Weekly Update #7 – 05.15.12
Greetings Movement of Rank and File Educators!
Tomorrow, help grow MORE by coming to the UFT delegate assembly and distributing our leaflet about the failure of the UFT leadership to organize to stop the school closings and their complicity in the test-based evaluation schemes.
There will also be an important resolution on the floor about supporting a demonstration against the impending closing of the 24 turnaround schools – please raise it if you have speaking rights. The text is below as well.
Thank you everyone for coming out to our membership meeting last Saturday. We decided on a number important action plans – see notes below for details.
If you haven’t already, please take a second to join MORE and check out our new website, morecaucusnyc.org, where you can sign up to distribute our leaflet in your school and to other schools within your school building.
Save the date for an end of year meeting/celebration on June 16. Location TBA.
Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC – and follow @morecaucusnyc on Twitter.
We want to know what you are thinking! Post on our Facebook wall and join MORE’s discussion listserve here to get more emails and join in the conversation.
Open planning committee meeting, Wednesday, 5/23, CUNY Graduate Center – reply to this email for the room number.
Please join the Education Committee for these study groups about High Stakes Testing! – Location and exact time TBA
Thursday, May 24th
– Session One: Wayne Au, chapter one from Unequal by Design
Thursday, May 31st
– Session Two: A couple chapters from Ravitch: “The trouble with Accountability” and “What would Ms. Do?”
Thursday, June 7th
– Session Three: Working together to create discussion points. Note: there may be a conflict on 6/7 so date might need to be changed.
Thursday, May 31st – 4:45 PM Chapter Leaders and Delegates Meetup
Running for CL or Delegate? Already CL or Delegate? Want to better organize your chapter? Gather with others who are in the same position to share strategies and ideas.
Grey Dog Cafe (242 W 16th St betw. 7th & 8th – 1/2/3 to 14th)
Tuesday, June 2nd – Peoples’ Board of Education
meets to continue the work started at the People’s Assembly last week. Please join them – check out Coalition for Public Education for details.
Resolution to Protect Teachers in Turnarounds and ATRs,
and to End School Closings
For this Month’s (May 2012) Agenda
Whereas Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to implement the ‘Turnaround” model in 24 schools imposes a new teacher rating system without negotiation, by forcing the educational staff to reapply for their jobs; and potentially creating more ATRs; and
Whereas Bloomberg’s policies have resulted in a horrifying 49 closings this year alone, and he has threatened to close even more next year; and
Whereas there have been calls by austerity advocates to terminate ATRs after a set period of time; and
Whereas the union-busters and their billionaire allies – who are destroying public education while calling it “reform” – have organized a local lobby, “StudentsFirstNY” to insure Bloomberg’s destructive policies are continued whoever the next mayor may be; and
Whereas this declaration of war on our schools and our union should be met with a strong, determined, and united response; and,
Whereas our greatest strength is the power of a mobilized membership, working alongside local communities, students, parents, educational advocates and others who are affected by these disastrous policies; and
Whereas, the past practice of ceasing membership mobilizations against school closings immediately after the PEP vote, and not relaunching them until the next year’s list of closing schools is announced has allowed the policy of school closings to continue unhampered and with impunity; and
Whereas, a coalition initiated by chapter leaders, delegates and members from many of the original 33 turnaround schools has called a rally at DOE headquarters on June 12, 2012, at 5 pm to demand an end to school closings, the rehiring of all applicants from the “Turnarounds” into the successor schools, and appointed positions for all ATRs;
Therefore, be it resolved that the United Federation of Teachers endorse and support the June 12 rally at DOE headquarters, 52 Chambers Street.
For more information or to get involved in further organizing, contact:
Meeting Minutes – May 12th, 2012
Full name/slogan/tag line.
Movement of Rank and File Educators(MORE): The Social Justice Caucus of the UFT
“Our working conditions are our students learning conditions”
with possible shorter versions that only include MORE (not full name) and with or
without the slogan.
People should work on designs for both of these that we can use on future leaflets.
2. Committee Report Backs:
CL/Delegate Support Group: Started monthly meetings. Good turnout at last
meetings. Interest in having ongoing monthly meetings for support for new CLs
and/or dels. About 15 people running active campaigns; 5 won and 11 still running. Note: Brooklyn Tech, largest chapter in the city, Beth trounced a long time UNITY hack.
Education group: Study group on high stakes testing, roots, etc. Purpose to educate
ourselves but also to create talking points and turn key in schools.
5/24: Session One: Wayne Au, chapter one from Unequal by Design
5/31: Session Two: A couple chapters from Ravitch: “The trouble with
Accountability” and “What would Ms. Do?”
6/7: Session Three: Working together to create discussion points. Note: there may
be a conflict on 6/7 so date might need to be changed.
Election Committee: We need a group of people to begin brainstorming, recruiting candidates, figuring out campaign materials/distribution network. Now, need as mall group of people to work on this. But, it also has to be a project of the entire group. Need to establish a procedure for recruiting candidates.
3. Action Discussion
1) to leaflet at the next D,A,
People interested/able to participate:
Megan, John, Kit, Ellen, Joan, August, Liza, Peter, Mary, Rosie
Declare your affiliation with MORE when speaking at the DA –
We need “Ask me about MORE stickers” for the DA
PLA schools – DA resolution proposal – please support.
2) to work on T-shirt design/cost estimates
3) To work on forum on Chicago Teachers struggle/and begin building potential
strike support network: Kevin, Megan, Norm, Sebastian, John E, John Y
- Supporting the Chicago teachers union and flying someone out to NYC to speak
- making pledges of support
- Detroit AFT convention picket and connect with CTU – july 26th
- Sebastian will draft a flyer in support of chicago teachers union
4) Teacher evaluation Campaign –
Note: there was debate about how best to approach this campaign (i.e. should we demand a membership vote on any agreement made about the 20% of our evaluations yet to be negotiated or would doing this legitimize the teacher evaluation deal)
In favor -12
Opposed – 8
Peter, Don, John, August will work on this and hammer out a new approach that can gain consensus.
5) Opt Out Letter around High Stakes Testing
Field test opt out letter
-timeout for testing is being very particular about how it hits the media
-field test June 4th – 8th
– the movement of parents is still a large majority of upper middle class white parents – low income families of color want the tests because they want their kids to have the skills to do well on these tests
Amendments to the letter
– mention MORE earlier in the article
– put our philosophy of working conditions
– more teaching, less testing
– include poverty
– get people’s contact info on the letter
– the association with more is not that important and we’ll get people’s contact info to have further conversations with folks and to build relationships
– coming out party for more
-open letter to media and doe to be signed by all stakeholders – people will be less likely to sign something to a supervisor
– put it on change.org
– we are doing what the UFT should be doing
– a statement of belief
Vote on whether the letter mentions MORE
-prominently mentioned – one vote
– not at all – one vote
– an endorser – strong vote
Vote on addressing the letter to Walcott
– passed overwhelming
Working on Letter – Liza, Norm, Peter, Megan
4. Membership Drive –
We had a great activity and discussion about the best way of recruiting new folks to the caucus.
5. Principles of Unity – Discussion tabled to next meeting
6. Wrapup – Please save the date for the party – June 16th. August and Michelle formed commitee.