Archives For January 2013

In a recent email to chapter leaders, Michael Mulgrew stated that he welcomes Governor Cuomo’s involvement in forcing an evaluation system on NYC teachers. At a time when teachers are under attack from many quarters, it seems inconceivable that the UFT leadership would cede its bargaining power to the State Education Department. Mulgrew expressed his relief that should talks once again stall, the governor and the SED, “people who actually understand education”, will be involved. Our teachers, the ones who really understand education, will be left out of the decision making process.

We should remember that it was Mulgrew’s willingness to sign on to the state’s Race to the Top application that got us here in the first place. The UFT agreed to allow teachers to be evaluated by student test data in exchange for a promise of $700 million which has yet to reach city classrooms.

We at MORE categorically oppose any evaluation system that includes flawed student test data as a component. We also reject the virtual elimination of tenure that would result from the proposed evaluation system, in which teachers would be presumed incompetent based on that faulty data.

Mulgrew also states in his letter that we need this agreement so that we will not “risk further loss of state money.”  In truth, the state is under no obligation to withhold any funds and is only doing so to force an agreement. Worse still, the state has threatened to take Title I funds from our neediest students in the absence of a deal, showing their contempt for students as well as teachers. Rather than submit to such blatant blackmail, the UFT should be rallying against attempts to rob our poorest children for the sake of pleasing education reformers.

Furthermore, the UFT has sent out District Representatives  to schools claiming that not enough teachers are found unsatisfactory and “that has to change.”  If the purpose of the new evaluation deal is to help teachers improve and “help teachers help students”, as Mulgrew claims in his letter, it should be focused on giving support to teachers, not on getting them terminated.  It is MORE’s position that it is the union’s obligation to protect its members. We should not collaborate with the city in its attempts to fire teachers at will, nor cede our power to the state. Any data driven evaluation system coupled with a weakening of tenure will surely lead to more firings.

It should also be remembered that any new evaluation agreement was supposed to be coupled with a new contract. Not only have teachers been without a contract or a raise since 2009, but this latest capitulation by the UFT basically gives away our strongest bargaining chip in our ongoing contract negotiations.

If there is to be a new evaluation system, it must be fair and ensure the rights of teachers. It should be collectively bargained and subject to the vote of the full membership as dictated by the law. We, the teachers of the UFT, are the ones who “really understand education” so we must be fully engaged in any process that will impact our practice and our profession.

We should not submit to blackmail or an assault on our collective bargaining rights.

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Calling All Teachers!

Help us file our “Reports From the Field” on MORE’s blog next week!

How is Danielson being used at your school? On your colleagues? On you?
We are hearing alarming reports about how Danielson is being used against our colleagues all across the city. While we anticipated this occurring, we’re still very concerned with what we are hearing. We are interested in hearing from you about how you have experienced the Danielson Framework being used in your classroom or your school.
Send us you testimonials! Help us make your experiences as public as possible! Click here to send us your testimonial. It will only take a moment and the experience you share can help colleagues all across the city.

Calling More Members!

Don’t forget to send your ‘Why I joined MORE’ testimonials to media@morecaucus.org

MORE Events

January 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

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Monday, February 4th – 5-7pm

MORE Planning/Election Committee Meeting – Cosi Cafe, 55 Broad Street NY, NY

Wednesday February, 6th 3-6pm

UFT Delegate Assembly – 52 Broadway, New York, NY 10004

Saturday, February 9th  – 12pm – 3pm

MORE General Meeting/Signature Party – Location TBD

Saturday, February 23rd – 3:00pm – 5:00pm CUNY Graduate Center; 365 5th Avenue; New York, NY 10016 Room 5414 

PUBIC FORUM “Dignity and Democracy in Education: Blowing the Whistle on the Culture of Fear & Corruption in NYC Public Schools” with Lois Weiner

We have redesigned our site’s menu with some excellent additions. Check out our platform, meet our top candidates for UFT elections, find out why our candidates decided to join MORE, help us distribute election literature and petitions at your school and one’s nearby, and of course our Join Us link so you and your friends can become members of MORE is still easily accessible. On the right side-bar of the page you will be able to find out about all our upcoming events. Please check it out and let everyone know that there is a positive alternative to the current leadership of the UFT! Tell them to check out the new http://morecaucusnyc.org

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Come to the 1st MORE meeting of 2013 and join the fight to defend educators and protect students from the continuing attacks on public education!

WHAT: MORE General Meeting

WHEN: 12:00-3:00pm, Saturday Jan 26th 2013

WHERE: 224 West 29th St. btwn 7/8ave NYC 14th floor

During the recent evaluation negotiations, MORE fought for democracy within OUR union. MORE believes that members should have direct input into all major decisions.

Evaluations are just one of many issues MORE is organizing around: closing schools, forced co-locations, over-testing and underfunding, ATRs, denial of tenure, mounds of paper-work, Danielson, common core, special ed violations, and the continued attempt to destroy unions (as in the current school bus strike)….

 

The time is now!

Come build a positive alternative that challenges the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership.

Join us at our general meeting Saturday 1/26.  We will discuss why we have been successful in growing this democratic movement and what our strategies will be moving forward.

 Come find out how to work with MORE in the upcoming UFT elections… including opportunities to run, petition for signatures, leaflet, and fundraise.

If you have sold raffle tickets bring money and/or unsold tickets to meeting, please contact us if you can’t make it.

 

Childcare available only if requested by Wednesday 1/23 – email more@morecaucusnyc.org

 

https://www.facebook.com/MOREcaucusNYC/events

Next Special Event

Saturday February 23rd ” Forum with Lois Weiner, moderated by Brian Jones “Dignity and Democracy in Education: Blowing the Whistle on the Culture of Fear and Corruption in NYC Public Schools”

Check the Facebook link for more info/location

The passing of the January 17 deadline for a new evaluation agreement is not an ending but a beginning. Now the DOE will work overtime to spin doctor the failure to reach an agreement on new teacher evaluations, mandated by New York State’s version of Race to the Top, as the fault of Michael Mulgrew and union leadership. This despite the fact that every indication shows it was Bloomberg who failed to negotiate in good faith.

While we applaud the UFT leadership for standing their ground, the MORE Caucus has no intention of giving up the fight to prevent our teachers and students from being given over to the standardized testing regime. We know there will be efforts in the future to convert our schools into low-level thinking factories and our teachers into low-skilled, low-paid bureaucratic functionaries.

So, why did the evaluation deal fall through? We believe there is no one particular reason. Instead, there were a variety of reasons all working in concert to torpedo this deal. Understanding these reasons will help us understand what the post-non-evaluation DOE will look like:

Continue Reading…

As of 2:30pm today UFT HAS announced NO DEAL on evaluations. The rally outside the DA is directed against the junk science teacher eval schemes that are being foisted upon us, and demands that the rank and file have a say in a ratification of any agreement. It calls for our union to end the self destructive “collaboration” with union hating corporate “reformers” and politicians in both political parties. It is our union even when it is wrong. The rally is not against the UFT leadership.

 
Since there wasn’t an agreement it signals an intensification of the anti union campaign and we have to be prepared to join in the defense of our union even while we challenge its leaders in the upcoming election. No agreement means that Bloomberg and his cronies feel they can better advance their anti union/privatization program by smearing the UFT for forfeiting the increased state aid money. However, it will also represent a recognition by the union leadership of the limits of what they can sell to an angry UFT rank and file.
 
We demand a decent contract, decent working and learning conditions and an end to the mayoral dictatorship which former UFT President Weingarten helped to put in place. We are calling for the UFT leadership to mobilize the rank and file members, organize the membership and join the growing movement against the corporate takeover of public education.