Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Three Years Ago?

February 11, 2013 — 84 Comments

It’s a pivotal question in any election: Are you better off now than you were before the last election? If you are a UFT member, the answer must be a resounding “No!” Under Michael Mulgrew and Unity, we have seen a steady deterioration of our rights, our living and teaching standards, and our prospects for the future.

Let’s start by examining what Mulgrew has done for us. Even if you look at the UFT’s own biographical sketch of Mulgrew’s career, his accomplishments are few. Among the positives is the elimination of the old rubber rooms, which were admittedly an atrocity. While this is an improvement, it remains true that teachers brought up on charges can now languish as paper pushers in schools for many months or longer, hoping for a fair and expedited hearing. The UFT claims that it was Mulgrew’s “persuasive negotiation skills” that help avert Bloomberg’s threatened layoffs, but in reality the teaching corps has shrunk significantly under Mulgrew’s watch, with the city eliminating some 5,000 teaching positions through attrition, with an attendant rise in class sizes to their highest levels in recent memory.

Now, let’s examine the status of teachers today under Mulgrew’s leadership and see how he fares.

First, ask yourself: Are you better off financially under Mulgrew?

While it’s easy to forget, the fact is that Mulgrew has never negotiated a contract for teachers. Our last contract was signed in 2007, two years before Mulgrew took office. That contract expired in 2009, and teachers have not gotten a raise in all that time. Unity often blames this on the poor economic environment in the city, but the truth is that all other city agencies got a 4% plus 4% raise over two years while UFT members got nothing. The city has long insisted on “pattern bargaining”, in which all city unions get the same increases, yet teachers were denied that pattern under Mulgrew. At present, three years later, we are still waiting for “fact finding”–the process that brought us the dreaded 2005 contract with its longer working day and erosion of seniority rights. Our union seems content to kick the can down the road to a new mayor, which will mean at least another year before we see a new contract. One thing is sure, however; we will never get all the raises denied us nor the retroactive money owed us if we sit on our hands.

Second, ask yourself: Are you better off in your classroom?

Teacher’s Choice has gone from a high of $260 to our current low of $45 a year, meaning teachers are either doing more with less or making up the difference from their own thinner wallets. As mentioned above, class sizes have risen pretty much across the board. Observations, both formal and informal, have become more frequent in recent years, and they are often conducted using the Danielson Framework, a 57 page rubric that Unity has endorsed but which is not supposed to be used for evaluations at this point. Abuses of Danielson are frequent. Common Core standards have been imposed upon us despite the fact that the state has not developed a curriculum to teach it. Lessons must be planned to align with the Common Core, but the CCLS have never been shown to improve student achievement–it is simply another untested “reform” being forced on teachers so that we can teach to the test.

Third, ask yourself: Are you better off in terms of job security?

The new teacher evaluation system has been Mulgrew’s baby from the start. He collaborated with the state in order to grab $700 million in Race to the Top funds, none of which seems to have reached city classrooms. In fact, the state has used that money as a bludgeon to get the union to accept a flawed evaluation system, denying the city $250 million in funds because the mayor refused to agree to a sunset clause that was already twice as long as many other agreements accepted by the state. Mulgrew was ready to sign off on the deal before the mayor blew it up, but the deal was fundamentally flawed to begin with. For one thing, a large percentage of a teacher’s score will be based on the “value added” methodology which has a margin of error of 57% in a single year, and can vary as much as 90% over two years. Education experts such as Diane Ravitch have branded VAM as “junk science”,  yet it will be used to rate teacher effectiveness. Another huge  “gotcha” in the deal is the transfer of the burden of proof for teachers rated ineffective. In the current system, U-rated teachers must be proven to be incompetent in order to be dismissed. Under the proposed new system, “I” rated teachers will be presumed incompetent and it will be up to teachers to somehow prove that they are competent. This shift of the burden effectively eliminates tenure as we know it. In addition, far more teachers will be rated ineffective than ever before. In the recent Delegate Assembly meeting, Mulgrew predicted that 7% of teachers will be found ineffective each year, meaning that they will be essentially teaching for their career the following year to avoid dismissal. Unity claims that “I” rated teachers will get a “validator” in the second year to ensure fairness, but this sounds suspiciously like the current  PIP+ system that frequently rules against the teacher. Rather than embrace this system, Mulgrew should be fighting to strengthen teachers’ rights and ensure that any new system is fair, objective, and preserves tenure.

Finally, ask yourself: Will you be better off in the future under Mulgrew?

Many of the issues that concern teachers most have not been addressed under the current Unity leadership. School closings are a constant threat. These closings lead to teachers being shoved into the ATR pool, which seems to have become a fact of life for many of our colleagues. Not only has our union not pushed back hard enough against charter schools and co-locations, it has actually opened and continues to run two charter schools of its own, which only adds legitimacy to the ed reformers argument that charters are the way to go. As a result, we can expect an even greater push to privatize public education going forward. Class sizes have risen and will continue to rise even as the purchasing power of our stagnant paychecks continues to shrink. Perhaps worst of all, despite nearly a dozen years of draconian rule under Bloomberg, Mulgrew and Unity have still not come out against mayoral control of our schools.

MORE is offering a different vision–one that will lead to a better present and future for our teachers. We oppose any evaluation system based on flawed junk science, as well as the continued emphasis on high stakes testing that narrows the curriculum and hurts our kids. We favor a transparent negotiation process to reach a fair contract with retroactive pay and no givebacks. We support returning qualified ATRs to the classroom and will work to prevent school closings that hurt communities. We will lobby to limit class sizes. We oppose the assault on tenure and the continuation of mayoral control.

We believe that an informed and active membership is the key to effective unionism. We believe that teachers are the true professionals, and that we must fight against corporate takeovers of our schools. Finally, we believe that education must be a collaborative effort, including teachers, parents, and communities, and that it should not be driven by profiteers, union busters, and so-called education “reformers” whose goal is to take the public out of public education.

So, before you cast your vote in the upcoming union elections,please ask yourself: Are you better off now than your were three years ago? If not, you want MORE.

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84 responses to Are You Better Off Now Than You Were Three Years Ago?

  1. 

    Am I better of than I was 3 years ago, NOOO! You know I started following MORE 2 months ago, I never knew about union politics and always though we were stuck with this bum Mulgrew. Well I could’t be happy to have MORE and a real choice to vote for. I print our your articles and announcements to put in my co-workers boxes, Plain and simple we need MORE. I don’t know any of you, but the fact that your real class-room teachers that share my experience is enough for me. How does this guy Mulgrew and his lackeys who comment here on his behalf sleep at night. Schools have been closed by the dozens, many of my friends in elementary who taught with me for your years and are dam good teachers (they taught my kids-so I know this for a fact) left the system because of the paperwork, cookie-cutter lesson plans that we’re forced to teach, meeting after useless meeting, and administrators who just graduated from diapers giving us observations on our bulletin boards. This is my union iIpay 50 bucks every paycheck for, I’d rather donate that money to MORE at least they care. To the good folks at MORE, God Bless you, you do the lords’ work protecting teachers and children. You have my vote and the votes of all and all the people in my school I swear.

    • 

      Mary,
      Thanks for your honest and thoughtful response. As a founding member of MORE, it’s very important to get this feedback as it lets us know that our efforts are valuable. Thanks for spreading the word in your school and please contact us should you want to get more involved in our projects, especially in the elections. We need you and everyone who feels similarly to get on board in any way they can. One thing that is very important now is for folks to help distribute fliers in schools. Email us at
      and let us know if you are able to help! Hope to meet you soon.
      Thanks. Gloria

    • 

      Besides politics, begin to learn what goes on in the union everyday to provide benefits, pension, support, advocacy and protection. The fact that so many in our union take what we have for granted is proof that the UFT does a great job. Those union dues go a long way. Very few of those “lackeys” get a full night’s sleep because they are rank and file active unionists that teach full-time like you. You and your colleagues can do MORE by showing up to rallies, phone banks, chapter meetings, UFT committees in addition to caucus events. MORE or LESS a union needs everyone working together in UNITY.

      • 

        John Bartley
        Have you every thought about running a democratic union in order to get MORE people involved? Apparently that doesn’t keep you up at night. Like why don’t you get up at the next delegate assembly and propose democratic election of district reps. Do that and we can talk about whether you are or are not a lackey.

      • 

        Norm,
        I haven’t considered running the union at all. I’d rather leave that in the hands of the people I’ve come to know and respect for the work they do, especially Michael. Randi changed DR selection; the same Randi who called on you and Jeff at DA all the time. And the same one who put TJC/New Action on Executive Board with a “deal” they were happy to make. If you’re painting every UNITY leader with the same brush, what say you of Al Shanker? Mulgrew has taken a hard stance and direct action against Bloomberg’s “reform” since becoming president. You also know he has listened to MORE’s issues.
        I speak at DA. I also watch and listen. Do you really think every card that votes for a resolution supported by exec board is a UNITY member? Or could it be the vast majority of ELECTED delegates know the difference between a reasonable action and rhetorical radicalism? Why not include MORE voices by crafting resolutions that the rank and file will embrace rather than one’s designed to maintain a stance of anti-establishmentarian disdain?

      • 

        Do you really believe that it is “radical” to allow teachers themselves to vote on a fundamental change to our contract? It wasn’t long ago that Mulgrew chest thumped the deal that was supposed to ensure that any evaluation deal was tied to a new contract. When did that go out the window? Members would have had a voice in any new contract, so why should we not have a voice in an evaluation deal that should have been part of a new contract?

  2. 

    The fact is, we could have had a contract in three seconds if Michael Mulgrew agreed to sellout the excessed teachers (ATRs). Ultimately, this is the ONLY thing that Bloomberg wants at the table because it will make us all at will employees. Mulgrew has stood fast against DOE pressure to put ATRs on the table. Bloomberg wants creation of an at will workforce in NYC as his legacy – like Reagan with PATCO. Teacher’s Choice was cut due to the economy, thank Christine Quinn for that. The union has brought and continues to bring DOE to PERB, Arbitration, and to the Courts over abuses with Danielson, SESIS (a great victory), School Closures, the Turnaround Model (another great victory) and the Common Core.

    • 

      and yet he actually supported a renewal of mayoral control that didn’t have many.
      only with your caucus can we see union brothers and sisters defend the intention regardless of the Act.

    • 

      Commosense, Have you asked why there are ATRs in the first place — people with loads of experience being moved from school to school – careers ruined in many cases due to the UFT giving up their seniority protections which they were still in place Bloomberg would not be able to close so many schools? You helped start the domino effect that has undermined the union and the teaching profession. And oh, those UFT dues chewing charter schools.

  3. 

    More Caucus, you are making Michael Mulgrew the scapegoat for the attacks on the UFT and unions over the last few years. Are you forgetting that over the last 3-4 years nationally Unions have been under attack. Lets take a look at Mulgrews track record. The Mayor and DOE were throwing teachers into the rubber room. Michael Mulgrew shut down the Rubber Rooms, the Mayor threatened layoffs, Mulgrew and the UFT saved the city from those layoffs and secured the ATR’s! Mulgrew has stood by the entire UFT membership. In your blog you write “education must be a collaborative effort, including teachers, parents, and communities” Mulgrew believes in that as well, parents and the communities have always been involved in collaborating with the Union, especially when Mulgrew and the UFT won the Arbitration case stopping the closing of the schools. Does MORE believe in working with the administration? Mulgrew and the UFT is aligned with CSA on many issues to ensure that there is collaboration to better our schools! When the Mayor attacks the children of this City, Mulgrew and the UFT have a longstanding track record working together while aligning with supportive legislatures to make sure our schools are protected. When Mulgrew fights a battle, the battle is fought to ensure that our rights are protected for the long run, creating alliances that will help preserve the rights we have. So yes to answer your question, are we better off? 100%! Will we be better off with Mulgrew in the future? 100%

    • 

      The old argument that unions are under attack is getting a little stale. The problem is that when we have been under attack, we have retreated, again and again. Why do we still support mayoral control? Why are we backing a system of teacher evaluation that even Mulgrew admits will result in 7% of teachers getting ineffective ratings? Why didn’t we get the same raise as other unions? Weren’t those unions under attack, as well, and yet they got a raise while our members got nothing other than our names published in the papers along with flawed evaluation data.
      It’s hard to see how you’re claiming the ATRs as a victory when more teachers are dumped in the pool every year. As for layoffs, we have lost 5000 teaching positions under Mulgrew. Is attrition really better for us when class sizes have risen every year?
      UFTers need to fight for what we want–not to backpedal and act as if we are defenseless in the face of the ed reformers,

      • 

        Last I checked the UFT has never made a statement supporting Mayoral Control, Mulgrew has always spoken about supporting a system of checks and balances where the parents and communities are heavily involved working in UNITY. As for the Evaluation system, we don’t have a new Evaluation system. Mulgrew Regected it because he saw that it wasn’t going to improve our conditions. Teachers today though under the current evaluation system are rated unsatisfactory. They get a U for their students test scores, some get a U for one Observation a year, some get a U just because the Principal or AP doesn’t like them, some because get a U because they stood up to their Administrators. How many of those U ratings get over turned? What happens to the teachers who get a U in the current system?

      • 

        Stuart, it is quite telling that we have had 12 years of Bloomberg and Unity has yet to figure out that mayoral control is a bad idea. What will it take for Unity to take a stance on this? A return of Cathie Black?

    • 

      Unity aims too low and when it comes to truly defending its rank and file against the privatization/union-busting reformers it suffers from educational Stockholm Syndrome.

      It’s “be happy with happy with what you got, it could be worse” position gets tiring after three years of abuse, stagnation, and professional losses.

      • 

        I too have become interested in MORE and tell as many of my peers in the profession about them as I can. No one at my school knew about the caucus at the start of the year, and although many still are indifferent or too busy with their lives to look more into the new caucus, they now know the name and a fact they didn’t know earlier – that there is another option and voice out there. Does Unity truly understand how in the dark much of the teaching force is about this new evaluation system? We are and many of us are concerned. I have not once heard Michael Mulgrew’s utter that I should not be worried and the specifics as to why I should not be worried. I haven’t. In fact, I’ve only heard from two different district reps who could not explain the new evaluation to me in simple terms. They ended with a well why are we even talking about this if no new evaluation system exists. Well, I want to talk about it because it matters to me and I have been left blind in terms of its specifics by the present leadership. I hate hearing the line, “We don’t negotiate in public.” I hate it! I guess Im naive right? To me, it’s simple – why have I never been asked about the evaluation? Why are literally masses of teachers left in the dark by the caucus in power? The reps response is “you elect a CL and delegates.” Yes, I know that but we are still left in the dark at my school, and if that is the case in my school then it must be happening in many other schools. That’s the truth of it. I’m also frustrated that the Unity caucus has not used some of the common sense truths about the mayor, the margin of error involved in growth models and the ATR problem to inform the everyday public about the truth concerning education in the city. I guess I am naive again, but I don’t want the political game right now. I want people who truly have skin in the game to lead a true fight and I want to feel that I my voice is valued. This simple soldier does not get that from Unity and she deserves it.

      • 

        It becomes stale. However, if we never allow any room for change what will happen is we will get railroaded. MORE consistently talks about how they are dissatisfied, but never enumerates a clear vision for change. Simply we will mobilize, not how you will mobilize. When there have been rallies over the last 4 years, at least here in the Bronx, I only see the UNITY people there. I have yet to see the faces of the MORE brethren. UNITy has stood up to the mayor, and while you don’t win every battle, our successes have been great with SEISIS, school closures, and the retention of the ATR employees. While nobody wants to be an ATR by telling the Mayor that their jobs are not on the table Mulgrew has protected all of our voices in education. Without that protection none of us could stand up and demand change. I would say that alone is a feather in the cap of the UFT.

    • 

      Oh, Stewart, cry me a river about the poor unions under attack, when the UFT instead of fighting back capitulated every step of the way. Unions have always been under attack. Do you read the history of the 20s and 30s? They fought instead of crying over the attacks. It is hard when so many people running our union are making 6 figure salaries and have so much to lose. In Chicago one of the first things the new union leaders did was take a big salary cut to put them in line with the members. Telly you what Stewart, get up at the next DA and make a proposal like that. Or else start telling us they deserve their money due to how hard they work (which I do believe) but no harder than any teacher who make so much less.
      And have you checked the state of teacher rights in the schools lately? People being chopped by members of our “ally” the CSA. What a nice cozy relationship the UFT Leaders have with our very enemies.

      • 

        Norm,
        I enjoyed reading your response to me( my name is STUART by the way)
        You spend so much time criticizing Mulgrew and the UFT yet you fail to mention any of your own solutions. You make obscure comments about the amount people get paid, yet you fail to discuss anything you would do differently. Frankly the last time I heard a someone spend more time criticizing a candidate then actually giving real solutions, his name was Mitt Romney. Lets have a real debate what are your Solutions? What is your Party’s platform?

      • 

        Lots of the Unity people being slammed here on this blog by MORE folks at the Law and Govt. Joint Public Hearing speaking out in defense of the school, as was the CSA.

  4. 

    Wake up and smell the roses MORE! Michael Mulgrew has fought hard for union members and the students of the City of New York. Stop blaming the person who is fighting for you and turn your blame to the real culprit of this entire fiasco. The Mayor of New York!
    Stop blaming the wrong Michael! Michael Bloomberg has never been fond of teachers or students in NYC. He wants to destroy public education. Instead of uniting with UNITY to fight for our students, you become divisive.How can you negotiate when the only ones willing to discuss the evaluation system, the contract, and deplorable working conditions is the union? The Mayor refuses to come to the table. Remember, he was the one who would not accept an agreement for a new evaluation system, NOT Michael Mulgrew.

    • 

      Vivian,
      You must be new since you seem to forget how the UFT leaders were so cozy with Bloomberg — remember Randi at Yankee Stadium and in Bloomberg’s jet? Remember how it was Klein is the bad guy but we can deal with Bloomberg. Remember not endorsing anyone in the mayoral election? Remember Randi going to Albany and tossing away the recommendations of the UFT’s own governance committee? You must have a short memory and I bet you went along with every single one of those decisions. Smell the roses yourself and don’t get cut on those thorns.

  5. 

    It’s a resounding Yes! I, we are much better off. Just the lawsuits alone and the impact on communities of color has left every educator better of than before. The closng of the TRCs where teachers were and still have jobs left us all much better off.
    You still get longevity raises and salary step increases, so yes, financially most are still better off.
    You must be blind if you can’t see this for yourselves.

    • 

      Yes Zina, every single educator is better off than before. They tell me that all the time after their long(er) days with so much garbage coming in. And they are thankful for the UFT for trusting Joel Klein when he said teacher data would not be published. And those great deals on merit pay. And
      those ATRs without a school traveling all over the place are so much better off. And all those lunch time meetings and useless paperwork. And wow, we didn’t lose the longevity raises. A great victory for the UFT. And there is still toilet paper in the restrooms. Phew!

      • 

        Would the ATR’s be better off if we allowed Bloomberg to do what he really wants and let them go? Remember Bloomberg offered us a contract under Mulgrew which included a raise for the jobs of those teachers. An offer that was met with a resounding NO DEAL from Unity leadership. Also the answer which has consistently prevented all of us from becoming at will employees. How would MORE have handled that situation? Would they have accepted the raise at the expense of experienced educators? The ATR situation is set up because Bloomberg finds it politically advantageous, and it exists because we as a union have stood in Unity with these same ATR teachers by not accepting a raise at the expense of their jobs. Every time one of the MORE people mentions the ATR problem, and yes it is a problem, I shudder to think if myself as a veteran and no longer cheap to employ, professional found myself in a school that was phasing out or closed, would be jobless. How would you have handled a DOE that refuses to treat teachers better? It seems that all you do is point out the flaws in the DOE, and atribute them where they don’t belong.

      • 

        Norm, Zina talked specifically about financial wins for us by Unity but your response to her is unfocused. Data reports? Traveling? Paperwork? Toilet paper? And your dismissiveness regarding retaining longevity reveals a lack of understanding of its significance. Do you not know that year the 5 longevity increase is a Unity accomplishment of the last contract and it remains intact. I have private sector friends who took pay cuts at the onset of the recession that are still in place. We, on the other hand, have benefitted from past contract protections during this same difficult time period.

  6. 

    The question is what has Mugrew done in the last few years?
    First of all he has filed many lawsuits against the DOE and has won-
    He offset the closing of 24 schools
    He has supported the ATRs and made sure that they have jobs
    He has supported candidates that are pro union and they have won crucial elections
    He filed lawsuits against the new IEP Program – SESIS and has won
    He has supported the Federal Program – Race To The ToP – so the state could receive $750 million- (can you imagine telling parents we rejected these funds?)
    He had to try to negotiate a transparent, teacher evaluation mandated by the State but was unable to do so by Bloomberg imploding it
    He has expanded the Union to include others (daycare workers, etc.) to make it more powerful
    He has coordinated efforts with and supported other unions

    Despite having to work against Bloomberg who has turned out to be the most union-busting, egotistical, arrogant mayor we’ve ever had, Mulgrew had
    been able at times to stop him in his tracks

    • 

      Joan, this one has to be the best: He has supported candidates that are pro union and they have won crucial elections. Did you vote to endorse Rory Lancman who supported the DOE to close Jamaica HS? I bet you did.

      • 

        Norm,
        For your information, my parents went to Jamaica High School; the last thing I would like to see is it chopped up into many mini-schools. We do the best we can. I remember that the UFT backed Tony Avella for state senator in Queens and he won a tremendous victory against Frank Padavan, the incumbent.

        Does MORE always see the cup half full and look at the dark side of things? Therefore, we can say that they end up with LESS in the long run!

  7. 

    This is a classic case of the villain standing in the shadows waiting to pounce at the slightest opportunity. For someone that doesn’t follow politics, its extremely easy for MORE to win their approval by taking facts and put a twist on them. Make no mistake, the savvy and expert educators who have followed Mulgrew throughout his Presidency, are very on point with what’s been happening and why. No one can convince those educators about anything else but the facts. And as for what has Michael done for you, how about asking, what have you done for your Union?

  8. 

    MORE has a vision not a plan. Seems to me the actions, the rallies, the lawsuits, the results of the UNION have shared that vision. It scares me that the arguments you are so much like BLOOMBERG; everything is Mulgrew’s fault. With or without a Danielson rubric I rate your approach INEFFECTIVE.

    • 

      How many free trips and dinners do you earn from defending your leadership. You should all be ashamed of yourself, shame on you. You must have no clue what’s it like to be a professional teacher and be bounced around around every week doing lunch duty or book distribution as an ATR.When you defend you lord and savior mulgrew have you though about the rest of us that worked in schools that were closed with no fight back from the Uft. Lawsuits that’s you answer, lawsuits my union is now a lobbying group. Well thank the good lord that your all out suing one while as Mary said administrators who are still on pacifiers are looking at my word walls. Your defense of King Mulgrew is without reason much like all of you. When the day comes that a charter wants spacd in your school, or your excessed, or you get a U let me know if you find Mulgrew. Your constant sticking up for him is sickening. Count me in as voting for more
      Action, plan, MORE has done more at PEP and hearings in a year than leadership has done is 5. No plan. Right the plan of signing on to mayoral control, common core, evaluation , even running your own charter school- wow what a resounding success our plan has been so far. Shame on you selling out your morals, your colleagues, your children just to earn favor with mulgrew

      • 

        I get 0 free trips, but I do attend State and National Conventions which are important work. That’s why CORE brings their delegation to AFT too. I get a free dinner along with others every time I go to phone banks. I get satisfaction, not payback for defending the union. UNITY members wear UFT shirts not MORE shirts to PEP meetings. If MORE did so much more why did the school’s still close? Perhaps KING BLOOMBERG has a little to do with it. The DARK PRINCE KLEIN created the neonatal hiring pool for administrators and a cesspool for excessed teachers. Their KNAVE WALCOTT fails to change the diapers or clean the backed up sewer.

      • 

        You must also not be aware that Bloomberg asked that you not be bounced around. He said he would give a hefty raise and all we as a union had to do was cut you loose. If you couldn’t get hired in 6 months of not getting placed take your walking papers. But under Mulgrew and the rest of the current leadership the Union has been directed to protect the jobs of our members by accepting no contract that jeopardizes the jobs of those members in ATR, who by no fault of their own are adrift in the system created by the decentralization of education hiring.

      • 

        I don’t get free trips, but I volunteer in the summer as an AFT organizer. All UFT members are eligible to volunteer. My last trip took me to Texas where teachers are not allowed to organize. Each teacher has an individual contract that can be cancelled at any time or not renewed at the end of the year. These teachers are essentially at will employees. They don’t enjoy many of the benefits that we UFT members do, including but not limited to job protection and seniority provisions (which at last check still exist). Seeing what teachers experience in other parts of the country has made me grateful for what I have as a teacher here in NYC. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely! However, I will not trust my vote to a caucus that plays the same blame game that the DOE plays and hasn’t offered any realistic solutions. MORE has left me no choice but to continue to stand in UNITY with the current leadership.

  9. 

    Don’t worry about me getting cut on thorns Norm. I am smart enough to know which side of the fence is the right one. Randi is Randi, she has not been OUR President for over four years.Lets not dwell on the past. Michael Mulgrew has fought hard for our members. As John stated, we wear UFT shirts. I am PROUD to be a member of the UFT. Why aren’t you? No, I am NOT new!

  10. 

    1. Yes. But only because I retired.

    2. What’s this? An organized, concerted effort to flood the MORE website w. Unity talking points?
    I smell something…..hmmm…. wait….. is it, could it be……… *PANIC* !?!

    3. UNITY people ( while I have your ear – and boy, is THAT a rarity!): tell UFT office staffers to stop telling our members “There’s nothing we can do.” In the first place it’s almost invariably *untrue*. In the second place, it’s become a sort of an industry joke amongst the rank and file. A sort of catchphrase. Like “Now I’m getting verklempt.” ( That was at least funny for the *right* reasons). Or “booo-yah”. ( I still don’t know what that’s about.)

    There is a POSSIBILITY you MIGHT be reelected. You don’t want to people laughing in your face for three long years. I don’t *think* you do, anyway.

    • 

      People listen Paul. When they hear constructive ideas they open their minds, when they hear wind in an empty room they close the window.
      We just thought your readers needed a bit of fresh air.

    • 

      Paulyhogan – you ‘thought’ that UNITY might be panicking because we are commenting on your blog. Have you ‘thought’ that we might be practicing our profession and educating the MORE members with facts vs. rhetoric? I often find that half truths are given by members that are MORE panicked than they wish to admit.

      • 

        How clever Dolores. You are a real wordsmith. Have you been practicing your profession in the classroom using Danielson? Why don’t you tell us all about that wonderful experience.

  11. 

    I have just read your blog, and you left the big & final question unanswered…Will I be better off in the future under Mulgrew? You assume we want MORE because of how you tried to persuade us with Mulgrew and his shortcomings. However, how will I be better off in the future with MORE is the question you should be writing about. Have you ever negotiated a contract, do you know how to file lawsuits, or get a community behind you? How is your relationship with our Mayor or anyone in City Council for that matter? Do you have a raport with the state legislature, NYSUT or the AFT and can you communicate verbally? You talk a good game on paper, but there isn’t any factual evidence behind MORE. MORE reminds me of the student running for class President. They promise everything from no homework to better school lunches…will it get done, NO!
    Why should I vote for MORE when I know what I have? YES, according to what I know, and have known,I will be voting for Mulgrew and his slate we are better off than we were 3 yrs ago.

    • 

      Is this Nina ” I call the question at DAs” – nice Nina how we give you the kind of space to comment while you vote to deny us the same at DAs. I just love your rapport with the state legislature that gave us mayoral control and keeps mayoral control. Well we give you credit for that rapport — stand up and take a bow Nina – right after you call the question to kill debate — for using that rapport to keep the mayor’s control over the schools. Congrats on a great job.

    • 

      Nina
      You are the very last person in the world I would try to convince to vote MORE. So no worries.

  12. 

    MORE’s complaints remind me of Republicans whining about Pres. Obama. “The president has been in power for four years, why is there still global warming?!” “Why hasn’t he balanced the budget yet or magically eliminated the debt?” “Why didn’t he use his birth certificate as a fan and change the course of hurricane Sandy?!”

    It’s comforting, and easy, to forget everything else and blame our leaders for everything under the sun. It’s tempting to forget that there are dark forces, nationally, and locally, that want nothing less than the complete destruction of unionism.

    I will be voting for Mulgrew and Unity for their proven ability to lead and as our only real defense in desperate times.

    • 

      Troy, I’m glad that at least you see the national threat from those dark forces. Oh, from people like Bill Gates. Troy, were you one of the Unity people standing and cheering for Bill in Seattle while booing the people who walked out? or was that Peter or vivian or nina or Stewart or Gregg?

  13. 

    “There you go again”. – Ronald Reagan – 1980 Presidential debates.

    • 

      Ah Gregg. How’s that battle over Eva’s co-location going for you? Remember how you supported the UFT 2 charters co-locations in public schools, including my old junior high school that I graduated from in 1959? Did you know the closing hearing for my school is next week, due in part to the UFT charter occupation. Nice work. Sometimes chickens do come home to roost.

      • 

        Norm. Organizing charter schools reduces the impetus to approve greater numbers in the legislature. As future members realize that they would rather be unionized, we regain our footing. Just because I would like to see Walmart unionized doesn’t mean that I support more Walmart stores. Please let me know where I need to be for the hearing and I will attempt to be there.

  14. 

    I thought by now that all would understand that the UFT is not only a Union but a political organization as well. Its purpose is to build community capacity so that elections at every level would be favorable for us. Under Mulgrew, that is exactly what has taken place. It is his leadership skills and boundless energy that have kept us a force. He is respected and feared by those who would destroy us. Remember, we are the indigenous folks that stand in the way of for-profit education. Clearly, Mulgrew has figured this out, and he is relentless in his efforts to fight this book burning and teacher hanging. Too much Radicalism in our Union would not be synonymous with community support.

  15. 

    Some people are too busy preparing common core aligned lesson plans and fighting for our jobs to take free trips as delegates, so your argument is MORE has no plan (they certainly do-checkout their platform), but your plan is to keep giving the guy who has let our schools be closed and great teachers to be harassed another 3 years. This is truly sickening, you are my representatives, no wonder I barely have any rights left. Do you know a great young lady teacher in my school has been denied tenure twice and the Union reps have no answers. Do you know my 5 year old principal out of “leadership academy” (wish he would go back- he needs adult academy) comes in for 3 minutes and does a danielson evaluation-my chapter leader says oh thats not allowed and we never hear from him or our union again. The responses here by our? leadership convinced me that it’s time for you to go, I always vote in elections, it’s my God given right. i promise for the 1st time it wont be unity. I hope all UFT folks read your responses, i’m sending it to co-workers who are more upset then me. Your idea of fighting back is going on blogs, it’s time for a change, thats why we voted Obama in, thats why we’re voting in MORE. You have all done enough damage to the UFT. Sickening, my old bones cant take to read your comments anymore, im calling UFT office to complain too!

  16. 

    I am better off than I was 3 years ago! I am better off because even though we have had no contract and the mayor wants to ruin the public education system, the UFT has managed to keep the school system and members’ rights viable because of the work of Mulgrew and our leadership. Why do you think he is under incessant attack by the Bloomberg proxies News and Post? You feel that speaking about unions under attack is “stale”? Well, it might seem stale to you, but it still is true! Right now, we must stay strong and solid and ride out the Bloomberg era as best we can. I will vote for Mulgrew, et al; it is the only sensible option.

    • 

      Alan, I bet you are better off than you were 3 years ago, as most Unity people seem to be. Remember those days of yore when you were waiting out Giuliani? And those wonderful days of supporting Hevesi for mayor while ignoring and disparaging the other candidates so Bloomberg could win? And the days in 2009 of refusing to join the fight against mayoral control? Are you readying the case for riding out the – choose one: Quinn/Lhota years?

  17. 

    The reason we have not negotiated a contract is that there IS NO negotiating with Bloomberg. Mulgrew and our UFT leadership have been standing strong against givebacks. How could any educator ever get what we need from an administration that treats teachers as enemies and children as pawns?

    • 

      Why would we not actively oppose mayoral control of such a man? Why would we refuse to endorse his opponent after so many years of abuse?

      Had Unity endorse Bill Thompson, perhaps none of this would be happening. Yet Unity stood by and refused to take a stand. How often do we have to watch our union leadership throw up their hands and say there’s nothing they can do?

      • 

        If I understand your comment correctly MORE can now predict the past? To make a wild assumption that Bill Thompson would have won shows the lack of forward thinking it takes to advance the UFT. In addition, to state the Union leadership just throws up their hands is preposterous. The UFT led by Mulgrew successfully fought closing schools not once, but twice. Nobody knew for sure what the outcome would be, but Mulgrew and the UFT fought the good fight and won. Also, Michael successfully negotiated a deal to avoid layoffs while giving up very little in return. At every turn our current UNITY leadership has fought back Bloomberg’s attempts to bust our Union. Bloomberg has refused to negotiate with any Union in NYC and currently no Union has a contract. Our leadership has not only fought off the attacks, but has strengthened our Union to our strongest point in a decade. When I read articles such as this one, it reminds me of the old saying that sometimes MORE is LESS.

    • 

      Ah, Sharon. What are they teaching you in Unity Caucus? That the national assault on teachers and the union is only about Bloomberg? Did they leave out that Obama is as bad or worse than Bloomberg? or were you absent that day?

  18. 

    It is curious that MORE accuses Unity of both “sitting on (its) hands” on contract negotiations and “fact-finding”, which is actually a complex and proactive process that allows us to take the matter to court if need be. Mulgrew has been aggressively pursuing a fair contract against a hostile administration. We are better off to wait for a new mayor who will respond to the labor movement. And who says we will not get retroactive pay? In the meantime, Unity leadership boldly rejected a contract offering a 0% raise and instead left all of my salary provisions intact. My colleagues and I continue to build wealth through steps, differentials and longevity increases. My pension, which Unity negotiated for me to personally fund for a scant 10 years, is the envy of many. My TDA, funded with pre-tax dollars, guarantees a return of 7%. Both of these financial instruments incur among the lowest administrative costs available to working people. Unity also notably secured 25/55 retirement, allowing for long and dignified post-work lives for our members. Where does MORE stand on my salary and benefits, other than to bemoan not getting a contract under a mayor who refuses to talk to us?

    • 

      Thank you mr mulgrew for tier 6, thank you for not allowing members to vote on any evaluation system, thank you for allowing great teachers to be denied tenure for arbritary reasons, thank you for allowing charters inside underfunded public schools, thank you for letting us keep 7.5 fixed when police and fire get 8.5, thank you for telling your members that the lesson of Karen Lewis and Chicago is to vote for Obama, thank you for signing on to common core, thank you for all you do for the members who don’t show up for your free meals and your free trips, it’s my imagination that our students’ learning conditions and our working conditions have deteriorated , the unity people paid to write on blogs are sooo good, I mean my teachers get unfairly U rated and are left in rubber rooms and of course the ATRs are so thankful too for getting juggled every week. This is what leadership does now comment on MOREs blog, hey is open discourse allowed on edwize or Uft Facebook
      More wants a membership vote on evals you all want mr cuomo to decide for you, but more has no plan right, how about the plan gets made by membership not by carefully selected DRs and hacks like you that we’re bought for a free room at the Marriott

    • 

      Peter. tell us how you too are better off than you were 3 years ago. What did the UFT give up for the 25/55? And aren;t most teachers paying a heavy price for that except for a few lucky ones? Oh, and didn’t you get back what we always used to have for free? I have it and you lost it and had to buy it back. Nice dealing.
      Tell us how you feel about the UFT co-located charter schools in public school buildings, which puts MulGarten in the category of such noted figures as Eva Moskowitz. Mulgrew supported every single policy of Randi — closing schools? Remember Randi’s famous: Lafayette should be closed. Not a peep from MulGarten in opposition. A hundred schools were closed before you guys made a peep. We were pointing out how the small schools movement was part of the political attack on the union while you guys signed on to be partners with New Visions.

  19. 

    structural changes, including elected organizers instead of appointed district reps, to build a union that educates and mobilizes its members through pickets, jobs actions, and building alliances with independent community organizations, parent associations, student groups, and other labor unions.
    A union leadership and staff with the same pension plan and salary scale as members, with no double pensions.
    Restoring highly qualified veteran ATR teachers to permanent positions before hiring inexperienced lower-salaried teachers and a funding structure based on average teacher salary, so schools can hire and retain experienced teachers.

  20. 

    MORE=
    An immediate end to the current UFT support for mayoral control and its replacement by a democratic system of local governance run by communities, parents, and educators.
    An educational policy based on findings that will improve student outcomes, such as smaller class sizes, increased resources, twenty-first-century buildings, and rich curriculum supported by well-trained, experienced teachers.

    • 

      Mary, I hope that More than just talking about what you would do, that you have acted by volunteering to sit on the union committees that guide the policy and make recommendations for policy at the Union. They are open to all who were interested.
      As More is so proudly telling people it is very important to be a active part of the union not just a complainer. But as I make time in my schedule because this is important to me I very seldom see any MORE people at these committee meetings. It seems to me you might be very enlightened if you practiced what you preached and volunteered to be a part of the process. And I know that these committees are better off with a diversity of views sitting on them. If we can’t count on MORE to give of their time to help make the committee meetings now how can we possibly expect leadership with a place for all school representatives to have a voice.

      • 

        For the record Mary, the governance committee is currently working on making recommendations for union policy on these topics. I hope that as a concerned member of this union, and from what I can see a very concerned member of the union you have lent your voice by volunteering to be a part of this very important work and representing your caucus at these meetings. I am sure that the MORE leadership knew about the sign up, and knowing how impassioned about the subject you seem to be could have steered you to contact the correct people to join. But that is assuming that MORE wanted you to be a part of the solution and get your voice heard in the process of policy making.

      • 

        Woodruffw, I need to make a red mark on your paper here because your facts are incorrect . All committees have not been open to all that request to be on them. And you may be surprised to learn that MORE members and supporters do sit on some of these committees. The problem is that UNITY also controls the final outcomes.

  21. 

    Our union’s leadership has failed to organize a serious defense of our working conditions. The Movement of Rank and File Educators is ready to provide new leadership to mobilize and involve our membership in a fight to make teaching a job worth having again.
    MORE’s plan Reject any new evaluation system based on junk-science “Value Added Models,” high-stakes testing, or arbitrary, cookie-cutter rubrics that demean the art of teaching.
    MORE’s plan Restore seniority transfer rights, preferred placement transfers, and SBO transfers. Place all ATRs in open jobs before making any further new hires.
    MORE’s plan Create rank and file committees in our schools to rigorously enforce article 8-I in our contract that should prevent the DOE from asking teachers to write entirely new curricula, complete excessive paperwork, and engage in mindless data-gathering.
    MORE’s planClass Size Reductions – Create smaller class sizes for more effective teaching to engage our students.
    MORE’s plan Union Democracy – Delegate Assemblies and Chapter Leader meetings should be working bodies that decide on actions to help defend schools under attack; fighting closures, forced co-locations, and abusive administrators.
    MORE’s plan Chapter Organizing – District organizers should be elected, not appointed and should organize non-union schools that lack a UFT presence. They should also mobilize and support existing union chapters against attacks at the school level.
    MORE’s plan Accountability – Union leaders’ pay should not be more than that of rank-and-file teachers. End the second pension for union bureaucrats.

    • 

      I am not opposed to any of these ideas. However, many MORE members seem to be unwilling to collaborate with the DOE. With that in mind, how does the MORE leadership plan to accomplish these things? While the union enforces existing rules and advocates for new ones, it doesn’t make decisions about new hires, transfers, and smaller classes. The anti-establishment, “just say no” plan isn’t going to help MORE meet its goals.

      • 

        Sorry, I just can’t stay away as I promised. YES Khiera. You finally nailed it. You guys collaborate with the DOE instead it fighting the very people destroying the public ed system. This is not to say you don’t deal when you can but always know these people are bitter enemies and should be called out at every opportunity, not presented as Klein Bad, Bloomberg Good or now Bloomberg Bad, Walcott, Tisch, King maybe not so bad. (Don’t worry, I have 15 years of Ed Notes chronicling all this — Randi’s calling Klein’s Children First “breathtakinlgly possible,” Or the UFT going along like sheep with a 100 closed schools until the DOE through the 19 in their face in Dec 2009.
        How come so many of us “got it” and all you Unity people just went along without ever questioning the leaders? Oh, we know the answer. You don’t question, just follow. Like all of a sudden a whole batch of Unity people who NEVER comment on blogs suddenly appear here.
        One obvious example: Opening 2 UFT charters co-located in public schools. Two charters authorized by SUNY the same authorizing agent for Eva. The UFT needed the space and Klein gave it to them and Tweed supported them. How hard can they fight back against Eva when they do the same thing? Tweed always outsmarts them — they gave the space — and the PEP voted it up as usual – -with a big smile on their faces. So the UFT joins in with the agents of the DOE by partnering with the people who undermined the large high schools — New Visions swine for example — while many of us warned back in 2005 or so

      • 

        Thank you Norm for making your position clear. Taking potshots at UNITY is your purpose, which is why I can’t take you seriously.

        Yes Khiera, Mulgrew has collaborated to establish community learning centers, to provide training that gives chapter leaders and principals the same information, to organize relief efforts, to establish building safety protocols and yes, even to implement the dreaded Danielson model which is a vastly better than rubrics created by DOE. Time and again he has said to the Delegate Assembly and the DOE, “Look, this is where our profession needs to go. This is what supports kids. If we want it done right then we need to lead that effort…”

        He has also been outspoken in public and within the union about Bloomberg, Klein, Black, Walcott, Moskowitz, etc. The man fights hard and fights smart. He has rebuilt community support, turned around the discussion on school reform, sent a clear message to politicians who would attack us and blocked Bloomberg from getting his way over and over again.

      • 

        …and my question remains unanswered. How will MORE accomplish its goals if its only plan is to fight DOE?

  22. 

    wow Peter really “We are better off to wait for a new mayor who will respond to the labor movement. And who says we will not get retroactive pay? In tMy colleagues and I continue to build wealth through steps, differentials and longevity increases.” you must be in the system for years, new teacher like me with 30 above make 50 grand, hey peter can you live in NYC paying rent, bills, car, children, food on 50 grand. peter is representative of Mulgrew and unity leadership, lets have a countdown, lets wait for the next corrupt politician , oh thank you for those few crumbs on the floor can I get another. Yes lets wait, lets no mobilize 80,000 UFT members to have a rally, lets not plan any actions, I got a great plan lets wait, Oh while we wait Im going to have a beer with the politicians in Albany who support charters and beg them for some crumbs. thats what our union has become wait and be thankful. Could you imaging the unions of the past speaking like this, they wouldn’t have the chutzpah to do so, they marched, they organized, they were run by the members, not some overpaid hack. Those were unions, they must be turning over in their graves reading about how we should be thankful for salary steps and differentials.

  23. 

    I will be voting for Julie Cavanagh for UFT President along with the rest of the MORE slate but not because I believe that President Micheal Mulgrew is the problem. MORE affords dedicated, predominantly young and mid career class room teachers a place to speak freely and think critically on the state of their union and organize their colleagues for a new direction for the UFT. These young teachers are the future of the UFT and there are many socially conscious, gifted spokespersons and educators among them. The MORE caucus will change the UFT for the better regardless of the outcome of the election. That said I have to make a few critical remarks regarding the tone and content of the original post which I don’t feel is reflective of the spirit of MORE platform as the social justice caucus of the UFT.

    We have no contract because the current UFT leadership has not completely followed Weingarten’s model of giving back and trading off key contractual protections and selling out the ‘unborn’ to retain a base among the senior teachers and the retirees. Bloomberg was too greedy and Mulgrew balked at the concessions sought by the mayor and we should all be glad that he did so. We are at a stalemate that will not be moved by a new mayor. Humpty Dumpty can not be put back together again. Where is MORE’s program presented for all to see and consider? Not on this website that I can find. This omission will undermine MORE’s appeal to those seriously interested in defending teacher unionism and public education. I’ve been to the meetings and I know that MORE has a positive contribution to make. Why slip back into shallow electioneering? Why not take the high road? Publish the program and if it doesn’t stand scrutiny then change it.

    Focus on the issues and propose alternatives to Unity’s bargaining strategy because they don’t have one! Do you think that members really need to be reminded that they have not had a contractual raise since 2008? MORE would be better served by presenting its strategy and tactics to win a contract, defend learning and working conditions. A credible program based on a clear assessment of the situation will help build a movement. If MORE is going to be the “social justice” caucus of the UFT then get with it and put it out there.

    Thirty years of “longevity clauses” have masked an era of decline for the rank and file in the largest union local in the US. 35 years of opposition to community control has cut off the UFT from the communities we serve and divided and disheartened those most dedicated to the cause of the working class. Mulgrew was a baby when the UFT took this road. He is not the problem. Mayoral control, the mechanism through which the corporate education “reform” has been imposed on NYC schools, was passed with the support of former UFT Pres Randi Weingarten. Now the curent leadership wants to reform mayoral dictatorship without admitting that they had anything to do with its passage in the state legislature in the first place. This is stasis. Which side are you on? The people or the oligarch? UFT history tells us that there really is no door number three here. What does MORE propose?

    Mayoral control is the opposite of community control. The community we serve is largely Black, Latino and Asian. The UFT has been, on balance, a defender of white racial privileges since the 1968 strike. This has been a disaster for the membership, public education and democracy. Yet the current leadership is stuck defending their heroes , Shanker, Feldman, Weingarten who have led us into this mess. What does MORE have to say about the ’68 strike, the interference with community board elections in District 1 in 1973 that incurred Federal intervention under the 1965 voting rights act, Shanker’s support for the Bakke case in the 1980’s? The individuals are following a script, its the script that needs to be repudiated, not the individuals. You start with an apology for the past, not a defense.

    There is lots of talk about high stakes testing, but it exists because it serves to sort students by race and class. It is not simply an irksome ill conceived policy or poorly designed test by some money grubbing testing company that seeks to feed at the public trough. High stakes testing divides and controls the people under the mask of “merit”. What does MORE have to say about this? The resolution on the SSHS exam was a good start. Mulgrew even went along with it to the horror of some members of his caucus, but it was supposed to be a beginning of a social justice vision for the UFT. Why drop the ball?

    Class size is another hot button issue for some, but the UFT leadership believes they “got smart” in the 1969 contract when they dropped serious negotiations for lowering the contractual provisions in favor of putting all the money on the table during negotiations into salary increases. I’m not making this up. Just ask George Altomare, Albert Shanker’s old colleague about this. This was done when they jettisoned the teacher- parent alliance during the ’68 strike. ‘We have no allies’, so they reasoned, so why not simply take it all in a paycheck? It all worked fine until the Bankers turned off the credit and turned on the squeeze. 20,000 teachers were laid off. Public education gutted for a generation. The last teachers strike solved nothing. Don’t need allies? Think again. The UFT has been going backwards ever since. Nothing has changed in the contract on class size since then. But if you never admit you were wrong in the first place then there is nothing to change. What does MORE have to say about this trade off between salaries and class size and the real nitty gritty issues related to a teacher parent alliance?

    Mayoral dictators in NYC and Chicago are changing the demographic of the teaching profession through hiring white over Black and pushing out senior teachers in closing schools in Black and Latino communities which have a disproportionate percentage of Black and Latino teachers. What does MORE have to say about this? The UFT passed a resolution supporting teacher diversity but what use is a resolution if you keepthe “Disappearing of Black and Latino educators” a secret? Why is the UFT leadership trying to sell an evaluation deal whose main purpose is to make an end run around tenure and fast-track the firing of senior teachers, a disproportionate number of whom will be Black and Latino given the current direction of corporate education reformers. The UFT should be working to stop and reverse the disappearing of Black and Latino educators. What does MORE have to say about this?

    I pity Mulgrew who is so beholden to this rotten legacy of his predecessors but it is the policies and the alternatives that should be the focus of the MORE election effort, not cheap shots at individuals. Continuing along this sort of campaign will create a flurry of hits to a website but that does not build a movement. This sort of opposition offers nothing to the membership and poses no challenge to the historically evolved strategy and tactics of the Unity Caucus leadership.

    New teachers, the future of the UFT, by and large are disconnected with any union tradition and the UFT leadership has only taken measures to insulate themselves by increasing the voting power of retirees and adding a whole other section of members who are not working in the schools. They have created a SEIU type local that is large enough to fend off any localized discontent in the schools. This is Weingarten’s legacy to Mulgrew, to insulate him from the classroom based teachers. I don’t know if he has so comfortably settled into his caretaker role for the UFT bureaucracy but sooner or latter he will have to present a contract to the membership for ratification. I don’t think I can be accused of being an apologist for the current leadership but again, I think it is a mistake to target Mulgrew and it would be unfortunate if MORE recedes into a short sighted reliance on the frustration and discontent of the members as an election strategy without raising the bar and proposing positive alternatives and new approaches to the dilemma faced by the UFT. I think this is a legitimate role for the opposition caucus; to say and do what the current leadership cannot because it is the giant with its feet in clay. They are stuck. But MORE can also get stuck in a zero sum contest in which we hammer away, mock and make snide comments about the leadership only to discover that the creation of a credible defense of working and learning conditions, public education and teacher unionism requires a grass roots movement that is not something called into being by any single leader. We can be thankful that Mulgrew for the moment has not followed the pattern set by Weingarten but this is largely due to Bloomberg’s aggressive pursuit of deeper concessions. It is pure conceit and foolishness to dismiss as mere excuses, when the leadership says that unions are under attack. The task in this election is to present the membership with a credible line of defense to these attacks. That is the issue in this election. Not individuals.

    • 

      So now the union is bad for including non-teachers? The UNITY Caucus took it’s name when SHANKER fought to include other titles. Paraprofessionals, secretaries, guidance counselors and social workers, OT/PT and school nurses have better pay, benefits and working conditions because of it. The union continues to grow because daycare workers, registered nurses and even administrative law judges have recognized the LEADERSHIP and EXPERIENCE of the UFT. Thank you,
      AL, SANDY, RANDI and MICHAEL. You made this union strong. I plan to keep it strong by voting the UNITY slate.

    • 

      “The UFT has been, on balance, a defender of white racial privileges since the 1968 strike.” Really Sean? This is just irrational. Are there white and “colored” water fountains at 52 Broadway? I guess all those pictures of UFT members marching in demonstrations the 1960’s and 1970’s were fakes? The next time Hazel Dukes is an honored guest at the Delegate Assembly, you should tell her this. The NAACP should really hear about this.

  24. 

    MORE’s’ platform and why we need a new caucus is plainly found on top of this page, anyone who says MORE has no plan clearly is lying. Click on both links, read all the posts and you will see that As bright as the sun that MORE is far superior than the wait and beg plan of mulgrew, leave our teachers with no defense, and allow our children to be overstated and underfunded

    • 

      As he often does, brother Sean puts me to shame. Put the platform up section by section in the main blog area. And let’s use the great movie Julie and Brian narrated which puts the UFT leadership to shame for their defense of teacher unions.
      While I don’t agree with everything Sean says he does make so many excellent points. He is right about the blood sport of baiting Unity, something I just love to do. But it is a waste of time for most of you guys. Let their hypocrisy reign. Their own words will sink them. I’m thinking of taking their words from this blog and just pub on ed notes and let them stand alone. Really priceless stuff and great for Ed Notes. But MORE with a much younger constituency as Sean points out and without years of butting up against the Unity nonsense wants to look beyond that. Organizing people bottom up like Unity doesn’t will be enough of a response. As of now I am not using this space to respond. MORE has a higher order than lowbrow Ed Notes where I will continue to bash Unity just for the fun of it. Given that so many full-time union officials seem to waste their time reading the crap my feeling is it is worth keeping them busy so they don’t do too much harm.

      • 

        I meant Julie and Brian’s defense of teacher unions compared to the lackluster defense we get from the AFT/UFT.

      • 

        Lots of the Unity people being slammed here on this blog by MORE folks at the Law and Govt. Joint Public Hearing speaking out in defense of the school, as was the CSA. I guess they were just “wasting their time” as you say.

  25. 

    “Proponents of the CTU’s bottom-up organizing style say there is no other way to win. “Top-down just does not work. It’s the style of the bosses,” says the CTU’s Kenzo Shibata.
    Note to Unity slugs: Please tell us how you are not top-down for the last 50 years. You guys are more like Tweed than the CTU.

  26. 

    Sadly, the vast majority of UFT members are unaware that there are alternative factions within our ranks. Nice and handy that, for the Unity 50 year monopoly. How could this be. Well the answer to that one is the reason MORE should be elected to instill transparency and democracy for a change.
    The morale at my former school was so bad people were falling ill on a regular basis. Chicago’s CTU showed the way. Top down “business type” unionism works well for the bosses. I think we are still the workers.
    Time to work for, and bring about change.

    • 
      teachersarepeopletoo February 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I am going to answer Lina’s post since its the only one by MORE’s people that is actually based on MORE’s ideas and not attacks on Unity people bringing up valid points. My answers in caps.

      MORE’s plan Reject any new evaluation system based on junk-science “Value Added Models,” high-stakes testing, or arbitrary, cookie-cutter rubrics that demean the art of teaching. ALREADY DONE BY MIKE MULGREW ONCE. WE DON’T HAVE AN EVALUATION SYSTEM NOW BECAUSE BLOOMBERG TRIED TO SHOVE IT DOWN OUR THROAT WITH “COOKIE CUTTER RUBRICS” WITHOUT TEACHER INPUT. MULGREW GETS NO CREDIT FOR NOT AGREEING TO THE EVALUATION DEAL IN THE FIRST PLACE? IF HE WAS INTERESTED IN “SELLING US OUT” AS YOU SAY, HE WOULD HAVE SIGNED THAT AGREEMENT.
      MORE’s plan Restore seniority transfer rights, preferred placement transfers, and SBO transfers. Place all ATRs in open jobs before making any further new hires. HOW? BLOOMBERG WOULD NEVER AGREE TO THIS. WHAT WOULD YOU DO SPECIFICALLY TO GET THIS DONE? ARE YOU READY TO GO ON STRIKE?

      MORE’s plan Create rank and file committees in our schools to rigorously enforce article 8-I in our contract that should prevent the DOE from asking teachers to write entirely new curricula, complete excessive paperwork, and engage in mindless data-gathering. THERE ARE ALREADY COMMITTEES, OR SHOULD BE, ESTABLISHED IN EVERY SCHOOL ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE. YOUR SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE ONE, AND IF IT DOESN’T, I SUGGEST YOU DISCUSS IT WITH YOUR CHAPTER LEADER. EITHER WAY, THIS IS HARDLY THE FAULT OF THE UNITY LEADERSHIP. SOME OF IT HAS TO BE LOCAL ACCOUNTABILITY. ARE YOU CURRENLTY ACTIVE IN YOUR SCHOOL’S COMMITTEES?
      MORE’s planClass Size Reductions – Create smaller class sizes for more effective teaching to engage our students. GREAT PLAN. REQUIRES MONEY TO HIRE MORE TEACHERS. WHERE IS IT COMING FROM?
      MORE’s plan Union Democracy – Delegate Assemblies and Chapter Leader meetings should be working bodies that decide on actions to help defend schools under attack; fighting closures, forced co-locations, and abusive administrators. THIS IS ALREADY TRUE OF THE DA AND THE CHAPTER LEADER MEETINGS IN MY SCHOOL. IF THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN YOUR SCHOOL I SUGGEST YOU SPEAK TO YOUR CL AND IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH HIM/HER RUN AGAINST THEM. AGAIN I FAIL TO SEE HOW THIS IS UNITY LEADERSHIP/MIKE MULGREW’S FAULT.
      MORE’s plan Chapter Organizing – District organizers should be elected, not appointed and should organize non-union schools that lack a UFT presence. They should also mobilize and support existing union chapters against attacks at the school level. THE SECOND PART ALREADY HAPPENS (RALLIES, PEP’S, ETC. I HAVE BEEN TO MANY OF THEM AND ORGANIZED THE SHOW OF SUPPORT FROM MY SCHOOL TO THESE EVENTS) I DON’T FULLY UNDERSTAND YOUR FIRST POINT AND WHY YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON OTHER SCHOOLS THAT ARE NOT PART OF OUR UNION. AS I AM SURE MORE WOULD BE THE FIRST TO POINT OUT, WE HAVE OUR OWN ISSUES TO DISCUSS/TAKE CARE OF.
      MORE’s plan Accountability – Union leaders’ pay should not be more than that of rank-and-file teachers. End the second pension for union bureaucrats. UNION LEADERS OFTEN WORK LONGER HOURS AND DAYS THAN RANK AND FILE TEACHERS. I HAVE SEEN THIS MYSELF IN MY CL AND MY DIST. REP. VERY FEW OF THE UNITY PEOPLE I HAVE SEEN OR BEEN IN CONTACT WITH ARE COLLECTING A SECOND PENSION. MOST ARE “RANK AND FILE” TEACHERS CURRENTLY. AS FAR AS I CAN TELL, THEY EARN ANY EXTRA MONEY THEY MAKE.

      LINA ON A SIDE NOTE I DO APPRECIATE THAT YOU PUT OUT THE ACTUAL PLATFORM OF MORE AS OPPOSED TO LAUNCHING PERSONAL OR AD HOMINEM ATTACKS.

  27. 

    Norm
    You want to publish comments on this blog to another blog of yours to Expose UNITY folks? How Bloomberg of you. Does that promote UNITY? Sounds Like when it comes to true Unionism MORE IS LESS!

  28. 

    I would like to comment on what Commonsense said. MORE was well represented at the Law and government Joint Public Hearing on Wednesday. MORE treasurer candidate Camille Eterno (my wife) brought down the house when she spoke out against the closure. She strongly asserted how school closing is a very racist policy that only impacts African American and Latino communities. A few minutes later when William McDonald from the NAACP spoke, he cited Camille’s speech. I spoke too about what happens to kids when schools are being phased out.

  29. 

    I would like to comment on what Commonsense said. MORE was well represented at the Law and government Joint Public Hearing on Wednesday. MORE treasurer candidate Camille Eterno (my wife) brought down the house when she spoke out against the closure. She strongly asserted how school closing is a very racist policy that only impacts African American and Latino communities. A few minutes later when William McDonald from the NAACP spoke, he cited Camille’s speech. I spoke too about what happens to kids when schools are being phased out.

    • 

      The comment wasn’t directed at you, James, or your wife. It was clearly and primarily directed at Norm. He trashed Gregg Lundahl, an extremely hard working and dedicated unionist who came out from Manhattan, and several others, and many union officials who came out to speak for the school. Other Unity chapter leaders were there as well. Where was he? MORE speaks of channeling Karen Lewis, and one of your planks is fighting school closures, and you had two people there, however passionate, eloquent and on point. Hard to make the case that MORE is going to do a better job of fighting school closures when Unity caucus members outnumber you 100 – 2 at a school closure hearing. Where were your other Queens HS Chapter Leaders and Delegates from MORE? You don’t have a huge number, but you were the only one who didn’t have something better to do that night? A number of them have been through closure and turnaround attempts and should know how vital it is emotionally and pragmatically for your union brethren to be there to support you. Where were the community members that MORE brought down because they are better than Unity at creating coalitions of parents and community members?

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  1. Get Out The VOTE! « morecaucusnyc - February 19, 2013

    [...] interested in union or social justice issues.  Discuss our platform, our mission, and some of the articles we publish on our site . Form a book club-we suggest; education and union scholar  Lois Weiner and [...]

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