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

 

Resolution Opposing Standardized Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THEREFORE, BE IT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

by James Eterno

Former Chapter Leader

Jamaica High School

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

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

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

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

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

Continue Reading…

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

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

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

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

ProtectOurSchools-RallyFlier-english new

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

By

Mindy Rosier

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

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

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

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

http://www.howmuchnysrobbed.nyc/

"MORE UFT pin"

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

WhattoKnowforChapterLeadersElections

D15 Rally

By Norm Scott

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

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

#ProtectOurSchools #AllKidsNeed #CallOutCuomo

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

 

"Demand MORE from the UFT"

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

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

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

Spread the word and invite all your teacher friends!

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

Free childcare is available, but e-mail more@morecaucusnyc.org to reserve it.

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

AGENDA:

12-12:30
Introduction

12:30-1:30
Brainstorming: how to protect our public schools
(facilitated by Change the Stakes)

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

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

OR

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

OR

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

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

Facebook link here