Platform

*Consistent with the democratic process, this platform is a living document”

We Deserve MORE

1.       MORE Respect, Compensation, Rank-and-File Leadership, and Fight Back for Improved Working Conditions;

LESS Top-Down Bureaucracy and Givebacks

We are fighting for a transparent union that is ready to mobilize our members in pickets, rallies, and job actions to defend our rights, wages, and secure a new contract.

We are facing . . .

  • Three years without a contract with no transparency in the negotiation process, while teachers, the union, and public education are under systematic attack.
  • An erosion of fringe, health, and pension benefits, arbitrary denial of tenure, unanswered harassment by supervisors, increasing attacks on non-teaching personnel, and replacement with privatized and less skilled workers.
  • Backroom deals on teacher evaluations that threaten to render tenure meaningless and that will drastically change the working conditions of teachers with no input from rank-and-file union membership.
  • An out-of-touch, overpaid union leadership that relies too heavily on lawsuits and lobbying, accepting concessions while failing to build a union with the capacity to resist attacks.
  • A system where highly qualified teachers are denied positions and forced into the Absent Teacher Reserve (ATR) pool while less experienced and less expensive teachers are hired.

We will fight for . . .

  • A multiyear contract with retroactive pay and the protection of our rights, including due process for all tenured teachers and class-size caps without loopholes.
  • Rank-and-file-led decision-making and democratic votes on important policy decisions, a union that organizes and mobilizes to insure that our interests are protected.
  • 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.

2. MORE Teaching and Quality Curriculum LESS High-Stakes Testing and Paperwork

Testing has narrowed the curriculum our students are being offered. Quality teaching and education is developmentally appropriate and responsive to diverse student needs and abilities. A systemic obsession with quantitative data has increased teachers’ paperwork and stripped them of their professional discretion.

We are facing . . .

  • A highly destructive overreliance on standardized test scores to grade and punish schools, students, and teachers.
  • A narrowing of educational focus that devalues the full spectrum of student strengths, needs, and interests. A curriculum that does not properly acknowledge all students’ cultures, experience, or history. Reduction or elimination of physical education, history, civics, art, music, foreign languages, and free play, due to the pressures of ever-increasing test prep.

We will fight for . . .

  • Diverse and authentic assessments used to inform instruction and less time spent on test prep and bureaucratic paperwork so teachers can focus on planning meaningful instruction.
  • Culturally responsive, collaborative, and student-centered curriculum.
  • Well-rounded and robust programs including arts, physical education, and career and technical education for all.

3. MORE Democratic Governance by Communities, Parents, and Educators; No Mayoral Control, No Corporate Education Reform

We must wage an unequivocal fight for a democratic and responsive educational system, overturning mayoral control and resisting corporate “education reform,” which have disenfranchised communities from the governance of their schools.

 

We are facing . . .

  • A failed experiment in mayoral control that has disenfranchised parents, educators, and communities and that allows the mayor to exercise dictatorial power through his Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).
  • Destructive and unproven educational policy driven not by research but by federal mandate, corporations, the ultra-wealthy, and those seeking to privatize public education and weaken teacher unions.

We will fight for . . .

  • 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.

4. MORE Support and Equitable Funding; No Closures, No Forced Co-locations, No Budget Cuts

We need to fight for public schools to be enriched, supported, improved—not closed.

We are facing . . .

  • A proliferation of charter schools, forced co-locations, and school closings, ignoring the objections and protest of parents, communities, and educators.
  • An unequal system where some schools have more money, smaller class sizes, and the latest in technology while most are underfunded, have overcrowded classes, and are left with crumbling, outdated facilities.
  • A stark reduction in special education and ESL services and a push to rewrite students’ Individual Education Programs in order to cut services to save money.
  • Cuts to arts, music, drama, school newspapers/yearbooks, after-school programs, SAT prep, literacy coaches, and after-school help, which hurts most families that can’t afford private tutors or programs.
  • Layoffs of school support staff, including DC 37 members, decreasing adult supervision in our buildings.
  • Cuts to adult education and elimination of many vocational programs.

We will fight for . . .

  • An explicit UFT policy against school closings, the proliferation of charter schools, and forced co-locations of charters in public school spaces.
  • Equitable, transparent funding and more resources for the schools that need them most; improved learning conditions including small class sizes for all. All buildings must be in the best condition and equipped for the twenty-first century.
  • Special education and ESL reform that ensures that every child receives necessary services.
  • An enriched school day for all that includes art, music, physical education, drama, school newspapers/yearbooks, after-schools programs, trips, and more SAT prep and literacy coaches.
  • Solidarity with members of DC37 and other unions to build a real fight against the layoffs of support staff.
  • More extensive adult education and vocational programming led by unionized educators.

5. MORE Social, Economic, and Racial Justice; No Inequity, Discrimination, and Segregation

We need a social justice union that opposes institutional racism and organizes with students, parents, and other working people to hold schools and government accountable to our common interests.

We are facing . . .

  • A top-down union that fails to address broader problems rooted in class and racial inequality and whose capitulation on major issues (as identified in planks 1-4 of this document) has had a disproportionately negative effect on communities of color and those who live in poverty.
  • A lack of responsive education, harsh discipline policies, discriminatory special education placements, criminalization of students inside and outside of school through policing in schools, racial profiling, and “Stop and Frisk,” that lead to school push-out and eventual incarceration (the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”).
  • An effectively segregated school system where more than 75% of public schools students are children of color yet the employment of teachers of color has declined since 2001 to a two-decade low.

We will fight for . . .

  • A rank-and-file-led union that builds on the best aspects of traditional unionism and fights for the needs and rights of its members while taking on issues of social, economic, and racial justice.
  • An end to the “School-to-Prison Pipeline” and the promotion of alternatives such as restorative justice programs, wrap-around services including an adequate guidance and social work staff; an end to racial profiling and Stop and Frisk; and a return to community schools as centers that provide medical care, skills training, and tutoring, with social workers and counselors for students’ families and the community.
  • A targeted effort to recruit a teaching force more representative of the students and communities it serves, where educators can more readily act as mentors and role models.

As the Chicago Teachers Union has shown, social justice unionism is the only way to counter the attacks on public education and working people, which affect all communities but disproportionately affect people living in poverty and communities of color. 

Check out our Vision Statement on Positive Alternative Leadership Here

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. GENERAL MEETING 2/9- UFT ELECTIONS « morecaucusnyc - February 2, 2013

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    […] Another group, the Movement of Rank-and-File Educators, is nominating a slate of candidates who have staked out positions on teacher evaluations and charter schools that differ dramatically from Unity’s. MORE bills itself as “the social justice caucus” and takes inspiration from the group that won leadership of Chicago’s teachers union in 2010. The caucus wants less standardized testing, union opposition to school closures and co-locations, and a new contract that includes retroactive pay raises, among other changes. […]

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