stand with their community when the only thing they are demanding is their school.

Representative steering members of the MORE caucus,

John Antush, Lauren Cohen, Peter Lamphere August Leppelmeier, Jia Lee, Dan Lupkin, Megan Moskop, Mike Shirtzer, Kit Wainer

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The election results are in! Congratulations to everyone – we have a great team of activists!

But remember it’s crucial that every member of MORE, whether on the Steering Committee or not, continue the ongoing work to build our caucus.

Following are the 9 new Members of the Steering Committee.

In solidarity,
Gloria for Outgoing Steering


John Antush

John Antush
This school year let’s build MORE through the UFT elections. By identifying people to run for positions in the union, producing campaign lit, petitioning with others, and conducting outreach we can involve co-workers, recruit members, develop leaders, and promote MORE’s agenda: contract enforcement, pro-tenure, supporting parents’ right to opt out of tests, hiring more teachers of color, opposing unfair evaluations, creating a participatory democratic network of rank and file UFTers across the city, etc.. On Steering I will work with members in different districts and regions to build regional MORE clubs or chapters to hold meetings; conduct outreach to new schools; offer mutual support; and take actions. I will also work to involve members in collectively generating election materials and the “MORE Newsletter.” I’ve taught high school for 14 years and currently work at CIty-As-School. I’m a founding member of MORE and one of the downtown MORE chapter organizers.


Lauren CohenLauren Cohen
I am a 5th grade ICT teacher at P.S. 321 Brooklyn. As chapter leader of a large elementary school in politically-active District 15, my organizing focus will be folding that work into MORE, to increase caucus membership and prepare for the UFT election.  The work in my district has often focused on big-picture issues such as testing and evaluations, but it is equally important to develop MORE as a resource for UFT members to receive answers, assistance, and advocacy on school-based issues. I will use Nationbuilder to communicate more regularly with school workers in my district and will help create spaces –both real and virtual- for them to raise their concerns and seek support.

I enjoy public speaking and will continue to build MORE’s presence at Delegate Assemblies, rallies, and in the media. MORE’s members can depend on me to represent the caucus fearlessly in all venues. I’ve served on two prior Steering Committees and therefore bring a strong understanding of our organizational norms and goals.

Peter LampherePeter Lamphere
I teach math and robotics at Gregorio Luperón HS in Manhattan. During four UFT elections since 2004, I have learned the need to prioritize building a strong base and organization through our campaign.

This year, I will focus on developing literature, fundraising and outreach plans, including a strong fall conference and membership drive.  Also, I will continue to develop MORE’s organizing committee and the database of thousands of contacts we maintain, and contribute to local organizing in Washington Heights.

I have a long record as a MORE/UFT activist, Chapter Leader and Delegate. But more important is my commitment to MORE’s social justice unionism model. This means that we can’t win against the deformers without broader support from families, communities and working people generally.  We need not only parent and community support of our demands but also to support wider class demands against budget cuts, for #BlackLivesMatter, and so on.

Jia LeeJia Lee has been a Special Education Teacher in New York City public schools since 2001. She taught in a District 75 high school for four years before teaching in elementary schools. For the last seven years, she has served as chapter leader and is involved in local organizing as a way of empowering school communities. She served on the first MORE steering committee and sits on the most recent term. She works alongside other MOREistas and Change the Stakes, a grassroots coalition of parents, teachers and community members who are concerned with the destructive use of high stakes standardized testing and to bring awareness to the inextricable link between teachers’ working conditions and students’ learning conditions.



August Leppelmeier

August Leppelmeier
I am social studies teacher and have been active in MORE since its beginning, contributing to the original planning committee. I aim to strengthen the caucus in the union’s challenging period by seeking to advocate for all of the teachers, including the most vulnerable, such as the pre-tenured teachers and the ATRs. In addition, I believe that we also need to advocate for the students, who also can be vulnerable.




Dan LupkinDan Lupkin
I have been a special education teacher in a variety of schools and settings across NYC since 2005, and am currently the Technology Coordinator and UFT Chapter Leader at PS 58, a prek-5 school in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. I am eager to use the 2016 UFT elections as a springboard to spread awareness of MORE, and of our alternate vision for how our union ought to run. I also plan to continue organizing around high stakes testing, uniting teachers with parents across the city and the country to fight the privatization of public education. I am deeply committed to both the social justice and bread-and-butter unionism aspects of MORE, and seek a balanced, pragmatic approach to fusing these currents into a coherent and effective set of strategies. 

Megan MoskopMegan Moskop
Since I jumped into MORE organizing two years ago, I’ve grown as an event-planner, facilitator, speaker, strategist, and most importantly, as an organizer. Grounded in lessons learned from all of you, and from my school community, I’m motivated to keep helping our caucus grow, whether that means planning a press conference, as I did during our “Vote No” contract campaign, or helping plan local campaigns at our uptown educator support meetings.This year, I’ll focus on using our election campaign to build our membership and to sharpen and spread our movement’s vision for better schools through a better UFT.

I’ve been teaching special education at MS 324 in Washington Heights for 6 years, and this year I’ve stepped back from other leadership roles to dedicate time to our work. I am deeply committed to building and bringing more teachers into our community of honest engagement, shared learning, love and support.

Mike Schirtzer

Michael Schirtzer
I’m so excited to run for steering. MORE must defend public schools and advocate for our members. I will work hard to increase the membership in my school and get out the vote for MORE. As Delegate I will help write/raise resolutions and recruit at DAs. I will organize additional chapter leader/delegate workshops. We will hold meetings for teachers that need help in south Brooklyn and build that network. I will be the point person to steering for the high school committee to win UFT executive board seats, create a campaign, and add MORE members from those schools. I will work with union members statewide to opt-out and fight anti-public education policies in my role as VP of ST caucus. Unions are critical in ending social, economic, and racial injustice. Together we can transform and take back our union.

I am a HS teacher for 8 years and currently teach Social Studies at Leon Goldstein HS in Brooklyn where I am also the UFT Delegate.

Kit Wainer

Kit Wainer
I have been a teacher for 27 years and the Chapter Leader of Leon M. Goldstein High School for 17 years. For the past two years I have been working on local organizing, focusing on pulling together a group of MORE supporters in southern Brooklyn to discuss how they can handle issues in their schools. I have served two terms on the MORE steering committee. My plan is to continue working on southern Brooklyn local organizing and also to work on our election campaign. As someone who has played a substantial role in each of the last four UFT elections I believe I have a lot of specific knowledge of how to run election campaigns which I plan to contribute this coming year. I also want to work with some of the younger MORE members to train them in some of the nuts and bolts of petitioning and literature distribution so that they can take over the process in the future. I have also been the point person in the establishment of our non-profit corporation and hope to be able to wrap that up sometime in the fall of 2015.

E4E and Democracy

August 17, 2015 — Leave a comment


By Mike Schirtzer

UFT Delegate/Teacher Leon M. Goldstein High School-Brooklyn


E4E is an organization that seeks to recruit young educators entering the school system here in New York City. Many of these teachers are attracted to the chance to meet other teachers, many of whom may be new the city as well, and a message that your voice counts. In reality it is a privately funded group that works against the best interests of our public school and educators that work in community schools. For  the most part these teachers are well intentioned, but experienced educators  have to challenge their membership in a group that works against, not for, NYC’s schools.


One E4E teacher I know told me how seniority rights need to change. He told me what matters most is “teachers’ performance based on test scores and how many absences they had”. We know that seniority rights are there to protect workers. Experience matters and we should never devalue that, especially when working in NYC where our schools have a variety of differences. The teachers from E4E need to be aware that our workforce is predominately women, seniority and tenure protect women’s right by ensuring they are not unfairly targeted because they take (unpaid) childcare leave or are the primary caregivers. We also need to take into account how absences may be because of childcare issues and one should not be penalized for it. It is important to recognize that age discrimination is occurring all throughout this country, companies are hiring cheaper workers who can work longer hours. Our seniority and tenure rights protect workers’ rights.


On the matter of rating teachers based on tests scores or the convoluted “Value Added Measures”  (VAM), all teachers and groups they may belong to need to be aware that there is not any evidence this is a fair scientific method for evaluating us. The E4E teacher told me “as a special education teacher he values test scores and can learn about the progress of his students. It should be one of multiple measures, but an important measure”. These thoughts seem to reflect the narrative that have been delivered by politicians and corporate-reformers nationwide, but again we who are in the classroom for a long time must challenge this flawed message. We know some students do not perform well on tests, because they only measure a narrow spectrum of content knowledge, if they measure anything at all. Standardized tests or VAM can not measure musical, artistic, or other creative talents. There is conclusive research from the American Statistical Association stating that VAM is an invalid form of evaluation. The other startling fact is that children from wealthy families do better on standardized exams. The direct correlation between one’s economic background and their results on these tests should never be ignored. Simply stated, poverty matters and if an educator chooses to teach in a school where there is not economic privilege, they should not be unfairly evaluated by tests.


I explained to the member of E4E that best teaching practices means having experienced administrators who are recognized as expert instructors  working with teachers. These administrators stress collaboration among staff members and work with newer teachers to support the development of their pedagogy. Current evaluation schemes have a negative connotation, as if the administrator or peer is there to grade you, whereas collaboration is about making everyone better for the sake of the students.


My fellow teacher from E4E met with me to discuss the topic of democracy in the UFT. I explained to him the view we have in MORE is it’s our responsibility to democratize our chapters. We emphasize chapters that are inclusive, work together, organize with the community, and work as a collective, because there is strength in numbers. MORE-UFT chapters have open chapter leader and delegate elections, active UFT representatives on School Leadership Teams (SLT) and PTAs, and a diverse group of educators on a consultation team that meets with the principal monthly. There has to be regular chapter meetings where member’s input is welcome and encouraged. We believe that working with parents, students, and community members is integral to ensuring our schools serve the needs of all our children. If chapters have all these elements then the UFT is democratic.


It is important that young educators come in to a school community and have conversations with veteran educators who will have valuable insights. You may have one position based on your experience in college or what you get from the media, but those that have been working with our children for a long time have different views that are based on empirical research. We work with our children each and every day for years. We see the impact of poverty, racism, child abuse, guns, drugs, and other injustices that may not fit into the “bad teacher” or “bad schools narrative”. Experienced teachers base their views on what works and what does not in their classrooms, conversations we have with educators in the chapter and around the city. Having discussions with members in your building and in nearby schools is extremely important in growing as an educator and democratizing our schools.

The E4E member reiterated to me that his voice needed to be heard. I told him we, in MORE-UFT, believe we do not speak for ourselves; we listen to each other at chapter meetings; we listen to our students; we build relationships with parents and the communities we serve. We organize together to make positive change. Since he sought me out to discuss democracy in our union, I think it was important for him to realize that the best way for his voice to matter was to start by listening to others in his chapter. He, like every E4E member, signs a declaration in order to become a member, this is not democratic at all. These few teachers who declare their loyalty to this organization and lobby politicians on their behalf, do not represent the many voices in our school communities. E4E may seem like a place where his voice is heard and he can “influence policy makers” as he said, but it is more important that we, as teachers, listen to the major stakeholders in our school, our children, their parents, the communities we are a part of, and experienced educators who have dedicated their lives to making their school community a better place.

Please see the attached fact sheet on E4E for more info and the links below



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For Immediate Release

August 14, 2015


MORE-UFT, a rank-and-file caucus within the NYC teachers union, stands with parents of Change the Stakes, NYCOPTOUT and NYCpublic in response to New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s statement indicating that schools may be subject to sanction and have federal Title I funding withheld for having high percentage of opt outs. These funds are intended to support the neediest students in the state. The tests have sparked controversy, both in regards to the content, which many parents and educators consider poorly designed and developmentally inappropriate, and to the high stakes attached to them, in particular, their unreliable use in the teacher evaluation system, a practice that is widely criticized and currently under review in an Albany court.

Charmaine Dixon, parent of a soon to be fourth grader at P.S. 203 in District 22, Brooklyn, states, “We opt out for justice. High stakes testing has only had horrible consequences for schools with disproportionate number of Black and Latino students. Show us one instance in which a school was asked what they needed. Being aware of this, I’m horrified at her (Elia’s) response to punish our schools and our students.”

“These tests are used to rate my teachers. But the tests don’t nearly begin to reflect what I learned from them. I think this is totally unfair. That’s why I opted out in 8th grade,” says Evan Cauthen-Brown, a new Brooklyn Tech student that graduated in June from PS/IS 187 in Washington Heights.

“It is vital that someone speak up in defense of the brave parents and students who are standing up for their rights, their educators and schools, and public education at large by refusing to participate in a testing regime they deem harmful for their children, since our union leadership has so stubbornly refused to do so,” said Dan Lupkin, a UFT Chapter Leader and Brooklyn elementary school teacher.

Jia Lee is a public school parent, teacher and UFT Chapter Leader at the Earth School in Manhattan where more than 100 students boycotted the exams. She states that the expanding opt out movement is a, “growing ground-up awareness by parents, teachers and students who don’t want to be evaluated based on an invalid metric.” Ms. Lee testified to a U.S. Senate committee on the negative consequences of the high stakes attached to flawed standardized tests.

The UFT leadership has shown hesitancy in supporting the opt out movement, refusing to endorse the I Refuse resolution introduced by MORE-UFT that is supported by nearly every local across New York State. MORE also called for a resolution of “No Confidence” in Elia at the UFT delegate assembly, only to be told by the union leadership that Elia was “a friend to teachers unions and someone we can work with.”

MORE-UFT is the Social Justice Caucus of the United Federation of Teachers. We are rank-and-file educators challenging the current leadership of the UFT in the 2016 union elections in order to fight for the public schools our children deserve.

Media Contact

Charmaine Dixon/ NYCOPTOUT/ Parent at P.S. 203, District 22

Nancy Cauthen/ Change the Stakes/ Parent of Brooklyn Technical H.S. Student

Dan Lupkin/ MORE/ Elementary School Teacher

Jia Lee/ MORE/ Special Education Teacher

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Over 60 people, many of whom were newly elected Chapter Leaders and Delegates, joined us at our Hardcore Summer Series Training last week!

Veteran Chapter Leaders Kit Wainer, Yelena Siwinski, and Norm Scott (check out their video presentations) led workshops on the nuts and bolts of leading your chapter, gaining support in your building, working with the school community to build a strong union chapter, and being able to counter anti-teacher administrators.

Thank you to all those who came out!  There will be a second session will be August 20th and we will have a Fall workshop with mentoring for  Chapter Leader/ Delegates in October, details to follow.

THURSDAY, July 23rd How To Build an Opt‐Out Movement in Your School
The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYC, Near City Hall, Chambers St, WTC
Drink specials: $4 drafts, $6 well drinks & $7 wine

High Stakes Testing and the Teacher Evaluation System are suffocating public education. As Diane Ravitch states ‐ the only way to save our schools is to starve the data beast. That is the mission of the opt out movement. Find out how teachers around the state are working together with parents to organize against high stakes testing and fight for the schools our students deserve!



By Mike Schirtzer

Teacher/UFT Delegate- Leon M. Goldstein High School Brooklyn

Over a year before the 2016 Presidential election our AFT union leadership has already endorsed Hillary Clinton. The political move comes after two phone polls and one town hall meeting which supposedly included the input of 1,150 members. Our AFT is made up of over 1.6 million members. This is not a very scientific study or a good sample size. Mrs. Clinton may or may not be a good choice, but the manner in which our union endorsed her was problematic.

With the recent decision by the Supreme Court to hear a case that may mean the end of public sector unions as we know it and the continued anti-worker, union-busting policies from elected officials on both sides of the aisle from Scott Walker to Andrew Cuomo, now is the wrong time to be making back-room political deals that further distance our union from its members. This is the moment to engage our members, to make them feel like active participants in our union.

For far too long UFT/AFT leadership has been overly complacent and allowed member interest in the union to wither away. With this critical presidential election coming and the continued attacks on our unions, this should be the perfect moment to get all our members involved. They could have done that by offering more than a couple of limited phone polls and poorly advertised website questionnaire. They could have used this time to galvanize our members, to remind prospective nominees that anti-worker, anti-union, and anti-public education policies are not in the best interest of our nation. These very policies have widened the income gap and led our country to near financial ruin. Our union needs to properly vet each candidate to know where they stand on testing, common core, union rights, tenure, charter schools, and then share that information with each and every AFT member. We can then make informed decisions that will help our students, our schools, and our union.

It is fine if AFT President Weingarten is personal friends with Mrs. Clinton, but that is not a reason to give away our endorsement. The last twenty-five years of political endorsements have not helped our union or our schools, in fact, we could argue it has done further harm. They could have engaged the membership in a vibrant discussion on strategies and whether political endorsements are in the best interest of those we serve. AFT could have surveyed every member via email, held town hall meetings in all of the locals and throughout New York City with UFT members and parents like we did in the battle against Cuomo’s anti-education policies.

None of this was done, instead another top down decision was made in some back-room during the middle of the summer. This could have been the the right time for our union leadership to change direction, make our union more democratic, listen to diverse voices within the union, even to dissenters like ourselves who may disagree, but offer educated insights. Instead they chose to do what they always do; fail to engage the membership and then make a decision on our behalf.

We need new union leadership that is made up of members who are in the classroom, who speak with and for school based educators. A leadership that has new ideas, new voices, and actively seeks member participation. While we are upset at this endorsement process, it is just another example of the systematic failure of this leadership that has allowed our union to become weakened, our members to become disinterested, and public schools to be disenfranchised.

poverty matters a nation at risk2

By John Giambalvo: Teacher at Information Technology High School and a member of MORE-UFT

Looking back from today’s perspective, it is hard to believe that America’s minimum wage  -the smallest amount businesses are legally required to pay their employees- was once enough to support a whole family. Nevertheless, that useto be the truth in America. According to the Pew Research Center, that wage reached all time peak in terms of purchasing power in 1968 (here). That year, people who relied on it were able to buy and spend more than at any other time before or since.

The amount they earned per hour? $1.60 (here).

New York State’s minimum wage reached its peak two years later. The rate then was $1.85.

That was enough to allow a family of four to pay the rent, put food on the table and clothes on the back of their kids as they pursued upward social mobility or even just lived out their lives in relative dignity.

Historic purchasing power is tricky to understand. Essentially, it measures the amount that people are actually able to buy after factoring in for inflation. It is how we are able to discern the fact that workers today simply do not make as much as they did 45 years ago.

Since this peak in American History, year after year with little exception, the purchasing power for minimum wage workers -the amount they are actually able to buy after factoring in for inflation- has significantly fallen. New York’s 1970 minimum wage would equate to $11.34 an hour in today’s money (here). The federal amount would be $9.81. The actual minimum wage in New York State today is lower than that. It stands at just $8.25 ($7.25 for federal). That’s quite a slide -more than thirty seven percent lower than it once was.

This slide has pulled many minimum wage earners further past a very important line -that of poverty.  In today’s reality, many who depend on minimum wage find themselves living way, way below the federal poverty level for a family of four (here). If that family lives in Massachusetts, the bread winner(s) will have to work one hundred and ten hours every week just to afford a two bedroom apartment (here). McDonald’s once suggested a budget for its employees that spent $150 per month for a car payment, nothing for gasoline and just $25 a day for spending money  -and that was assuming a two income household (here). This Mcdonald’s employee relies almost as much on food stamps for her and four children to get by as her salary.

If you don’t find these facts disturbing, then that’s OK. I can accept that not everyone shares my opinion about increasing the wage. One thing you should consider , however, is that these realities have a great effect on public school teachers.

Given the state of affairs for minimum wage workers, it really should not come as a surprise that half -half- of all school-aged children in America now live in poverty (here and here).

This is a really important concept to grasp here. Imagine your average class of, say, thirty students. Divide them in half -with fifteen students living below the poverty line and fifteen living above it. Now imagine how each half would succeed in school. If all of the research is correct, you’ll wind up seeing some stark differences in how they perform.

You will see it in test scores (Diane Ravitch):

… No matter what standardized test you look at, the results portray the influence of socioeconomic status on test scores .Despite outliers, the kids with the most advantages are at the top, the kids with the fewest advantages are at the bottom. This is true of international tests, state tests, federal tests, the ACT, the SAT…”

You will see it in graduation rates (the Federal Government):

“…About 68 percent of 12th-graders in high-poverty schools ..graduated with a diploma. Since 1999–2000, the average percentage of seniors in high-poverty schools who graduated with a diploma has declined by 18 percentage points, from 86 to 68 percent…”

(also the American Psychological Association):

“…In 2009, poor (bottom 20 percent of all family incomes) students were five times more likely to drop out of high school than high-income…”

And you will see it in college readiness rates (ACT):

“…only 20 percent of students from low-income families met at least three of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks, compared to 62 percent of students from high-income families…”

Poverty, as it turns out, is a great indicator for how successful a student will be in school (here) and beyond (here). It matters. In fact, it matters a great deal.

Remember that class of thirty that was divided evenly among poor and non poor students? Imagine that it wasn’t so evenly divided. Imagine that the majority of the students in your class lived well above the poverty line. Under that scenario, chances are, your students would be more successful and you would be deemed a pretty good teacher. Sounds pretty rosy, doesn’t it?

In contrast, imagine that most of the students in your class lived below the poverty line. Imagine that twenty lived in poverty and just ten of your students didn’t. Imagine the same standards, the same indicators and the same zero sum results that I described in the several links and quotes above. Not so rosy anymore, is it?

Finally, try to understand the plain truth of it all: That most of the fifty percent of American students who live below the poverty line are clustered together in the same high-poverty schools and many of the students who live above it are similarly clustered in their own low-poverty schools. Whole classrooms -in fact whole schools and even districts- are populated with students who live only under the poverty line, while others are populated with those who do not. In this sense, New York City isn’t that much different from the rest of the state or the nation. Poor people and non-poor people do not, generally speaking, live near one another (here) so they don’t generally populate the same schools and classrooms.

Under this scenario, where most, or even all of your students lived below the poverty line, chances are they wouldn’t perform well in your class, or in school at all. And chances are you’d be universally deemed a bad teacher because of it.

You may be deemed bad by our friends over at StudentsFirst(here):

“…students in New York City’s highest poverty districts are more than twice as likely to be taught by teachers who aren’t effective than students in New York City’s wealthiest districts…”

Or by the Center for American Progress (here):

“…. high-poverty schools have greater proportions of chronically ineffective teachers …”

You may be deemed bad by Arne Duncan (here via  Marci Kanstoroom):

“…many high schools that serve disadvantaged students and students of color lack highly effective teachers…”

Or by the New York Post (here)

“….Teachers who received bad performance ratings in the past school year were likelier to be teaching in high-poverty schools…”

Or by any one of the plethora of people and organizations who would like to point out that ‘the worst’ teachers are clustered in high-poverty schools.

Education reformers have become obsessed with the concept of poor educators. This bad teacher narrative has taken root in the US and has completely swept across our entire profession. It has become so profound that it is spoken about more than any other education related topic. It has fueled the growth of high stakes tests, ‘tougher accountability’ for teachers, the recent attack on tenure and has even helped lead to the rise of the charter school movement, as parents seek out alternatives for “bad schools”, filled with these “bad teachers” we keep hearing so much about. Reformers from Arne Duncan to Cami Anderson, from Michelle Rhee to John King have made entire careers by exploiting this narrative. It has been codified in comedy movie titles and news headlines ad nauseum. The narrative has become so ridiculous that movie stars and comedians have had to come to the rescue of the reputation of teachers all over the country. Forget a fair wage, forget improved living standards, forget poverty. Ineffective teachers, claims the narrative, have failed our students and are failing our schools.

Of course, they never mention that it’s only those schools located in poor areas and only those students living in poverty who are being failed.

I hope you see the point I’m making: Poverty doesn’t just matter for how well our students may perform in school. It also matters for how successful we are deemed as employees. It matters for our job. It matters for our career. It matters for whether or not we, as members of a well-respected and honorable profession, can do things like pay our rent, put food on our table and clothes on the backs of our kids. It doesn’t only  guarantee a certain percentage of our students (half) will be inhibited from performing as well as others in school (here again) and beyond (and here again). Poverty fuels the entire ‘bad teacher’ narrative and has lead to policies whichhave eroded our job protections and have threatened our job security.

And if you’re a teacher in the suburbs who believes that concentrated poverty is relegated to the urban and rural areas of the New York, think again (and again and again and again and again). Poverty is growing in the suburbs as well -at some very alarming rates.

Nothing traps people in poverty more than low wages (see here or here or here or here or here for how it is in the UK or here for one perspective from Ireland). And nothing promises to be a quicker fix for low wages than increasing wages.

So if you’d like to see an end to the education wars or an end to the current regime of high stakes testing, or an end to an unfair teacher evaluation system that has somehow had to be change four times now in the last five years; if you’d like to see an end to the constant cycle of downward pressure exerted on you and your colleagues, it’s only common sense to support policy outside of education that addresses poverty in New York. Supporting a significant increase to the minimum wage will lift a lot of boats. It will allow the parents of many of our students to lift themselves back above the poverty line and will increase the chances that their children -our students- can be more successful in school.

So if you’re one of the many teachers who believe that it is just not moral to pay people $15 to ‘flip burgers’, or if, like teaching assistant Suzann Ritchel of East Northport, NY, the prospect of a 15% minimum wage leaves you openly wondering whether or not ‘fast-food workers [are] doing more important work than we are?’ (here), then consider one small possibility: Consider that an increased minimum wage may make all of our jobs a whole lot easier than they are now.


The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter

Open to all newly elected or veteran chapter leaders, delegates, consultation/SLT committee members, para-reps, and anyone interested in getting more involved in their chapter.


This Thursday July 9th 4pm-7pm

The Dark Horse Pub

17 Murray St. NYC (downstairs)

Near City Hall, Chambers St., WTC

 Experienced chapter leaders will provide workshops on:

Getting your members involved

Enforcing contractual rights

Planning chapter and consultation meetings

Fighting back against administration

Building allies in PTA/SLT

Filing grievances

Working with your District/Borough Representatives

Facebook link here

For those that can not make this session we will have another one on August 20th, same time and location


A flier attacking UFT members that are not in President Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus was distributed at the June UFT Delegate Assembly. This is a response by the members of P.S. 8 in the Bronx.

Dear Mr. Mulgrew and His Unity Caucus:

We the undersigned read your Unity flyer that was distributed at the UFT Delegate Assembly. We take the insults contained therein as further evidence of the disconnect that exists between working teachers on the frontlines of classrooms and UFT Leadership.

You claim that those of us who are dissatisfied with our union’s representation are “detractors” categorized as either “alarmists,” “oppositional” or “Monday morning quarterbacks.” You toss in a French phrase and a George Orwell quote as if they demonstrate deep intellect that somehow lends credence to your insult—as if George Orwell wrote to warn about the rebels in society instead of those in power desperate to take any measure to retain that power. If you’re going to quote Orwell, the following Orwell quote best represents the Unity Caucus, “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power.”

To claim that we “never have led the fight against our enemies” is an inaccurate and disingenuous claim. Firstly, we are not in positions of leadership. More importantly we HAVE fought and ARE fighting our enemies in ways that UFT-leadership refuses to do such as writing our elected officials and challenging the absurd notion of tying our evaluations to test scores, challenging the reasonableness of the Danielson Framework which was never meant to be used as an evaluative tool, being actively engaged in the opt-out movement in our home communities, and rejecting the AFT endorsement of Hochul because we recognized that an endorsement of her was also a back-alley endorsement of Cuomo. We would also argue that challenging the Unity-controlled UFT that continues to disenfranchise working teachers is fighting the good fight.

Your claim that you know “better than anyone” because you “have been fighting these bad guys for over sixty years” is also inaccurate. You may not have noticed, but we most certainly have noticed, that for the past twenty plus years all you have been doing is ducking and weaving in the form of appeasement and as a result we, the working teachers, have been getting our derrières kicked while you remain in your ivory tower safe from all that we have been subjected to.

Contrary to the Japanese proverb you quoted, we definitely have a vision and we are taking action to see it materialize. We want a union run by those who have felt the pain of the unreasonable NYS teacher evaluation system and are committed to dismantling it and building a reasonable system in its place (and the MATRIX is not it). We want a union leadership that cries “foul” instead of “victory” when we have, in fact, been fouled.


(64) PS 8 UFT Members

Roseanne McCosh                              Jemely Rosario                       Christopher Fusco

Lori Matta                                          Melissa Lugo                          Sebastian DiFatta

Cynthia Pacelli                                    Bridget Valvano                      Doug Sheeran

Stefanie Gotkin                                   Rosie Pichardo                        MaryAlice Moylan

Bernadette Centrone                           Michele Bombace                   Suzana Califano

Kate Mills                                           Mary Blastos-Chile                Christina Chiu

Justin Russello                                    MaryEllen Eager                     Monique Morales

Caitlyn Applegate                              Sandra Mejia                           Meredith Kertis

Amanda Hughes                                  Christina Rados                      Dawn Meron

Lourdes Sepulveda                              Jeanine Caughey                     Andrea Brown

Kellie Griffin                                       B. Wehr                                   Harold Beniquez

Gloria Jacobo                                      Vanessa Acevedo                    Theresa Rivas

Priscilla Roldan                                   Eudenis Estrella                      Renee Beckett

Z. Torres                                             Ivy Castore                             Nicole Sofia

Lynn Mccarthy                                  Nicole Reardon                       Joni Ernst

Lucy Lukaj                                          Greg Fusco                              Richard Moran

H.S. Lee                                              Theresa Rizzuto                     Rita Tynan

M. Lukic                                           Katrina Nrekic                        Audrey Lynch

Mary Mastrogeannes                         Stephanie Moran                    N. Mooddeen

Vicky Abbate                                      Christopher Saxton                 Tara Foley

A.M. Drain                                         Tara Foley                              Jorge Mejia

Eileen McArdle



Please join MORE caucus UFT 4th Annual Summer Series.  It’s a great chance to Discuss, Debate, and Organize!

Thursdays this summer, 4pm-7pm

All are welcome!

The Dark Horse, 17 Murray St. NYC
Near City Hall, Chambers St, WTC
Drink specials: $4 domestic drafts, $6 well drinks and $7 wine.

Please click on the links to RSVP on Facebook

July 9th
Hardcore MORE Chapter Leader Training: The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter – Part I

Open to all newly elected or veteran chapter leaders, delegates, consultation/SLT committee members, para-reps, and anyone interested in getting more involved in their chapter. Some of the topics include: Getting members involved, Enforcing contractual rights, Planning chapter & consultation meetings, Fighting back against administration, Building allies in PTA/SLT, Filing grievances

July 23rd
How To Build an Opt-Out Movement in Your School

High Stakes Testing and the Teacher Evaluation System are suffocating public education. As Diane Ravitch states – the only way to save our schools is to starve the data beast. That is the mission of the opt out movement. Find out how teachers around the state are working together with parents to organize against high stakes testing and fight for the schools our students deserve!

July 30th
MORE/UFT 101 Who, What, Why?

Are you wondering what the teacher union is all about and what it means to you and your students? Is it something you should be active in?  Can unions be vehicles for social justice? What is a caucus? How has the UNITY Caucus kept control of the UFT for over 40 years? Why did MORE form?   Meet with new and veteran teachers to discuss these questions and more in this introduction to the inner workings of the UFT.

August 13th
What is the role of UFT Elections in Building a caucus?

What should a 2016 grassroots UFT election campaign look like? Does MORE have the resources and activists to mount an effective campaign? How can we use new tools and lessons learned to ensure that organizing  for the election will build MORE? Come learn election nuts and bolts, brainstorm creative election strategies, and plan ahead for how we’ll build a campaign that builds a better union.

August 20th
Hardcore MORE Chapter Leader Training: The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter – Part II
(See Part 1 Above)


Jia Lee, Chapter Leader of The Earth School and a member of MORE, brought a MORE-sponsored resolution before the Delegate Assembly (DA) calling for a statement expressing opposition to the appointment of recently appointed state education commissioner Mary Ellen Elia pointing to the lack of transparency and democracy in the process of her appointment which took place under a veil of secrecy. UFT High School VP and Unity Caucus member Janella Hinds spoke in favor of Commissioner Elia, calling her a “friend to teachers unions and someone we can work with”.

Ms. Lee explained that the UFT’s support of the new commissioner  is a mistake because, “In the day after her appointment, Elia stated strong support for the Common Core Standards and high stakes testing, while criticizing parents who opt their children out of these tests.”In supporting the sentiment of Regent leader Meryl Tisch, to Elia it is just a matter of re-packaging rather than fundamental change. Elia has been a supporter of using student test scores to rate teachers. “We have an opportunity to harness and galvanize the experiences of teachers to proactively call for what students need in our schools and for our working conditions,” Ms. Lee said. “These things can no longer be compromised”.

The DA, dominated by Unity Caucus chapter leaders and delegates, voted against the resolution.

Resolution: No Confidence in New State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia

Whereas, the top down education policies under No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and high stakes accountability tied to Common Core Standards have had disastrous effects on whole child education and democratic, school-based decision making in New York State

Whereas, there was no transparency in the selection process, no public vetting of candidates, no opportunity for public input in the appointment of the new State Education Commissioner, Mary Ellen Elia

Whereas, Ms. Elia’s record makes it clear she is a strong supporter of the Common Core State Standards (even though Florida has pulled  out of Common Core) and high-stakes testing; she was an early proponent of using test scores to evaluate teachers, complete with $100 million in funding from the Gates Foundation. She also negotiated a merit pay system and supports school choice

Whereas, last January, the Hillsborough Board of Education voted 4-3 to dismiss her. Members who voted her out have been on record as criticizing her for board-superintendent tension, her salary and benefits, and constituent complaints about too much high-stakes standardized testing, some said her tough disciplinary policy disproportionately affected black students and employees who said her management style was heavy-handed.

Whereas, she failed to notify the district immediately that a 7-year-old girl had stopped breathing on a school bus and died later; she said she didn’t know the scope of the tragedy until the family sued the district.

Be it Resolved that UFT will hold a press conference and issue a press statement of no confidence in the appointment of Ms. Elia, because it does not serve the best interests of our children, educators, or public schools

Resolved that the educators of the UFT seek public vetting and member discussion before the leadership of the largest local in the state supports the appointment of any state chancellor.

Resolved that our union leadership will organize meetings at the beginning of the 2015/16 school year throughout the boroughs, for working UFT educators to discuss this appointment, state educational policies, and develop our own vision of statewide educational policies that will best serve all our children

Be it further Resolved that the the UFT will fight for a renewed statewide emphasis on the arts, music, libraries and physical education for all of our children.

"A say in the priorites of our Union? (UFT) Sure, we'd like MORE."

A plea for union democracy

The Nuts and Bolts of Leading Your Chapter

Open to all newly elected or veteran chapter leaders, delegates, consultation/SLT committee members, para-reps, and anyone interested in getting more involved in their chapter.

Thursday July 9th and August 20 4pm-7pm

The Dark Horse Pub

17 Murray St. NYC (downstairs)

Near City Hall, Chambers St., WTC

 Experienced chapter leaders will provide workshops on:

Getting your members involved

Enforcing contractual rights

Planning chapter and consultation meetings

Fighting back against administration

Building allies in PTA/SLT

Filing grievances

Working with your District/Borough Representatives

RSVP and share our Facebook event here
Chapter Leaders and Delegates join our email support listserve here

Why Join MORE?

May 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

"Demand MORE from the UFT"

MORE’s central priority will be the development of a UFT caucus. Our aim is to reach UFT members with our message of a more active and democratic union that can effectively fight back against what we have called the “ed deform” agenda and for the basic union rights of our members. We seek to reach members “where they are.” Different subsets of the membership experience the attacks on our profession and on our rights differently. For some, the testing frenzy has already transformed our work lives dramatically. For others, the new evaluation process and life under a terrible contract occupy center stage. Many of our members work under horrific and abusive administrators and that reality overshadows everything else.

Our hope is to reach rank and file members and help them become more actively involved in our efforts to turn things around. This will include helping members build stronger and more effective union chapters in their schools, connecting members with others around the city who are combatting the impacts of standardized testing on our working conditions and our students learning conditions, encouraging members to join us in various efforts to challenge the UFT leadership and turn the union into one that can lead the fight on all of these fronts.

Please join us now



Monday 5:30-6:30pm

UFT Headquarters
Executive Board Meeting

52 Broadway in Manhattan 2nd Floor

Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers would appreciate your support. They have been asking for an ATR Chapter to represent our unique interests for a long time now.  We have filed a complaint with the UFT Executive Board concerning the Chapter Election process. ATRs are being compelled to vote and run for office at schools we are just passing through in May and might know nothing about instead of being permitted to vote for our own ATR representatives.

The UFT Executive Board will officially respond to our complaint and we will have an opportunity to voice our support.


NYC Teachers Rally & Speak Out

Against High Stakes Testing!

Tuesday May 5, 2015 @ 4:30pm

Washington Square Park


  We Speak Out For. . .

  • Diverse and authentic assessments used to inform instruction. Less time spent on test prep and bureaucratic paperwork so teachers can focus on planning meaningful instruction.

  • Culturally responsive, collaborative, and student-centered curriculum.

  • Well-rounded and robust programs including arts, physical education, and career and technical education for all.

  • Re-claiming a moral profession in unethical times.

*Spread the word  *Bring signs & banners  * Encourage you organization or chapter to endorse the event.



Let us know if you’d like to say a few words during the Speak Out.

Sponsored/Endorsed by: MORE (Movement of Rank and File Educators)

Who Controls the UFT?

April 30, 2015 — 4 Comments
By Michael Fiorillo, Teacher, Newcomers HS
MORE Steering Committee 
To most teachers, often overwhelmed by ever-increasing demands that have little or nothing to do with providing the best education for their students, the UFT seems remote from their daily experience. Beyond welfare fund services, when they think about the Union at all, it is often in terms of hefty dues deductions. Rarely so they think the union fighting for them, and with good reason: it rarely does other than little pantomimes of fighting back.Teachers less and less see the Union as a vehicle for improving their lives at an ever more demanding job where they are increasingly less secure and respected. Higher salaried senior teachers often feel they have a target on their backs. New teachers see achieving tenure as an ever-receding mirage – as an obstacle course as they engage in a 3, 4, or more year endurance contest with their principal and/or local Superintendent. And if they get past that will they survive long enough to get a pension? The silence and impotence of the Union is apparent. How often do we hear exasperated, demoralized teachers asking, “Where is the Union?”The Union often feels like a distant and largely irrelevant force because of the inbred, anti-Democratic practices of an ever-more indifferent leadership, which often seems complicit with the dysfunction and outrages we daily face in the schools. The UFT’s ruling faction, Unity Caucus, has been in power for over half a century, and suffers from most of the ills of too much power held over too long a time: out-of-touch, unwilling to consider new ideas, and often identifying more with management and so-called “education reformers” than with their own members.What is Unity Caucus?
Caucuses are the political parties that seek to govern the union. Unity caucus has had sole, unlimited policy-making control since the UFT was founded in the early 60’s. The UFT has had opposition caucuses vying for political power over the years, but Unity has structured the UFT in a way to assure them complete control and the creation of an entrenched political machine that has passively accepted, and sometimes actively collaborated with, policies inimical to teachers and students.

The lack of union democracy has very tangible consequences for teachers. Lately, virtually all of those consequences have been negative, and have correlated with declining participation from the rank and file. Less than 20% of active teachers voted in the last election and 52% of those who did vote were retirees. Unity has so rigged the election process, every single member of the 101 member UFT Executive Board is Unity endorsed.

Members must commit to a loyalty oath to ALWAYS support whatever dictates come down from the leadership and NEVER speak against them publicly. Hundred of chapter leaders are Unity Caucus members and if it comes down to supporting the interests of the teachers who elected them or the union leadership most Unity chapter leaders will force feed policies from the top to their members, thus putting the needs of the caucus over their colleagues.

Teachers who attempt to go above a Unity chapter leader to the borough or district reps are stonewalled since these reps have been appointed by the leadership since the UFT ended elections of District Reps in 2002, thus bringing Unity’s centralized, top-down governance to both the school, district and borough levels.

Other than a few exceptions, getting even part-time work at the Union is conditional on Unity Caucus membership, a powerful incentive for closely-policed conformity.

There are many reasons for the scapegoating, disrespect and attacks that public school teachers have been suffering for a generation. One of the reasons they’ve been so successful is that the Union leadership’s continuing anti-democratic practice has made it rigid and sclerotic, dangerously dependent on “friends in high places” – especially since their most important friend, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was recently indicted – and unwilling to tap into the knowledge and energy of its rank and file. Unity Caucus is so wedded to decades of power, so scared of the membership and intent on managing it instead of representing it, that they risk the destruction of the Union itself along with the mission of public education as we know it.

It follows that the survival of public education and teacher unions themselves are bound up with issues of union democracy. The continued entrenchment of the Unity Caucus Machine virtually guarantees the continuing success of attacks on teachers, their benefits, working conditions and dignity. If we are serious about saving public education and the teaching profession, then we must be serious about taking back our Union from the out-of-touch Unity Caucus Machine that controls it.

Download the latest issue of The High School Teachers Voice here

The School Renewal Program rolled out last November was designed to support “low performing” schools. Since then, a disproportionate number have been the targets of charter co-location proposals. While some have already been approved, more are on the way. This Wednesday three charter school co-location proposals targeting Renewal Schools will be put to a vote by the Panel for Educational Policy. This opportunism on behalf of charter operators is not only shameful but it defeats the promise of The School Renewal Program. Show your support for public schools and demand the PEP vote NO on all charter co-location proposals!

Panel for Educational Policy Meeting
WED April 29th @ 6pm
M.S. 131 
100 Hester Street, Manhattan
New York, NY 10002
Opportunism in Charter Schools  (1)

ATR Petition to Print Out for Distribution

ATRs have been prime staff casualties of school closures, which are driven largely by high-stakes test scores; the Bloomberg-era Fair Funding Formula continues to be a disincentive against principals’ hiring ATRs; the position state in itself is illegitimate and unacceptable: the ATR status is created simply to break tenure and seniority; as ATRs are overwhelmingly over the age of 45, the placing of teachers in this position is age discrimination;

Absent Teacher Reserve teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, and other excessed NYC DOE employees are denied the right to representatives from within their own ranks; they can only vote for chapter representatives if they happen to be working in a school with an election during their rotation assignment; Denying ATRs their own representatives violates the principle of no dues without representation.

Whereas, the ATR position has now been embedded in the UFT contract in Section 16 of the 2014 DOE-UFT contract, therefore be it Resolved, that the UFT will immediately create a Functional Chapter to represent the interests of ATRs, Leave Replacement Teachers and Provisional Teachers, with borough-level proportionality.

We UFT members ask president Mulgrew for his pledge to create these chapters.

ENDORSED BY: Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE)

Please mail petitions by June 8, 2015 to: P.O. Box 150150, Kew Gardens, NY 11415


***Press Conference***
Our School Community Matters! VOTE NO on the Success Academy Co-Location at JHS145x Educational Complex
Friday April 24, 3:30 
Bronx Borough President’s Office 
851 Grand Concourse, at 161 Street 

CALL 311 TODAY to demand a change of location for the co-location vote regarding the Bronx schools at 1000 Teller Ave

It’s no secret that embattled Success Academy charter schools CEO Eva Moskowitz loves standardized testing. In a recent op-ed she wrote, “Tests aren’t perfect but something’s rotten in Denmark (or the Bronx) when a school has a 90 percent failure rate. Not having this data is as foolish as not installing a smoke detector.” One would hope Eva isn’t referring to the English Language Learners (ELL), Special Education students and Students with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE) who predictably score lower on standardized tests (and just so happen to be routinely barred from attending her Success Academies) as “rotten.” Regardless, she considers them displaceable. A proposal to co-locate grades 3 through 5 of her Success Academy Bronx 3 charter school on the site of three district middle schools at 1000 Teller Ave. is pending approval and the community is mobilizing to prevent it.

Moskowitz wants to move into the building because it is considered “under-enrolled.” That’s for two reasons: 1) the school included a fifth grade class up until two years ago when the district suddenly eliminated it; and 2) the formula that determines a building’s capacity does not take into account the lower capacity of special education classrooms protected by law to contain no more than 12 students at a time whereas general education classrooms are allowed up to 30. According to Jim Donohue, an 8th grade English teacher at Arturo Toscanini (MS145), there are no unused classrooms in the entire school. Should the proposal go through, 17 classrooms would be lost and their occupants displaced.

On April 16th a public hearing before the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP) was held to gather community feedback on the proposed co-location. The auditorium at 1000 Teller Ave., home of Bronx middle schools Arturo Toscanini, the Urban Science Academy and New Millennium Business Academy, was packed with over 600 parents, teachers, students and community members. The overbearing orange of Success Academy t-shirts overwhelmed the crowd, yet the opposition was palpable. One student who spoke against the proposal said, “Why is Success Academy trying to invade our community when their schools have 2,500 empty seats? You are trying to break our community. You are taking away our main privilege – our space – which we need.”

Many people echoed that sentiment and directed comments to Ms. Moskowitz and Governor Andrew Cuomo, neither of whom were in attendance. One student declared, “This school is my school. Buh-bye. Leave.”

Sadly, the comment of a retired employee whose wife attended the school rings true: “This community has never gotten any respect.” Subsequent to losing a chunk of it’s student body, 1000 Teller Ave. was designated a Renewal School on account of low standardized test scores and lack of adequate operating funds. Twenty-six percent of the student body are ELLs, ten percent are in Special Education and 40 students receive SIFE programming. These populations typically do not fare well on biased standardized tests. According to the NYC DOE websiteRenewal Schools are supposed to be “accountable” for improving test scores or they will face “consequences.” It seems like engaging an entire school community in a Hunger Games-like fight for space during the weeks of high stakes testing and potentially forcing them to reorganize and re-establish their school community next school year is being set up to fail. Ostensibly, Renewal School status entitles struggling schools to needed supports. Taking away space, a resource closely linked to academic outcomes,  is working at cross purposes. If 1000 Teller Ave. can’t raise test scores under these circumstances they could face being closed and replaced. Ms. Moskowitz’s bold plans are indeed upsetting the challenging Renewal School process while positioning her to benefit from the fallout. Her actions give lie to the claim that she is driven by the interests of students, especially this city’s most disadvantaged.

Monday evening, while Ms. Moskowitz entertained guests at a Spring benefit that earned her 9.3 million dollars, a collection of public officials and NYC DOE administrators were seen touring 1000 Teller Ave.  A vote on the proposed co-location is scheduled for April 29th but to Jim Donohue, it feels as though the deal is done.

Mr. Donohue’s speech before the April 16th panel captured both the widely felt sense of community pride and the madness of pitting children against each other:

I’ve been here for 16 years, and they will have to drag me out of here to get me to leave, because I love my job. I love my co-workers, I love my principal, I love my assistant principal….but most of all, I love my students. They would tell you what I just said was “mad corny” but it’s true. I know that you folks from the Success Academy love your jobs, and your co-workers and your students, and I’m not here to attack you, or your school, or Ms. Moskowitz.

I admire your passion, and you’ve brought a lot of adorable kids here tonight. But I’d like you to imagine something. Imagine a warm April evening like this one 5 years from now. Imagine 8 busloads of people wearing GREEN shirts pull up in front of the SUCCESS ACADEMY COMPLEX, former home of public school MS 145.  (we’ll be out of your hair by then). What do these green-shirted people want? They want 15 of your classrooms. Maybe, like I did tonight, you overhear one of the green-shirted folks say to a child “These Success Academy people want to deny you an education!” What are you going to do? Will you agree with them? Success Academy teachers- will you quietly pack up your classrooms and move, as (incredibly)  I’m expected to do?





By Mindy Rosier

me and august 2

I broke out my dressy clothes, some earrings, and my red lipstick for last night’s fundraiser for Eva Moskowitz. I was not a guest. As a mere teacher, I could not afford to attend the Third Annual Spring Benefit that began at 6:30 pm. Cocktails and dinner were served and of course you needed to dress to the nines. Since Cuomo was busy puffing away on cigars in Cuba, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries from Brooklyn took over as the keynote speaker. Other guests included Eli Broad, Campbell Brown, Katie Couric, Daniel S. Loeb, even our ole school  chancellor Joel Klein. Seats started at $1,250.00 and tables began at $15,000.00. I wasn’t there to party, I was there to make some noise.

I got there early with some of my dapperly dressed friends. About 5 of us, including fellow MOREista August, walked over to Cipriani on 42nd Street holding some cleverly informative flyers. We handed them out to the guests. What was great about this action, was that this flyer was in the Success Academy colors. Guests thought that we were the welcoming committee and gladly took them. They thanked us and smiled, even the stepford wives like teachers. After about 20 or so minutes, more than 50 loud protesters arrived onto the scene, circling around the front entrance. These protesters were from several advocacy groups such as NYCC, Citizen Action, Strong Economy for All Coalition, VOCAL, AQE, as well as the amazing Hedge Clippers. These Hedge Clippers work to uncover the influences that hedge funds and billionaires use to sway government and politics in order to bolster their own power and wealth. Their most recent post was quite timely, posted early yesterday morning.  Hedge Fund Hypocrisy: The Double Standard of Success Academy is a great article that you all should read. “Success Academy doesn’t attract just handfuls of hedge fund managers – more like hordes.” They included a list of “over 50 hedge fund managers and hedge fund spouses who have notable ties to Success Academy. Though the hedge fund industry’s affinity for Success Academy is well known, this is the first time such a list has been published.”

Back to the protest…

For approximately 45 minutes we chanted and did mic checks in front of Cipriani. When we first got there, there was a small protest “pen” off to the side. This little pen was completely ignored. There were four or five police officers keeping an eye on us and when it was obvious that we were not going away, they moved the “pen” around us already in action. This space was considerably larger than what they had originally planned for. The police officers didn’t seem to mind us protesters, but the guests visibly did. I believe the only reason why the “pen” was moved, was because those guests did not want to walk past or through us. Also, during this time, we still had a couple of others continue giving out those flyers to those scragglers. I would so love to post this incredible flyer, but was advised that I shouldn’t by the authors, whose decision not to post I will respect. It stated some of Success Academy’s proud “solutions” with counter information….you know, the truth.

Pamela Garcia, parent and member of NYCC gave a powerful mic check and led commanding chants. Others did a mic check too. I was given the floor after one of those guests made a comment putting us protesters down for not seeing how incredible Success Academy is. I responded back to her, “you can tell that to my special needs students who were almost kicked out by her last year.” That prompted a Hedge Clipper to get me going. I don’t need a mic or any other kind of amplifier. I still proudly have my booming Brooklyn voice.

We concluded our protest chanting, “we’ll be back.” We most definitely will……

Overall, this was one of my favorite protests. I am proud to have stood by so many from different organizations and the wonderful people in them. Even though some of our messages might be slightly different, we still had common ground and united we spoke up and out….AND loudly at that!

Earlier this morning, a dear friend sent me this article by Eliza Shapiro from Capitol NY which is behind a pay wall. It is about last night’s event and how much money Miss Eva took in. Her oh so generous friends made her empire over $9 million richer. How nice for her!

Even earlier this morning, I checked out the feed of Success Academy on Twitter and I found the posts appalling. Here are some of those gems….

“We have not just closed the education gap. We’ve reversed it.” – @MoskowitzEva #RedefiningPossible #InsideSuccess

and another….Founder @MoskowitzEva to guests: “Visit our schools and become an ambassador for #edreform.” #RedefiningPossible

and another… “I stand here because I unequivocally support quality public ed & that’s what @MoskowitzEva & SA provide.” –@RepJeffries #RedefiningPossible,

then there is this one…”City govt & union bosses are institutionalizing failure. We will unapologetically back you up while you fight for kids.” – @campbell_brown

let’s not forget.. “You push these kids because their path is tougher and they have to be stronger.” – @campbell_brown #RedefiningPossible

and finally there is this….”If we want fewer people in prison it starts with reforming education.” – @DanLoeb #RedefiningPossible Yes, because Mr. Loeb knows exactly how to fix this problem. Easy to say when you are worth how much???

Last night was one of many protests that I have gone to in the name of saving public education. It will also be far from my last. As long as there are Evas in this would determined to destroy my beloved profession and bust up unions, I will stand loud and proud for my kids, because they do not deserve anything less.

success me


MORE sends its deepest condolences to our friend and fellow defender of public education, Noah Gotbaum and his family, over the death of his father, Victor.

Victor Gotbaum was among the most prominent union leaders during the glory days of public employee unionism. A great organizer and defender of worker’s interests, Victor Gotbaum led District Council 37, the umbrella organization for most unionized city employees, from 1965, when DC 37 had 35,000 members, until 1987, when it had well over 100,000.

Victor Gotbaum was a lifelong New Yorker, a WWII veteran, a precociously early opponent of the Vietnam War, and a fighter for the rights of working people. During the fiscal crisis of 1975 and after, also known as “The Banker’s Coup,” his immediate reflex was to fight the austerity being imposed on working New Yorkers, and DC 37 members demonstrated the power of working people, coming close to shutting the city down in opposition to the budget cutbacks that took almost a generation to recover from.

Victor Gotbaum understood and devoted his life to expanding the power of workers, and we will use this moment to reflect upon how we will carry on that tradition, as he did, with intelligence, passion and commitment.

Again, our deepest condolences to Noah and his family for their loss.

victor 2

September 5, 1921 – April 5, 2015

To the Public School Families and Educators of New York-

I would like to thank the many of you who have gone way out of their way to stand up for our schools, for their children’s educators, and for public education in New York. Governor Cuomo’s attacks have galvanized parents , students, and educators across the state, and have united in us in solidarity to protect our schools. So many of you have volunteered your time, attended rallies, spoken with your friends in person and through social media, signed letters and petitions, contacted elected officials, opted your children out of the state tests, and otherwise demonstrated your resistance to the data-obsessed, privatization-oriented corporate “school reform” agenda typified by Cuomo’s budget proposals.

I must make clear, though, that this is no time to declare victory or let up on the pressure; the budget that passed is a brutal one for public education in NY, different from Cuomo’s original proposals in only minor and cosmetic ways, though the Times and our the deeply compromised UFT leadership suggest otherwise. The funding secured, though it represents an increase, STILL does not satisfy the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. The teacher evaluation system, though technically kicked down the road a bit to high stakes testing advocate Meryl Tisch and other like-minded bureaucrats at the State education department, is already pretty well established at this point, and it is everything we feared as far as escalating the testing regime, disempowering and demeaning educators (including principals), and almost certainly exacerbating the looming teacher shortage. Raising the charter cap (some would say the true heart of Cuomo’s proposals because charters are the main interest of his most ardent financial backers, hedge fund managers) has also been delayed for a few months, another fight soon to come. The Assembly Democrats who we thought had our backs threw us under the bus.

That is not to say that we shouldn’t take stock and appreciate how far we have come; we have mobilized in a way that is unprecedented, with staff, parents, and students uniting to stand up for the kids and for public education in solidarity across the state in the face of a concerted divide-and-conquer strategy (now being further utilized to attempt to placate parents in wealthy districts where opt-out rates and other forms of parental resistance are high). But we cannot allow ourselves to think that we have won and sink into complacency; the enemies of public education have struck a significant blow here, and though the changes will not be visible in the halls of our schools immediately, it will not take long before we see the effects, among the most visible of which is likely to be the high teacher turnover which is so harmful to a school, whether caused by getting fired for having the wrong kind of students or simply becoming demoralized by being made scapegoats for society’s ills. If we truly believe that the children and educators of New York are more than a score, this must be only the beginning of our resistance to Cuomo’s depredations.


Dan Lupkin
Technology Coordinator/UFT Chapter Leader
PS 58, The Carroll School
Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, N.Y.


Cuomo and Mulgrew

April 1, 2015 — 9 Comments

cuomo mulgrew

“The hedge-fund billionaires and Governor Cuomo haven’t gotten their way,” declared UFT President Michael Mulgrew in his official response to Cuomo’s budget deal on March 30. Unfortunately he is wrong. Tests will play a greater role in our evaluation, outside evaluators will be brought in, and it will now take a new teacher four years instead of three to reach tenure. It seems to us that they definitely “got their way”!

UFT members mobilized impressively to fight Governor Cuomo over this budget. This was a welcome development after the UFT leadership failed to rally against Bloomberg’s failed policies, charter schools, or for a good contract. Should we be thankful and praise our UFT leaders for leading a series of protests over the past few weeks, or do we shout from the mountain-top that the reason our union has suffered another defeat is that the Unity/UFT leadership has been unwilling and unable to launch the kind of sustained fight that could have prevented this latest setback? It is time to do the latter.

For years opposition caucuses have tried to pressure the union to change course and rally our members to defend our rights. From 2009-2014 we insisted that the UFT had to mobilize for a good contract. The Unity/UFT leadership’s strategy, however, was to wait for Michael Bloomberg to leave office. The result was a contract with wages that failed to keep up with inflation and belated back pay – yet to be delivered – without interest. When MORE raised resolutions calling for the UFT to stand against the use of standardized student tests for teacher evaluation, Mulgrew replied that tying our careers to such tests was a step forward for us. He even went on to tell us how we needed to be held accountable: “the days of walking into a school, getting your keys to the bathroom and being left alone are over” When MORE proposed that the union demand developmentally appropriate standards and curriculum, as an alternative to Common Core, and when we called for an end to high stakes testing, we were labeled as extremists. Not only has the union leadership conceded over and again to our enemies, but it has refused to involve rank and file members in any significant policy decisions. Now is the time to change that.

After years of not fighting back, after years of waiting out Bloomberg, after years of letting charters expand, in March 2015 the union leadership  finally turned to UFT members and asked them to mobilize. Many chapters responded with great demonstrations of solidarity, sign making, hands around schools, videos, meetings with local politicians, and support from the community. There are many more voices to be heard, however, and the UFT has yet to mobilize them. Many of our members continue to face principals who harass them on a regular basis. They have had their pedagogy reduced to checkbox rubrics, and have been forced  to become test prep machines. Their energy, enthusiasm, and confidence in their union are sapped. Many are fixated on the daily struggle for survival on the job and can’t think about the state or national context. It is hardly surprising that members in such schools were not quick to heed the UFT’s rallying cry. The actions, therefore, proved too weak and came too late. Albany legislators understood that UFT leaders had neither the desire nor the capacity to summon a wave of social protest strong enough to disrupt routine politics and pressure lawmakers to rebuff the Governor.

While grassroots parent groups are leading the opt-out movement, UFT leaders have done nothing to support them. Recent endorsements of the opt-out strategy from New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten are welcome. And we hope Michael Mulgrew will soon get on board. But we need more than endorsements. Our union should commit its vast resources to help build this movement of civil disobedience to starve the testing beast that is meant to destroy us.

This week Governor Cuomo won a substantial victory. As he did after negotiating the 2014 contract, our union President dressed up a defeat as a victory. We need a union leadership that is honest with the membership and can admit that we have suffered a setback. We need a union that can engage its members in strategic discussion to develop the kind of response that can raise the political heat on politicians and stop the attacks on us. Anyone who reads the national news can see the dark clouds on the horizon. Midwestern governors, such as Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, have pushed legislation designed to wipe out our bargaining rights. Governor Cuomo is slowly following in their footsteps. Next year, he will undoubtedly propose more “reforms.” The only way to fight this is to revitalize our union. It’s time to make our union democratic, allow for all voices to have representation, time to get our members involved in local actions, and support the growing opt-out campaign. We also need our union to stop embracing measures like common core and the accompanying testing madness that is degrading our profession and killing whatever joy is left in our classrooms.

The union-initiated forums we had over the last several weeks and the local action committees that were formed need to continue and grow. A brief injection of mobilization wasn’t enough to stop Cuomo this time, but if we use it as a starting point to infuse life back into our union we stand a better chance of preventing the next round of attacks. Let’s organize and campaign for real reform, such as smaller classes, wrap around services, and diverse assessments designed by teachers and used to diagnose students, not to intimidate teachers.

Last spring UFT leaders showed up to chapters to sell us a contract. They must do the same when administrators are ruining our schools and when chapter leaders are not doing their jobs. We need organizers to help members stand together and defend themselves, and to support those members who want to bring a union back to a demoralized faculty. When members in one school are under attack from an abusive principal the UFT needs to reach out to members in surrounding schools and involve them in the effort to defend their colleagues. Such actions can put meaning back into the ages old union motto, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Michael Mulgrew can continue to hurl epithets at the Governor. But he and his supporters share in the blame. MORE’s vision of unionism is an organization that can inspire members with confidence, encourage more of them to become active, and organize the kind of broad fightback that can reverse the attacks on teacher unionism and public education. The Unity/UFT model of unionism features militant-sounding leaders who talk tough, but rely on their ability to make backroom deals with local and state legislators. That model just failed again. Lets join together and take back our union, before it is too late.

As you may know, a determined group of teachers at John Dewey High School have blown the whistle on Principal Kathleen Elvin.

Since her arrival at Dewey in March 2012, Elvin’s  brutal and mercenary  policies have involved blatant and virulent harassment —–mainly directed against 55 plus teachers.

Simultaneously, Elvin oversees corrupt and fraudulent Credit Recovery and Project Graduation programs designed to pass through and ultimately send to graduation hundreds of students—in the process, establishing for Dewey bogus school statistics and for Elvin, financial remuneration!

During the past week alone, Elvin’s sickening practices have been exposed by the CBS Evening News, WPIX and the The New York Post.

On Wednesday, March 25th 2015, CBS News Chief Political Correspondent, Marcia Kramer brought the issue of Kathleen Elvin at Dewey directly to the attention of Mayor DeBlasio and Chancellor Farina during a meeting at Brooklyn Automotive High School.

Regrettably, the Mayor and Farina seem poised to cover up this scandal. The effect of such a policy would be disastrous for the teachers and students of John Dewey!

At this critical time, your help is greatly needed to maintain public pressure and hopefully hasten the departure of Elvin and her cronies from Dewey, restoring in the process, a desperately needed measure of decency and integrity to a once proud and respected NYC High School!

Please utilize your blogs to the fullest possible extent showing your solidarity and support for integrity, public education and the efforts of a truly courageous and dedicated group of teachers!

MORE calls on the Mayor and Chancellor to immediately remove the principal as they conduct their investigation. The C-30 panel should have the final decision on new administration.

#ProtectOurSchools Rally

March 30, 2015 — 1 Comment

MORE rally resize

UFT members, parents, and supporters of public schools all around New York State took part in rallies, protests and  forums, created wonderful signs, reached out to the press and used social media to spread our love for public schools. These actions culminated in a rally at Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office with thousands of people demanding that the Governor work with us, not against us.

MORE believes these actions should be the start, not the end, of a mass mobilization of educators and parents to have our voices heard. Too many decisions have been made without our input. This needs to change now!

Our due process tenure rights are under attack as is the very concept of being in a union. We must continue to build actions alongside parents, students, and the communities we serve to show our strength.

MORE was well represented at the Rally To Protect Our Schools on March 28 with Mindy Rosier, Jia Lee, and Patrick Walsh all featured as speakers.

Mindy Rosier – Jeremy Dudley – Teachers

Jia Lee – Teacher

Patrick Walsh

rally crowd



Lauren Cohen, co-chapter leader from P.S. 321 in Brooklyn, raised a resolution on behalf of MORE in opposition of standardized testing and supporting parent’s right to opt-out. It also called for our union to take in active role in defending teachers who are conscientious objectors, an end to test based evaluations, and to educate our members on opt-out (full text below). UFT leadership from Unity caucus controls the Delegate Assembly and voted down our resolution, but most independent chapter leaders and delegates voted for it. The vote was so close, they had to count a second time.


Resolution Opposing Standardized Testing

WHEREAS, the volume of mandated standardized testing to which students are subjected in the New York City Department of Education (NYC DOE) has increased many times over in recent years, and

WHEREAS, the results of such tests cannot be used for diagnostics or remediation or other educational purposes, and

WHEREAS, such testing generates results that are used for high-stakes decision-making regarding both students, teachers, and schools

WHEREAS, such tests fail to measure the most important qualities schools should seek to develop in students, such as relationship-building, character, ethical development, critical thinking, persistence, imagination, insight, and collaboration, amongst others, and

WHEREAS, as a result, many students who develop these valued but unmeasured qualities, but who have extreme difficulty with standardized and other paper-and-pencil tests, experience these tests as stressful to the point of abuse, and

WHEREAS, the increasing focus on such testing causes severe distortions of schooling, inflicting trauma on many students and changing schools into test-prep factories

WHEREAS, the 2007 UFT task force on testing found that “The use of data from student test scores on standardized tests to evaluate teachers may appear simple,… but it is wrong” and The American Statistical Association  warned that “Value Added Measure scores themselves have large standard errors”

WHEREAS there is nationwide opposition to the developmentally inappropriate Common Core standards and, as education historian and professor Diane Ravitch said, “They are being imposed on the children of this nation despite the fact that no one has any idea how they will affect students, teachers, or schools. We are a nation of guinea pigs, almost all trying an unknown new program at the same time.”


RESOLVED, that the UFT declare its opposition to the use of state- or federal-mandated standardized tests for the purposes of making grade promotion, graduation, teacher evaluation, or other high-stakes decisions regarding students or teachers, and

RESOLVED, that UFT supports the right of parents and guardians to choose to opt-out their children from any or all state- or federally-mandated testing, and supports the right of teachers to discuss freely with parents and guardians their rights and responsibilities with respect to such testing, all without any negative consequences from NYC DOE, and

RESOLVED, that UFT will fully support and protect members and others who may suffer any negative consequences as a result of speaking about their views of such testing or about the rights and obligations of parents and guardians with respect to such testing

RESOLVED, that UFT will use its organizational capacity to inform members in every chapter about the right of parents/guardians to opt-out their children from state or federal mandated testing and will take an active role in producing and distributing opt-out literature using materials from,, and, including sample parent opt-out letters.

RESOLVED, that UFT will fully support and, if necessary, defend members who are conscientious objectors to administering standardized assessments

RESOLVED, that UFT will demand an immediate halt to all Common Core based testing, curriculum and standards, until it has been properly field tested

And be it further RESOLVED, that the UFT will continue to mobilize members and parents to achieve these goals through actions such as rallies, forums, and school-based protests.


by James Eterno

Former Chapter Leader

Jamaica High School

One of the agenda items at the UFT Executive Board meeting for Monday, March 23 is a resolution to adopt a guide and bylaws for Chapter Elections (see below).  Chapter Leader and Delegate elections are scheduled this spring for the United Federation of Teachers.

In putting out its election guide, the UFT has once again given the cold shoulder to Absent Teacher Reserves and Leave Replacement Teachers, a huge group that includes way over a thousand teachers who belong to no UFT Chapter.  As a Leave Replacement Teacher, I am one of these teachers without a permanent home. We are being disenfranchised in reality, if not on paper, as the new procedures will allow ATR’s to vote and run for office in the school they are assigned to in the first week of May (see below).  This is patently absurd.  We might not even be in that school when it holds its Chapter Election in May or June.

Last month I filed a complaint with the Federal Department of Labor that the UFT is violating federal labor law by not allowing us a reasonable opportunity to serve in the highest policy making body of the union: the Delegate Assembly.  Part of the DOL complaint says the following:

The Landrum Griffin federal regulations say this concerning eligibility to be candidates for union office:  “Every member in good standing is eligible to be a candidate and to hold office subject to reasonable qualifications in the union’s constitution and bylaws that area uniformly imposed.”  Why should being an ATR cause us to lose any chance of being elected to the UFT’s highest policy making body: The Delegate Assembly?  Teachers who are filling in as Leave Replacements or those covering vacancies provisionally also belong to no Chapter and cannot run for Chapter Leader or Delegate.  This is unconscionable.

The union’s response is to say that we can run for office in the school we are assigned to in the first week of May.  It would be as if a person took a business trip to Hawaii for a week, a month or a few months and was told she/he could vote in Hawaii’s election and could run for Governor of Hawaii.

Continue Reading…

Join us on Saturday, March 28th at Noon at 633 Third Avenue at 41st Street (outside Cuomo’s Manhattan office) 

Bring your kids, bring your colleagues, bring your neighbors, and bring your friends!  Spread the word far and wide!

It’s time to do what we do best: make our voices heard in support of public education!

This Saturday, we will join thousands of students, parents, teachers, community members, and education leaders from across the city and state. Together, we’ll stand up on behalf of our kids, our schools, and each other!

ProtectOurSchools-RallyFlier-english new

Sign up for the event via Facebook HERE, then invite everyone.


Mindy Rosier

I am a proud product of NYC public schools and I have been a teacher for almost 18 years. I feel that teachers can make a difference in any capacity. We need to educate ourselves on this road to justice. The truth is not pretty out there and we need to make an impact. We need to be fierce and unrelenting. We ALL have a voice and we need to use it loud and clear. We are fighting for our schools, our children, and our livelihoods and I will not let anyone take that away from us! I am here for many reasons, but today I am here to call out Gov Cuomo for failing to fund CFE. This is a disgrace and ALL of our children suffer because of this.

My school for the last 8 plus years is P811, which is a D75 school in Harlem. We have about 100 students with true special needs including autism and students with emotional and learning disabilities. We have an amazing team of teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, and therapists. Our school is also co-located with the first Success Academy school and we have always been the “have nots” while they have been the “haves.” We are not allowed on their floors, but I have seen pictures. Why can’t our floors, our classrooms, even our bathrooms look like theirs? If our school was able to double dip, meaning receive both public and private funding, our teachers would not have to spend their own hard earned money on things for their classrooms and students. We get $77 this year for Teacher’s Choice. How many teachers spend only $77? Our children need books and lots of them, computers from this decade, manipulatives and toys that would promote learning, understanding, critical thinking, and creativity. These are just a few things and if our schools had more money, our students would truly benefit from it.

Shame on you Governor Cuomo! I call you out and I demand you to fully fund our schools!

My school is owed almost $900,000. How much is your school owed?

"MORE UFT pin"

UFT Chapter Leader and Delegate Elections
1. The UFT will announce guidelines for chapter leader and delegate elections this spring.
The elections will be held in May or June.
2. Each chapter must have an election committee. Election committee administers the
election according to UFT guidelines. The chapter leader or anyone running can not be
on the committee.
3. Election committee should have members from different grades, titles, departments to
oversee nominations, voting, and counting. If you are running make sure you have an
ally on the committee
4. Every chapter member votes for chapter leader. Only teachers vote for school based
5. Non-teachers (guidance counselors, secretaries, paraprofessionals, OTs, PTs, nurses,
etc.) also elect their own delegates and chapter leaders in city-wide “functional chapter”
6. Notification of nomination period and election must be posted on your chapter’s UFT
bulletin board. We strongly suggest all notifications be distributed in member’s mailboxes
and sent out via chapter email, if your chapter leader is using one.
7. If your chapter leader has not called for election by May 1st, ask him/her when it is. If an
election is not called then get in touch with your UFT Borough Representative:
Brooklyn: 718-852-4900
Bronx: 718-379-6200
Manhattan: 212-598-6800
Queens: 718-275-4400
Staten Island: 718-605-1400
If you are considering running for Chapter Leader and Delegate, or have a friend that is; please
contact to set up a meeting near you. We can advise you on best
strategies for winning an election campaign and organizing your chapter.
Twitter @MOREcaucusNYC


D15 Rally

By Norm Scott

I stopped by and was pleasantly surprised to see hundreds of people organized by Brooklyn’s District 15. I’m proud to say that a number of MORE chapter leaders and supporters played a major role in this, but also that the UFT did their part in a good spirit of working together on this project.

District 15, the home of the NYC opt-out movement (along with District 6 in upper Manhattan) had a different focus than the standard UFT line, with high stakes testing and common core having equal weight to Cuomo’s anti-public school proposals, which is the UFT’s line. There was room for all positions at this rally — and that is important – the UFT leadership did not and could not take sole control of the message.

#ProtectOurSchools #AllKidsNeed #CallOutCuomo

More photos and videos to come from all the MORE-UFT chapters that mobilized to fight back against the attacks on our public schools!


"Demand MORE from the UFT"

UFT Chapter elections are coming up this spring: Step up and be a leader in your building! Join MORE in making the UFT work for NYC’s educators and communities.

If you’re interested in running for Chapter Leader or Delegate in your school, or, if you just want to help your union chapter do a better job protecting members’ rights, join us at a Chapter Building Workshop on Saturday, March 14th! YOU DON’T NEED TO HAVE ATTENDED PART I OF THE SERIES

We’ll help you make plans to build a stronger, more organized, and more involved UFT chapter in your school.

Spread the word and invite all your teacher friends!

MORE Chapter Building Workshop
Saturday, March 14th, 12:00-3:00pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave at 34th st. NYC room 5409

Free childcare is available, but e-mail to reserve it.

If you are unable to make it, e-mail us (! We have a team ready to help any one who wants to revitalize our union chapters at the school level.



Brainstorming: how to protect our public schools
(facilitated by Change the Stakes)

Organizing against Cuomo in our Chapters
-How to Talk to Parents
-Collaboration and Coordination between schools and the community

1:30-2:30 (choose one)
UFT Chapter Leader Elections
-Nuts & Bolts Follow-Up: Running in Elections
-Mapping Your School
-Getting Out the Vote


Organizing Without Being a Chapter Leader- mobilizing your chapter to become more active


Teachers Under Attack Breakout- fighting back against the culture of fear

We will be serving pizza and soft drinks during our post workshop meet and mingle from 2:30-3:00pm.

Facebook link here


Parents, Teachers, and Grassroots Organizations From Around New York State Join Together To Defend Public Education From Cuomo’s Attacks.

For Immediate Release:

Contacts: Jia Lee 

Nancy Cauthen

Governor Cuomo has proposed detrimental changes to our public schools that do not serve the best interests of our children. Excessive testing, teacher evaluations tied to test scores, lack of funding, charter school expansion, school closings, and state takeover of our local schools are some of the many concerns shared by parents, educators, and children across New York State.

The real stakeholders have come together to protect our schools and stand up for our children. It is time for the Governor to listen to his constituents. We want an end to the attacks on our schools and the opportunity to work together for real reform. The testing regime has diverted resources from arts, music, after-school activities and has focused instruction on bubbling in the “correct” answer instead of critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity.

Please join us at any of our many actions across the state: “Hands around schools” events, rallies at local schools, distributing fliers at parades and events, presentations at parent, community, and teacher union meetings, opt-out workshops, forums, and protests at Cuomo’s regional offices.

Parents, teachers, administrators, and our elected officials will all be involved in this collective campaign to stop Governor Cuomo’s attacks, end the over-testing of our children, and to protect our most valued public institution, our schools.

We invite you to join us at any our events or contact us to set up an interview with our teachers and parents.

Change the Stakes ( is a group of New York City parents and educators working together to promote alternatives to high stakes-testing.

Movement of Rank and File Educators-MORE ( is caucus of the UFT that represents working educators from across New York City fighting for the public schools our children and educators deserve.
New York State Alliance for Public Education  is a group of over 50 parent and educator groups from around the state. We are supporters of public education who believe excessive high-stakes testing and inappropriate sharing of private student data without parental consent threatens the futures of our students, schools, and state.

  Events Happening Near You!

Do you have questions about current education policies? Have concerns about Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget and how it will affect our public schools? Want answers and a space to discuss the issues? Are you ready to find out how we can 
make a difference? 
Forums and other events are being held all over the state, organized by local educators, parents and concerned community members. 
Grassroots community coalition NYSAPE (New York State Alliance for Public Education) has a list of what’s going on in your community!
Click on this link to find out what is 
happening near you: 
To set up a forum near you or to have one of our teachers and/or parents from
 speak at your PTA meetings,
please contact us at

Why I am a Teacher Activist

February 19, 2015 — 1 Comment


By Mindy Rosier

I have been a teacher for almost 18 years and the last 8 ½ with the DOE. I am now a newly delegate, however, I do feel it is important to share my story with you all to show you that you don’t need to have an official position to help organize your school. You can make a difference in any capacity. You need to educate yourself on this road of activism and justice. The truth is very ugly out there and we need to make an impact. We need to be fierce and unrelenting. We all have a voice and we need to use it loud and clear. Today we are fighting for our schools, our kids, and our livelihoods and I will be damned to let anyone take that away from us!

For way too long I was a complacent special ed teacher in Harlem who did what everyone else did. I complained with co-workers which really got nothing done other than cause more complaining.

My little District 75 school has been co-located with Success Academy for years. In fact, they began in my building. Over the years we have lost so much space to them, and what we gave up was never enough. In Oct 2013, Moskowitz came up with a plan that got pushed through via Bloomberg and his cronies that would have essentially kicked out my school. Enough was enough! During this time, I met Community Education Council 3’s VP Noah Gotbaum, Sen. Perkins, and a few others who spoke up for my school and something began stirring inside of me. Mayor de Blasio came into office and overturned that decision and saved my school. Of course Moskowitz got upset. In late November, I met Maria B. from the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) and she basically gave me a crash course in organizing. She saw something in me that I didn’t even think was possible. I was very quiet, and mostly kept to myself, but I was very angry and she tapped into that. A press conference was planned on the corner of my school. She told me who I needed to call including community leaders, elected officials, and parents. I contacted the media and I discovered how useful Twitter can be for getting the word out. Our press conference was amazing. Many great people showed up to speak and even though I did not know of MORE at the time, I found out later that some of them was there as well. I will never forget how Noah Gotbaum said to me that day, “you need to speak up.” I have never shut up after that. ( Here is the link to the complete story I wrote for Crooks and Liars about what happened to my school and our battle with Eva Moskowitz.) At the end of March, Maria organized another press conference but this time on the steps of Tweed. So once again, I helped contact community leaders, elected officials, parents, my fellow educators, and the media. New York Communities for a Change was involved in the planning of this too. Maria encouraged me to speak at this press conference from a teacher’s perspective. This was on school day morning and I got permission to take a personal day for this. As nervous as I was, I gave my speech. Noah felt my schools’ story was very important and wanted me to share it again at the Save Our Schools Rally a couple of days later.. After several elected officials, I gave my speech to hundreds of people at the NY Public Library and proudly marched to Governor Cuomo’s office.

By this time, I had grown more confident. I took to social media with no abandon and I met MORE. In the following months, I helped fellow MOREista Patrick, who is in the gen ed school in my building, write up a proposal for our two schools by providing him all the information needed for my school so that we could become a combined Community Learning School. We got accepted!! My admins have been very hands off on this new adventure and they just recently said that they are trusting me with this and are basically giving me free reign. Also throughout  this time, Fran S from UFT was also a driving force to help our school and would advise me when I needed to write something up and who to contact.

Over the summer, I was out of commision because of ankle surgery, however, I was still strong on social media. I still read, still got angry, and I did my own kind of protesting from my comfy chair. Once I was able to walk again, I did not stop and I have had my hands in many things. With the knowledge of how to organize people and how to make social media very useful, I never stopped. I created a daily online paper that collected top public education and political stories. I wrote some blogs. I wanted everyone to wake up and know what it is going on.There are too many complacent people out there, too many people not know what’s going on or simply not caring. It has become my mission to educate others, to mobilize, to organize and of course agitate. I am not above hijacking a hashtag to get the truth out there. I did so with #DontStealPossible when that came out and I have no problem sending out hundreds of tweets out daily. It is truly important to have conversations with everybody in your school and in your community.

This past year, I have come alive. Not only have I completely changed as a person, but all of this activism has revitalized me as a teacher. I have always loved being a teacher but knowing that I am also fighting for my students has given me the energy, the excitement, and desire to do more. My voice does matter and I encourage all of you to think about this and be loud and proud.

I will conclude with this. My journey over the past year will be one I will never forget. I have made many friends in several organizations including AQE, and as a “thank you” for all of the work they have done for me and my school, I pay it forward and assist them on issues that they are involved in that I too believe in. I have and will continue to march, rally, and protest. I will continue to use social media to the best of my abilities and I will continue to be at events with elected officials and get the truth out there. I will work hard to make my school an amazing Community Learning School, I will continue to be there for my school staff in any way I can be and I will keep fighting for my kids. I am a very passionate person when I believe in something and I believe it shows. I will never forget what Maria from AQE, Noah Gotbaum, and Fran S., did for me in helping to create the activist I am today. I will continue to speak up and speak out.  I will also forever be grateful to MORE for allowing me to grow with them and to fight alongside of them. We have lots of work to do and I am not going anywhere! I am far from being done yet and our battles are many.

Now, I know I have touched many nerves over my journey such as those in Success Academy, Families For Excellent Schools, and moaning Mona Davids and her puppet Sam, and that makes me VERY happy. To me that means I am doing something right. Everyone reading this little blog piece is powerful. Tap into that power, and give ‘em hell!!!


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