Weekly Update #12 – 06.18.12 – Happy Countdown to Summer + Education, Election and Summer Series Meetings Coming Up!

June 20, 2012 — Leave a comment

“Our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions”

Hey Movement of Rank and File Educators

Happy Countdown to Summer!

MORE THIS WEEK

MORE Steering/Planning Committee Meeting

Tuesday, June 19 – 5PM, CUNY Graduate Center, Rm 5414

MORE Study Group on High Stakes Testing & Accountability

Thursday, June 21 – 5PM, CUNY Graduate Center, Rm 5414

MORE Election Committee Meeting

Monday, June 25, 5PM, at Karavas restaurant, 164 West 4th Street

MORE Summer Series

First meeting will be on July 12, Thursday, 5 PM, location TBA

See MORE Upcoming Events for more details

IMPORTANT UPDATES:

MORE’s end of year celebration 0n SATURDAY was a resounding success! Thank you to all who attended. At last count we had 40 people for good eat, drink and talk. A number of new chapter leaders were there.

Join the MORE Chapter Leader and Delegate Meet-up group listserve.

There are already vibrant discussions going on dealing with the issues of tenure extension, end of year grievances, harassment and other issues. Plug in. (not the same as MORE Discussion).

Google Groups
ChapterLeaderMeetup
Visit this group

The final UFT Delegate Assembly of the 2011-2012 school year was held on June 13. MORE members handed out the MORE flyers. (Please download and make copies for your staff.) Read James Eterno’s report of the DA on the ICE blog.

If you haven’t already, join MORE! And please take a moment to check out our website at morecaucusnyc.org.

Spread the word–help build MORE!

  • Distribute the MORE leaflet at your school, to other schools in your building, or to other educators and community members.
  • Like us on Facebook: Facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC
  • Follow us on Twitter: @morecaucusnyc
  • Check out MORE’s website: MOREcaucusNYC.org
  • Email us at: more@morecaucusnyc.org
  • We want to hear from you! Check out MORE’s discussion forum to get the latest news and goings on, and to join in the conversation
Google Groups
MORE – Discussion
Visit this group

MORE Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, June 19 – 5PM MORE Steering Committee Meeting

Join the MORE steering committee to help plan the upcoming summer series; discuss organizing strategies and tactics for the 2012-2013 school year; and develop MORE t-shirt logos.

See the tentative agenda for the meeting below:
Agenda (tentative):

Debrief of Meeting
Summer Series
T-Shirts/Logo
Membership
Committee Report Back – Education, Election, Communication
Strategies and tactics in reaching out. What is our initial target audience? What is our message to that audience?

Please join us at the CUNY Graduate Center, 34th St and 5th Ave, Rm 5414

Bring photo id and snacks to share.

Thursday, June 21st – 5 to 7 PM MORE Study Group on High Stakes
Testing & Accountability

Join the Movement of Rank and File Educators to reflect on the last chapter of Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System develop materials for distribution around the truth behind the origins and effects of high stakes testing for students and evaluation for teachers and schools. Feel free to also bring other readings that you would like to share with group.

Meet at the CUNY Graduate Center, 365 5th Avenue, Room 5414
Bring a Photo ID

Monday, June 25 – 5PM MORE Election Committee Meeting

Meet at Karavas restaurant to discuss strategy and plan for the upcoming election campaign. Minutes of June 7 meeting available at MORE google docs.

Thursday, July 12: session 1 MORE Summer Series

Come learn about historical roots of the UFT from the perspective of opposition groups to Unity. Presented by Michael Fiorillo and Norm Scott. Location TBA

Minutes of May 30 Media Committee meeting available at MORE Google docs. (Email MORE if you don’t have access.)

Want a good laugh? Or a good cry? Check this 11 minute dialogue between a teacher and supervisor: Race from the Axe

Dead about this charter school:

Miracle Watch: Harlem Village Academy

NEWS FROM CHICAGO

Chicago Teachers have had enough! Massive Strike Looms

By Pauline Lipman member of Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago)

Chicago – a birthplace of the neoliberal corporate agenda for schools is now a focal point of the offensive against it. On Monday, June 11, the Chicago Teachers Union announced that 89.73% of its members voted to authorize a strike vote if contract negotiations with Chicago Public Schools fail. This is an astounding indictment of CPS and their whole agenda. The vote tapped into the deep anger of teachers at 17 years of disrespect and blame and tyrannical policies that have turned teachers into test-masters, closed and privatized schools, taken the joy out of teaching and learning, and decimated public education in African American and Latino communities. Teachers have had enough!

Last year, Stand for Children and other education privatizers and Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel engineered a state law requiring 75% of all eligible CTU members to vote yes to authorize a strike vote. Stand for Children leader, Jonah Edelman, bragged that the CTU “will never be able to muster the votes to strike”. But the arrogant privatization billionaires behind the assault on teacher unions did not count on the profound anger of teachers, paraprofessionals, and clinicians that has been percolating beneath the surface and the courage of a progressive union to stand up. As CTU president Karen Lewis said, the vote was a resounding “indictment” of CPS policies. The vote was amazing: Total CTU voting membership 26,502: 23,780 voted “yes,” 482 voted “no,” and 2,240 did not vote or their votes were spoiled (all these were counted as “no” votes) (Chicago Teachers Union).

On June 9, parents and community organizations across the city allied with the CTU, also launched a campaign to end mayoral control and institute an elected representative school board. The battle in Chicago for reinvigorated public education is on and it’s strategic. The billionaires behind Stand and other groups are pouring money and forces into Chicago against the CTU. The week of the vote the hedge fund-backed, pro-charter organization, “Education Reform Now,” spent $100,000 to flood Black radio stations with ads to turn parents against the union. This is only the beginning. Meanwhile the union and community organizations are also gearing up a grassroots campaign to support the CTU in their courageous fight for the schools our children deserve. We will need national support and we need to link Chicago with what is happening in Philly, New York, Detroit and everywhere where we are fighting the same battle.

Diane Ravitch has been blogging about Chicago:

Big Money Joins Chicago Fight

What If the Chicago Teachers Union Loses?

The Chicago Story: Karen Lewis 1, Jonah Edelman 0

Chicago Teachers Strike: Union Has Votes For A Strike, Union Official Says

By TAMMY WEBBER 06/11/12 CHICAGO — Teachers in the nation’s third-largest school district voted overwhelmingly to authorize the first strike in 25 years if their union and the city cannot reach a deal on a contract this summer – signaling just how badly the relationship between teachers and Chicago school officials has deteriorated, union officials said Monday.

Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis announced the result of last week’s balloting – nearly 90 percent of its 26,502 members voted to authorize a strike _and called it “an indictment of the state of the relationship between the management of CPS and its largest labor force members.” State law requires 75 percent approval.

Teachers are upset that Mayor Rahm Emanuel canceled last year’s raise and that they’re being asked to work longer days without what they consider to be an adequate pay increase. Lewis said other key issues include class size and resources.

A strike wouldn’t be called until the beginning of the next school year, but union leaders could do so without another vote. They say holding the vote now instead of later gives the union added leverage at the bargaining table. It also allowed 1,500 retiring teachers to vote.

“Our members … were loud, serious and clear,” Lewis said. “We want a contract that gives Chicago students the school they deserve. So we call on CPSs to take this process seriously and negotiate with us in good faith with an eye on the real prize, our children.”

Chicago Public Schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard issued a statement saying it was “a shame” the union took the vote before an independent fact-finder presents recommendations on several contract issues next month and that he’s “disappointed that the union leadership would rush their members to vote for a strike before having the complete information on the table.”

Lewis said the fact-finder’s report will deal with only a handful of issues, and “we have an entire contract to negotiate.”

District spokeswoman Becky Carroll has said that once the report comes out, both sides will have 15 days to accept or reject it, and the union will have 30 days to decide whether or not to strike. The last Chicago teachers strike was in 1987, and lasted 19 days.

Much of the teachers’ frustration has centered on Emanuel, who rescinded a 4 percent raise last year and then tried to go around the union in his push for longer school days by asking teachers at individual schools to waive the union contract to work more hours. The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board subsequently blocked Emanuel’s negotiations with schools.

He still was able to lengthen the school day for children to 7 hours, starting this fall, without the union’s approval.

Emanuel ignored reporters’ questions Monday about the strike authorization. Emanuel spokeswoman Sarah Hamilton said the public schools cannot afford a strike.

“At a time when our graduation rates and college enrollments are at record highs – two successes in which our teachers played an integral role – we cannot halt the momentum with a strike,” she said. “Our teachers deserve a raise, but our kids don’t deserve a strike and taxpayers cannot afford to pay for 30 percent raises.”

The district has proposed a five-year deal that guarantees teachers a 2 percent pay raise in the first year and lengthens by 10 percent the amount of time teachers must spend at school, from 7 hours to 7 hours and 40 minutes. The union wants a two-year deal that reduces class size and calls for teachers to receive a 24 percent pay raise in the first year and a 5 percent pay raise in the second year.

Chicago public school students have the shortest school day – 5 hours and 45 minutes – among the nation’s 50 largest districts, according to a 2007 report from the National Council on Teacher Quality – part of the reason Emanuel moved to lengthen it.

But the Chicago Teachers Union said that report did not track actual classroom time and insisted the amount of instruction time was on par with other districts.

___

Associated Press writers Don Babwin and Sophia Tareen contributed to this report.

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