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Charter schools continue to receive a windfall to the tune of tens of millions of potential dollars in free space, either in a public school or in a city-subsidized private space, more per pupil funding than public schools, and an essentially unfettered ability to expand at the expense of existing public schools. The charter school giveaways are nothing short of a death sentence for the sustainability of New York City’s public school system

The financial burden of providing and paying for charter school space and services for co-locations will be crippling. This will be especially difficult once the cap of 200 charter schools is reached. As of now there are currently 3 charter schools left on the cap in NYC, but there will be “more” because existing charters can expand grades without being included in the cap. The city is required to find the resources to pay. Only after $40 million is spent on private charter rent, will the state contribute to an undetermined amount of assistance. We need funding policies that will support the facilities and space needed for the approximately 93.4%of public school children learning in overcrowded and substandard facilities.

Charters schools receive MORE per pupil funding than public schools. This creates even greater inequity in our school system favoring the approximately 7.6% of NYC’s school children who currently attend charter schools. Combine that with the millions in private funding charters receive from millionaire and billionaire donors who have an interest in privatizing our education system and the goal becomes clear: undermine and dismantle every child’s right to go to the school of his or her choice. The new policy will force students to fill out an application, win a lottery, and adhere to undemocratic governance and a set of rules that leave families vulnerable to discrimination and push-out, not to mention increased segregation in an already segregated school system. We need policies that seek to create equity and increase the integration of our school system, not make it worse

The new law requiring charter space puts the expansion of public schools in New York City at risk because it encourages charter school expansion over the expansion of public schools. New York City schools have some of the highest class sizes and most overcrowding in the state. We need support to help end this crisis, not make it worse.

The financial sustainability of our school system is at risk. As more public dollars are funneled into education corporations and charter schools, fewer public dollars are available for our public schools. At a certain point, and we have heard the “tipping point” is 10% enrollment in charter schools in NYC, we will reach a financial crisis that will make it impossible to balance the funding needs for both charters and public schools, thus allowing the kind of wholesale transfer of public schools to charter operators as we have seen in New Orleans, Philadelphia, now encroaching on Camden, and state-wide in Tennessee.

Governor Cuomo not only allowed the charter school windfall to be central to this year’s budget, he was one of, if not the, architect(s). The self-proclaimed “student lobbyist” is truly a charter-hedge-funder lobbyist beholden to campaign dollars in an election year and further influenced by his national political aspirations.

Legislators from around the state, save a brave few such as state Senator Montgomery and Harlem’s Senator Perkins whose constituents have experienced the horrors and inequity of charter co-locations and expansion first hand, said precious little and took no stand in rejecting this budget.

Our Mayor, who ran on putting an end to the favor of charters at the expense of our public schools and received a clear mandate to do so by the voters in our city, was at the very least powerless to stop the giveaway and at worst raised no vocal objection, perhaps considering funding for universal Pre-K a worthy enough win, even though charters will also have the right to open Pre-K.

The true student-lobbyists, parents, students, rank-and-file educators and community members, must stand together to demand full funding and support for our public schools. We must make it clear that an investment in a system that serves ALL children that is governed by the people, not private unaccountable and non-transparent interests, is vital to the health and success of our children.

We have learned from our personal experiences that charter space support and expansion in communities results in a negative impact on the community itself, causing unnecessary strain and tension, as well as on the existing schools. But equally important, because these issues were at our doorstep, we also understand the deep systemic issues surrounding charters: the drive to privatize our public education system, the impact of charter push-out, the impact of a two-tiered system where one school is privileged over another, and the bigger picture of the undermining of public education and all that entails from worker protections, to funding, to the way children are treated.

MORE stands in solidarity with the approximately 93.4% of families who want high quality neighborhood schools for their children. We stand by our teachers involved in this fight. We cannot achieve the promise of public education if the funding, facilities and services we need to provide are at-risk. Cuomo does not stand for our children. He stands for his own political interests fueled by charter school dollars and we WILL hold him accountable!

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According to www.nyccharterschools.org, this is what we are looking at; past, present, and THEIR expected future…

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The future of our schools, our children, and our livelihoods are at stake! We need to fight!


* VERY IMPORTANT NOTE- Information obtained by the Teachers Diversity Committee (TDC) of NYC from Success Academy charter schools, showed that for the 2013-2014 school year, 13 out of 15 locations have a significantly higher percentage of white teachers than was the city wide average for public schools in NYC which in 2012, was 58.6%. The mandate to expand charters is increasing racial segregation of students and decreasing teacher diversity in NYC schools overall.

How you can help-

Charter-school co-location hearings: Join us as we stand together with parents, students, and fellow UFT’ers against the privatization of our schools and defend public schools that serve the local community. MORE stands against the proliferation of charter schools crowding out district schools for teachers, rooms and other resources in favor of charters that do not serve all our children. Charters are are often run by corporations as for-profits.

Contact: You can contact Lauren about upcoming hearings and PEPs. You can also contact Julie, Patrick, and Mindy to mobilize your school’s efforts to fight back.

Email: MORE@morecaucusnyc.org

Twitter: @MOREcaucusNYC

The Movement of Rank and File Educators (MORE-UFT) voted unanimously at our last General Body meeting to propose that the United Federation of Teachers, instead of sitting out this gubernatorial race, endorse the pro-public education platform presented by Howie Hawkins for Governor and Brian Jones for Lieutenant Governor.

MORE prepared to present a resolution at Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly. The UFT leadership, however, did not allow this discussion. Despite being informed in advance that MORE chapter leaders and delegates intended to raise this resolution for debate and voting, UFT leadership called time on the ten-minute new motion period, thus prohibiting this conversation. In fact, though Michael Mulgrew’s President’s Report was longer than 45 minutes, there was no mention of this Governor’s race.

Though UFT and NYSUT leadership remain silent regarding the upcoming Gubernatorial race, we pledge go to the polls and vote for the only public school positive, teacher-and-student friendly candidates in this race.  We encourage fellow friends of public education to join us in voting Hawkins/Jones!

Why? Here are just a few of the many reasons:

  • Both Andrew Cuomo and Rob Astorino vocally support the privatization of education through the expansion of charter schools. In contrast, the Green Party ticket of Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones opposes charter schools.
  • Andrew Cuomo has pushed through an expansion of testing statewide and the punitive linking of test scores to teacher evaluations. The Hawkins/Jones ticket opposes an emphasis on high stakes testing.
  • Andrew Cuomo implemented a destructive tax cap that has forced massive layoffs of teachers in upstate districts.
  • New York State AFL-CIO and the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) have declined to endorse Cuomo because of his anti-education policies.
  • Astorino and Cuomo are both millionaires while Hawkins and Jones are both union activists, Hawkins in Teamsters, Jones in the UFT and PSC.
  • The Hawkins/Jones platform of a Green New Deal calls for
    • equitable funding for all of our schools,
    • reduced class sizes across the state,
    • support for programs that promote desegregation in our schools,
    • an end to zero-tolerance discipline policies driving the school-to-prison pipeline,
    • and allowing schools to develop methods of assessment organic to the learning process. 
  • To learn more, Read their letter to teachers here, and spread the word using the voter guide below. 
MORE/UFT Caucus Pro-Education Positions Hawkins/ Jones (Green) Cuomo(Dem.) Astorino(Rep.)
Against the Expansion of Charter Schools
Against High Stakes Testing, Against APPR (New teacher evals) / Supports Parents & Students’ Right to Opt Out of High Stakes Tests
Against Common Core?
Union member or Millionaire Candidates? Union Millionaire Millionaire
Fight corporate ed deform by rescinding NY’s Race to the Top application and replacing NYSED commissioner John King
Tax Top 5% and Eliminate State Property Tax Cap to Fund Schools
Supports unionism, social movements and a $15/hr minimum wage

Don’t sit this election out, vote for a real change in Education Policy!  Vote Hawkins/Jones!

Paraprofessionals:

For those of you who have paraprofessionals in the classroom, we must recognize that they are the backbone support in our schools. They help with lesson implementation, classroom management, follow agreed upon roles with the classroom and more. It is important for us educators to foster and improve our relationships with paraprofessionals. We need to listen to them as well. Hear what they have to say to help our classrooms run more efficiently. Finally, we need to respect paraprofessionals for what they do for our students and for us everyday. They are so much more than simply crisis management. This is a team effort and we need our classrooms to be run this way.

How We Can Help:

-Do you have a Para Leader in your school?

If not, you can encourage an exemplary

paraprofessional to take on this role. A Para

Leader can help with staff relationships

and offer support in your school. You can

contact the UFT to help with this position.

-Within MORE

We would love for paraprofessionals to

become members and attend our meetings.

They too have a voice and they should use it. I

am sure they could offer plenty of suggestions

to help build better relationships amongst staff,

and offer helpful techniques to aid with

classroom management.

-Help paraprofessional voices to be heard-

We would also love to have paraprofessionals

write for our blogs and to be active within our

committees.

We can also start up a Paraprofessional committee for support

and open dialog as to how to build better relationships in our

classrooms.

RESOLUTION  FOR  THE  UFT  TO  ENDORSE  HOWIE  HAWKINS  FOR  GOVERNOR     &  BRIAN  JONES  FOR  LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR  -­  Please  raise  for  THIS  MONTH’S  AGENDA  

 

Whereas,  both  New  York  State  gubernatorial  candidates  Andrew  Cuomo  and  Rob  Astorino  vocally   support  the  privatization  of  education  through  the  expansion  of  charter  schools,  and  the  Green  Party   ticket  of  Howie  Hawkins  and  Brian  Jones  oppose  charter  schools,  and

Whereas,  Andrew  Cuomo  has  pushed  through  an  expansion  of  testing  statewide  and  the  punitive  linking   of  test  scores  to  teacher  evaluations,  while  the  Hawkins/Jones  ticket  opposes  an  emphasis  on   testing,  and

Whereas,  Andrew  Cuomo  implemented  a  destructive  tax  cap  that  has  forced  massive  layoffs  of  teachers   in  upstate  districts,  and

Whereas,  the  New  York  State  AFL-­CIO  and  the  New  York  State  United  Teachers  have  declined  to  endorse   Cuomo  because  of  his  anti-­education  policies,  and

Whereas  the  Buffalo  Teachers  Federation,  Port  Jefferson  Station  Teachers  Association,  East  Williston   Teachers  Association,  Lakeland  Federation  of  Teachers,  Diane  Ravitch,  the  Coalition  for  Public  Education,   the  Independent  Commission  on  Public  Education  and  three  local  NYC  Democratic  clubs  have  all   endorsed  the  Hawkins/Jones  ticket,  and

Whereas,  the  Hawkins/Jones  platform  of  a  Green  New  Deal  calls  for  equitable  funding  for  all  of  our   schools,  reduced  class  sizes  across  the  state,  support  for  programs  that  promote  desegregation  in   our  schools,  an  end  to  zero-­tolerance  discipline  policies  driving  the  school-­to-­prison  pipeline,   and  allowing  schools  to  develop  methods  of  assessment  organic  to  the  learning  process,  and

Whereas,  Astorino  and  Cuomo  are  both  millionaires  while  Hawkins  and  Jones  are  both  union  activists,   Hawkins  in  Teamsters,  Jones  in  the  UFT  and  PSC,  therefore  be  it,

Resolved,  the  United  Federation  of  Teachers  endorses  Howie  Hawkins  for  Governor  of  New  York  State   and  Brian  Jones  for  Lieutenant  Governor.  Be  it  further

Resolved,  the  UFT,  through  COPE,  inform  its  members  of  this  endorsement,  the  contrasts  between  the   candidates  on  key  education  issues,  and  mobilize  its  members  to  support  the  Hawkins/Jones  campaign.

Resolution  for  Full  Union  Representation  for  ATRs   Please  raise  for  NEXT  MONTH’S  AGENDA  

 Whereas,  the  Delegate  Assembly  is  the  highest  policy  making  body  in  the  United  Federation  of   Teachers,  and

  Whereas,  federal  labor  law  requires  that  policy  making  bodies  within  a  union  be  democratically   elected  with  each  member  entitled  to  a  vote,  and

 
Whereas,  Absent  Teacher  Reserves  (ATRs)  are  not  entitled  to  vote  in  Chapter  Elections  unless  they   happen  to  be  working  in  a  school  that  has  a  Chapter  Election  during  a  particular  week  that  the  ATR  is   working  in  a  school,  and

 
Whereas,  unions  can  set  up  reasonable  rules  as  to  who  can  run  for  office,  but  it  is  not  reasonable  that   ATRs  including  Leave  Replacement  Teachers  and  Provisional  Teachers  cannot  run  or  serve  as   Delegates  or  Chapter  Leaders  simply  because  they  belong  to  no  Chapter,  and

Whereas,  the  ATR  position  has  now  been  embedded  in  the  UFT  contract  in  Section  16  of  the  2014   Memorandum  of  Agreement,  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.

MORE member John Giambalvo writes with School Network Leader Nathan Dudley about the implications for teachers and students to policy changes regarding school Quality Reviews. To say Quality Reviews need to change may be a bit of an understatement and we credit John for finding common ground with Mr. Dudley so that a conversation about those changes can begin. 

“Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s recalibration of New York City’s school grading system was met with much fanfare last week. While the changes to school Progress Reports received most of the attention, the chancellor also announced changes to Quality Reviews—the intensive process by which schools are evaluated every year or two.

Fariña probably knew these changes wouldn’t grab as many headlines as the shift from A-F grades. But she may know, and we believe, that those changes could be a real game-changer for city schools.

Why? No two words cause as much anxiety for city school leaders and teachers as “Quality Review.” The influential reviews are the closest things to a standardized assessment that a school gets. The evaluators comb through classrooms; talk to teachers, students, and parents; examine data over two days; and then evaluate the school using a strict rubric.

In some schools, the preparation for the review and the review itself have been disruptive to teaching and learning. And in many cases, reviewers provided little …” (Read more at Chalkbeat.org)

MORE is moving forward on our priorities and campaigns for the fall.  We need YOU to get involved and help us campaign around tenure, charter schools, high-stakes testing, chapter leader elections, local UFT member support, diversity petition and MORE!

Ways to get involved – email us at MORE@morecaucusnyc.org or call at (347) 766-7319 to join any of these campaigns.

Please check out our events calendar at more.nationbuilder.com/calendar

  • Distribute Our Newsletter! - This is the most essential thing every member should do to build our caucus.  The newsletter is how we raise our collective voice and recruit new activists. MORE members should distribute MORE newsletters to all UFT members in their school mailboxes and try to make contacts at nearby schools as well. Download our recent copy here

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The Tenure Debate:  A New York City Public Educator Perspective

by Marcus Brandon McArthur

This is a personal statement by a member of MORE. It may or may not represent the official view of the MORE caucus.

Introduction

The state of policy debate around improving public schools in the U.S. continues to disappoint.  Discussions on how to improve the system continue to be dominated by monied interests purporting to be the bearers of the 21st century “Civil Rights” torch.  Much of their analysis on the state of public education is simply political noise and a carefully crafted public relations campaign that blankets public education in a cloak of comprehensive failure.  In particular, the tenure protection for teachers, has been squarely in the crosshairs of their policy agenda.  The debate on tenure has been nefariously framed by focusing exclusively on the caricatured imaginary “bad teacher” that looms large for many Americans.  The phrase “bad teachers” is mentioned so often we are led to believe that 98% of teachers are deemed ineffective each year, not the 2% that actually are.  The ruling in the recent Vergara v. California case, which effectively eliminates tenure for public school teachers in California, has spurned a wave of copycat lawsuits seeking the same fate in other states, most prominently, New York.  These lawsuits are carefully marketed as being initiated on behalf of poor black and brown children and all those “good teachers” whose profession is debased because of the proliferation of “bad teachers” that have an irrevocable “job for life”.

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